The Data Revolution coming to Business Finance (and why I joined Trade Ledger™)

by Paul Carmichael, Head of Sales APAC at Trade Ledger™

Imagine starting a new job. A job that requires talking to everyone on the team and deeply immersing yourself in the fabric of the company. And then picture having to figure out how to connect and do this job remotely, in the middle of a global pandemic. Well, that was my experience starting at Trade Ledger™ at the end of April.

While only a modest issue for me to grapple with, the pandemic itself has brought about massive change for the industry I work in, business finance; an industry that, in my view, will never be the same again as a result.

From stitching to bridging

Over the last decade, I’ve seen many fintech trends emerge, solidify into market standards or — on the contrary — dissolve into irrelevance. And while trends are transient, many of the systemic issues that influence them (such as cost-to-income pressure, openings for new competitors and changing customer expectations) are not. That’s because, for a long time, the financial industry has been a monolith. In spite of its resistance to change, even the most intractable elements of the financial system are now touched by it, because the unfolding transformation of the sector is truly pervasive.

The current era, I believe, is one defined by open, interoperable systems, where data — and the value it can provide when activated — matters more than the technology (for its own sake). While this may not be the standard for most financial organizations yet, it’s certainly what customers expect of them.
What got the financial industry to this point is very different from what it needs to do to meet these expectations and the current global imperatives.

For example, addressing the £1.2 trillion global credit gap without making the shift towards non-physical collateral is no longer possible. Even those reluctant to this reality can’t postpone heading in this direction. This is illustrated perfectly by director and media backlash towards Financial institutions in the UK asking for personal guarantees to access the (CBILS) COVID-19 business interruption loan scheme.

I’ve seen banks and financial institutions stitch different point-solutions together to address this wave of changes, because at the time it was the only option available to them at the time, but it doesn’t work. Combined with legacy architecture in banks, this application spaghetti actually keeps them from evolving and becoming more efficient.

That’s why many financial organizations are now looking to reduce the number of vendors and platforms they work with. But simplifying the tech space in finance is not just about minimizing the tech stack — it’s about the framework that gives technology purpose and direction.

Bridging the global credit gap and giving SMEs a lifeline — especially now — requires more simplicity, more flexibility, and deeper, more robust integration.

Joining Trade Ledger™ in these times of rapid-fire change means I can make a substantial contribution to this important shift, an opportunity I intend to make the most of.

The Data Revolution coming to Business Finance (and why I joined Trade Ledger™)

Originating, accelerating, and enabling transformation

Working with a team of open finance pioneers while the data-driven lending space is still emerging supplies countless possibilities to make a meaningful impact.

With Trade Ledger™’s business lending-as-a-service model, banks can achieve a new level of insight derived from the data they already have. I can see how this is transforming the relationship management model, which will become fundamentally different in this new context we’re operating in.

The way I see it, Trade Ledger™ is the glue that binds essential parts of the ecosystem, enabling them to tap into opportunities only available through collaboration. The future of business finance is not lenders launching what they think are better products, but using data to better adapt and tailor lending services to individual customer context, extending it with services from third parties and embedding it into the right distribution channels.

From lowering the barrier to getting projects started to shortening the time to value, the team at Trade Ledger™ is every day enabling banks and other financial organizations to make this new digital finance a reality.
Even before joining the company, I couldn’t help but notice Trade Ledger™’s approach to building the relationship with customers: incrementally, through results after each stage, constantly fuelled by a strong feedback loop.

This is the kind of change-making team I want to be part of

Personally, I thrive in contexts that provide me with autonomy, with the ability to make decisions fast, based on sound logic and rationale. It gives me a chance to use my fintech experience and make the most of the opportunities in the market. And I especially enjoy that I can contribute to scaling the company culture in a way that preserves its core and its connection with the community.

There’s a new era of banking coming to the markets in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, and Hong Kong. SMEs need our help and my goal — our goal — is to help bridge the lending gap through microservice-based technology that creates real results and real impact for businesses and, through the ripple effect, society at large.

In this moment, banks need to make hard choices that will shape their future. I’m excited to work with those who embrace change and challenge themselves to go all-in in this transformation.