Ask the treasuryXL expert #5 What is Factoring in Trade Finance?

03-11-2022 | treasuryXL | Wim KokLinkedIn |

treasuryXL is the community platform for everyone with a treasury question or answer! A common question asked by treasurers is what Factoring means in Trade Finance. In today’s article Ask the treasuryXL Expert, Wim Kok defines factoring in trade finance for us.

Factoring in Trade Finance

Question: “What is Factoring in Trade Finance?”


Answer provided by Wim

What is Factoring in Trade Finance?

Well, there is a pretty good definition included in the Standard Definitions for Techniques of Supply Chain Finance, prepared by the Global Supply Chain Finance Forum and published by the ICC in 2016. It is currently being updated, but the definition is still alright.

There they give the definition of factoring in trade finance as: Factoring is a form of Receivables Purchase, in which sellers of goods and services sell their receivables (represented by outstanding invoices) at a discount to a finance provider (commonly known as the ‘factor’). A key differentiator of Factoring is that typically the finance provider becomes responsible for managing the debtor portfolio and collecting the payment of the underlying receivables.

Would you add anything to this definition? 

There are a number of things I would add to this to explain the terminology and make it more clear:

  • The term “factoring” is sometimes used as an umbrella term for all forms of invoice financing, including confidential invoice discounting. Strictly speaking, “factoring” refers to both debt management and debt purchase.
  • In the UK, factoring is usually communicated to the debtor, as the collection procedures are carried out by the funding provider (the “factor”).
  • Non-public factoring is usually more popular than full factoring. In this case, the customer retains control over the collection of the receivable.
  • In some markets, disclosure is required by law. Some even require the debt to be formally acknowledged before purchase.
  • In the UK, the standard practice is for the factor to purchase all debt – known as “whole turnover” – even if not all debt is eligible for financing. This gives the factor leeway to absorb any dilution or non-payment of individual invoices. Banks also take secondary security in the form of an “all-asset debenture”. This is registered at Companies House and notifies other potential lenders that debts have been transferred.
  • A subtle but important point is that a debt assignment can serve two purposes: it can mean that the debt has been bought or that the debt has been taken as security for a loan.
  • Many Fintechs offer single invoice/selected invoice/selected debtor solutions, but these are inherently riskier than whole turnover solutions. Large bank providers are generally reluctant to follow suit.
  • Factoring can be done with or without recourse. Even arrangements without recourse include provisions allowing the factor to require the customer to buy back the invoice under certain conditions (e.g. contractual dispute).
  • Factoring can possibly be “wrapped” in credit insurance.
  • In the UK, major finance providers tend to operate an “availability model” in factoring rather than funding individual invoices. The “availability” changes in real time as new eligible debts are purchased (within agreed counterparty limits etc) and existing debts are settled, defaulted or become ineligible. The customer can then draw down to “availability” at any time. This is similar to a “borrowing base” approach, albeit with frequent increases and decreases within the day. This model, combined with the “whole turnover” mandate, provides the factor with a secure source of repayment even if some invoices remain unpaid.

I trust this will be helpful and give more insight into this subject.

Wim Kok



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Ask the treasuryXL expert #4 What is RPA, and what are common use cases of RPA in Treasury?

06-09-2022 | treasuryXL | Philip Costa HibberdLinkedIn |

treasuryXL is the community platform for everyone with a treasury question or answer! treasuryXL expert Philip Costa Hibberd is often asked what RPA exactly entails and what some typical treasury use cases for RPA are. In today’s article Ask the treasuryXL Expert, Philip tells us all about RPA software and when it is happening in treasury.

RPA in treasury

Question: “What is RPA, and what are common use cases of RPA in Treasury?”


Answer provided by Philip

What is RPA (Robotic Process Automation)?

RPA stands for Robotic Process Automation and is a software that performs rules-based work, interacting with systems, websites and applications in the same way a human would. Think of Excel Macros on steroids. With RPA, you can program robots to do the repetitive tasks that nobody wants to do. Robots work 24/7, are fast, make no mistakes, and are very cost efffective

Sounds good… but does this mean that we”ll soon be out of a job? No. Quite the opposite.

Robots are great at performing repetitive, standardised and time-consuming tasks, but are not great at dealing independently with the uncertain and complex world in which treasurers operate. This is why bots and treasury professionals are such a great combination. Bots give us superpowers: they give us back the time we need to focus on the valuable activities that make the job interesting and at the same time they allow us to keep direct control over the repetitive (but often critical) processes we need to do (without actually having to do it ourselves).

What are common use cases of RPA in treasury?

Reporting: collecting information from different sources, calculating measures and KPIs, drafting the reports, distributing the reports (after getting confirmation that everything is ok).

Master data management: support with the creation, updating, deletion and cleansing of master data in different sources and systems. Synchronizing data across systems.

Cash Position: collecting bank statements/account balance information from different systems, consolidating information, saving and/or distributing the cash position information to the appropriate people and systems.

Payment processing: collecting and consolidating payment requests, handling predefined exceptions and validations, inputting/uploading payment batches before cut-off times, providing reports and feedback on each action.

Cash Flow Forecasting: collecting cash flow data from different systems and sources, sending automated reminders, consolidating the information, applying validations and checks, notifying exceptions, distributing the information.

Month end activities: sending notifications/reminders on deadlines and expected activities, collecting and distributing FX rates, consolidating information, performing automatic checks, limit checks, compiling and distributing month end reports to accounting / FP&A / etc.

User and access management: checking user roles and statuses in different systems, notification of accesses about to expire, creating accounts for joiners and disabling accounts of leavers.

Mark-to-market valuations: collecting deal confirmations from different sources, extracting information from different mediums (excel, PDF, emails), running the models, preparing and distributing the reports.

Covenant management: collecting the information from different sources, calculating the ratios, warning of (imminent) breaches, warning of risky trends, distributing reports.

Bank fee monitoring: gathering bank statements / CAMT.086 / Bank Services Billing (BSB)  from different systems, processing the information, generating and distributing reports, automatic disputing of fees based on predefined rules.

Chargeback / Credit card disputes: collecting pre and post approval information, filing the disputes, notifying users of responses and exceptions/follow up needed.

Automated testing regression testing of ERP/TMS/system updates, bank connectivity testing, end to end process testing, generating testing reports and evidence.

(Basic) Trading: computing of exposures, inputting  vanilla deals in trading platform (if within predefined limits – otherwise notify traders), deal execution according to trading policy, handling of post trade activities.

 

Thank you,

 

Phillip Costa Hibberd



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Ask the treasuryXL expert #3 How to prevent fraud caused by BEC for my treasury department?

17-8-2022 | treasuryXL | Zhanna IrgaliyevaLinkedIn |

treasuryXL is the community platform for everyone with a treasury question or answer! TreasuryXL expert Zhanna Irgaliyeva is more often asked what you can do about fraud caused by BEC. Today she will tell us a few tools to prevent BEC scams for your treasury department.

BEC fraud

Question: “How to prevent fraud caused by BEC for my treasury department?”


Answer provided by Zhanna

What are BEC scams?

BEC scams are everywhere and they never go away. A sort of email scam called a “business email compromise” (BEC) targets businesses with the intention of defrauding them. Compromise of business emails is a significant and spreading issue that affects businesses of all sizes and in every sector worldwide. Organizations have been exposed to potential losses in the billions of dollars due to BEC schemes.

What would you recommend to prevent fraud caused by BEC?

There are a few tools I recommend you to use to prevent BEC scams. First, it would be smart to rewrite the company’s policy and procedures to include internal controls to reduce fraud. You could verify new or updated beneficiary data not via email, but via a Main Agreement or Change Orde. Another option is separation of duties through the use of two-factor authentication.

Also, make sure to train your staff on the different types of BEC fraud and familiarize them with updated internal controls to mitigate the risk of fraud. Then, secure your email, and regularly update the required antivirus software. Daily reconciliation of company’s accounts would also be smart to do for early identification of BEC scams. Finally, always stay alert with everyday payment transactions as BEC scam can pop up just like that.

 

Zhanna Irgaliyeva

Reference: Association of Financial Professionals



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Ask the treasuryXL expert #2 How can I efficiently and cost-effectively get central bank approval/advice for cross-border flows in cash-strapped countries without delaying my business?

treasuryXL is the community platform for everyone with a treasury question or answer! Today, we discuss a question that treasuryXL expert Vasu Reddy often hears within his treasury network. The question relates to challenges for Treasury in Emerging Markets that most corporates continue to experience.

27-07-2022 | treasuryXL Vasu Reddy | LinkedIn |

Question: “How can I efficiently and cost-effectively get central bank approval/advice for cross-border flows in cash-strapped countries without delaying my business?”


Answer (by Vasu Reddy)


“This is a common question I receive. It is related to emerging market challenges for treasury that most corporates still experience.

My idea is to proactively submit an application in advance. This application should indicate the nature and scope of the transaction, the benefits to the company, and the impact on the country (including currency and cash implications). Furthermore, it should include the reasons for not sourcing locally, the basis for the costing, and supporting documents such as supplier agreements, shipping documents, etc.

If it is a recurring remittance, such as royalties or monthly Global service charges, then a special dispensation should be applied for (renewed annually) to avoid individual applications resulting in increased costs, efforts and delays.

The best approach is to work closely with your authorized dealer, who is your main partner bank and who has strong links with the Central Bank, has automated systems and is fully aware of regulatory changes. ”

Vasu Reddy



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Ask the treasuryXL expert #1 How might digital trade transactions reduce the threat of fraud and money laundering?​

04-07-2022 | treasuryXL Vincenzo Masile | LinkedIn |

treasuryXL is the community platform for everyone with a treasury question or answer!

Today, we discuss a question that treasuryXL expert Vincenzo Masile often gets to hear within his treasury network about digital trade finance.

This edition, the following question will be answered:


“How might digital trade transactions reduce the threat of fraud and money laundering?”



Vincenzo Masile

“That is a question I think is very relevant right now, especially after Covid. Firstly, let me look back at trade finance over the past few years. In 2019 and 2020, trade finance came under scrutiny following a number of high-profile defaults, suspected frauds and double financings and, in some cases, the failure to provide proper collateral for goods.

While legislation to recognize electronic trade documents will not bring about an overnight change in financier confidence, it is likely to do so in the medium term.

A game-changer for digital trade

The availability of fully enforceable electronic trade documents recognized by the most widely used trade jurisdiction will in itself have a major impact on the approach of both companies and financiers towards digital trading solutions.

Transferable records, such as bills of lading, are the most important commercial documents in trade and currently, less than 1% of bills of lading are in electronic form. This is a huge missed opportunity, given that electronic transferable records will make trade safer, paperless, easier, cheaper, faster, and greener for companies.

Implications for the security in trade transactions and regulatory treatment of trade finance: URDTT

The Uniform Rules for Digital Trade Transactions (URDTT) version 1.0 are the result of the mandate given by the ICC (International Chamber of Commerce, Paris) Banking Commission to develop a high-level structure of rules, obligations, and standards for the digitalization of trade transactions.

The ICC Uniform Rules for Digital Trade Transactions (URDTT) are intended:

1. For a fully digital environment;

2. To be neutral with regard to technology and messaging standards; and,

3. To extend into the corporate space, including commercial transactions and the growing community of non-bank providers of financial services.

The URDTT are designed to be compatible with UNCITRAL (United Nations Commission on International Trade Law) Model Laws, including those Electronic Commerce, Electronic Signatures and Electronic Transferable Records.

The rules will serve as an overarching framework for digital trade transactions thereby providing global standardization, consistency and conformity, providing a collective understanding of terms and definitions, whilst promoting and supporting the usage of electronic records/documents/data.

Various technology service providers have already publicly stated their intention to work with the URDTT, in fact, a number have already incorporated the URDTT into their platform rulebooks and are actively looking at developing trade products based upon the URDTT.

Conclusions            

Trade finance functions that adopt appropriately targeted automation and advanced analytics as integral parts of their compliance operations will be more important than ever in this uncertain international environment. With such high volumes of transactions and increasing complexity, efficient trade financing is key to ensuring that warehouses, harbors and supply chains are running smoothly – thus keeping the age-old business of  international trade firmly afloat.”



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