Excellence Awards 2017 - Best Trade Bank: HSBC

Awards | 1 August 2017

Best Trade Bank

HSBC was established to finance the growing amount of trade between Asia, Europe and the US in the 19th century, and the bank remains at the forefront of the global trade industry, winning the TFR Best Trade Bank award for the fourth year in a row.

This award recognises the bank that has done the most to facilitate trade across all business sizes, sectors, and geographies, finds ways to overcome new and traditional barriers to trade, and acts as an industry leader with its approach to establishing and supporting progressive practices and initiatives - with the amount of votes the bank received for this award, the market was in little doubt that HSBC fulfilled these criteria.

Demonstrating its strength across the trade industry over the last year, the bank has also scooped the awards for Best Trade Bank in Asia (see page 36), Best Trade Bank in Innovation and Technology (see page 32), and the Best Trade Bank for SMEs award (see page 32).

What is more, four of the bank's commercial deals ran out as winners in the TFR Deals of 2016 awards, with a further deal being highly commended.

"I'm immensely proud of my team and what we've been able to achieve in the past year," said Natalie Blyth, head of global trade and receivables finance, HSBC.

"I'd like to say a huge thank you to everyone who works in global trade and receivables finance across the globe. Despite the challenging environment, we continue to focus on delivering for our customers and it is great to have their support and see our hard work being recognised."

Worthy of note

HSBC acted as the lead arranging bank in an €80m four-year receivables finance facility for the Italian company Global Garden Products (GGP), which was a winning deal in the TFR Deals of 2016 awards. A member of the judging panel commented, "I hope it supports GGP's sales growth as I am not sure many banks would go through this effort for an €80m facility," demonstrating the complexity of the deal (it was structured as a series of recourse facilities in France, Germany, Sweden and the UK, and was multicurrency) and HSBC's willingness to finance challenging deals.

Another deal to receive recognition in the awards was the US$4bn pre-export finance facility for Petroleum Development Oman, on behalf of the Government of the Sultanate of Oman. HSBC acted as the sole international financial adviser, mandated lead arranger and facility agent on what remains the largest export finance package in Oman's history, with the bank demonstrating its ability to work on transactions in varied sectors (in this case, oil), and of the largest sizes.

Ekpac SL, an Israel-based importer of medical equipment and machinery sells to hospitals in China, was another company to benefit from HSBC's international presence across industries in 2016. The bank structured a flexible US$27m receivables finance package for Ekpac, giving it the short-term working capital it needed to bridge the receipt of financing under an Israel-China soft loan programme - this deal was another winner in the TFR Deals of 2016.

Digitising trade and partnering up

HSBC has also been at the forefront of the digitisation of trade over the past year, establishing partnerships with fintechs, launching its own digital platforms and partnering with other banks on new initiatives.

HSBC started the year by joining a consortium of seven global banks to develop the Digital Trade Chain, which is a blockchain-based trade finance platform aimed specifically at SMEs. IBM, which is separately working with the likes of Maersk, Mizuho, and Trafigura to develop their own blockchain-based trade finance platforms, has since been contracted by the consortium to bring the Digital Trade Chain to production by the end of 2017.

This was followed by a strategic partnership with Tradeshift to develop a digital platform where clients can access working capital and supply chain finance, as well as managing procurement, accounts payable and settlement in their global supply chain. The platform has been live since July. A further strategic partnership followed in July, this time with cloud-based business applications provider, GT Nexus. This partnership allows clients to access a platform that helps manage complicated supply chain processes while simplifying supplier financing.

The bank has also been busy launching its own in-house platforms to improve efficiency and help clients expand their reach. It has been doing this with the launch of its 'LinkScreen' platform, which allows clients to meet with their banking representative on a virtual platform, complete trade finance, receivables finance, and business loan applications remotely, and gain access to funds within 48 hours.

And in an effort to help clients expand their reach and develop new partnerships with trusted businesses, the bank launched the HSBC Connections Hub. The Hub is a digital networking platform that works in a similar way to a social network, where traders can look for businesses that need their goods and services, get in touch with them, and develop business relations. As every user on the Hub is a trusted HSBC client, traders can be confident the business contact is genuine.

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