How this started:
Back when I was a student trying to figure out what career to pursue, I knew a few things about myself. Firstly, I liked trade. Not trading (the one with all the numbers on the screen), but the one where companies sell real stuff to other companies or people (this one has numbers too but features less in movies). Secondly, I liked analysing how political and economic events affect trade. And finally, I needed a job. Thus, it was clear to me that working within trade finance would be the perfect career for me. Just kidding — I’d never even heard of trade finance!
However, I did get incredibly lucky when I was looking for jobs and one company decided to place me in their Trade Credit team after hearing me go on and on about my vaguely defined interests. Once I joined, they gave me all the resources I needed to educate myself on the topic and I was able to make informed decisions about where I ultimately wanted to take my career. I’m kidding again, of course. For whatever reason, learning about trade finance and related fields was always a messy affair, where I had the choice between reading 10-sentence articles on Wiki-/Investopedia or incredibly technical articles assuming deep domain expertise on the part of the reader (hint: it is NOT a crime to spell out acronyms).
Fast forward a couple of years and I have managed to form a mental map and I’ve got a pretty good overview of the industry (not kidding this time). Most people get there in the end, but have to suffer through an initial period of confusion. In the age of the interwebs that shouldn’t be necessary, so I decided to make this website, which aims to be your one-stop (non-boring) information shop to understanding this industry defined in the broadest sense.
I pitched the idea to Duarte Pedreira who is Head of Young Professionals at the International Trade and Forfaiting Association (ITFA) and he said ITFA would support the initiative and help me bring it to life. Since then, I’ve also received a lot of help from Shannon Manders, who works as Editorial Director at Global Trade Review (GTR) and as a freelance consultant.
Today the website offers interviews with leading experts on various trade finance topics (I rely on my relative ignorance to ensure they explain everything in simple terms), a comprehensive overview of educational opportunities, a link to ITFA’s mentoring programme, an events calendar, and links to trade finance media sources. I hope these pages can help you get the overview you need to find your place in this industry. If not, get in touch, and we’ll put you in contact with someone who can help!
Pouya Jafari, London 2019