Anglo-Gulf Trade Bank, a joint venture between AGTB Holdings, a Rowland family-controlled company and Mubadala Investment Company, aims to leverage the warming of ties between the UAE and China and advancements in technology.
"We recognise that the wind is blowing in that direction and we definitely want to be on the crest of that wave supporting an enabling greater intensity and greater breadth of that trade corridor," AGTB deputy chief executive Daniel Gould told The National in an interview on the side-lines of the SIBOS conference in London.
AGTB, which is regulated by Abu Dhabi Global Markets (ADGM), dubs itself as the first digital trade finance bank that aims to facilitate commerce between companies in the Middle East, UK and Asia through blockchain technology that capitalises on a $1.5 trillion trade finance gap.
"That gap is disproportionately affecting midsize corporates and below," Mr Gould said, adding the bank quickly realised a digital solution was needed. “What we realised is that technology is an enabler which will allow us fundamentally reimagine how a trade finance solution gets delivered.”
“Trade finance has been our focus from the beginning but really it's corporate banking that as a whole is in a funk. It hasn't been disrupted in the way we've seen retail banking been disrupted and SME banking is beginning to be disrupted,” Mr Gould added.
AGTB is the house bank of the new Hub71 accelerator in ADGM that aims to enable a faster, innovative financial ecosystem development by providing support levers to companies coming in. These include extra office space, visa support and housing support for both small companies and FinTechs as well as behemoths such as Amazon and WeWork.
“We believe that any financial ecosystem needs a strong financial institution to facilitate what every company needs which is effective current and corporate account online banking as well as operational account support - doing the fundamental banking services FinTech needs," said Mr Gould.
Digitalisation should be about leveraging data to deliver more efficient and varied solutions to clients, he said.
“If you become fully digital and your counter parties are fully digital, then you can adjust internally financial data and insurance data, you can adjust the logistical data and storage data and all of a sudden, you can offer value propositions that no other financial institution can,” Mr Gould said.