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Industry roundup: 23 April

Finastra makes Fusion KTP available in the cloud for treasurers

Finastra has announced the availability of its Fusion KTP integrated global treasury management solution in the cloud. Existing customers are already in the process of migrating to Finastra's cloud solution which is hosted on Microsoft Azure. Accessing Fusion KTP in the cloud will give users the opportunity to accelerate innovation and time to market, and the ability to transform their operations at scale.

The solution supports treasurers within both banks and corporates in managing their evolving cash management, risk, reporting, compliance and accounting requirements. The solution offers end-to-end multi-asset coverage and supports collaborative cash and workflow management across customer organisations, allowing them to centralise their financial exposures - optimising hedging cost, reducing risk and ensuring compliance.

"Making Fusion KTP available to customers in the cloud via Microsoft Azure builds on Finastra's strategic vision to help accelerate the digital transformation of financial services, and help customers on their journeys to open," said Riteesh Singh, senior vice president, Financial Messaging Marketplaces at Finastra. "Customers eager to transform their treasury operations will benefit from increased flexibility in adapting to constant change across global markets. In addition, they will be able to take advantage of the highest standards of security, resiliency, performance and operating excellence." 

"Treasury functions are increasingly called upon to closely partner with internal business teams, as well as with innovative external technology vendors to navigate strategic and tactical course corrections, especially through uncertain markets," commented Cubillas Ding, research director at Celent. "Set against global efforts to adapt and remodel, firms have to react to heightened business dislocations, altered competitive playbooks, in addition to a complex interplay of financial, liquidity and cyber risks. A leaner, more responsive posture will enable an organisation to quickly steer towards optimal paths for growth, diversification and resiliency."

Fusion KTP is used by banks and corporates - mainly in France, Belgium and North Africa. 


DBS Bank and Contour broaden digital trade offerings in Asia-Pacific

To further push the digitalisation of trade finance in major trade hubs in the region, DBS Bank has expanded its offerings on Contour’s trade finance network to corporate customers in four markets in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region.

DBS was the first Singapore-based bank to join Contour’s beta network and completed the first fully digital letter of credit (LC) transaction on the platform last year. The bank has now moved from Contour’s beta network to its production network to offer streamlined digital LC transactions for customers across Australia, China, Hong Kong and Singapore from this month.

Contour - also based in Singapore - and its ecosystem of bank partners such as DBS are working together to drive a collective effort to digitise global trade. Built on R3’s Corda, Contour’s network focuses on digitising paper-based trade finance processes, including the creation, exchange, approval and issuance of LCs, which are often cost-intensive and time-consuming.

By joining Contour, DBS will be able to provide a fully digital end-to-end LC settlement process for its customers in Australia, China, Hong Kong and Singapore, including the transfer of electronic trade and title documents. This should help shorten settlement time, reduce paperwork and simplify complex trade processes. To date, those on the Contour network have been able to reduce the process of an LC presentation by up to 90%.


AccessPay and Yapily provide visibility over corporate cash management

Fintech scale-up AccessPay is pioneering a new treasury solution for corporates using open banking. Enabled by Yapily, an open banking infrastructure provider, it will provide UK businesses with real-time visibility into their cash position and transaction flows.

The integration enables AccessPay users to connect and aggregate their entire corporate banking estate at the click of a button. This should not only reduce the friction of using multiple systems, but decrease the time-to-value for corporates from months to minutes. The ability to join together data from multiple connectivity channels means AccessPay can deliver a global solution, while enhancing the user experience within the EEA.

The two fintechs claim that this is the first use case of open banking in corporate cash management to be brought to market and demonstrates how technology innovation is creating better services for businesses. The collaboration aims to enable thousands of treasury and finance teams to make more informed financial decisions, as well as establishing reliable, automated processes around reconciliation, payroll and forecasting of company cash.

Yapily’s infrastructure will provide AccessPay’s customers, such as ITV, NSG and Imperial College London, with access to real-time banking data. This removes the need to manually download data using spreadsheets. 


Global supply chains struggling to keep pace with spiking orders volumes 

Business to business (B2B) trade activity grew by 10% in the first quarter of 2021, but a recent surge in order volumes is creating fresh challenges for suppliers after a year of intense disruption. According to Tradeshift’s latest Index of Global Trade Health, order volumes jumped 16.9% in Q1 and one in five suppliers are concerned about their ability to keep pace with demand. The strain on supply chains is particularly acute among manufacturers. Order volumes across the sector were up by 80% year on year in March, but invoice volumes grew by just 20% over the same period. 

The emerging delta between orders and invoices suggests that working capital is failing to flow through to suppliers to support the sudden ramp-up in customer demand. In a survey of suppliers, Tradeshift found that nearly a third of respondents had seen their cash flow position deteriorate over the past six months. Nearly half said that they’ve seen an increase in the number of late customer payments since the beginning of the year. 

Recent data suggests factories in the Eurozone’s manufacturing heartlands have been running at a record pace in 2021. Tradeshift’s own analysis shows that total transaction volumes across the region’s supply chains grew by 14.5% in Q1. US transaction volumes, which leapt 29% in Q4, fell back into line with global averages in Q1, rising 10.2% during the period.

In the UK, transaction volumes have been running at a significant deficit since the pandemic, but there are signs that trade activity may be turning a corner. A 6% rise in transaction volumes during the first three months of 2021 brought supply chain activity up to parity with the pre-pandemic level in Q1 2020.

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