HSBC announced March 12 the appointment of I-Mei Chan as head of Portfolio Management and Distribution, Global Trade and Receivables Finance (GTRF) in Asia Pacific. Chan’s arrival strengthens the trade finance distribution capabilities at HSBC.
Based in Singapore and bringing more than 25 years of banking experience, Chan has led and grown trade finance distribution businesses across Asia.
Chan will report jointly to Ajay Sharma, regional head of GTRF in Asia Pacific, and Surath Sengupta, global head of Portfolio Management and Distribution, GTRF.
With distribution hubs in Hong Kong, Singapore, London, New York and Dubai, HSBC’s trade finance distribution volumes have grown 14-fold – from US$2 billion in 2015 to US$28 billion in 2019.
Last year, HSBC announced a partnership with Allianz Global Investors to make the investible asset class of trade finance more accessible to institutional investors such as insurers, pension funds, and family offices.
At a time when demand for trade finance greatly outstrips supply – the Asian Development Bank calculates a trade finance gap of US$1.5 trillion – bringing institutional capital to the trade finance market is becoming more urgent.
As businesses run by women as well as small and medium-sized enterprises face greater challenges in accessing trade finance, widening the investor base of trade finance assets will remove some of those barriers.
According to the World Economic forum, trade finance is one of the top three export obstacles for half of the world’s countries, notably the poorest.
“We are ramping up activity in the trade distribution space to service an unprecedented level of interest from institutional investors to buy and sell trade finance assets,” Sharma says.
“The added liquidity will go a long way toward narrowing the trade finance gap, bringing benefits to the real economy by making trade finance more accessible to those who need it.”