CHAIRMAN’S MESSAGE – Sean Edwards, ITFA Chairman / Head of Legal and Special Adviser to the Global Trade Finance Department at SMBC

Dear Members and Friends,

Welcome to our February Muse and the end of dry January (!).

We focus on Emerging Market (EM) economies strongly as an industry. These were conditioned throughout 2018 namely by the geopolitical tensions vis-à-vis the trade war; tensions which pushed investors to re-allocate their assets and shift their focus onto less volatile economies. EM currencies in 2018 were the primary driving force of risks within the region as investors opted for safer havens such as the Japanese Yen and the U.S. dollar. The latter continued to put pressure on EM, which were harshly beaten to levels that weren’t seen since 2013. In January, due to a weakening dollar, which was conditioned by the Fed’s U-turn, EM saw a boost in demand, propelling EM economies higher. Should no political risk or rather specific risk emerge again, EMs should continue at this pace and EM should once again outperform other regions.

That being said, weak data keeps coming out of China – lower than expected inflation and weak manufacturing data for the second time in the same month. This reflects not only the impact of the Trade War but more so a domestic economic slowdown. Other EMs, specifically Turkey, Brazil, Indonesia and Russia have seen a magnified uplift in performance.

Onto more exciting news – registrations to the 46th ITFA Annual Conference will open towards the beginning of March when the conference website goes live. Watch this space for more information. Meanwhile we wish to thank all those institutions who have already committed to sponsoring the event – your contribution is invaluable. For those who wish to sponsor ITFA in Budapest, please send an email on and we will be happy to provide information on the various packages available. The lovely city of Budapest awaits us – one of the most beautiful capitals of the world.

In this edition of the 2019 ITFA Newsletter Silja Calac, ITFA Head of Insurance, contributes a very topical article entitled ”Regulating the Regulators: Why Insurance-Bank Cooperation is Crucial.” Dr Rebecca Harding, of Coriolis Technologies, writes on ‘’The Trade War in your Head? A look behind the US-China Feud.’’ GTR’s editor, Shannon Manders has contributed 2 articles ‘’Americas Roundtable: Winds of Change’’ and also reports on my new role at SMBC Europe. André Casterman, ITFA Head of Fintech Activities, provides another read entitled ‘’Growing Digitally in 2019 with ITFA Fintechs – Discover them in Helsinki on 27 February 2019.’’ ITFA also reports on the VEFI Christmas event which took place in Zurich last December.

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