“Mind the trade finance learning gap” was a story I recently published on the GTR website. In it, I write that the demise of correspondent banking relationships globally is leading to a lack of knowledge transfer amongst trade finance institutions.

“There is a shortage of trade finance expertise globally,” said Vijey Ananda, commercial director of the ICC Academy, speaking at the ICC Banking Commission’s annual general meeting in Johannesburg in April. Joining Ananda on stage was David Morrish of ifs University College, who suggested that the “learning gap” that has emerged over the last two to three years is not as a result of one single reason, but rather a combination of factors. These include the decrease of core banking relationships (which is leaving banks in the developing world with a shortage of skills); a lack of investment in people at the early stages of their careers; and a reallocation of competitive advantage in the world, from developed to emerging markets (such as from China to Myanmar, for example, which panellists found is lacking in trade finance skills). As a result, this potential across the globe must now be unlocked through learning courses offered by a growing number of organisations.

To better facilitate the transfer of expertise in the market, Morrish also advised that those at the end of their careers have a duty to impart their knowledge to those in their organisations before they retire.

With the large number of trade finance veterans that have recently been leaving the flock and heading either into retirement, to set up consultancies or to take up non-executive positions in other companies (no names mentioned), one has to hope that they are heeding Morrish’s advice to share their expertise with the juniors in the industry: the next generation of trade financiers.

An industry that is still home to numerous industry stalwarts is export finance, and in this issue of GTR we include our annual Export Finance Supplement. In these pages we explore the world’s port projects and ask whether there is enough trade globally to justify all of these facilities; we take a look at the capital markets and question their role in export finance going forward, and we profile our annual export finance roundtable. A regular on the GTR editorial calendar, the roundtable this year unveiled a unique set of challenges, as bankers’ fear of regulators almost prevented us from publishing it. Although we were able to find a solution that suited all parties, it certainly illustrated the point that increased regulation can have far-reaching effects.

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

  • Washington: Melodie Michel reports from the annual US Exim conference and comments on the changing risk environment.
  • São Paulo: Corruption and consolidation are the name of the game in Brazil, writes Melodie Michel, reporting from GTR’s annual conference.
  • Cape Town: What are African borrowers of large capex seeking in long-term funding? Shannon Manders hosts an export finance roundtable to discuss.
  • Paris: The export finance community faces a difficult situation, say participants at GTR’s annual roundtable, hosted in France this year.
  • Istanbul: Sofia Lotto Persio reports on the Turkish economy from GTR’s annual conference.
  • Jakarta: Finbarr Bermingham travels to GTR’s conference in Indonesia to find a struggling export sector.
  • Sydney: All is not well Down Under, writes Finbarr Bermingham from the GTR Australia Trade & Supply Chain conference.