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ICC and Swift launch trade finance API standards - Industry roundup: 23 August

ICC and Swift unveil first API standards for guarantees and standby LCs

The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and Swift have released the first application programming interface (API) industry standards for bank guarantees and standby letters of credit. The collaboration brings together ICC and Swift members, including banks, corporates, fintech platforms, and service providers, to create industry standards to streamline the entire life cycle of financial instruments, including issuance, advising, amendments, cancellations and claims.

In addition to providing a light footprint, APIs will help in providing standardisation and real-time visibility, which will enhance interoperability, operational efficiency and enable seamless integration of banking capabilities into corporate treasury, enterprise resource planning systems and third-party platforms, specifically for guarantees and standby letters of credit (LCs). 

The API model is now ready for testing, implementation and adoption by the industry. It aligns with SWIFT Message Types (MT) standards and future ISO 20022 compliance to minimise disruption to existing trade systems. This approach ensures a future-proof implementation and addresses the urgent need for standardisation in the trade API space. 

“The completion of the standard model API for guarantees and standby letters of credit is a great step forward towards interoperability and digitisation of trade finance,” said Andrew Wilson, ICC Global Policy Director. “The cooperation with Swift is essential to reach this point, and we are confident it will lead to further development for other trade finance services after a successful implementation phase.” 

“These API standards for guarantees reflect the technical expertise and collaboration within the working group, and address the reality and needs of the market,” commented Samuel Mathew, ICC Banking Commission Steering Group Vice-Chair and Global Head of Documentary Trade at Standard Chartered. “The result is a standardised set of APIs with future trade ISO compliance flexibility. We are confident the industry will adopt these standards for seamless integration and data movement. This API is the first of its kind in the trade domain, and the working group aims to deliver similar specifications for the entire trade product in the near future.” 

“The unified Trade Guarantee API standards will facilitate seamless and structured data exchanges, making multi-bank interactions – which is a critical process – much more efficient,” added Shirish Wadivkar, Global Head of Wholesale Payments and Trade Strategy at Swift. “As adoption of the standards accelerates, businesses will also benefit from improved security and liquidity in the guarantees space. This is part of Swift’s continued collaboration with ICC and the community to create a future-ready digital trade ecosystem, anchored in common standards and interoperability.”


HSBC taps Calastone to launch expanded ETF offering

HSBC has launched ETF Platform Solutions, an end-to-end platform for providing asset servicing solutions to ETF issuers globally. Under a single offering, ETF issuers will have access to HSBC’s Markets & Securities Services capabilities, such as ETF order management, portfolio composition file (PCF) production and custom ETF net asset value (NAV) attribution analysis; authorised participant services, including ETF seeding and HSBC’s ETF fair value algorithms; swap provision and dedicated execution services under FX4ETFs; and HSBC FX Overlay Services.

As part of ETF Platform Solutions' roll-out, HSBC has partnered with Calastone to provide a next-generation ETF Order Management system. Using Calastone’s cloud-based Distributed Market Infrastructure, the new ETF Order Management system will deliver real-time processing and monitoring capabilities to ETF issuers throughout the ETF creation and redemption life cycle. From order placement to settlement, HSBC’s digital data integration interfaces will deliver live analytics to ETF issuers and authorised participants as order executions are completed.

HSBC’s Securities Services business will deploy the new ETF Order Management system across its global ETF client base, including issuers domiciled in Ireland, Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia.


Bloomberg's FXGO expands pricing quality analytics

Bloomberg has announced the addition of a suite of FX pricing quality tools available to FXGO clients through Bloomberg's multi-asset reporting tool for electronic trading (MISX). Users can now analyse and dissect pricing quality and performance for RFQ pricing requests, including batch trades, sent over FXGO, Bloomberg's multi-bank FX trading solution. 

Price makers can now use MISX pricing quality analytics to more quickly identify where opportunities to price are being missed and why, such as due to internal counterparty setup, enablement issues, or internal credit rejects.  By identifying instruments and currency pairs that are missing flow because of pricing quality issues, price makers can better understand how and where to improve their setup and pricing quality to win more business over FXGO.   

“The additional information, especially the ‘Best Alternative’ data, has enabled us to identify areas where we can further improve the pricing quality for our clients,” said Guillaume Carreno, Global Head of Electronic Client Connectivity, Crédit Agricole CIB. “The productivity efficiency we gain with this new feature is an important added value.” 


DMALINK partners with Danske Bank on FX pricing

DMALINK, an emerging market-focused institutional FX electronic communication network (ECN) has revealed that Danske Bank has added it as a platform to provide custom Scandinavian electronic FX pricing to its buy-side clients. 

Including Danske Bank in the DMALINK ecosystem allows its buy-side clients to access top-tier specialised liquidity across Scandinavian currencies.

“Scandinavian currencies such as DKK, NOK, and SEK are important to our clients’ portfolio,” said Michael Siwek, Founding Partner and Global Head of Sales at DMALINK. “Users can access Danske Bank´s tailored pricing across pre-set liquidity pools, underpinned by advanced analytics.”

“The expansion of Scandi liquidity access for the benefit of our clients is on target with our 2022 growth map to offer AI-based liquidity management tools and risk management algos,” added Ashwind Soonarane, CTO at DMALINK.


Lightyear and BlackRock bring high-yield MMFs to UK retail investors

Investment platform Lightyear has added money market funds (MMFs) in collaboration with BlackRock. Launching MMFs is a step change for the platform, which in addition to 4.5% interest on uninvested GBP, now has a strong product for UK retail investors to make the most of global high-interest rates. BlackRock’s GBP Money Market Fund currently returns 5.14% p.a (gross yield, subject to daily fluctuations and fees). 

With BlackRock, Lightyear is launching three distributing MMFs, denominated in USD, GBP and EUR. Lightyear fees start at 0.09% and reach a maximum of 0.3%. The funds aim to maintain a net asset value of $/€/£ 1 per share. Any excess earnings generated through interest on the portfolio holdings are distributed to investors in the form of dividend payments. Customers will acquire a daily return, paid out to their Lightyear account on the first of every month.

“[MMFs offer] a low cost way for our customers to diversify their portfolio and earn a steady, high yield,” said Martin Sokk, Lightyear’s co-founder and CEO. “The problem was that everyone else requires an extremely high minimum investment, or they force customers to lock away their funds for set periods of time. We wanted to build something low cost where you have easy access to your money and the added bonus that it’s being held in an institution as trusted as BlackRock.”


Emirates Development Bank and Trade Capital Partners launch SCF for SMEs

Emirates Development Bank (EDB) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to create supply chain finance and working capital solutions for SMEs in collaboration with Trade Capital Partners (TCP). This partnership was facilitated by Hub71, Abu Dhabi’s global tech ecosystem, as part of its efforts to support startups with commercial opportunities through its network of leading corporate and government partners in the UAE.

In alignment with government priorities, EDB continues to deliver on its mission of fostering a healthy, sustainable, and self-reliant economy, with a mandate to approve AED30bn in financing support to 13,500 companies within its five priority sectors - renewables, manufacturing, technology, healthcare and food security - by 2026. The MoU will see the creation of a working group to discuss new ways of delivering supply chain financing to small and medium enterprises in the UAE. 

“We are constantly looking at new and innovative ways to support SMEs, which contribute more than 60% of the UAE's national non-oil GDP,” said Shaker Zainal, Chief Business Officer of Emirates Development Bank. “Under this MoU, we will leverage our expertise combined with TCP’s platform to jointly bring more financing solutions to a wider range of businesses. This reflects our value of excelling through partnerships and will further support the growth of SMEs and promote innovation in UAE.”


Basware intends to acquire Glantus Holdings

Genesis Bidco, a wholly-owned subsidiary of AP automation firm Basware, has announced its firm intention to make an offer to purchase the entire share capital of Glantus Holdings. The Glantus Board unanimously recommends the offer.

Combining AP automation from Basware and specialist audit recovery and fraud prevention software from Glantus means customers will obtain complete coverage through the entire invoice processing and capital management lifecycle. Glantus’ solution will be plugged into Basware’s offering in a way that the firm says will bring deeper expertise, an end-to-end data-driven view and speed-to-value savings for customers.

Following a successful acquisition and delisting, all parties intend to work together to develop Glantus in the private domain. Subject to obtaining all necessary approvals, the transaction is expected to be finalised in Q4 2023. 

“Having communicated with the leadership team at Glantus recently, I’ve been thoroughly impressed by their dedication to revolutionise invoice automation for the office of the CFO – a vision behind which we both unite,” commented Jason Kurtz, CEO, Basware. “Both our companies target similar customer segments – and we will be able to share our strengths with Glantus, as well as learn from theirs. Glantus is an exceptional fit with our investment strategy in terms of size, focus and business model. Our proposed acquisition of Glantus will further expand our product suite and we believe add value to customers in an accelerated time.”


Commercial Bank of Dubai and PwC in AI collaboration

Commercial Bank of Dubai (CBD) and PwC Middle East have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to accelerate the adoption of AI technologies across CBD’s operations. The partnership focuses on elevating customer experiences and enhancing engagement through personalised AI-driven customer service solutions.

By integrating PwC Middle East’s AI technologies into its services, CBD aims to deliver tailored services that resonate with individual preferences and needs, ultimately enhancing customer experience. Additionally, the collaboration will explore how AI can optimise internal processes at CBD and use data-driven insights to streamline operations and boost efficiency.

The collaboration is expected to deliver tangible results, with CBD aiming for improved customer satisfaction and more efficient operations. The bank says customers can anticipate a smoother, more personalised banking experience as CBD takes a step forward in the AI-driven banking solutions arena.


Mastercard and Riskified offer fraud insights for global merchants

Riskified has announced an enhanced partnership with Mastercard that aims to improve businesses' ability to grow online revenues and profit while mitigating the risk of fraud and chargebacks.

Riskified’s machine learning platform provides merchant fraud teams with accurate, automated risk-decisioning for e-commerce transactions. This partnership combines insights from Mastercard’s cybersecurity products and solutions with Riskified’s transaction and identity network. It also provides access to Mastercard’s suite of tools that enable real-time alerts on chargeback events and facilitate automated dispute resolution.

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