In a report by Reuters, the Anglo-Gulf Trade Bank said that it would facilitate trade between Middle East, Britain and Asia. The bank has opened in Abu Dhabi, with an initial capital of $100mn. The bank is a joint venture between Britain’s AGTB Holdings Ltd and Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Investment Company.
Parrish said there was a gap in the market between demand in trade finance and supply chain, which he aims to tap into digital methods to address. The bank will likely be launched in early 2019, as it awaits regulatory approvals.
Trade finance is considered a difficult area for emerging countries and smaller businesses. The estimated gap in global trade finance is $1.5 trillion, according to the Asia Development Bank. Blockchain, which draws its popularity as the technology powering cryptocurrency, has the potential to manage reams of documentation in a secure manner, and can significantly mitigate operational costs as well as address concerns of fradulence. This would be especially beneficial to the trade finance model, which is cost intensive.
There is sufficient buzz in financial circles about the viability of a blockchain model to power trade finance in the next generation. A vivid example would be Project Marco Polo – a joint undertaking between TradeIX and R3 with more than a dozen institutions in the world active in trade finance such as BNP Paribas, Commerzbank, ING and Natwest.