By Tom Alford, Deputy Editor
A full range of Standard Chartered cash management services is now available covering the UK and Eurozone countries. The expanded offering follows a major revamp of the bank’s cash management infrastructure. TMI spoke to Karin Flinspach, Regional Head Transaction Banking, Europe and Americas, Standard Chartered, to get the details.
Standard Chartered has unveiled its new cash management service for Europe. Delivered out of London and Frankfurt, it will connect clients in the bank’s core footprint across Asia, Africa and the Middle East who are looking to do more business in Europe, while serving Europe-based clients and also helping them reach into that wider network.
This has been made possible by the bank’s investment in a ground-up rebuild of the technical infrastructure in Europe underpinning it global offering, explains Flinspach.
Regional Head Transaction Banking, Europe and Americas, Standard Chartered
Where the bank’s previous European focus has been on origination services, she says the extension brings a range of new products and services to its wider client base. In addition to existing high value clearing, transactional FX and pooling services, Standard Chartered is now offering extra services including virtual accounts, enhanced pooling and liquidity services, application programming interface (API) capabilities, low value clearing, and in the future new payment methods supporting e-commerce such as UK Faster Payments and SEPA Instant.
With some banks having retrenched in Europe, Flinspach says Standard Chartered is leveraging demand out of its major corridors of trade, such as China, Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan and India in Asia, and Dubai, South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria in the Middle East and Africa.
“These are the networks where we have very strong corridor relationships between large local clients in these countries and Europe,” she explains. “What we’re looking to offer in Europe is services for their operating subsidiaries but also offer centralisation and pooling centres and some more niche products such as escrow.”
Indeed, with the opportunity afforded by “stronger client demand” across the regions, Standard Chartered’s overarching services will also now cover a broader scope for corporates, says Flinspach. These include supporting operating subsidiaries, running regional or global treasury centres, trading centres, or investment arms in Europe. The bank will also deliver complex solutions for central treasuries, in-house banks, trading centres and billing hubs operated by its clients, including global pooling structures.
The core build of the new infrastructure was driven by a need to offer a fully digitised product set to all clients. “This will help us to make our internal processes smoother but also to develop solutions that will help our clients to digitise and automate their own financial and treasury processes,” says Flinspach.
As part of the development process, Standard Chartered’s cash management team has been partnering with a number of other functions within the bank. This includes work with its foreign exchange services team to enable the roll-out of FX-related products, such as automated currency conversions and a new pricing engine.
The technical roadmap started two years ago with a “massive ground-up rebuild”, she notes. To help deliver the most appropriate solutions, Flinspach says Standard Chartered has also been engaging with the fintech community. This covers areas such as artificial intelligence and machine learning in reconciliations processing, and the development of a new direct-to-bank payment gateway across its European network.
“We have a concrete roll-out plan for this year and we have an overall roadmap for digitisation capabilities, but we need to remain agile,” Flinspach confirms. With the bank having been “very active” in Asia with its API connectivity programme, embedding these into a number of marketplaces, its work with fintechs has been augmented by collaboration with the established core system providers, such as the TMS and ERP vendors.
The ultimate aim, Flinspach reports, is for Standard Chartered to deliver a holistic product suite to its Europe, Asia, Middle East and Africa clients. “We now have the core cash capabilities in Europe, so we can start fully leveraging the build out of our wider digitisation agenda.”