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Standard Bank calls for rule changes to enable trade digitisation

Standard Bank calls for rule changes to enable trade digitisation

Standard Bank says it is talking to regulators in multiple markets about amending regulations during the Covid19 crisis to make digital trade easier.

The Covid-19 outbreak is set to significantly impact trade growth for the year as countries limit physical movement to curb the virus spread. However, Vinod Madhavan, head of trade for Standard Bank, says that there could be a silver lining - the acceleration of trade digitisation.

Trade services have traditionally involved heavy use of paperwork, signatures and frequent manual data entries. Yet, there are technological tools - AI, blockchain, cloud computing and data analytics - that can help reduce this reliance, says Madhaven, if regulatory barriers are removed.

The bank is talking with regulators in many of the 20 countries in which it operates, looking for amendments, even if only to get a temporary dispensation for the duration of the crisis.

"With the challenges brought about by the virus outbreak, there is now an exciting dialogue in markets that will help to influence some of the necessary changes," says Madhaven.

Standard Bank is not the only player looking for a change. Last month the International Chamber of Commerce called for authorities to nullify any rules inhibiting the use of paperless trading, in order to mitigate the disruptive impact of Covid-19 on trade finance transactions.

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