Sending aid into emerging countries, while vital in the short term, is failing to address a fundamental problem. Until those countries are able to trade in established markets, they can never hope to escape from grinding poverty and deprivation. We applaud the progress made by the World Fair Trade Organization and its affiliates. Our aim is to support their efforts by providing the safe payment rails that allow the hard currencies of the established world to benefit workers in countries with little or no access to world banking.
Choice International was incorporated in 2004 to provide straightforward foreign exchange services in full compliance with global finance regulations. In an increasingly complex and difficult market environment, we saw compliance, not just as a safeguard against risk, but as a powerful business advantage.
Our stance was put to the most rigorous of tests when crisis struck world finance in 2007/8. As companies faltered or crashed, Choice prospered. Part of our resilience came from our strictly transactional business model; our every operation was based on a defined business transaction, a this-for-that trade agreement, backed by a tangible sale of goods. Whatever may happen in world finance, trade remains vital.
The financial crisis led to widespread de-risking by the world banks, cutting off many regions from trade opportunities. Choice, thanks to robust AML/ATF procedures and a unique network of global partners, was able to re-connect these regions and facilitate an increased number of carefully vetted transactions.
The factor behind Choice's ability to act as a global clearing house for SMEs is our exceptional AML/ATF suite. It remains at the forefront of our inward investment, and elements of it are now being made available to other financial institutions. Secured by Blockchain technologies, it embodies powerful AI and machine-learning capabilities to reveal patterns and relationships that provide an unprecedented level of insight into the companies and individuals involved in every transaction.
We're proud to be pioneers in facilitating safe trade payments for SMEs throughout the world. Our better-than-bank compliance environment has fuelled consistent growth, and we now actively manage and deliver around USD2.5 billion of global payments each year.
We now work with many financial partners, mainly NBFIs, to ethically and safely open up the opportunities that lie in the world's emerging markets.
Businesses in de-risked regions can find it impossible to export their goods, or indeed to buy the vital equipment they need to drive their business forward. Many are effectively forced to trade with giant global companies, often selling at a lower profit than would be possible if they could remain independent.
But such an arrangement seldom brings vital hard currencies into the region. The buying organisation frequently pays its local suppliers through internal banking channels within the exporting region. The actual inflow of foreign exchange is reduced to a small balancing trickle, and the emerging marketplace remains locked into low-profit survival farming.
"The ironic result of de-risking is re-risking... you are sending them to banks that probably can’t handle it."
James Richards of Wells Fargo
The need to survive without correspondent banking can force smaller businesses into unregulated "shadow banking" channels, actively amplifying risk. Our best-in-class compliance systems provide the protection they need to grow.
Choice International Limited, 34 Curzon Street, London W1J 7TS
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