22nd September 2023: Recognising the contribution to supporting trade in Asia and the Pacific HNB and Standard Chartered Bank were awarded top honours, receiving the coveted ‘Best Trade Deal of the Year’ award for Issuing Bank and Confirming Bank, respectively, at the recent Trade and Supply Chain Finance Programme (TSCFP) Awards organised by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
The banks were acknowledged for their vital role in a transaction that facilitated the import of 200 metric tonnes of milk powder to Sri Lanka during a critical period of milk shortages caused by depleted foreign reserves, surging inflation, and challenges in opening Letters of Credit (LCs).
During the milk powder shortage, Sri Lanka was grappling with their worst economic crisis, exacerbated by depleted foreign exchange reserves and soaring inflation in the aftermath of the pandemic. HNB initiated the transaction on behalf of their client, while the Standard Chartered Sri Lanka team worked closely with HNB to add confirmation to the LC, a prerequisite for the deal to materialise. ADB also supported this transaction, which agreed to shoulder a significant portion of the risk. Both banks collaborated in expertly managing the end-to-end transaction execution with ADB.
The accolade highlights the unique partnership between ADB and HNB as an issuing Bank and Standard Chartered as a Confirming Bank. It serves as a pivotal link, particularly in ADB’s Developing Member Countries, which have recently faced significant economic challenges. The collaboration in finding sustainable solutions to meet long-term needs has been vital.
This is also a testament to the synergy of the Correspondent Banking relationship between HNB and Standard Chartered, spanning nearly 40 years across the gamut of cash, trade and financial management. Over four decades, the consequent impact on the country’s economy has been immeasurable.
Commenting on the accolade, HNB Managing Director/CEO Jonathan Alles said: “We are proud to have played a vital role as the Issuing Bank in this important transaction. We have always worked towards the wellbeing of our citizens and come forward where possible to support the nation in facing its economic challenges. The award demonstrates our commitment to delivering best-in-class trade finance services and providing tailored solutions to all stakeholders in the value chain.”
Similarly, Standard Chartered Sri Lanka CEO Bingumal Thewarathanthri said, “We take immense pride in receiving the prestigious award for ‘Best Trade Deal of the Year as Confirming Bank’. The transaction represents Standard Chartered’s unwavering commitment to supporting essential services during crises, fostering humanitarian values, and clearly upholding our promise of being ‘here for good’. It also highlights our dedication to ‘doing the right thing’ and serving clients and the communities with utmost integrity and resilience.”
ADB’s Trade and Supply Chain Finance Program fills market gaps for trade finance by providing guarantees and loans to banks. Support is offered to broaden the banks’ ability to act as intermediaries, especially in the most challenging markets. The annual awards follow a rigorous evaluation process undertaken independently and are considered the most prestigious accolades in Asia's banking and financial industry. This year’s awards covered transactions from 1st July 2022 to 30th June 2023.
(From L- R): Standard Chartered, Director Trade Distribution, Abhinav Sharma, Standard Chartered, Associate Director Trade Distribution, Caleb Neo, Standard Chartered, Director Trade Distribution, Usha RL, HNB, Head of Trade, Rozanne de Almeida, Standard Chartered, Global Head of Trade Distribution, Nicolas Langlois, Standard Chartered, Executive Director Head of Trade Distribution Programmes, Aditya Mazumdar, Standard Chartered, Global Head of Trade Finance, Kai Fehr, ADB, Investment Specialist Trade and Supply Chain Finance Program, Neha Noronha, Standard Chartered, Global Head Flow and FI Trade, Sam Mathew, Standard Chartered, Regional Head of Public Sector ASEAN and South Asia, Jason Ving, ADB, Head of Trade & Supply Chain Finance, Steven Beck with the awards.