Interview: Robert Barnes, TradeIX – the IX in Trade
In an exclusive interview with trade finance specialist TradeIX, co-founder and CEO Robert Barnes explains how banks’ senior management is focusing on one goal and why product silos simply do not work.
The best way to describe TradeIX is an “end-to-end platform for global trade finance powered by distributed ledger technology (DLT)”. It was Rob Barnes’ experience working with numerous commercial banks as well as with PrimeRevenue, which he founded in 2003, that led to the creation of TradeIX.
“Today there is a myriad of disparate applications used for trade finance, which are not connected and which are narrowly addressing one or two problems for financial institutions and their corporate clients. My decision to start TradeIX was the belief that an overreaching flexible platform connecting all parties with their existing and new trade finance applications through standard APIs and leveraging DLT could change and solve a lot of problems.”
Barnes explains how trade finance departments within banks, from the CEO down to senior management, have one common goal.
“Think about it today – every single bank is trying to originate more open account trade finance business and generate more revenues with their clients, while reducing operational costs and risk weighted assets.”
“On the other side, traditional ways of offering trade finance to clients are changing and creating additional costs. Customers are requiring banks to work with fintech, B2B technology companies and other enablers developing flexible and connected solutions for trade finance. At the same time, customers expect bank solutions that are able to digitise and automate transactions, are open, adaptable to changes, user friendly, similar to consumer apps and easily to interface with getting data in and out. That is what TradeIX is solving!”
As Banking Technology reported in June, TradeIX unveiled the TIX Platform, the “first open platform” for trade finance powered by blockchain.
The open TIX platform allows financial institutions, B2B networks, and corporates to manage multiple trade finance programmes, while reducing complexity and eliminating the settlement and counterparty risk.
There was also another interesting development last month, when enterprise software firm R3 and TradeIX announced the development of an end-to-end open account trade finance business network which will be powered by TradeIX and R3’s Corda DLT platform.
“This is a groundbreaking initiative and supported by over 12 banks. The initiative is focusing on the rewiring of an end-to-end trade finance infrastructure, providing cutting-edge open account trade solutions, trade specific APIs, and DLT.”
“Our solution is a platform versus a destination application. We find that most providers are doing point solutions – with many single product orchestrations. All that is doing is replacing one silo with another. TradeIX is rewiring and connecting all these applications through an open, scalable, cost effective platform.”
Right now, he says, “TradeIX is globally engaged at various stages with over 20 banks and contracts are being currently negotiated for the licencing of our TIX Platform”.
For financial institutions that want to future proof their trade finance infrastructure and change the way they connect with their clients and offer their solutions, TradeIX is the right partner.
“We’re not going to get in the way of the banks’ transaction business. We are a facilitator, working through models which align with the banks’ goals. We seek to enable and enhance the client relationships, not to get in the way of them. The banks can leverage some or all of the TIX Platform components as their own solutions and applications and with the banks branded user interface.”
“Our platform is decentralised so each bank can run their platform and applications and create their own eco-system. As we start to move our platform out, platforms will interconnect with one another.”
Growth forecast remains optimistic and the future is looking good for TradeIX.
The company is in the process of building out its Dublin Global Support Centre as we speak and expanding its team of developers. There are also plans to add more people to its US and UK operations and put people on the ground in Asia. “We have a very experienced team, probably one of the most experienced teams of any start-up in the market. We are hiring and are looking for smart people who want to join a winning team to design and develop innovative solution to solve real problems.
“The motivation to do this – and what gets me out of bed in the morning – is that we are driving a paradigm shift in the trade finance industry. We are delivering a platform that dramatically reduces the costs for our customers, increases transparency and actual revenue, and has a huge potential to grow business.”
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