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Industry roundup: 28 June

Pole Star acquires Vasanda to support sustainability in commodity transactions

Pole Star has strengthened its sustainability screening offering by acquiring a controlling stake in Vasanda, a London-based startup in sustainability risk screening using real-time, empirical impact data.

The acquisition, which follows a growth investment in Pole Star in April 2021, will provide a single-point, end-to-end screening solution for the full spectrum of risks across sanctions, compliance and sustainability in the global commodities trade. The company says that within seconds, customers will have a 360-degree view of regulatory and sustainability risk relating to any actively traded commodity. 

The solution will enable pre-trade sustainability risk screening of vessels and transactions, using historical data alongside Vasanda’s real-time monitoring of empirical climate impact data, which include risks such as  deforestation, soil erosion, and fires. Vasanda also screens and validates environmental degradation, water productivity and human exploitation metrics that can be evident in certain commodity value chains. Combined with PurpleTRAC, this solution will enable users to screen and monitor the sustainability risk for  any transaction and shipment from source to destination.


SACE and C2FO partner to enhance international trade for Italian SMEs

SACE and working capital platform C2FO have signed a cooperation agreement aimed at supporting the growth of Italian small- to mid-sized enterprises (SMEs) in international markets. By matching supply and demand on a global scale, this collaboration framework aims to advocate the tools and solutions that SACE makes available to improve Italian SMEs' exports.

To this end, C2FO will help in identifying foreign customers interested in SACE initiatives that support international trade projects for Italian companies. Specifically, C2FO will facilitate meetings with global players in the markets of interest, raising appreciation and consideration of the Italian supply chain by foreign counterparts.

"In this complex economic phase, export is a crucial ingredient to resilient companies and digital synergies have become vital to support businesses," said Pierfrancesco Latini, CEO of SACE. "This is why SACE values C2FO as a strategic partner, to promote the 'Made in Italy' growth in the world and to reach high potential emerging markets in which our presence and instruments can make a tangible difference."

This cooperation agreement between SACE and C2FO is expected to expand in the future, through the development of synergies to support the growth of SMEs and the Italian recovery.


US Faster Payments Council publishes interoperability research report

The US Faster Payments Council (FPC), in partnership with Glenbrook Partners, has released the research report 'Why Interoperability is Important to Faster Payments'. The report is the latest part of a three-year, multifaceted industry study consisting of quantitative and qualitative research, launched by the FPC and Glenbrook in 2019.

Published the last two years, the Faster Payments Barometer, an online survey of industry professionals, offered insights from businesses, financial institutions (FIs), consumer organisations, and payment providers. Results from both annual surveys indicated that industry stakeholders from across the value chain overwhelmingly believe interoperability is important for broader adoption of faster payments.

Those interviewed for the report generally agreed on the definition of interoperability - 1) the ability to pay anyone at any time to any account, and 2) the ability to seamlessly identify and pay another person regardless of the payment system used. Many of the interviewees also cited common attributes as integral to achieving interoperability including message formats (specification/data), operating rules and guidelines, settlement, and business processes. In response to tangible benefits of interoperability, interviewees highlighted an enhanced customer experience, more competitive market, improved operational efficiency, and reduced risk exposure.

"This research report provides a nuanced view into stakeholder expectations for interoperability in the United States," said Elizabeth McQuerry, partner at Glenbrook Partners. "Expanding on the findings from the Faster Payments Barometer, stakeholders expressed not only consistent reasons for why interoperability is important but also had a pragmatic openness to how it is achieved. This flexibility may prove to be a critical component for faster payments to become ubiquitous in the United States." 


Framework established for corporate treasury hub in Gujarat

The next step has been taken to establish an corporate treasury hub in India. The International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) in Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT City) is India’s maiden IFSC set-up, with the objective of developing a well-diversified and globally competitive international financial centre. Towards support this, IFSC Authority has issued a framework for undertaking global/regional corporate treasury centre activities by finance company/finance units in IFSC.

The framework will enable units registered as 'Finance Company' or 'Finance Unit' under Finance Company Regulations 2021 to perform the functions of a global/regional corporate treasury centre, allowing them to undertake treasury activities and treasury services for its group entities from IFSC. 

This framework aims to create opportunities for global and Indian corporates to develop international operations by centralising their treasury activities for availing corporate financing, including intra-group financing, better liquidity management, and risk management practices among others. The GIFT IFSC is being promoted as an ideal location for setting up a global or regional corporate treasury centre on account of its attractive tax regime, robust banking ecosystem, access to capital markets and facilitative regulatory regime.

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