● The eNote™ is a new infrastructure enabling trade and corporate finance, connecting companies and institutional investors seeking liquidity or yield. The eNote™ is an electronic debt instrument that is tradeable, secured via DLT and can be enforced by courts in 165 countries, replacing ink, paper and intermediaries to streamline negotiated debt trades
● James Courtenay brings FQX over 30 years of banking experience in credit markets and debt transactions. He was previously Global Head of Corporates at Standard Chartered Bank
● Following a series of successful transactions, FQX launches eNote™ on a global scale to help corporates tap liquidity and narrow the $3.4tn global trade finance gap that has been exacerbated by COVID-19.
Zurich 11th February 2021. FQX announces today that eNote™ is being launched internationally following a series of successful pilot transactions using eNote™ including a digital asset bank as well as the leading digital trading platform for metals and ferroalloys, Metalshub, supported by FQX’s technology partners Swisscom and Swiss Post. As of today, FQX has onboarded more than 20 entities from various jurisdictions, including financial institutions and multinational corporations.
James Courtenay is appointed as a Non-Executive Director of FQX with immediate effect. He was Global Head of Corporates at Standard Chartered Bank until April 2017, where he had overall responsibility for all the bank’s corporate clients across Africa, Asia and the Middle East advising clients on all major decisions across the bank’s products and services.
eNote™ can connect the real economy directly to investors and boost the flow of liquidity, providing a new streamlined infrastructure to unblock inefficiencies in the current system and make trade and corporate finance more widely available for businesses who are struggling to raise it – and more profitable for investors looking for yield. eNote™ is a digital promissory note, an unconditional promise to pay that is secure, tradeable and provides as a negotiable instrument an alternative to burdensome instruments such as reverse factoring, dynamic discounting, trade loans and – eventually – commercial papers. The potential for eNote™ in receivables finance is significant in global supply chains where a huge funding gap exists.
SMEs and many companies across developing markets do not have adequate access to trade finance and are underserved by commercial banks, despite offering investment grade opportunities. eNote™ can unlock this new source of revenue for institutional investors and treasuries and increase liquidity to close the gap. Traders & producers are often forced to abandon transactions when finance is rejected, and this is one of the top three export obstacles for half of the world’s countries (source: WEF).
In 2019, the Asian Development Bank estimated the global trade finance gap at US $ 1.5 trillion, but amid the fallout from Covid-19 this figure has risen sharply to a US $3.4 trillion gap (source, Standard Chartered Estimate 2020). SMEs in emerging economies are facing the highest rates of rejection for trade finance according to the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) which estimates “that restoring trade to pre – pandemic levels in 2021 will require an additional US$2 trillion of trade finance to be delivered to the real economy relative to the level of supply in 2020.
Oswald Kuyler, Head of the Digital Standards Initiative at ICC commented, “Closing the trade finance gap and enabling MSMEs is a top priority of the ICC. Electronic promissory notes as offered by the FQX eNote infrastructure is a fantastic example of how new business models and technology can bridge the trade finance gap. A unique solution offering multiple options to buyers, sellers and investors, built on a strong international dispute arbitration infrastructure is exactly the type of innovations we need in 2021.”
FQX is accessible to corporations and financial institutions via indirect origination channels, such as banks, fintechs, treasury management systems, purchasing cooperatives, large logistics firms and large MNCs, who will license eNote™. Users may utilize eNote™ to issue and transfer trade loans as well as singular commercial papers, liquidate trade receivables or extend payment terms.
The COVID19 pandemic and resulting remote working practices have accelerated the need for digitising trade finance documentation, removing legal obstacles and replacing hand-written signatures and paper certificates. To this end, The Bankers Association for Finance and Trade (BAFT) has recently released best practices for Digital Ledger Payment Commitments; while FQX supports these and other efforts to standardize the technological and legal framework for the digitization of financial instruments, it is already offering a working solution to the market, developed and designed by leading international experts in DLT and law.
FQX was founded by Frank Wendt, CEO, Dr Philipp von Randow, General Counsel, Benedikt Schuppli, COO, and Dr des Stephan D. Meyer, CPO. The core team is based primarily in Zurich with team members in Germany, Lithuania and the UK with a London presence that is expanding in 2021. FQX is funded by a group of leading banking and financial services executives, namely:
– Michael Füllemann, Former Senior Partner, MD and Industry Lead of BCG, former MC of Schindler
– Helmut Paulus, Former CEO and Founder of one of Germany’s leading Quantitative Asset Managers, Quoniam Investment, managing 30bn+ EUR AUM
– Dr. Stefan Jäcklin, A notable Swiss FinTech-investor and former Head of Oliver Wyman Switzerland
– Volker Sigwarth, Former CEO of a Swiss Champion in Cleanroom Technology, Skan AG
Frank Wendt, CEO commented, “I find the idea of supplying liquidity to SMEs intriguing, and have realised that an electronic equivalent of the promissory note can do this efficiently, securely and at scale. Our four co-founders each bring the specific skills and knowledge to realise the huge potential for eNote™, and we are all thrilled that James Courtenay joins our board today. He brings a depth of experience and relationships that are invaluable to FQX as we launch eNote™ globally.”
James Courtenay said, “The global economy is facing two major challenges, which are exacerbated by the current COVID-19 pandemic: a yield plight for fixed income investments due to low to negative interest rates, and a global trade finance gap that is widening at an accelerating pace. FQX`s eNote™ tackles both issues based on a proven concept of electronic negotiable instruments, and I am excited to be so closely involved in further developing eNote™.”
Michael Füllemann, an investor in FQX said, “I am proud to be supporting eNote™, a genuine innovation that is limitless in scope and will help supply chains, SME finance and world trade. The eNote™ connects investors directly to the real economy via a trusted instrument thereby creating a new tradeable asset class with attractive yield potential in a challenging interest rate environment.Timing could not be better. The world needs liquidity and better technology to get back on its feet after the destruction of the COVID–19 pandemic.”
Helmut Paulus, an investor in FQX commented, “FQX joins the dots: state-of-the art technology connects Trade-Finance and Supply Chain-Finance with nearly unlimited liquidity and the required risk-budgets of institutional investors. FQX offers a win-win solution for all parties involved.”
FQX is nominated Early Stage Swiss Fintech Startup of the Year by the Swiss FinTech Awards 2021 and was selected among 200 start-ups for the Swiss Stock Exchange SIX’s F10 Scale-Up acceleration program.
Notes to Editors
eNote™ provides a secure, efficient and compliant infrastructure for electronically negotiable debt that is tradeable. It combines the best legal, financial and technological expertise into an electronic negotiable instrument that is enforceable in the courts of 165 countries.
FQX was founded in 2019 by four co-founders: Frank Wendt, CEO, a former senior management consultant at KPMG with expertise in cash flow optimization, treasury, financial supply chain and customer/supplier finance; Dr Philipp von Randow, General Counsel, Retired Partner of Latham & Watkins LLP and an expert in credit agreements, bonds and out-of-court restructurings who has advised the German government on the modernization of bondholder law; Benedikt Schuppli, COO, a lawyer and entrepreneur with deep expertise in blockchain and fintech; and Dr Des Stephan D. Meyer, CPO, with a PhD in blockchain & law, university lecturer and attorney specialising in fin(legal)tech.The core team is based primarily in Zurich with members, and Germany, Lithuania and in the UK with a London presence that is expanding in 2021; supported by an Advisory Board of experienced individuals.FQX is a partner of Swisscom for the use of Qualified Electronic Signatures. All eNotes are stored on the banking-grade DLT-infrastructure of Swisscom and Swiss Post. For more information, please visit www.fqx.ch or www.fqxnotes.com.
About James Courtenay
James Courtenay has over 30 years of experience in credit markets with detailed knowledge of managing debt transactions. Until April 2017, he was Global Head of Corporates at Standard Chartered Bank, where he had overall responsibility for all the bank’s large corporate clients across Africa, Asia and the Middle East. In this role he was involved in all major credit decisions for his clients and was responsible for effective allocation of risk-weighted assets to the bank’s large corporate relationships. Mr. Courtenay joined Standard Chartered in 2009 and was previously responsible for all Infrastructure and Advisory businesses at the bank. Before joining Standard Chartered, Mr. Courtenay was global head of leveraged and real estate finance with Dutch bank ABN Amro. After graduating from King’s College, London (LLB : Law) in 1986, he worked in Leveraged Finance and High Yield at Bankers Trust, before setting up and managing CIBC’s leveraged loan, mezzanine and High Yield business in Europe.
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