Our Expert Ger van Rosmalen has over 45 years of global Trade Finance expertise (Letters of Credit, Documentary Collections, Bank guarantees) mainly working for international banks. In addition, he is also frequently asked to conduct trainings for companies like EvoFenedex and Vesting Finance, as well as for Chambers of Commerce, and Professional Higher Education programs. His drive is to assist companies with Trade Finance solutions. To help companies to achieve their business objectives through a better understanding of profitable Trade Finance solutions and instruments, and to promote efficient cooperation between Sales, Finance and Logistics. Get to know him better:
We asked him 11 questions, let’s go!
1. How did your Trade Finance journey start?
My first job started 46 years ago at the Letter of Credit Department of a Dutch bank. I applied for the job of junior and when I answered the question of the HR manager “do you have bank blood?” with YES he hired me.
2. What do you like about working in Trade Finance?
Not one day, not one transaction is the same. I like to be challenged, finding solutions, be creative but always within the guidelines of compliance/AML rules. Assisting customers to close their deal. Education and training of Trade Finance solutions so customers understand the risk before signing a contract.
3. What is your Trade Finance Expertise?
I have a lot of knowledge and expertise in the field of Letters of Credit and Bank guarantees. How to apply those instruments, explain to people with different levels of Trade Finance knowledge about these products and how to be able to understand the risks and to avoid or exclude certain risks.
4. Do you have examples of risk mitigation, creation of opportunities and/or cost savings?
Risk Mitigation in Trade Finance can be the use of “confirmed” Letters of Credit, it means (if possible) that the bank of the exporter is taking over the (country/bank) risk of a foreign unknown bank. If the exporter can fulfill the conditions of the Letter of Credit his risk is his own bank. Creation of opportunities is my passion, drive and reason for being is this business for such a long time.
5. What has been your best experience in your Trade Finance career until today?
The change of UCP500 to UCP600 (Rules for Letters of Credit) was a big improvement for companies dealing with L/C’s. It is not that black and white anymore. My experience is how companies adapted to these new rules if you take them through these rules. People felt more confident in using these instruments and will be used for some time. Since UCP600 is already in force from 2007 it is expected that new rules are on their way. I hope my very best experience is yet to come when new rules will be launched. Trade has evolved and rules should adopt to that.
6. What has been your biggest challenge in Trade Finance?
My biggest challenge is every day being able to convince people to use these well established instruments.
7. What’s the most important lesson that you’ve learned as a Trade Finance expert?
To trust my instinct. Some deals are too good to be true or I just miss the logic of the transaction. My instinct has let me down only once in 46 years.
8. How have you seen the role of trade finance expert evolve over the years?
On the Sales side of the Trade Finance Expert I noticed corporates appreciate direct contact with an expert who has all the knowledge of Trade Finance from a sales perspective as well a from a operations perspective. You have become their trusted advisor in this field.
9. The coronavirus is undoubtedly an unprecedented crisis. In general, can you elaborate on the impact this virus has on Trade Finance from your perspective?
The use of Trade Finance instruments will be more important now that we are facing the Corona crisis, which will force exporters to look for other sometimes forgotten alternative solutions. High tech innovative solutions such as FinTech or Block Chain is still under construction and exporters do not have the time to investigate those solutions. They need to generate turnover and need quick available products such as Letters of Credit to support their business. I embrace those new techniques but that will not have my priority the coming period of uncertainty. People tend to say Letters of Credit are old fashioned, time consuming and too much risk. I disagree if you understand what is expected of you as exporter. If you know how to communicate with your buyer and your bank you will experience the comfort of those almost forgotten products. It is imperative that you understand and educate yourself in this field or hire experts to support you.
10. What developments do you expect in corporate trade finance in the near and further future?
It will depend on how the financial world will be able to join forces and create workable solutions. Not several small groups of banks developing their system so still fragmented but one solution workable for all parties involved in Trade Finance. If you look at the Bank Payment Obligation (BPO) it is the example how we missed the opportunity to develop one unique system. Corporates dealing with different banks and other counterparts needed several systems offered by different banks or other parties. If suppliers of the Fintech or Blockchain solutions are learning from the BPO adventure they now have the opportunity to change the world of Trade Finance significantly. Digitalisation of Trade Finance is the future whether that will be the near future or somewhere in the future is the challenge of all parties involved.
11. What is your best advice for businesses without a Trade Finance expert?
In my opinion you cannot rely on knowledge outside your company only. It will make you vulnerable. Outsourcing is not the magic word. Educate and train yourself and your staff so you understand the impact of your decisions and take responsibility.
Trade Finance Specialist