Everything’s coming up Iran. At least that’s what we’ve heard from our conversations with the trade finance market over the last few months. It’s a view that prompted GTR’s deputy editor Melodie Michel to spend time in Tehran in late 2015, and one that inspired our cover feature for this edition – the first of 2016.

As the world counts down to Implementation Day – a term of no fixed date, but which could indeed have been reached by the time you read this magazine at the start of the year – countries are stepping up their drive to win business in the Middle East’s second-largest economy. There is no doubt about the huge opportunities for Iranian and international businesses once the United Nations Security Council lifts the sanctions against the country. GTR will be closely following what happens when Iran rejoins the international banking system in 2016 and beyond.

Among other developments that we’ll be monitoring this year is the evolution of the fintech sector, which has recently moved to a whole new level – and led GTR to launch a regular section in the magazine dedicated to its progress.

According to a recent survey from consumer insight and review platform Smart Money People, consumers believe they receive fairer treatment, better value for money and superior customer service from fintech financial product providers than from traditional sources.

But it isn’t just a matter of charging less than banks and cutting them out of the picture: what the industry has realised over the past year is that banks can collaborate with fintechs to help them successfully increase their digital expertise. A number of banks have made key investments in this space and appointed fintech specialists into their organisation. In turn, banks can give fintech companies additional security through their regulation, offering added peace of mind to their customers.

Our inaugural fintech section explores this idea, and also includes a “do you speak Fintech?” glossary, which we think could be useful to those relatively new to the business.

As we embark on a new year, the GTR team looks forward to digging deeper into how these and other developments are underpinning growth in the trade finance market. We wish all of our readers a prosperous and exciting 2016!

GTR strives to bring its readers a truly globaloutlook. Here are some of the places that we have reported from for this issue.

  • San Jose, US – Shannon Manders hosts a roundtable on the sidelines of the GTR West Coast Trade & Working Capital conference.
  • London, UK – London is one of the world’s global fintech hubs, writes Sofia Lotto Persio in GTR’s new fintech section.
  • Paris, France – The French government is nurturing its SMEs, writes Melodie Michel.
  • Stockholm, Sweden – Sofia Lotto Persio reports on Finland’s economic stagnation from the GTR Nordic Region Trade and Export Finance Conference.
  • Tehran, Iran – Melodie Michel heads to Iran to cover the country’s preparations for the reopening of trade relations with the west.
  • Colombo, Sri Lanka – Finbarr Bermingham reports from Colombo on the challenges facing the country as it moves up the value chain.
  • Beijing, China – Finbarr Bermingham braves the arctic weather and travels to the GTR China Trade and Export Finance Conference.