BoA Merrill Poll Ranks Payment Priorities in Asia Pacific

Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BofA Merrill) said that the latest in a series of webcasts the bank is hosting this year on global payment trends tackled the most pressing questions companies have on doing business in the Asia Pacific (APAC) region.

In a poll conducted during the Asia Pacific webcast, participants were asked to identify which key business objectives this year will impact their payments activity in the region. The results, from 76 of the bank’s APAC clients were as follows:

  •  Improving straight-through delivery of payments with APAC trading partners – 30%.
  •  Expanding the corporate footprint for greater direct presence in the region – 23%.
  •  Negotiating better payment terms with APAC trading partners – 18%.
  •  Establishing an in-region treasury/payment centre – 12%.
  •  Growing exports to the region – 9%.
  •  Growing imports from the region – 8%.

“While there’s continued debate about improving speed in the US payments system, from our clients’ point of view, it’s not speed but rather the transition to electronic payments and improving remittance information that will alleviate the biggest pain points,” said Ather Williams, head of global payments in the bank’s global transaction services (GTS) group.

Percy Batliwalla, global head of GTS sales, added: “Asia can be viewed as a complex region to make payments, given how each country has its own distinct regulatory framework and clearing systems. Furthermore, with the consolidation of clearing systems and the evolution of paper to electronic, it is essential that banks operating in the region have direct memberships with the various clearing platforms to effect seamless payments across multiple markets.”

BofA Merrill said that a webcast on Europe is scheduled for next quarter and will include a discussion on the single euro payments area (SEPA) and other payment developments.

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