CHAIRMAN’S MESSAGE – Sean Edwards, ITFA Chairman / Head of Legal at SMBC

Dear Members and Friends,

As we come to the end of another year, let me first take the opportunity to thank all those members and guests who attended our Christmas Cocktail Party, which was held on 10th December at the remarkable Grace Hall. With over 300 invitations this party proved to be THE best end of year party in the trade finance market. For us ITFA Board members, this event was an opportunity for us to thank you, our members, for your continuous support and enthusiasm. All ITFA members may view the event photos by clicking here.

As for our industry, EM economies remain in good shape as certain major currencies recuperated in November and hence, EMs were not much worse off. That being said, China still has a range of economic issues to navigate especially the country’s growth slowdown, and problems in China are felt in the rest of the world. Problems include high debt, over-investment in real estate and a transition to a domestic-oriented instead of an export-oriented economy.

2018 was anything but plain sailing for both the risky and risk adverse investor and the global economy was adversely impacted. The larger part of the issues which characterised the year (in a negative way) look nowhere close to being solved. US trade wars. Italian budget impasse. Brexit uncertainty. Global economic slowdown. All these factors coupled with a gradual termination of accommodative monetary policies by the world’s leading central banks have led emerging market economies to remain vulnerable for most of the year, with this vulnerability persisting possibly during the first half of 2019.

In this month’s newsletter we have an interesting article contributed by Alistair Mcleod, JLT Specialty Limited titled ‘’African Risk: Narrowing the Gap between Perception and Reality.’’ Silja Calac, ITFA Head of Insurance Activities, updates us with news from the ITFA Insurance Committee. Aarti Patel, together with others from the ITFA YPs, visited the Cass Business School, City University – London – to speak to the students to attract them to join the trade finance industry. We also share a brief on the GRC Stammtisch event which was held in Munich on 22 November 2018.

May I remind you all that next year’s Annual Conference will take us to the beautiful city of Budapest at the Budapest Marriott Hotel. The conference will be held between 4-6 September 2018, so please save the date!

In the meantime, I wish you all very best for the festive season and a healthy and prosperous new year.

We look forward to hearing from you with any feedback you may want to share with us by sending an email to myself, any of the Board Members or to our general email,

Best wishes,

Sean Edwards