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Standard Chartered and IBM’s AI Trade Documentary

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Standard Chartered have just launched their Trade AI Engine , an Augmented Intelligence system which looks to enhance their corporate client experience in trade document processing through strengthened system control and increased operational efficiency. The new digital solution is already live and operational in a large number of the bank’s markets in Asia, the Middle East and Africa, with more geographical markets to follow (see below).

Traditional documentary trade typically involves millions of data entry points in paper-based documents that are issued by various companies and reviewed through a largely manual process. The Trade AI Engine claims to significantly automate this high-risk and time-intensive process by utilizing; natural language processing (NLP) and optical character recognition (OCR) to convert non-digital shipping documents into machine-readable format and find the context of the data, as well as user re-definition/re-classification of data elements through continuous Machine Learning.

The Trade AI Engine could enable Standard Chartered to process larger volumes of different back-office tasks with improved efficiency and accuracy, leading to seamless trade processing for the bank’s clients, whilst cutting overhead at the same time. The solution follows a wave of other Big Tech and Financial Institution partnerships as the global Fintech race heats up.

Lisa Robins, Global Head of Transaction Banking at Standard Chartered explained the scale of the bank’s operations to benefit- “As a market leader and major intermediary between buyers and sellers in the centre of global trade, we process more than 36 million pages of trade documents annually, with over 200 million data elements for name capture and processing. The Trade AI Engine significantly reduces the amount of time and effort in this review process while raising the bar on our controls environment, further enhancing our ability to play the connector role for our clients by facilitating transactions at pace with the growth of their businesses.”

Likhit Wagle, VP, Financial Services Sector, IBM Asia Pacific further detailed the use-case of the system- “Trade document processing traditionally relies on a high degree of manual effort to ensure transaction compliance. IBM worked with Standard Chartered Bank to develop a solution that would automate the retrieval of key information from text within scanned documents. The Trade AI Engine enables multi-format document capture without templates and uses NLP to extract relevant information for review, as well as leveraging user interaction to improve text extraction accuracy and streamline the process with each cycle in real-time.”

Standard Chartered have clearly been following a path of digitalization very strongly, and seem to be committed to improving their customer and corporate experience with such initiatives as their Huawei-partnered IoT (Internet of Things) solution, various Fintech and innovation-focused programmes like their regional eXellerators, global Fintech Bridge and their blockchain consortiums.

The Trade AI Engine is currently live in:

India, Nepal, Botswana, Kenya, Uganda, South Africa, Zambia, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Angola, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Mauritius, UAE, UK, Iraq, Bangladesh, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bahrain, Qatar, Jordan and Oman.


Additional markets to follow are:

Japan, Brunei, Indonesia, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, China and USA.