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Mitigating business disruptions through digitalization
Covid-19 underpins e-commerce expansion amid shift in consumer behaviour
16 Apr 2021 | The Asset

Covid-19 has precipitated a raft of challenges in treasury operations, driving service providers to seek and develop solutions to address their clients’ requirements and enable them to execute transactions. The changes required to address these challenges and risks confronting treasury activity are already underway under the new normal market environment.

A notable trend has been the significant acceleration in the initiative to shift away from paper-based processes and instruments towards digital technology. Indeed, technology is playing a critical role in ensuring that treasury continues to function and remains secure as working remotely is likely to continue due to the prolonged global health crisis.

This was evident in the launching of a comprehensive electronic bankers’ guarantee (eBG) programme in Singapore in early November 2020 after being successfully piloted in March. The fully digitized eBG is the result of collaboration between Singapore Customs and the financial institutions, offering greater efficiency as it removes the need for the issuance and delivery of paper bankers’ guarantee by participating banks to Singapore Customs. This reduces the transit time to almost zero with a processing lead time of one day from the usual three to five days, according to a corporate client.

This development was among the trends that dominated the discussions between the board of editors at The Asset and the service providers and their clients during the evaluation process for The Triple A Treasury, Trade, Sustainable Supply Chain and Risk Management Awards 2021 in Australia and the Asean region. The pandemic has brought a wave of digital transformation across various business sectors to mitigate the impact of business disruptions.

As authorities ordered lockdowns to halt the spread of the coronavirus, e-commerce activity surged. This led to the expansion of a digital economy on the back of the shift in consumer behaviour as more customers are now purchasing goods and services online – driving a shift in business models from B2B to B2C.

Indeed, the retail landscape has changed, which in turn contributed to the increase in demand for digital financial services. Banks are helping clients to digitize their payment and collection processes, which previously involved cash and cheques. In Malaysia, to assist clients collect payments electronically and identify the paying party with minimal delay, banks are deploying the instant funds transfer service DuitNow. Adopting DuitNow also allows for same-day settlement, thus reducing the working capital requirements and the need for excess borrowing.

In Thailand, Covid-19 has accelerated PromptPay transactions and boosted e-commerce businesses in the country. A real-time payment service, PromptPay is helping Thailand transform to a digital economy, contributing to a huge increase in digital payments.

The past year likewise witnessed the proliferation of application programming interfaces (APIs), which enable the banks to deliver end-to-end real-time transaction processing without any need for manual intervention, whether in trade and supply chain, or in FX.

Over the next few weeks, The Asset will be revealing the other winners of The Triple A Treasury, Trade, Sustainable Supply Chain and Risk Management Awards 2021.  

For the complete list of winners in Australia and Asean, please click here.

To learn more about these awards, please click here.

For more information about receiving the awards, please contact events@theasset.com.

The virtual awards ceremony for The Asset Triple A Treasury, Trade, SSC and Risk Management Awards 2021 is scheduled to take place on June 17, 2021.