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Sponsored: Building a sustainable business through trusted relationships

Africa / 27-09-17 / by

A bank that adopts a sustainable, long-term approach to doing business will be a safer financial institution, providing reassurance to consumers and corporates.


Banking is an integral function in society, providing financing to businesses, facilitating transactions, and supporting global supply chains. Given this role – and indeed the systemic importance of banks, trust in the way they conduct business is crucial.

The financial crisis exposed a number of banks as having deficient lending practices; shortcomings in risk management, compliance and governance; and inappropriate incentivisation structures. Several major banks failed or were bailed out through taxpayer funds at enormous cost to savers and companies, many of whom struggled to obtain financing thereafter.

Regulatory and market-led reforms have sought to allay the risks of this ever happening again, with a renewed focus on balance sheet strength, liquidity and sensible risk management through rules such as Basel III and Dodd-Frank. Top-ranking bank executives have been assigned greater accountability for wrongdoing, with the UK pushing through with its far-reaching Senior Managers & Certification Regime (SMCR).

Meanwhile, remuneration packages have been restructured to ensure employees focus more on long-term performance. This has been effected via rules such as the EU’s Capital Requirements Directive IV (CRD IV). “Regulation, however, cannot be the only stimulus behind changing banks’ behaviour. It also has to be led by the banks themselves in changing how they work with clients and suppliers, and this can only be achieved by internal reform,” says Paul Cardoen, Chief Executive Officer at FBN Bank UK.1


Extended enterprise: Digging deep into supply chains

Banks have the ability not just to redefine their own behaviour, but the attitudes and standards of their clients and across their multi-layered supply chains. Supply chains are a crucial cog in today’s markets, and have expanded dramatically over the course of the last few decades as once introverted economies increasingly permit foreign investment and through liberalised trading agreements.

Supply chains benefit developed economies as it lets them access inexpensive labour and products, thereby taming domestic inflation. It also creates trading opportunities for developed markets with growing emerging economies.

Equally, African markets have enjoyed an increase in foreign direct investment (FDI) flows and job creation, alleviating poverty and improving general wellbeing in areas such as healthcare, labour standards, environmental protection and welfare. That said, shortfalls can arise in poorly managed supply chains.

Supply chains in African markets such as those where FBN Bank UK has a physical presence can be notoriously complex, and not always in coalition with internationally accepted standards or rules. A paper by the World Economic Forum cites unethical working conditions and child labour violations as being some of the biggest risks in unsatisfactory supply chain set-ups.2

It is here where banks can make a real and meaningful difference and provide a boost towards implementing best practices and improving compliance. At a basic level, banks need to map out their suppliers and ascertain which providers and markets are high risk in terms of potential breaches in areas such as human trafficking or the perpetuation of slavery. For example, of the 45.8 million people believed to be in slavery, 58% are in five countries.3

“FBN Holdings Plc is a signatory to the UN Global Compact initiative and has committed itself to the Nigeria Sustainable Banking Principles, and it is dedicated to respecting human rights across all of its business operations and activities. In addition, FBN Bank UK has implemented systems and processes demanded of it by the UK’s Modern Slavery Act, a law enacted to force commercial organisations including financial institutions to eradicate slavery, including across their supply chains. All of these positions are fully endorsed by our board,” says Cardoen.

FBN Bank UK is amending employee, supplier and governance codes to ensure that these values are imparted on all of the third parties, which they work with. “Companies with mature supply chains have greater transparency, deeper integration across departments, strong collaboration with partners and solid governance structures. These characteristics of a mature supply chain all facilitate the implementation of sustainability programmes and help companies manage the complexities involved,” reads the World Economic Forum paper.4

Susana White, Chief Compliance Officer at FBN Bank UK, says the firm monitors its supply chains thoroughly. “FBN Bank UK takes a best-in-class approach towards responsible supply chain management. We perform significant due diligence on providers; remedy any potentially adverse human rights issues if found; and set up engrained systems and processes to eliminate the risk of such violations occurring. It is essential that any monitoring of supply chains is not a one-off event, but a continuous and vigorous process,” she adds.


Clients too

Adhering to similarly high standards is critical in client relationships too. Financing, for example, is essential for corporates globally to operate their businesses. Admittedly, some sectors are higher risk than others in terms of potential human rights abuses, and these may include infrastructure, energy, construction, mining, agribusiness as well as the garment industry. Many of these sectors may not directly be partaking in rights’ abuses, but indirectly through other companies in their own supply chains. It is therefore the obligation of banks to ensure that such risks are minimised.

There are several ways to achieve this. Just as with supply chains, banks must conduct similar risk assessments and due diligence on clients.

Terms and conditions with the client must clearly state that the bank does not endorse any malpractice around human rights abuses. Equally, ongoing training should be given to both bank employees and their clients to ensure breaches can be averted. Commercial association with an entity which falls foul of best practices or even the law can be a reputational hammer blow or may warrant intervention from regulators. This can be devastating for a financial institution. As such, addressing shortfalls with clients should not be shied upon, and it can be done through several means.

Remedying a red flag at a client is not always a binary case of simply choosing or refusing to work with them. “On one occasion, we found it better to sit down with the client, and we guided them towards best practices, through better education and engagement. If a bank can articulate comprehensively to a client when, where and why they are in breach of accepted standards or norms, it can result in material change being effected, which can only be a positive development. If a bank or financial institution disregards a client wholly because of a perceived issue or potential breach, then that problem may never be remedied,” says Cardoen.



As organisations transform their operations, they should also seek to contribute more to society as a means by which to improve their public reputation. This could be through taking a position and engaging on a particular societal concern.

“FBN Bank UK scrutinises its business practices to ensure that our activities contribute positively to the communities we operate in. Our regulators, counterparties and clients can trust us to take a proactive approach to the soundness of all the financing we do. Good financial outcomes and good community outcomes should come hand in hand in all that we do,” adds Cardoen.


Internal culture

If a bank wants to enact meaningful external change and obtain public trust, it needs to ensure that its own internal operating model matches. Having C-level support for cultural change is important as it sets the overall tone at an organisation. “Banks ultimately need to redouble their efforts to ensure employees put consumers and stakeholders first, and divorce themselves from focusing exclusively on short-term quarterly results or beating the competition. This can be achieved through relentless internal, top-down communications and regular, effective training exercises,” says Cardoen

Opacity in how business is conducted has to be expunged at banks in order to help create stronger customer relationships. The last decade has also seen a number of banks teeter on the brink of insolvency, so it is crucial to provide stakeholders with assurance that returns are reliable and predictable. In other words, banks need to diversify their product offerings and revenue streams, and operate within the confines of an articulate risk framework and strategy, reinforced by strong policies, protocols and governance.

FBN Bank UK has already made significant changes to its internal processes in order to fulfil these obligations. For example, it implements a remuneration system that favours long-term and carefully risk-managed performance, and this is binding across all markets. Such policies help put the customers’ interests and safety first, above all else. In markets where volatility and risk can be heightened, a remuneration structure that crystallises long-term thinking and performance is key.

All of these schemes complement FBN Bank’s UK ‘ACT (agile, connected, trusted) strategic initiative’, designed to enhance the customer experience through a more streamlined service. “Financial institutions need to ramp up their efforts beyond simply adopting common or basic standards or frameworks around risk and compliance, but going over and above what is expected, and introducing best practices and policies, as well as meaningful, positive strategic reform, such as initiatives like ACT,” comments Cardoen.



Building up customer trust takes years of hard work, but it can be lost in a heartbeat as banks discovered after the crisis. White states: “Reforms – such as those adopted by FBN Bank UK and its new management team – will set the industry leaders apart from much of the competition, and this is especially true for organisations operating in markets considered to be a higher risk from a regulatory and business perspective.”

By following these principles, banks will be able to serve their client base with absolute distinction, and regain that lost trust. “We believe that the combination of persistent client focus, integrity and risk assurance are the building blocks of a great sustainable business,” says Cardoen.


1 FBN Bank UK is the international banking arm and correspondent of First Bank of Nigeria Limited (FBNL), the largest and most trusted Nigerian bank. FBNL is 100% owned by FBN Holdings Plc, a publically listed entity on the Lagos Stock Exchange.

2 World Economic Forum (January 2015) – Beyond Supply Chains: Empowering Responsible Value Chains.

3 Global Slavery Index (2016) – Global Findings. The five countries are; India, China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Uzbekistan.

4 World Economic Forum (January 2015) – Beyond Supply Chains: Empowering Responsible Value Chains.

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T&CsPrivacy Policy© Exporta Publishing & Events Ltd 2018

Privacy Policy

Our privacy commitments

This Privacy Policy outlines the information we may collect about you in relation to your use of our websites, events, related publications and services (“personal data”) and how we may use that personal data. It also outlines the methods by which we and our service providers may (subject to necessary consents) monitor your online behaviour to deliver customised advertisements, marketing materials and other tailored services. This Privacy Policy also tells you how you can verify the accuracy of your personal data and how you can request that we delete or update it.

This Privacy Policy applies to all websites operated by Exporta Publishing & Events Ltd (as indicated on the relevant website).

This privacy statement does not cover the activities of third parties, and you should consult those third-party sites’ privacy policies for information on how your data is used by them.

Any questions regarding this Policy and our privacy practices should be sent by e-mail to or by writing to Data Protection Officer at, Exporta Publishing & Events Ltd, 4 Hillgate Place, London, SW12 9ER, United Kingdom. Alternatively, you can telephone our London headquarters at +44 (0) 20 8673 9666.

Who are we?

Established in 2002 and with offices in London and Singapore, Exporta Publishing & Events Ltd is the world’s leading trade and trade finance media company, offering information, news, events and services for companies and individuals involved in global trade.

Our principal business activities are:

  • Business-to-Business financial publishing. We provide a range of products and services focused on international commodities, export, supply chain and trade finance markets including magazines, newsletters, electronic information and data
  • Organisers of seminars, conferences, training courses and exhibitions for the finance industry

Exporta Publishing & Events Ltd is a company registered in the United Kingdom with company number 4407327 | VAT Registration: 799 1585 59

Data Protection Policy

This Data Protection Policy explains when and why we collect personal information about people who visit our website, how we use it, the conditions under which we may disclose it to others and how we keep it secure.

Why do we collect information from you?

Our primary goal in collecting personal data from you is to give you an enjoyable customised experience whilst allowing us to provide services and features that will meet your needs.
We collect certain personal data from you, which you give to us when using our Site and/or registering or subscribing for our products and services. However, we also give you the option to access our Sites’ home pages without subscribing or registering or disclosing your personal data.

We also collect certain personal data from other group companies to whom you have given information through their websites (including, by way of example, Exporta Publishing & Events Ltd and subsidiaries, in accordance with the purposes listed below). Should we discover that any such personal data has been delivered to any of the Sites, we will remove that information as soon as possible.

Why this policy exists

This Data Protection Policy ensures Exporta Publishing & Events Ltd:

  • Complies with data protection law and follow good practice
  • Protects the rights of staff, customers and partners
  • Is open about how it stores and processes individuals’ data
  • pretexts itself from the risk of a data breach

We may change this Policy from time to time so please check this page occasionally to ensure that you’re happy with any changes. By using our website, you’re agreeing to be bound by this Policy.

Data protection law

The Data Protection Act 1998 described how organisations – including Exporta Publishing & Events Ltd – must collect, handle and store personal information. These rules apply regardless of whether data is stored electronically, on paper or on other materials. To comply with the law, personal information collected must be stored safely, not disclosed unlawfully and used fairly.

The Data Protection Act is underpinned by eight important principles. These say that personal data must:

  • Be processed fairly and lawfully
  • Be obtained only for specific, lawful purposes
  • Be adequate, relevant and not excessive
  • Be accurate and kept up to date
  • Not be held for any longer than necessary
  • Processed in accordance with the rights of data subjects
  • Be protected in appropriate ways
  • Not be transferred outside the European Economic Area (EEA), unless that country of territory also ensures an adequate level of protection

How do we collect information from you?

We obtain information about you when you use our website, for example, when you contact us about products and services, when you register for an event, register to receive eNewsletters, subscribe or register for a trial to our GTR magazine/website.

 Types of Personal Data Held and its Use

1.      Customer Services and Administration

On some Sites, Exporta Publishing & Events Ltd collects personal data such as your name, job title, department, company, e-mail, phone, work and/or home address, in order to register you for access to certain content, subscriptions and events. In addition, we may also store information including IP address and page analytics, including information regarding what pages are accessed, by whom and when.

This information is used to administer and deliver to you the products and/or services you have requested, to operate our Sites efficiently and improve our service to you, and to retain records of our business transactions and communications. By using the Sites and submitting personal information through the registration process you are agreeing that we may collect, hold, process and use your information (including personal information) for the purpose of providing you with the Site services and developing our business, which shall include (without limitation) the purposes described in the below paragraphs.

2.      Monitoring use of our Sites

Where, as part of our Site services, we enable you to post information or materials on our Site, we may access and monitor any information which you upload or input, including in any password-protected sections. Subject to any necessary consents, we also monitor and/or record the different Sites you visit and actions taken on those Sites, e.g. content viewed or searched for. If you are a registered user (e.g. a subscriber or taking a trial), when you log on, this places a cookie on your machine. This enables your access to content and services that

are not publicly available. Once you are logged on, the actions you take – for example, viewing an article – will be recorded (subject to any necessary consents). We may use technology or a service provider to do this for us. This information may be used for one or more of the following purposes:

  • to fulfil our obligations to you;
  • to improve the efficiency, quality and design of our Sites and services;
  • to see which articles, features and services are most read and used
  • to track compliance with our terms and conditions of use, e.g. to ensure that you are acting within the scope of your user licence;
  • for marketing purposes (subject to your rights to opt-in and opt-out of receiving certain marketing communications) – see paragraph 3 below;
  • for advertising purposes, although the information used for these purposes does not identify you personally. Please see paragraph 5 below for more details;
  • to protect or comply with our legal rights and obligations; and
  • to enable our journalists to contact and interact with you online in connection with any content you may post to our Sites.

Please see paragraph 5 below for more information on cookies and similar technologies and a link to a page where you can turn them on or off.

3.      Marketing

Some of your personal data collected under paragraphs 1 and 2 above may be used by us to contact you by e-mail, telephone and/or post for sending information or promotional material on our products and/or services and/or those of our other group companies.
We give you the opportunity to opt-out of receiving marketing communications. Further detail can be found on the applicable Site and in the footer of each marketing communication sent by us, our group companies or service providers. See also “Consents and opt-outs” section below.
We will not share your information with third parties for marketing purposes.

4.      Profiling

We may analyse your personal information to create a profile of your interests and preferences so that we can contact you with information relevant to you.

5.      Cookies and similar technologies

All our Sites use cookies and similar technical tools to collect information about your access to the Site and the services we provide.

What is a cookie?

When you enter some sites, your computer will be issued with a cookie. Cookies are text files that identify your computer to servers. Cookies in themselves do not identify the individual user, just the computer used.

Many sites do this whenever a user visits their site in order to track traffic flows, recording those areas of the site that have been visited by the computer in question, and for how long.

Users have the opportunity to set their computers to accept all cookies, to notify them when a cookie is issued, or not to receive cookies at any time. Selecting not to receive means that certain personalised services Exporta Publishing & Events Ltd offers cannot then be provided to that user.


Why do we use cookies?

  1. Log In – Where we provide log in mechanisms for site users a cookie is created at login and for the duration of the session. Each cookie contains a unique reference number only (no personal information) which is used to confirm you are authorised.
  2. Analytics – To allow us to keep track of traffic to our website we use cookies. The cookies simply tell us if you have previously visited our website so we can get more accurate figures for New vs Returning visitors.

Find and control your cookies

All of the major browser providers offer advice on setting up and using the privacy and security functions for their products. If you require technical advice or support for a specific browser/version please contact the provider or visit their website for further details: / /
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We may use cookies to:

  • remember that you have used the Site before; this means we can identify the number of unique visitors we receive to different parts of the Site. This allows us to make sure we have enough capacity for the number of users that we get and make sure that the Site runs fast enough
  • remember your login session so you can move from one page to another within the Site;
  • store your preferences or your user name and password so that you do not need to input these details every time you visit the Site;
  • customise elements of the layout and/or content of the pages of Site for you;
  • record activity on our Sites so that we understand how you use our Sites enabling us to better tailor our content, services and marketing to your needs;
  • collect statistical information about how you use the Site so that we can improve the Site; and
  • gather information about the pages on the Site that you visit, and other information about other websites that you visit, so as to place you in a “market segment”. This information is only collected by reference to the IP address that you are using, but does include information about the county and city you are in, together with the name of your internet service provider.

Most web browsers automatically accept cookies but, if you prefer, you can change your browser to prevent that, or to notify you each time a cookie is set. You can also learn more about cookies in general by visiting which includes additional useful information on cookies and how to block cookies using different types of browser. Please note however, that by blocking, deleting or turning off cookies used on the Site you may not be able to take full advantage of the Site.

6.      E-mail tracking

E-mail tracking is a method for monitoring the e-mail delivery to those subscribers who have opted-in to receive marketing e-mails from GTR, including GTR Africa, GTR Asia, GTR Americas, GTR Europe, GTR Mena, GTR eNews, Third party e-mails and GTR Ventures.

Why do we track e-mails?

So that we can better understand our users’ needs, we track responses, subscription behaviour and engagement to our e-mails – for example, to see which links are the most popular in newsletters. They enable us to understand the consumers journey through metrics including open rate, click-through rate, bounces and unsubscribes. Any other purposes for which Exporta Publishing & Events Ltd wishes to use your personal data will be notified to you and your personal data will not be used for any such purpose without obtaining your prior consent.

How do you track GTR eNewsletters?

To do this, we use pixel GIFs, also known as “pixel tags” – these are small image files that are placed within the body of our e-mail messages. When that image is downloaded from our web servers, the e-mail is recorded as being opened. By using some form of digitally time-stamped record to reveal the exact time and date that an e-mail was received or opened, as well the IP address of the recipient.

7.      Consents and opt-outs

You can give your consent to opt-out of all or any particular uses of your data as indicated above by:

  • Indicating at the point on the relevant Site where personal data is collected
  • Informing us by e-mail, post or phone
  • Updating your preferences on the applicable Site or eNewsletter (unsubscribe and preference options are available in the footer of each eNewsletter)

To turn cookies and similar technologies on and off, see the information in paragraph 5 above. Any questions regarding consents and opt-outs should be sent by e-mail to or by writing to Data Protection Officer at, Exporta Publishing & Events Ltd, 4 Hillgate Place, London, SW12 9ER, United Kingdom. Alternatively, you can telephone our London headquarters at +44 (0) 20 8673 9666.

8.      Disclosures

Information collected at one Site may be shared between Exporta Publishing & Events Ltd and other group companies for the purposes listed above.

We may transfer, sell or assign any of the information described in this policy to third parties as a result of a sale, merger, consolidation, change of control, transfer of assets or reorganisation of our business.

9.      Public forums, message boards and blogs

Some of our Sites may have a message board, blogs or other facilities for user generated content available and users can participate in these facilities. Any information that is disclosed in these areas becomes public information and you should always be careful when deciding to disclose your personal information.

10.  Data outside the EEA

Services on the Internet are accessible globally so collection and transmission of personal data is not always limited to one country. Exporta Publishing & Events Ltd may transfer your personal data, for the above-listed purposes to other third parties, which may be located outside the European Economic Area and/or with a different level of personal data protection. However, when conducting transfers, we take all necessary steps to ensure that your data is treated reasonably, securely and in accordance with this Privacy Statement.

Who has access to your information?

Confidentiality and Security of Your Personal Data

We are committed to keeping the data you provide us secure and will take reasonable precautions to protect your personal data from loss, misuse or alteration.

However, the transmission of information via the internet is not completely secure. Although we will do our best to protect your personal data, we cannot guarantee the security of your data transmitted to our Site; any transmission is at your own risk. Once we have received your information, we will use strict procedures and security features described above to try to prevent unauthorised access.

We have implemented information security policies, rules and technical measures to protect the personal data that we have under our control from:

  • unauthorised access
  • improper use or disclosure
  • unauthorised modification
  • unlawful destruction or accidental loss

All our employees, contractors and data processors (i.e. those who process your personal data on our behalf, for the purposes listed above), who have access to, and are associated with the processing of your personal data, are obliged to keep the information confidential and not use it for any other purpose than to carry out the services they are performing for us.


Everyone who works for or with Exporta Publishing & Events Ltd has some responsibility for ensuring data is collected, stored and handled appropriately. Each team handling personal data must ensure that it is handled and processed in line with this policy and data protection principles. However, the following people have key areas of responsibility. The board of directors is ultimately responsible for ensuring that Exporta Publishing & Events Ltd meets its legal obligations.

Name of Data Controller

The Data Controller is Exporta Publishing & Events Ltd. Exporta Publishing & Events Ltd is subject to the UK Data Protection Act 1998 and is registered in the UK with the Information Commissioner`s Office.

How to access, update and erase your personal information

If you wish to know whether we are keeping personal data about you, or if you have an enquiry about our privacy policy or your personal data held by us, in relation to any of the Sites, you can contact the Data Protection Officer via:

  • By writing to this address: Data Protection Officer, Exporta Publishing & Events Ltd, 4 Hillgate Place, London, SW12 9ER, UK
  • Telephone: +44 (0) 20 8673 9666
  • E-mail:

Upon request, we will provide you with a readable copy of the personal data which we keep about you. We may require proof of your identity and may charge a small fee (not exceeding the statutory maximum fee that can be charged) to cover administration and postage.

Exporta Publishing & Events Ltd allows you to challenge the data that we hold about you and, where appropriate in accordance with applicable laws, you may have your personal information:

  • erased
  • rectified or amended
  • completed

Disclosing data for other reasons

In certain circumstances, the Data Protection Act allows personal data to be disclosed to law enforcement agencies without the consent of the data subject. Under these circumstances, Exporta Publishing & Events Ltd, will disclose requested data. However, the Data Controller will ensure the request is legitimate, seeking assistance from the board and from the company’s legal advisors where necessary.

Changes to this Privacy Statement

We will occasionally update this Privacy Statement to reflect new legislation or industry practice, group company changes and customer feedback. We encourage you to review this Privacy Statement periodically to be informed of how we are protecting your personal data.

Providing information

Exporta Publishing & Events Ltd aims to ensure that individuals are aware that their data is being processed, and that they understand.

  • How the data is being used
  • How to exercise their rights

To this end, the company has a privacy statement, setting out how data relating to individuals is used by the company. This is available on request and available on the company’s website.

Review of this policy

We keep this Policy under regular review. This Privacy Statement was last updated in April 2018.