Fadi Al Faqih


Trice presses the accelerator on world trade

ATTIC chats to Fadi Al Faqih of Trice

Appeared in: various

Fadi Salim Al Faqih is a man who knows at first hand the complexities, risk and expense of cross-border transactions. As CEO of Bank of Khartoum, and latterly founder of Elavin, he’s made a personal commitment to reducing these barriers and allowing international trade to flourish. 2021 sees the launch of TRICE, Mr Al Faqih’s project to simplify cross-border business, developed with fellow financial veteran, Mohammed Khateeb.

Fadi took the time to speak to us about his vision, and the platform that he’s co-created.

What is TRICE?

“In essence it’s a business-enablement platform; an exchange where global buyers and sellers can find each other and trade safely, compliantly and fast. What we’ve aimed for is to make it as simple to buy or sell across the world as it is across the street. We’re never going to achieve that goal completely, but we’ve already made big strides towards it. We’ve built in strong compliance measures to oust financial malfeasance, and we’ve dovetailed those measures seamlessly into a single-source solution that takes care of shipping, payments, currency conversion and more.”

So are we talking about a financial compliance platform?

“Yes, but that’s just one part of the offering. Let me give you an example; let’s say you’re a cocoa producer who wants to export product. You find a buyer and agree terms. In a perfect world, that should be the whole story, but the world of global trade is anything but perfect. You need co-operation from banks to facilitate payments, and that’s a major challenge in itself if you’re located in a region that the banks have isolated through de-risking.

“But let’s say you manage to overcome this hurdle. Now you and your customer have to be onboarded through the bank’s diligence process. That can take months and potentially cost thousands of dollars. At the very least, it’s going to soak up management time. And there’s no guarantee of success; if something in the transaction is outside the bank’s risk appetite, all that time was wasted, and you have to start again.

“But banking is just one barrier. Shipping is fraught with complexities like licensing, border restrictions and sanctions that might affect routing. It’s a specialist subject that keeps distribution companies in business – and they don’t work for nothing.

And TRICE does all that?

“All that, plus the ability for buyers and sellers to find each other, so TRICE is a self-contained marketplace, where relationships can be established, partnerships forged, and business can flow transparently. The complexity happens in the background while our customers can concentrate on growing their business. Think of a car engine: it might have variable valve-timing, computer-mapped ignition and a million other subtleties, but that all takes care of itself. What you care about is that it starts and stops when you press the pedals. We’re breaking down barriers and opening up safe, open world trade by keeping the complicated stuff under the hood, where it belongs.”

Has all of the technology been developed in-house?

“Most of it, yes, but we’ve also forged our own partnerships with other businesses that can add their power and capability to ours. Our blockchain platform gives us an immutable audit trail that can be accessed by regulators and our customers. We’ve also become a pioneer partner for Clarency’s biz.Clarency platform to allow us to take compliance far beyond banking or regulatory requirements.

What drove that choice?

“The capability of the platform was a powerful driver, of course – it allows us to ensure that every transaction is clean and compliant, which isn’t possible using conventional means of diligence. But, more than that, it was a commonality of attitude. Clarency also believes in world trade as a force for good. It creates global prosperity, as well as bringing countries together with a common aim. It was that shared belief that created the partnership.”

When can we expect to see TRICE launch?

“We’re in the final stages of regulatory approval. That was never going to be a rapid process, given the power and scope of what we’re delivering, but we’re working closely with regulators to tick those final boxes. The platform is ready to go, so we expect to be fully open for business in the first quarter of 2021. Then it’s foot down on accelerating world trade.”

Clarency 'C'

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