​Crown Agents Bank’s Albert Maasland cited in Global Risk Regulator on impact of Caribbean derisking

The Banker‘s Global Risk Regulator magazine has cited Albert Maasland, CEO of Crown Agents Bank, on the impact on the Caribbean of banks’ derisking. With the region having been “hurt disproportionately” by the withdrawal of correspondent banking services, Maasland notes that “Losing access to dollar payment capabilities for the commercial banking sector can be very, very difficult”.

CWEIC Chairman Lord Marland interviewed in The Guardian

Chairman of the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council (CWEIC) Lord Marland has been quoted in a recent article in The Guardian, where he discussed CWEIC’s inaugural Commonwealth Trade Ministers meeting, UK SME exporters and also gave his thoughts on the future of Britain as a trading nation.

Marland was speaking to the paper ahead of CWEIC’s inaugural Commonwealth Trade Ministers’ meeting in March where he explained that workshops between trade ministers and chief executives would revolve around “financial services, ease of doing business, technology and innovation, business and sustainability, creating an export economy and attracting investment” – not Britain’s exit from the EU.

Nevertheless, Marland noted that strengthening ties with the Commonwealth after it leaves the EU was a “no brainer,” but that the UK would have to work hard at building relationships across the Commonwealth to reap maximum benefits.

This would be made easier by the “significant footprint” the UK has made on these countries, said Marland, referring to legal systems in countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Canada being similar to those in the UK, the common language, and straightforward travel and flight connections.

Marland also noted the troubling lack of small businesses in the UK that export – only 21% according to the most recent figures from the Federation of Small Businesses.

This is why CWEIC has recently launched CommonwealthFirst to support UK SMEs. Over the next three years, 100 small businesses will be chosen to become Commonwealth “Export Champions” and given training, mentoring and development support to win new business internationally.

Lord Marland sounded a positive note about the UK’s trading prospects going forward: “I want the UK to get its mindset around the fact we’re in an incredibly strong position. We’re a massive market for the Germans, as we are for the French … we’ve got a very good skills base, we’ve got a great education system … from an intelligence base, we’re one of two global leaders.”

To read the full article, please go here.

Risk climates of the Caribbean: Crown Agents Bank stays the course, according to Payments Compliance

richard_photoOffering an update to an article in Payments Compliance – provider of regulatory, legal and compliance information and news – the CEO of Crown Agents Bank, Richard Jones, affirms that the bank is bucking the recent trend of de-risking in the Caribbean.

The Caribbean has borne the brunt of banks’ retrenchment worldwide. Financial institutions in the region are finding their vital correspondent relationships with global (particularly US-based) banks terminated. As a result, economies risk being cut off from global money centres abroad. One particular case is Guyana, where, the article notes, there are “fears that international flows of funds could grind to a halt”.

However, Jones notes that the bank “remains active in the Caribbean”, and “often targets financial institutions that have trouble accessing services from other providers if they can demonstrate sufficiently strong compliance programmes and practices.” He explains that having been “active in the Caribbean since 1833, Crown Agents Bank is proud to be able to offer this service to banks in Guyana that meet due diligence standards”.

The article can be read here (with a subscription).

Crown Agents Bank’s Richard Jones and Doug MacLennan talk compliance and commitment in Global Risk Regulator

captureLegislation designed to clamp down on financial crime is growing worldwide, but compliance with stricter regulation is expensive. In an interview with Global Risk Regulator – the Financial Times publication specialising in financial regulation – Richard Jones, CEO of Crown Agents Bank, and Doug MacLennan, Crown Agents Bank’s director and chief risk officer, offer their insights into this regulatory trend, the rising costs of compliance, and how banks and regulators are dealing with the situation.

Jones explains that as the costs of compliance “have increased very significantly”, global banks have sought to reduce their exposure to higher-risk jurisdictions – in large part, this means the emerging markets of Africa and the Caribbean. Of course, scaling back from these regions threatens to cut them off from the wider financial system, and poses serious implications for those developing countries whose economic growth and populations rely on financial inclusion for trade finance and remittance flows.

In order to navigate such a challenging environment, Jones stresses that global banks must “demonstrate that they comply with the rules”, and “document their compliance with global standards”. He adds that they need to “make a commitment towards getting to know their customers” and be prepared to “make a judgement about taking on, or indeed retaining, some of them”.

MacLennan adds that regulators in emerging markets are playing their part to increase transparency on risks and tackle those that may dissuade foreign baking partners. “In the last few months, we’ve seen regulators in Africa and the Caribbean become hugely committed to ensuring Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (CFT) legislation is in force and enforced.”

The article may be read here (with a subscription).

CWEIC’s Oliver Everett writes about the possible effects of Brexit on non-EU trade in The Parliamentarian magazine

CWEIC CEO Oliver Everett has written an opinion piece in The Parliamentarian magazine where he discussed the possible implications of Brexit on non-EU trade, specifically across the Commonwealth.

Irrespective of one’s view of Brexit, Everett stressed the importance of the UK making the most of the opportunities being a Commonwealth nation has to offer in the new trading landscape. The globe-spanning market of 52 countries have a number of inbuilt advantages for UK firms as well as a strong demand for UK goods and services, and contain some of the world’s fastest growing markets, Everett noted. Significantly, it has been shown that commonalities in law, language and culture result in intra-Commonwealth trade costing 19% less than trade between non-members.

In terms of helping UK firms access these opportunities, Everett highlighted CommonwealthFirst and the Commonwealth Trade Initiative, two programmes that CWEIC have established recently that aim to lower barriers to UK-Commonwealth trade.

To read the full article, please go here and turn to page 226.

Specialist press cover Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council and Ship Owners Association of Nigeria’s joint Maritime event

The Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council (CWEIC) and the Ship Owners Association of Nigeria’s (SOAN) joint event “The Future of the Maritime Industry in Nigeria” at Marlborough House on 28th September was featured in All About Shipping, Hellenic Shipping News, Oil, Gas and Shipping Magazine, Marine Link, This Day and Marine Network.

Investors, business leaders and government officials – representing maritime interests from across the Commonwealth – united in a bid to stimulate discussion, increase cooperation and forge partnerships around the myriad opportunities of Nigeria’s maritime sector. Hosted as part of CWEIC’s Commonwealth Maritime Initiative (CMI), which aims to promote the maritime industry as a key driver of economic growth and trade (cargo carried by sea is set to quadruple by 2050), and to connect maritime business interests with state-level representatives and organisations from across the Commonwealth.

Focusing initially on Nigeria   ̶   before expanding across the Commonwealth  ̶   the CMI aims to maximise commercial opportunities in an industry often suffering from chronic underinvestment. Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy with a huge maritime ecosystem, is its initial focus   ̶   offering substantial investment and development opportunities across shipping, mining, manufacturing and service industries.

commonwealth-maritime-initiative-nigeriaNigeria’s maritime industry was hailed as a driver of economic growth and alternative revenues for a country trying to diversify away from reliance on oil. Nigeria’s government recently announced economic reforms aimed at transforming Nigeria into one of the most attractive investment destinations in the world by 2019, with maritime set to play a key role in Nigeria’s economic future.

Greg Ogbeifun, Chairman of SOAN and Co-Chair of the CMI said: “The roundtable gave CMI members the chance to network and explore Nigerian maritime investment opportunities, learn about industry best practices and challenges, and be at the forefront of radical and exciting change in the Nigerian economy. The UK is the world leader in maritime services, and by hosting this event in London we ensured conditions were ideal for an insightful, productive and profitable meeting of minds.”

Following this successful event, CWEIC will expand the CMI across the Commonwealth, highlighting further investment opportunities across the many developing, coastal economies within the 53 nation collective.


CWEIC’s Lord Marland in the Birmingham Post: With Commonwealth trade, Birmingham’s businesses have the edge

Chairman of the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council (CWEIC) Lord Marland has written an opinion piece in the Birmingham Post where he argued that Birmingham’s businesses have an advantage when it comes to exploring Commonwealth markets after the Brexit vote.

To add to the Commonwealth Factor that UK companies already stand to benefit from with Commonwealth trade, Birmingham’s distinctive Commonwealth diaspora – with strong Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, African and the Caribbean links and heritage – not only help lower barriers to trade but also mean that its products and services often closely align with the needs of those markets. With the rapid digitalisation of trade and the flourishing of e-commerce making borders less relevant by the day, Marland argues that this is a fantastic advantage.

And as the power house behind the industrial revolution as well as the heartland of the UK’s manufacturing sector today – Marland believes the Midlands is in prime position to take advantage of the trading opportunities that the UK’s exit from the European Union will now present.

To read the full article, you can download the Birmingham Post app here and turn to page 30 of the Oct 4th edition.

CWEIC’s Oliver Everett writes about technology connecting businesses across the Commonwealth in Trade Finance

oe-crop2The Sibos 2016 Special Issue of Trade Finance magazine has featured an article by Oliver Everett, CEO of the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council (CWEIC), which discusses the Commonwealth Trade Initiative (CTI), a business-to-business (B2B) digital platform that connects members with suppliers, customers and distributors across the 53 nations of the Commonwealth, where the cost of bilateral trade between members is 19% lower than trade between non-members.

Everett discusses the diverse landscape of digital trading platforms where websites such as Alibaba and Amazon are dominant players, but explained how the CTI stood out from the crowd by using a sophisticated business-matching algorithm that automatically provides users with targeted business leads based on their user profile information. The algorithm works behind the scenes to gather information to produce daily matches, and combines big data and machine learning to automate processes such as procurement and networking.

To read the full article please go here.