Saturday, 3 June 2017


On Thursday 11 May 2017 ITFA NERC in association with GarantiBank N.V. and Credit Europe Bank N.V. held its annual spring event in Amsterdam. This was the eighth annual spring conference and reception. Each year the event attracts greater number of attendees becoming one of the flagship events of ITFA.

Traditionally, a conference kicked off the day.  To start, Damian Austin of Bank ABC moderated a panel discussion on the theme of risk mitigation and distribution. The consensus was that risk distribution today is no longer about making profit so much as it is about the efficient use of capital. In addition, the reality of distribution is changing for more corporate risk being on offer as bank risk becomes either scarce to source or not part of overall strategy.  Discussing together with Damian Austin were panel members from ING Bank N.V. – Reinoud Le Coultre, Barclays Bank Plc – Karl Page, Swiss Re – Silja Calac, and Citibank – Anurag Chaudhary. 

The remaining part of the conference was about innovation in banking with specific focus on application and influence of fintech in trade finance. The keynote speaker Brian McNulty of R3 argued that in the era of digitalization financial institutions don’t just have to but need to adapt to the new realities to embrace technological solutions in order to deliver faster and better services to their customers. This is required by the conditions of the market, by remaining competitive or being ahead of the rest and last but not least, by the regulator who requires transparent and more standardized operations. Therefore, most banks and non-bank financial institutions are piloting some sort of innovative technological projects to tackle this need. Brian, however, suggested that the trend is towards collaboration in order to standardize terms and conditions for all participants.

Following his presentation on innovation in banking, Brian McNulty lead a second panel discussion on the day that gathered heavyweights from the fintech and innovation fields, such as Ivar Wiersma of ING Bank N.V., Ad Kroft of BC3, Aljosja Beije of BeSCOPE and Raphael Caruso of Euler Hermes Digital Agency, to talk about the role and application of blockchain and fintech solutions in trade finance. The panel members were diverse in their representation, coming from insurance, corporate sector, bank and regulator reflecting different views on the topic. However, all came to a final conclusion that the disruption has already been made and banking is moving towards digitalization with deeper use of technology.  The advice to the audience was to be prepared for this and instead of resisting in fear of protecting the jobs, get trained and add move value.  

After the conference, the evening continued with a guided tour around Artis – Royal Amsterdam Zoo. Ironically, the theme of the zoo tour was also collaboration and team work, similar to the innovation in banking that suggested partnership among banks was the best way forward. The reception and networking part of the event took place in the beautiful Two Cheetah’s restaurant situated in the waterside corner of the zoo overlooking the habitat of giraffes and zebras. Judging on the attendance, it was another successful event in Amsterdam.    

The ITFA Board would like to thank the event sponsors GarantiBank N.V. and Credit Europe Bank N.V. and also Ms Evelyn Wynne who took some fantastic photos at the event. Please click here to view the photos.

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