Modernising Trade Finance

Deloitte Digital commercial bank

Trade Finance regulatory and mandatory changes

An opportunity for modernisation

Trade Finance products are some of the most complex offerings in Corporate Banking. They have been around for a very long time, and we have seen few real changes in the ways that they are offered to the market and operated. This may all change soon; a wave of time‑sensitive regulatory and other mandatory change is approaching, and a number of smaller innovators are keen to bring new and exciting ways to finance import and export commerce to the market.

There is a real opportunity to improve efficiency, enhance the Trade Finance proposition and prepare for digitisation, whilst facing into the upcoming regulatory and mandatory changes. Banks must leverage the opportunity to keep pace with competitors and offer a compelling proposition to new banking clients.


Drivers for changes in Trade Finance

Drivers for changes in Trade Finance

Timing of changes

The core regulatory and mandatory changes above come into effect over the course of 2018 and 2019. The first SWIFT change to be implemented will be a significant change to Documentary Credits messaging in November 2018. This will be followed twelve months later by a structural change to the Guarantees and Standby Letter of Credit SWIFT messages. For each of these changes, banks will likely need to implement technology and process changes in advance.

In parallel, structural reform regulation will come into force from January 2019. Banks with large global networks will likely have exposure to Trade Finance activities which sit outside the ring‑fence. Therefore changes to processes and systems can be expected.

To be compliant with these changes, banks will have to implement complex changes in parallel between now and the end of 2019. These changes will impact bank operations and clients, therefore careful planning is necessary now to ensure the dates are met and the appropriate technology and training is in place.


Delivery implications

To address the upcoming regulatory and industry requirements, Trade Finance providers will need to implement changes to underlying technology components and complementary changes to business processes.

The scale of change required will be dependent upon the provider’s existing capability. Where current technology cannot readily support the new requirements, the degree of change can be expected to be high.

Digitalisation opportunity

The coming period of change creates an excellent opportunity for Trade Finance providers to re‑imagine their product capabilities for the digital age. Introducing a functionally-rich digital channel can be straightforward, transforming client experiences and providing a key stepping stone to re-thinking core Trade Finance processes.

Improving digital capability will enable providers to quickly adopt new technologies as the Trade Finance applications of these technologies mature. It is already possible to use Blockchain technology for Trade Finance processing, speeding up transaction times and offering clients a simpler way to drive their businesses.


Our Trade Finance capability

We offer a breadth of capabilities that can support you with the end-to-end execution of your Trade Finance change programmes, from strategic design through to platform configuration and integration.

Operating model

  • Trade strategy review and definition
  • Trade proposition development
  • Target operating model definition
  • Trade operational process design

Platform delivery

  • Platform architecture design
  • Platform requirements elicitation
  • Platform configuration and implementation

Test and data services

  • End-to-end platform testing
  • Business acceptance testing
  • Existing book profitability analysis
  • Migration data services

Key contacts

Kris Ferguson

Kris Ferguson


Kris leads our thinking on the future of corporate banking, specifically around the technology trends influencing the sector. Kris has led a number of architecture design, package selection and roadma... More

Deep Patel

Deep Patel


Deep is a Director in the UK Technology Consulting Practice and aligned to the EMEA Commercial Banking Centre of Excellence. Deep’s focus is complex business-led technology transformation in Commercia... More

Kevin Gordon

Kevin Gordon

Senior Manager

Kevin is a banking specialist who has worked in the Financial Services industry for over 12 years. He has extensive international Trade Finance experience of front, middle and back office change progr... More