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20/08/18
A lot has been made recently of the advent of blockchain in financial services, and banks must be applauded for their commitment to change; consortiums like R3 are clearly positive initiatives that demonstrate the industry-wide desire to innovate. With global trade finance revenues reaching their lowest level in seven years, with a 5% decline year-on-year announced for the first half of 2017, as reported by GTR¹, this desire has reached a tipping point.

Trade Finance is one area where the introduction of blockchain technology would appear to have a profound impact.
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Trade remains an industry that relies on the iterative updating and transfer of paper-based documentation but with blockchain these iterations could be centralised – or rather decentralised – removing the costs and delays involved with the duplication and transfer of documentary credit between buyers’ and sellers’ banks and insurers. This approach enables the simultaneous digital recording of data across multiple parties, leading to secure transactions and instantaneous updating.

This is however only one part of the process as far as trade finance processing is concerned. The ‘heavy lifting’ involved in the scrutiny of transaction documentation for regulatory compliance remains largely un-automated, and this is where Traydstream has focussed its efforts.

Currently banks employ extensive teams of ‘document-checkers’ to scrutinise the transaction documentation. This involves different aspects of scrutiny including highlighting discrepancies between entries or missing fields; ensuring compliance with international trading standards and embargoes as set by the UCP Rules and ICC’s ISP regulations; and spotting contravention of country and port specific sanctions, as well as internal banking policies.

Since the financial crisis these regulatory requirements have accelerated drastically with the number of individual regulatory changes that banks must track on a global scale more than tripling since 2011, to an average of 200 revisions per day, according to BCG research.²

This has led to spiralling compliance costs for banks with the cost of inaction being equally severe – ‘strict regulatory enforcement has brought cumulative financial penalties of roughly $321 billion (through to the end of 2016).³ It is in this environment that the need for smarter methods of reviewing and scrutinising transactions has become mission-critical.

Traydstream’s solution is aimed at solving these challenges, reducing the regulatory burden without sacrificing transaction scrutiny or security. We have spent the last three years developing a platform that extracts data using a propriety OCR engine, breaks down the conditions of the document and scrutinises it for regulatory compliance using with what we believe to be a unique rule engine.

The platform mirrors exactly the job of a document checker today, using cognitive behavioural technology to learn from each transaction, memorise document behaviour, and perceive potential issues.

With this tailored use of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, the platform can automate the end-to-end processes of trade finance using manual paper-based records, OR their digital equivalents through blockchain technology.

Smart contracts (which are one of the most highly anticipated applications of the blockchain) are, in effect, computer programs that verify, or enforce the negotiation or execution of an agreement. Clearly this has highly positive implications in facilitating documentation, BUT they still need to be checked, scrutinised validated, and this is the purpose behind Traydstream.

At Traydstream, we view the processes behind regulatory compliance as one of the big challenges that lie in Trade Finance and have hit this ‘head-on’ to change the landscape on how trade is processed. We are committed to delivering an intelligent end-to-end solution that will process in minutes what currently takes banks hours and in many cases days.

We see Traydstream as a real game-changer, whose solution is only improved by blockchain adoption. Having concentrated our efforts on solving the processing piece of the trade puzzle, we are excited to be launching our solution into the market.

Please see this article for a more detailed explanation on how we view blockchain

Article written by Uzair Bawany of Traydstream. July 2018
uzair.bawany@traydstream.com

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1. Global Trade Review, ‘Global trade finance revenues hit seven-year low
2. Boston Consulting Group (BCG), ‘Global Risk 2017: Staying the Course in Banking
3. BCG, ‘Global Risk 2017: Staying the Course in Banking’.
15/08/18

The Increased Need for RegTech

Acclaimed to be the “new Fintech” by Deloitte, Regulatory Technology or otherwise known as RegTech is the most promising branch of technology that has come out of the FinTech revolution.

The aim of RegTechs is to solve compliance and regulatory issues that exist not just in finance but across all sectors. RegTech helps close the gap in the markets, increase efficiency and reduce costs.

The recent wave of new regulations that are being put into place are the reason for the increases demand in RegTech. Two examples of these are the new GDPR regulation that has been put in place to protect personal data and MiFID II, the new financial regulatory system.

The Need for RegTech in Trade Finance

Within Trade Finance there are multiple other sectors that are involved. Because of this there more multiple organisation, regulations and sanctions that firms have to be compliant with for a successful transaction without a hefty fine. This leaves a lot of room for error while the process of scrutinising remains manual.

Trade Finance involves more than just financial documents that require compliance. Documents I believe can be split into five sections: Financial, Insurance, Commercial, Transport and Official documents.

The Regulatory Boards

There are multiple regulatory boards that Trade Finance Banks, Travel companies and suppliers have to be compliance with. As well as following financial boards and specific country regulations, firms also have to make sure documents pass Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Terrorist screenings.

The entire process is still processed manually. Banks are relying on human knowledge to comb through mounds of documents which can take hours. Humans can’t scale and rapidly repeat tasks like machines.

Here are some examples of the boards:
Compliance
  • Uniform Customs & Practise for Documentary Credits (UCP 600). This is a set of rules agreed by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) which applies to all institutions that issue Letter of Credit.
  • International Standard Banking Practice for the Examination of Documents under Documentary Credits (ISBP) is the set of rules agreed by the ICC that sets the guidelines for the examination of documents that are associated with Letter of Credit.
Sanctions
  • Anti-Money Laundering (AML) – These are rules and procedures put in place to prevent punish illegal actions such as tax evasion, market manipulation or the trade of illegal goods.
  • Terror Lists – Screening whether firm are potentially financing terrorist organisations or nations.

The Problem

There are many issues with the current state of being compliant with regulatory boards. The entire process is still manual and paper-based. This means that the entire process is currently inefficient and likely to lead to human error.

The current scrutiny of documents against regulation is all processed manually by key individuals. The process itself takes multiple hours to do correctly which still does not guarantee 100 % compliance.

It is a costly and time-consuming process, beset by inefficiencies and repetition. Bain & Co estimate governance, risk and compliance spends account for 15-20% of the total “run of the bank” cost base of most major banks, and this cost is rising with the annual volume of regulatory changes, publications and announcements rising 492% from 2008-2015 (Boston Consulting Group).

Traydstream’s Solution

Traydstream’s contribution to ‘RegTech’ includes our Rules and Compliance Checking Engine. This comes as our 2nd step in our three-step modular approach to the digitisation and automation of trade finance.

Once Traydstream’s Optical Character Recognition Engine (OCR) has digitised trade documents into machine-readable format, the Rules and Compliance checking engine can start applying a series of machine learning algorithms to scan and scrutinise the electronic documents for compliance with international trading rules and regulations. The machine learning technology Traydstream is built on thrives on volume and variety, its efficacy improving over time.

Conclusion

Trade Finance currently has a $1.5 trillion gap. Boston Consulting Group (BCG) estimate banks have faced cumulative financial penalties of roughly $321Bn since 2007-2016. RegTech and Traydstream offers the solution with AI and Machine Learning Technology.
15/08/18

What is Machine Learning?

Machine Learning, ML, is the science and method of getting computers to obtain new information and act just like humans. This learning occurs through statistical techniques and identification of patterns to make decisions and learn.

ML is a sector of Artificial Intelligence (AI). The key thing about ML is that human input is restricted as far as possible.

How does Machine Learning work?

ML uses a pair of algorithms, both basic and advanced, to build machine learning models. ML algorithms are usually categorized as unsupervised or supervised.
Unsupervised learning has no outcomes as just the input is being analysed. Supervised Learning has both input variables and an output variable.
The name Supervised Learning comes from the fact that we know the correct answers. However, in Unsupervised Learning, there are no correct answers.
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ML Process
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Let's imagine that you are playing Flappy Birds. Your bird is in an environment with several obstacles. Now your bird wants to go past the obstacles.
So, your bird makes an action and flies past the obstacles. While this happens the environment changes to a new state. Moreover, as your bird flies, the environment rewards the bird.

That is how RL works. The bird represents the agent and the goal of the agent is to maximise the reward.

Learning Algorithms include:
  • Neural Networks- these include different layers for analysis and learning of data. The image below is an example using an Audi A7 and the stages Neural Networks take
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​​​​​​​Neural Network Link
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  • Local search optimization techniques (e.g., genetic algorithms) - This is a way to solve difficult optimization problems.
Genetic algorithms, in brief, are functioned to provide an effective local search as well as to locate high performance regions of large and complex search spaces in a short period of time.

Why use Machine Learning?

Firstly, it completes tasks that are too computationally challenging for humans to code directly. It would be time-consuming and impractical for humans to directly code for tasks with a large amount of data.

Also, with computational processing that is cheaper and more powerful, it is clearly ideal for building precise models to identify opportunities to increase revenue.

However, that's not all.

There are several other benefits of ML, such as:
  • Tasks are completed at a faster pace at a higher accuracy thus increasing productivity
  • It can be applied to a self-driving google car
  • Increase security in cyber fraud detection
  • Email spam filtering
  • Pattern and image recognition
Now you must be convinced that ML does and will continue to have an impact.

Traydstream

ML is also involved in Trade Finance.
Traydstream aims to revolutionise Trade Finance. The first step is to convert paper documents to digital information by using Optical Character Recognition (OCR engine). Click the link below to read about what OCR is and why it is important.
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This is when ML plays its part.
The next stage is to check that the documents comply to hundreds of thousands of rules. Checks will occur via algorithms, such as those discussed above, and ML. Checks are made to ensure that rules and regulations are met in the UCP 600 and the ISBP as well as other country requirements.
ML does checks at a higher accuracy and a faster speed than when done manually. We shall wait and see what other applications ML will have in the future.
15/08/18

What is OCR?

Optical character Recognition, OCR, is a computer software which enables the recognition of characters, words and phrases in a digital format from scanned, handwritten and printed paper documents, and even objects within pictures.

An OCR engine has the capability to structure the data it extracts and classify documents. This allows the document to be digitally manipulated, permitting it to be edited and searched for mistakes that were previously missed by the original document author.

How does OCR work?

An OCR Engine is a machine that continuously learns while never forgetting previously learnt information. A brand-new OCR would have to be fed data. The second time is when the OCR will recognise the information and be able to structure it.
The following steps are taken by the OCR:
  1. The paper document is scanned through the OCR Engine
  2. The Raster image is then converted into a digital document by the OCR Software
  3. Scanned document is analysed for light and dark areas to differentiate between characters
  4. Converted into ASCII Code allowing the software to recognise the numbers and letters.
  5. The document can then be saved in whatever format you want (e.g. DOC, PDF, HTML) or can be exported onto Microsoft Office or Google Docs
However, if you want to be able to edit the text on a brochure, for instance, you could use OCR software to detect the letters and numbers in the scanned document and eventually those letters will be put into words and sentences, creating a digital document. Therefore, you are now able to edit what you want in the brochure
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Why use OCR?

The main advantages of using OCR software is that it can easily distinguish between various fonts, so most writing can be read. The program is very fast at reading the documents reliably and can even understand the text irrespective of its rotation and inversion.

Also, lots of time is saved if searching for an answer in book or piece of text, as once scanned, the identification of the solution is far quicker and simpler.

As you can see, OCR plays an important role for several different reasons which opens many more doors when it comes to your document-based information. The technology has also shown its immense use for helping digitalise historic files, old texts and newspapers which makes them more easily accessible to the public.

Other uses of OCR, other than allowing paper documents to be edited, are:
  • Used in airports at passport controls for passports and other related documents.
  • Used by banks for invoices and bank statements
  • Business cards
  • Voucher and promotional code scanning
  • Ticket and ID validation
  • It plays a key role in Trade Finance (see below).

Traydstream

The whole recognition process is far quicker than a human and therefore saves a lot of time checking for mistakes. This is what we do here at Traydstream.

The current problem we face is that trade is done manually, as in documents are being checked by people to make sure that the hundreds of thousands of rules are being followed. Obviously, this process is monotonous and long with transactions taking almost a week to occur and nearly two-thirds of seller's documents fail to meet Letter of Credit (LC) terms and conditions.

Traydsteam has noticed this problem in international trade finance and have found a solution. Through automation and machine learning, we are now able to improve efficiency of trade and reduce operating costs by over 50%.

So, the role of OCR in Traydstream is to scan the paper documents and convert them to digital information. The good news is that there is no requirement for any significant hardware investment. This digitised information is then analysed using automation.

Documents can now be checked with the rules from the UCP 600 and the ISBP. Thus, OCR enables documents and Letters of Credit to be checked to a higher accuracy and speeds up the process.

Other Links

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Optical_character_recognition
https://www.lifewire.com/optical-character-recognition-4158322
https://docparser.com/blog/what-is-ocr/
15/08/18

Introduction to Trade Finance

Trade Finance at its core, has existed for thousands of years and can be seen in early documentation of Silk Routes. Fast forward to the present day, Trade Finance remains key to global trade. According to the World Trade Organisation (WTO), 85% of global trade is supported by a Letter of Credit.

Trade Finance is the financing of international trade flow. In its simplest form, it exists to provide trust and security between a buyer and seller as well as their respective banks.

Key Documents Associated with Trade Finance

The processing of documents is the key area that remains un-digitised. Despite the constant growth of Trade Finance, the core process has changed very little. Even in the last several decades of major technological disruption, key documents like a Letter of Credit has remained largely un-digitised, outdated and inefficient.

The Letter of Credit itself can be traced as far back as 3000BC, where ancient Babylonian and Egyptian civilisation would use it to ensure payment between parties but despite massive strides in technological advances in the past five millennia, the concept has remained relatively unchanged.

The Letter of Credit is not the only document that is associated with Trade Finance. Many other functions and forms of Trade Finance have remained paper-based. A list of key documents that often appear in transactions are as follows:
Transport Documents:
  • Bill of Lading - legal document between a carrier and shipper that contains the details of the goods.
  • Air Transport Document, Road Transport Document, Rail Transport Documents or Inland Waterway Transport Documents - transport documents used in air shipments, truck shipments, train shipments etc. Contains details of the goods and destination etc.
Insurance Documents:
  • Insurance Policy – contract in which the seller receives financial protection or reimbursement against losses from an insurance company.
  • Insurance Certificate – non-negotiable document by the insurance company verifying the insurance policy.
Financial Documents:
  • Bill of exchange – Written order that obligates one company / individual to pay another on demand or at a predetermined date.
Commercial Documents:
  • Pro-Forma Invoice – document that is sent to buyers in advance of a shipment containing the bill of sale.
  • Commercial Invoice – document required by customs contain the transaction between the buyer and seller and the details of the goods.
  • Packing List; Weight List – Shipping document with the goods containing details such a s quantity, weight, type etc.
Official Documents:
  • Certificate of Origin (CO) – document contain stating the country in which the good or commodity was manufactured in.
  • Consular Invoice - A document containing information such as the consignor, consignee and value of the shipment. The purpose of the document is to certify the shipment of goods.

Why Digitise Trade Finance?

Trade Finance remains very traditional therefore as globalisation occurs, it results in more complex supply chains and the need to work with a greater number of dispersed counterparties. This further slows the process down that takes weeks currently.
There are many reasons for why the entire process is slow to begin with; some are as follows:
  • Shipping of physical documents
  • Key individuals checking each document are complaint against all regulatory and sanctioning boards
  • Any incorrect documentation lead to repetition
  • Manual process adds working capital delays and costs

Traydstream’s Approach

There are multiple companies attempting to streamline the Trade Finance process. There have been strides in Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) and attempting to use Blockchain to switch the Letter of Credit into electronic format. However, this Platform is yet to digitise the entire process and only the Letter of Credit but not the other documents that are associated with it such as the Bill of Lading.

Traydstream’s approach to digitising and automating Trade Finance can be described simply with: Convert, Check and Manage.

Convert: Through our Optical Character Recognition Engine (OCR Engine)
  • Converts paper-based information to digital information
  • Information structured to allow for automated analysis and monitoring
Check: Using our Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning Technology (ML)
  • Rules governing world trade such as Uniform Customs and Practice (UCP).
  • Sanctions and dual use of goods checks including Financial Services Authority (FSA)
Manage: Using our Secure Cloud Platform
  • Auto-classifies the type of documents being processed
  • Manages and stores the flow of documents and images among parties and for audit / traceability.

Through this method Traydstream are able to digitise and automate the entire process to revolutionise an ancient sector.

FinTech is the Future of Trade Finance: Conclusion

Trade Finance has changed very little in its long history but FinTechs such as Traydstream are starting make waves with new technologies that will improve the inefficient sector.
23/07/18
Trade Finance fintech, Traydstream, has hired Sara Hasan as Client Onboarding Director, reflecting the firm’s shift from pilot phase with banks and corporates to commercial mandates and implementation.

Sara will be taking the lead in the managing some key customer relationships, ensuring the smooth delivery of pilots and then overseeing the onboarding process i.e. the planning and execution of the platform rollout for clients.

Her appointment reflects the firm's ambitious commercial growth strategy as they attract a wider audience of banks and corporates who are eager to engage and use their AI based platform for Trade rules and compliance. The firm has spent the last two years building a highly complex rule engine that is now able to find discrepancies on documents as good if not better than an experienced doc checker.

Traydstream will be looking to make the most of Sara’s 10+ years’ experience in the technology industry, having held senior roles in relationship management and sales, most recently at Dell EMC. On her recent appointment and move into FinTech, Sara gave this comment: “The energy, passion and commitment that everyone at Traydstream brings to their role is truly inspiring. I am also hugely impressed by the incredibly positive responses from our clients who are bowled over by what the Traydstream solution can do for them. It’s a genuinely rewarding experience to be part of this endeavour and an industry changing opportunity!”

Uzair Bawany, Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer, offered this quote: “In Sara we have a leading client relations professional who will oversee Traydstream’s implementation with clients. Her vast experience in the tech space makes her a great addition to our team and clients alike. She also adds real strategic value as part of our core management team and we are delighted to have her join and support our growth.

Comprised of leading figures from the worlds of trade finance and corporate technology, Traydstream was founded in 2016 with the intent of reimagining the paper-based processes that underpin trade finance. Its scalable platform uses proprietary Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology to accurately digitise documents into a readable format and then applies machine learning algorithms to scrutinise for compliance with international trading rules and regulations. Traydstream’s unique AI-powered products reduce the costs, complexities and timescales of trade finance processing for banks and large corporations.
17/07/18

Introduction to Trade Finance

Trade Finance at its core, has existed for thousands of years and can be seen in the early documentation of Silk Routes. Fast forward to the present day, Trade Finance remains key to global trade. According to the World Trade Organisation (WTO), 85% of global trade is supported by a Letter of Credit.
Trade Finance is the financing of international trade flow. In its simplest form, it exists to provide trust and security between a buyer and seller as well as their respective banks.

Key Documents Associated with Trade Finance

The processing of documents is the key area that remains un-digitised. Despite the constant growth of Trade Finance, the core process has changed very little. Even in the last several decades of major technological disruption, key documents like a Letter of Credit has remained largely un-digitised, outdated and inefficient

The Letter of Credit itself can be traced as far back as 3000BC, where ancient Babylonian and Egyptian civilisation would use it to ensure payment between parties but despite massive strides in technological advances in the past five millennia, the concept has remained relatively unchanged.

The Letter of Credit is not the only document that is associated with Trade Finance. Many other functions and forms of Trade Finance have remained paper-based. A list of key documents that often appear in transactions are as follows:

Transport Documents:

  • Bill of Lading - legal document between a carrier and shipper that contains the details of the goods.
  • Air Transport Document, Road Transport Document, Rail Transport Documents or Inland Waterway Transport Documents - transport documents used in air shipments, truck shipments, train shipments etc. Contains details of the goods and destination etc.

Insurance Documents:

  • Insurance Policy – contract in which the seller receives financial protection or reimbursement against losses from an insurance company.
  • Insurance Certificate – non-negotiable document by the insurance company verifying the insurance policy.

Financial Documents:

  • Bill of exchange – Written order that obligates one company / individual to pay another on demand or at a predetermined date.

Commercial Documents:

  • Pro-Forma Invoice – document that is sent to buyers in advance of a shipment containing the bill of sale.
  • Commercial Invoice – document required by customs contain the transaction between the buyer and seller and the details of the goods.
  • Packing List; Weight List – Shipping document with the goods containing details such a s quantity, weight, type etc.

Official Documents:

  • Certificate of Origin (CO) – document contain stating the country in which the good or commodity was manufactured in.
  • Consular Invoice - A document containing information such as the consignor, consignee and value of the shipment. The purpose of the document is to certify the shipment of goods.

Why Digitise Trade Finance?

Trade Finance remains very traditional therefore as globalisation occurs, it results in more complex supply chains and the need to work with a greater number of dispersed counterparties. This process of document verification can currently take weeks.
There are many reasons for why the entire process is slow to begin with:
  • Shipping of physical documents
  • Key individuals checking that each document is complaint against all regulatory and sanctioning boards
  • A manual process that can result in common, repetitive errors

Traydstream’s Approach

There are multiple companies attempting to streamline the Trade Finance process. There have been strides in Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) and attempting to use Blockchain to switch the Letter of Credit into electronic format. However, this technology can require an entire eco-system of parties needing to fully adopt it, which can take time.

Traydstream’s approach is to digitise and automate Trade Finance more simply with: Convert, Check and Manage.

Convert: Through our Optical Character Recognition Engine (OCR Engine)
  • Converts paper-based information to digital information
  • Information structured to allow for automated analysis and monitoring
Check: Using our Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning Technology (ML)
  • Rules governing world trade such as Uniform Customs and Practice (UCP).
  • Sanctions and dual use of goods checks including Financial Services Authority (FSA)
Manage: Using our Secure Cloud Platform
  • Auto-classifies the type of documents being processed
  • Manages and stores the flow of documents and images among parties and for audit / traceability.
Through this method Traydstream is able to digitise and automate the entire process to revolutionise an ancient sector.

FinTech is the Future of Trade Finance

Trade Finance has changed very little in its long history but FinTechs such as Traydstream are starting make waves with new technologies that will improve the inefficiencies in this sector.
12/06/18
As seen on Finextra here.

Trade finance software firm, Traydstream, have announced the executive appointment of Asif Ali as Managing Director of Product.

Ali brings extensive knowledge of the trade space to the FinTech, having most previously headed Citi’s Trade Business for United Arab Emirates (UAE), Iraq and Lebanon, in addition to Corporate Trade Sales for Middle East and Pakistan (ME&P).

In its bid to become the go-to platform for banks and corporates looking to digitalise and automate the core trade finance processes of document collection and verification, this is the latest in a string of appointments announced by the firm, as they seek to build out their core management with top trade and technology individuals.

Asif Ali’s appointment as Managing Director of Product represents a significant addition to the team, bringing over 23 years of trade experience across business management, product development, client sales and operations, and risk control. At Traydstream, Asif will manage and own the core product and compliance pillars reporting directly to the CEO.

On his shift into FinTech and appointment at Traydstream, Asif Ali gave this comment: “Having faced firsthand the pain-points of manual dependence and the duplication of processes, Traydstream’s solution stands out as truly having the potential to automate the back-end processes that underpin trade finance, making banks’ and corporates’ lives markedly easier.”

Co-Founder at Traydstream, Achille D’Antoni described Ali’s hire as “Excellent news for Traydstream; Asif is a consummate professional whose world-class trade knowledge and expertise will ensure the continued development of our leading solution to the manually dependent and cumbersome global operations of trade finance”.
12/06/18
As seen on Trade Finance Global here.

Traydstream was designed by banking and technology veterans who experienced first-hand the inefficiencies faced in the provision and receipt of trade finance by banks, financial institutions (FIs) and corporates. We spoke to Sameer Sehgal, CEO of Traydstream about the digitisation of trade rules using software.


Sameer Sehgal has a premier banking background, having worked in a number of senior roles internationally. Prior to joining Traydstream he headed Citibank’s Trade business across EMEA (Europe, Middle-East and Africa) from 2009-2017, at a time when it grew to be the largest trade bank in the region. Sehgal is recognised as a business builder, who in addition to expanding Citi’s trade footprint in EMEA from 17 markets to 42, also introduced a number of new capabilities including expansion into Supply Chain Finance, Export and Agency Finance, Shipping, Commodities Finance, and Sales Financing.

He comes with vast experience across geographies in Asia and EMEA. Earlier in his career Sehgal also held senior roles at Bank of America and ANZ. He holds a B.Tech from IIT Kharagpur, an MBA from FMS, and an Advanced Management Programme from Wharton US.

“Everyone talks about blockchain, but blockchain doesn’t do the processing” – what is Traydstream and how does it actually work?

Traydstream is a Software as a Service (SaaS) that digitises the tribal knowledge of international trade rules and compliance requirements to offer complete transaction management and automated end-to-end document scrutiny on-cloud or on-premise.

Using Traydstream’s proprietary Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software, banks and corporates begin by digitalising the physical (paper-based) transaction documents into a machine readable format. The platform assumes paper inputs but is designed to work equally well with digital input protocols. The extracted data can then be digitally checked (as opposed to manually) against the Letter of Credit (LC) for potential discrepancies or blank fields. The documents are scrutinised by over 200,000 machine learning algorithms that contain the international rules and regulations that all trades must abide by, such as the International Standard Banking Practise (ISBP) and the Uniform Customs and Practise for Documentary Credits (UCP). It is a unique capability which we are not aware of anyone else offering globally; its design relies on decades of experience from some of the best and brightest in banking and business. Additional compliance and sanctions checks are then also conducted to the documentation to aid banks and corporates in their assigned task of moderating transactions and preventing erroneous or fraudulent trade. The platform therefore provides in one fell swoop end-to-end processing of transactions across Digitalisation, Rules Scrutiny, and transactional Compliance checks, reducing errors and turnaround times to a fraction of what they are today.

Traydstream represents a huge shift forward in terms of working practise as technology lifts the burden of manual scrutiny (and the potential for human error) and vastly reduces the turnaround times of international trades.

The basic tenet of Traydstream is to accelerate and make more efficient what is currently heavily manual and paper-oriented. Trade finance classically has been processed in a very sequential manner, i.e. from the seller who checks documents evidencing sale, to his bankers, and onto the buyer’s bankers and then finally the buyer. This 4 step process can take up to 2-5 days at each stage and hence 8-20 days end-to-end. Traydstream currently has been able to reduce the turnaround time at each stage to circa 10-15 minutes which is a gamechanger in costs, turnaround times and efficiencies.

However, with blockchain, Traydstream aims to take it to the next level, i.e. simultaneous processing as opposed to sequential processing. With the marriage of blockchain (ethereum platform) and a robust file-sharing protocol, the combined tool allows data to be placed in the middle for all 4 parties to receive and check the data simultaneously and decide immediately. Thus by welding the current capabilities of the platform with blockchain, we believe we will totally reshape the trade finance processing landscape globally.

Blockchain is a very powerful tool and, coupled with the unique capability of Traydstream, we believe will have a profound effect on trade finance. We have already conducted a few corporate experiments with banks and are looking to successfully embed blockchain onto the platform by the end of 2018.

What is trade finance and why is it Important?

Trade finance is the facilitation of domestic or international trade between buyers and sellers by the intermediary financing of banks and FIs. It’s important because it underpins a huge amount of international trade, the World Trade Organization estimates some ‘80-90% of world trade relies on some form of trade finance’, i.e. circa $20-22 trillion. Trade finance helps thousands of large corporates and millions of SMEs around the world to sell their goods and fulfil their financing needs.

The provision of trade finance however relies on a complicated chain of document referral between the trading parties and their correspondent banks. These documents evidence everything from the credit due and payment terms, to the correct goods being sent to the correct destination. Despite waves of automation elsewhere in finance, trade finance has remained exclusively manual and paper-based, with less than 5% automated. This reliance on manual checks leads to hold ups in transactions, human error, and a proclivity from banks to finance only the larger, big-ticket transactions that warrant the cost of processing. This tends to compound the issues of smaller traders who already struggle to secure the credit their business requires. That’s where a solution like Traydstream comes in handy, since it accelerates processing, magnifies controls and automates manual processing. This then makes it possible for banks to process all sizes of transactions.

How does Traydstream alleviate some of these trade finance issues?

Traydstream applies a range of best in class technologies, including specifically designed artificial intelligence to alleviate the burden of manual scrutiny. Currently banks rely on armies of ‘document-checkers’ to manually scrutinise the data for discrepancies, blank fields and possible infringements of the rules and regulations that govern world trade. Using Traydstream, banks can remove much of the initial leg-work, and free up employees to work on more elevated decision-making activities in the process, and to deal with the greater amount of transactions that are now possible. Plus, as the economic benefits of labour arbitrage are reducing, the incentive for technological solutions to the problems of scale have greatly increased. Reducing turnaround times and processing costs are a key goal right now for the banks and FIs who are looking to improve their trade revenues in a climate of increased regulatory responsibility. The fact that it adds to the assuredness for banks vis-à-vis compliance magnifies its utility for banks.

Can you give some examples of how Traydstream has or can help businesses?

We’re currently engaged with some of the world’s leading banks and large corporates who are looking to improve operating costs by modernising their internal operational trade flows. During the pilot phase, we usually work on-site with the client on the setup of the platform and training of the team. Once live, clients are able to utilise fully the three modules that make up the Traydstream solution: Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software for digitalising trade documents, the Rules Engine, and the Compliance function.

There are a number of benefits for corporates and banks, including:
  1. Banks can use the tool to improve their current efficiencies (by at least 60-70% we believe from a cost and turnaround perspective);
  2. While doing so banks get the additional benefit of being in greater control of their trade and compliance checking, which makes them more confident in weeding out fraudulent cases;
  3. Banks are also looking to white-label the solution to corporates around the world, thereby reducing their own operational burden immensely. This way documents received by banks would have been checked already on the Traydstream platform and would be clean and ready for banks to check the documents quickly and send forward;
  4. The use of blockchain further accelerates the process, reducing end-to-end time enormously;
  5. The fact that banks are extending the platform to their clients, virtually removes the need for a number of roles at banks such as scanners; since the data is being input at inception by the seller, it doesn’t need to be input again;
  6. Since processing will be accelerated, and end-to-end turnaround times greatly reduced, the need for working capital comes down drastically. We believe in time the working capital needs for corporates should reduce;
  7. Finally with the use of blockchain we can expand the ambit to other key players in the trade ecosystem – i.e. freight forwarders, insurers, Chambers of Commerce etc..
While the above lists a number of the benefits to all parties; we do believe there will be further benefits in time that make the platform a true gamechanger.

What are the big opportunities and objectives of Traydstream in the next 3-6 months?

The opportunity for Traydstream is huge. Corporate banking and specifically trade finance are sectors that have seen a paucity of technological innovation, and the demand the demand for automation is huge. As wider digitalisation takes place in finance and business, there is rising demand for technology that can help facilitate accelerated trade flows and meet the challenges of scale without the necessary spike in costs.

To ensure Traydstream’s continued expansion, our focus areas for the coming quarter are:

Commercial

We are currently in the process of converting pilot-programmes into full commercial mandates. Our first multi-year mandate is scheduled to start in a few weeks, with a client who we have been piloting with for 6 months, with two others scheduled for June. Concurrently, we are working behind the scenes at a number of leading banks who are keen to white-label Traydstream to their clients and offer a streamlined internal document scrutiny process. Beyond this, there is a list of 50+ banks and corporates who are keen to test and deploy are solution. To capitalise on the unbelievable interest we’ve garnered so far, we are also in the process of a Series A raise, which we intend to close by end of this quarter.

The Platform

While we are actively engaging with clients, we are also dynamically changing our platform at the backed, making it more scalable, robust, secure and user friendly.

With 2-3 Software Releases scheduled for the coming quarter, we are expanding the platform’s key capabilities as well as making significant improvements to the performance of each of the three core modules as we ready the software for a wider commercial take-up.

Digitally enabled screening for Dual Use Goods (goods of both military and civil use), will form part of the Compliance function. This new feature utilises text mining to aid banks in their verification of traded goods by screening goods descriptions for occurrence of goods prohibited by these international trading standards. We’re also working in tandem with shipping and freight-forwarding agencies to offer brand new container validation technology to augment the compliance function yet further.

Following our recent corporate experiments with banks and blockchain technology, we are pursuing the development of a scalable model that would embed blockchain technology into the platform’s transaction cycle, and offer clients a real alternative to the sequential order of document processing that currently underpins trade finance.

Organisation

We are in the process of making a number of senior hires at Traydstream, as new roles emerge with the company’s expansion. We have just announced the appointment of Shishir Vyas as Chief Digitisation and Client Experience Officer, but a number of further hires are planned for roles across client management, compliance and technology, over the coming weeks and months.

We’re also working on the framework of a very exciting partnership with an international IT, Business and Consultancy firm, designed accelerate and up-tier our impact in the market.

By the end of 2018 we are aiming to have created a solid base with clients and ample experience to then go aggressively expanding into the bank and corporate segment globally.
16/05/18
As seen here on Global Banking & Finance Review

Trade finance software firm Traydstream has announced the executive appointment of Shishir Vyas as the firm’s Chief Client Experience & Digitisation Officer.

As the fintech continues to expand its core offering to banks and corporates of automating the critical processes that underpin trade finance, the appointment signals the next stage in the company’s progress from pilots to commercial mandates.

In his role as Chief Client Experience & Digitisation Officer, Shishir will focus on leveraging the latest technology to enhance customer engagement (spanning across digitally enabled touch-points and assisted channels), and leading the creation of innovative solutions at Traydstream to improve the value derived by end users.

Shishir brings hands-on expertise in the implementation of internet and mobile banking, portal technology and architecture, and customer relationship management (CRM) or customer-centric solutions, gained from over 20 years at banks and other financial services institutions. He has led award-winning technology solutions for leading global banks, enhancing business capability across multiple markets. Previous to Traydstream, Shishir has worked at leading multinationals such as Citi, Mphasis, ANZ Grindlays, and TATA Motors, and most recently ran his own digital strategy consultancy business, focussed on financial services. He holds an MBA from Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Calcutta, and a Bachelor of Technology. from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur.

On his appointment, Shishir commented: “Having worked with some of the best and brightest technology folks in banking and technology, I was seriously impressed by how this highly talented team, comprised of banking experts and technology ninjas, was working together in close concert to create a solution for a challenge that no-one had attempted to address previously. I am thrilled to be a part of this superpowered team, and very excited to be leading the Client Experience & Digitisation efforts for transforming how banks, corporates and even SMEs engage in international trade.”

Traydstream is marked by its holistic approach to the digitalisation of trade finance, with a focus on the automation of key processes like document discrepancy-checks, due-diligence, and regulatory and compliance screening, as well as the initial stages of converting data to digital format (a process achieved by their proprietary Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology). Designed and built by leading individuals from the banking and technology communities, Traydstream is making headway in an industry increasingly aware of its need for reform.
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