The business landscape has undergone significant changes in the last three years. Supply chain disruptions, economic pressures and environmental changes have meant that companies are seeking more effective ways of assessing and managing the risk of default among their trading partners. 
As a veteran in the trade insurance market, there is a constant need for Coface to adapt and evolve with the changing business environment. It is essential to stay ahead of the evolution and continually fine-tune Coface’s response to these changes. The company has built a business intelligence unit, bringing together the data and expertise accumulated from its underwriting work, and is now able to present that to users through URBA, a platform that provides trade insight, portfolio-level risk scoring and real-time monitoring. 
Ian Chow, Coface’s regional product manager of business information for Asia Pacific, outlines how default risk assessment is changing in the new environment, and how URBA can help companies make more informed decisions. 
GTR: How are changing market conditions affecting the way companies manage supply chains? 
Chow: To set the scene, the business operating environment today has shifted significantly from where we were at the end of 2019, and we see this on a few fronts. 
On cash flow, some businesses have traditionally depended on supplier financing of sorts to manage working capital, toggling the gap between payment received from clients and payment made to suppliers to optimise cash flow. This has become harder in recent years, as companies are now more focused on accounts receivable management and collection, putting further strain on companies’ cash flow as business and demand slows.  
In terms of financing, the higher rates have also made it more expensive to finance working capital needs, stretching the funds needed to run day-to-day operations for some companies.  
Operationally, heightened geopolitical concerns have also affected supply chain consideration and selection. This, together with high logistics costs, has meant that the practice of nearshoring and friendshoring is gaining prominence, in the bid to reduce supply chain disruption. 
Unfortunately, these strategies are not always the most cost-effective option, nor the most operationally efficient. 
All these can have an impact on the sustainability of a company, affecting its cash flow, competitiveness and business viability. 
GTR: Historically, what kind of data or information has the market tended to use to assess a company’s default risk? Are there limitations to that approach?  
Chow: The changing environment means that when a company is assessing default risk, it is no longer enough to make an assessment based on that company’s financial performance, ownership and operation.  
This is quite different from the conventional approach in evaluating creditworthiness, because now, you not only have to understand the entity-level performance, but will also need to place greater emphasis on all these external factors and the environment in which the company is operating. 
That could include the countries in which that company is active, the sectors where it has exposures and more importantly, its trade network: who it is trading with and whether it is part of a larger group. These are all factors you will to take into consideration before making that final trading decision. 
From a trade insurance perspective, you need to understand everything there is to know, from political risk to environmental risk, as understanding just the entity-level risk is no longer sufficient. 
Also, while companies might previously have been able to make these decisions based on their own internal networks and information, this is limited to whether the dealings are with companies that you are already familiar with, or if you are in a space where there is extensive domain knowledge and built-up expertise. 
There are limitations there in terms of scope. For example, you might have significant knowledge in North Asia, but because of the current market situation, you need to explore new regions and find new counterparties.  
Our response to that has been to bring the strength of Coface’s underwriting to a new space; tools that historically were used by our underwriters are being brought to the Asia Pacific market. 
GTR: Why has Coface developed URBA, and more broadly, why is Coface expanding its trade credit insurance offering to a business information offering? 
Chow: If you look at how we started as a company, we predominantly provide trade insurance, which means we protect against default. We have come to realise that as we carry out these assessments and continually monitor these companies, we are accumulating data and expertise that we can use to cater to our customers in different ways. 
Imagine if traditionally, you’ve been buying insurance from Coface for the last 30 or 40 years. You probably have a sense that this is a good way of assessing businesses, and might start talking to us about that. Where customers used to buy insurance protection from us, they’re now also asking us for help with assessment. This is a fairly recent trend, and a lot of that is driven by those changing market conditions we discussed. 
At the same time, the whole world is moving towards dashboard-style apps, for efficiency. Our new URBA platform gives our customers that dashboard view, so you have a holistic view of a company at the portfolio level, taking into account all those environmental and contextual points and evaluating risk based on a wide range of factors. 
GTR: What kinds of information does URBA bring together, how is that presented to users and how does it fit into Coface’s trade credit insurance offering? What is different about URBA compared to other business information products in the market? 
Chow: One feature of Coface’s assessment is an incorporation insurance indicator. That takes in who a company is trading with, what exposure they have, and most importantly, the instances of actual invoice default. 
Coface also invests heavily in linking companies together to understand the total portfolio-level risk exposure, and we undertake our insurance decisions based on these trade insights. 
The result of all we do is where URBA stands out: our ability to show the likelihood of invoice default over a 12-to-18-month period and understand the company not only at a point in time but how it has evolved over time, allowing you to make informed trading decisions on that company. 
Another feature of URBA is real-time, 24-hour monitoring. With trade insurance, you need to understand whether there is any change in the operating environment, or within the trade network, that could have a material impact on the company. 
For instance, if we see financial stress in any part of the company’s trade network, we will immediately re-evaluate our exposure to this company and alert stakeholders of these changes. 
All in all, URBA is a dashboard that allows our customers to understand not only the company-level performance but also the network in which it is operating. Best of all, it has the ability to keep our clients informed of any material changes to the credit quality of their counterparts, allowing them the ease of mind to focus on growing their business. 
It is a modern tool designed for the fast-evolving business landscape in a globally connected world.  
GTR: What is different about URBA compared to other business information products in the market? 
Chow: A quick example that springs to mind would be the exposure on a Japanese trading company for seafood. 
Where most information providers would have tapped on and made assessments based on company information, last known financials and operational track records for its evaluation, it may lack the ability to provide for the shift in the operating environment arising from the decision to release the treated radioactive waters off the coast of Fukushima into the Pacific on August 24, 2023.                                                                                                                                         
The UBRA platform, backed by the Coface underwriting expertise and its vast analytical assets, allows UBRA clients to be notified immediately of any change in the credit quality of their counterparts arising from the exposure of its trade network. 
The information we are showing in URBA is the same that we use to make decisions on the €650bn in exposure that Coface as a trade credit insurer has. 
As with the highlighted case, these changes can include countries that Japanese companies are exporting seafood to, as well as the regulatory reaction in destination markets, changes in trade volume in Japan’s seafood export market, observance of actual invoice defaults and consideration of trade interconnectivity, both domestically and globally, for the said company and its related industry. 
In essence, with Coface, each assessment is differentiated not in what is considered for assessment, but the depth and width of what is assessed. 
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This Privacy Policy outlines the information we may collect about you in relation to your use of our websites, events, related publications and services (“personal data”) and how we may use that personal data. It also outlines the methods by which we and our service providers may (subject to necessary consents) monitor your online behaviour to deliver customised advertisements, marketing materials and other tailored services. This Privacy Policy also tells you how you can verify the accuracy of your personal data and how you can request that we delete or update it.
This Privacy Policy applies to all websites operated by Exporta Publishing & Events Ltd (as indicated on the relevant website).
This privacy statement does not cover the activities of third parties, and you should consult those third-party sites’ privacy policies for information on how your data is used by them.
Any questions regarding this Policy and our privacy practices should be sent by e-mail to or by writing to Data Protection Officer at, Exporta Publishing & Events Ltd, 4 Hillgate Place, London, SW12 9ER, United Kingdom. Alternatively, you can telephone our London headquarters at +44 (0) 20 8673 9666.
Established in 2002 and with offices in London and Singapore, Exporta Publishing & Events Ltd is the world’s leading trade and trade finance media company, offering information, news, events and services for companies and individuals involved in global trade.
Our principal business activities are:
Exporta Publishing & Events Ltd is a company registered in the United Kingdom with company number 4407327 | VAT Registration: 799 1585 59
This Data Protection Policy explains when and why we collect personal information about people who visit our website, how we use it, the conditions under which we may disclose it to others and how we keep it secure.
Why do we collect information from you?
Our primary goal in collecting personal data from you is to give you an enjoyable customised experience whilst allowing us to provide services and features that will meet your needs.
We collect certain personal data from you, which you give to us when using our Site and/or registering or subscribing for our products and services. However, we also give you the option to access our Sites’ home pages without subscribing or registering or disclosing your personal data.
We also collect certain personal data from other group companies to whom you have given information through their websites (including, by way of example, Exporta Publishing & Events Ltd and subsidiaries, in accordance with the purposes listed below). Should we discover that any such personal data has been delivered to any of the Sites, we will remove that information as soon as possible.
This Data Protection Policy ensures Exporta Publishing & Events Ltd:
We may change this Policy from time to time so please check this page occasionally to ensure that you’re happy with any changes. By using our website, you’re agreeing to be bound by this Policy.
The Data Protection Act 1998 described how organisations – including Exporta Publishing & Events Ltd – must collect, handle and store personal information. These rules apply regardless of whether data is stored electronically, on paper or on other materials. To comply with the law, personal information collected must be stored safely, not disclosed unlawfully and used fairly.
The Data Protection Act is underpinned by eight important principles. These say that personal data must:
We obtain information about you when you use our website, for example, when you contact us about products and services, when you register for an event, register to receive eNewsletters, subscribe or register for a trial to our GTR magazine/website.
On some Sites, Exporta Publishing & Events Ltd collects personal data such as your name, job title, department, company, e-mail, phone, work and/or home address, in order to register you for access to certain content, subscriptions and events. In addition, we may also store information including IP address and page analytics, including information regarding what pages are accessed, by whom and when.
This information is used to administer and deliver to you the products and/or services you have requested, to operate our Sites efficiently and improve our service to you, and to retain records of our business transactions and communications. By using the Sites and submitting personal information through the registration process you are agreeing that we may collect, hold, process and use your information (including personal information) for the purpose of providing you with the Site services and developing our business, which shall include (without limitation) the purposes described in the below paragraphs.
Where, as part of our Site services, we enable you to post information or materials on our Site, we may access and monitor any information which you upload or input, including in any password-protected sections. Subject to any necessary consents, we also monitor and/or record the different Sites you visit and actions taken on those Sites, e.g. content viewed or searched for. If you are a registered user (e.g. a subscriber or taking a trial), when you log on, this places a cookie on your machine. This enables your access to content and services that
are not publicly available. Once you are logged on, the actions you take – for example, viewing an article – will be recorded (subject to any necessary consents). We may use technology or a service provider to do this for us. This information may be used for one or more of the following purposes:
Please see paragraph 5 below for more information on cookies and similar technologies and a link to a page where you can turn them on or off.
Some of your personal data collected under paragraphs 1 and 2 above may be used by us to contact you by e-mail, telephone and/or post for sending information or promotional material on our products and/or services and/or those of our other group companies. We give you the opportunity to opt-out of receiving marketing communications. Further detail can be found on the applicable Site and in the footer of each marketing communication sent by us, our group companies or service providers. See also “Consents and opt-outs” section below. We will not share your information with third parties for marketing purposes.
We may analyse your personal information to create a profile of your interests and preferences so that we can contact you with information relevant to you.
All our Sites use cookies and similar technical tools to collect information about your access to the Site and the services we provide.
When you enter some sites, your computer will be issued with a cookie. Cookies are text files that identify your computer to servers. Cookies in themselves do not identify the individual user, just the computer used.
Many sites do this whenever a user visits their site in order to track traffic flows, recording those areas of the site that have been visited by the computer in question, and for how long.
Users have the opportunity to set their computers to accept all cookies, to notify them when a cookie is issued, or not to receive cookies at any time. Selecting not to receive means that certain personalised services Exporta Publishing & Events Ltd offers cannot then be provided to that user.
All of the major browser providers offer advice on setting up and using the privacy and security functions for their products. If you require technical advice or support for a specific browser/version please contact the provider or visit their website for further details: / / / / / / /
Most web browsers automatically accept cookies but, if you prefer, you can change your browser to prevent that, or to notify you each time a cookie is set. You can also learn more about cookies in general by visiting which includes additional useful information on cookies and how to block cookies using different types of browser. Please note however, that by blocking, deleting or turning off cookies used on the Site you may not be able to take full advantage of the Site.
E-mail tracking is a method for monitoring the e-mail delivery to those subscribers who have opted-in to receive marketing e-mails from GTR, including GTR Africa, GTR Asia, GTR Americas, GTR Europe, GTR Mena, GTR eNews, Third party e-mails and GTR Ventures.
So that we can better understand our users’ needs, we track responses, subscription behaviour and engagement to our e-mails – for example, to see which links are the most popular in newsletters. They enable us to understand the consumers journey through metrics including open rate, click-through rate, bounces and unsubscribes. Any other purposes for which Exporta Publishing & Events Ltd wishes to use your personal data will be notified to you and your personal data will not be used for any such purpose without obtaining your prior consent.
To do this, we use pixel GIFs, also known as “pixel tags” – these are small image files that are placed within the body of our e-mail messages. When that image is downloaded from our web servers, the e-mail is recorded as being opened. By using some form of digitally time-stamped record to reveal the exact time and date that an e-mail was received or opened, as well the IP address of the recipient.
You can give your consent to opt-out of all or any particular uses of your data as indicated above by:
To turn cookies and similar technologies on and off, see the information in paragraph 5 above. Any questions regarding consents and opt-outs should be sent by e-mail to or by writing to Data Protection Officer at, Exporta Publishing & Events Ltd, 4 Hillgate Place, London, SW12 9ER, United Kingdom. Alternatively, you can telephone our London headquarters at +44 (0) 20 8673 9666.
Information collected at one Site may be shared between Exporta Publishing & Events Ltd and other group companies for the purposes listed above.
We may transfer, sell or assign any of the information described in this policy to third parties as a result of a sale, merger, consolidation, change of control, transfer of assets or reorganisation of our business.
Some of our Sites may have a message board, blogs or other facilities for user generated content available and users can participate in these facilities. Any information that is disclosed in these areas becomes public information and you should always be careful when deciding to disclose your personal information.
Services on the Internet are accessible globally so collection and transmission of personal data is not always limited to one country. Exporta Publishing & Events Ltd may transfer your personal data, for the above-listed purposes to other third parties, which may be located outside the European Economic Area and/or with a different level of personal data protection. However, when conducting transfers, we take all necessary steps to ensure that your data is treated reasonably, securely and in accordance with this Privacy Statement.
We are committed to keeping the data you provide us secure and will take reasonable precautions to protect your personal data from loss, misuse or alteration.
However, the transmission of information via the internet is not completely secure. Although we will do our best to protect your personal data, we cannot guarantee the security of your data transmitted to our Site; any transmission is at your own risk. Once we have received your information, we will use strict procedures and security features described above to try to prevent unauthorised access.
We have implemented information security policies, rules and technical measures to protect the personal data that we have under our control from:
All our employees, contractors and data processors (i.e. those who process your personal data on our behalf, for the purposes listed above), who have access to, and are associated with the processing of your personal data, are obliged to keep the information confidential and not use it for any other purpose than to carry out the services they are performing for us.
Everyone who works for or with Exporta Publishing & Events Ltd has some responsibility for ensuring data is collected, stored and handled appropriately. Each team handling personal data must ensure that it is handled and processed in line with this policy and data protection principles. However, the following people have key areas of responsibility. The board of directors is ultimately responsible for ensuring that Exporta Publishing & Events Ltd meets its legal obligations.
Name of Data Controller
The Data Controller is Exporta Publishing & Events Ltd. Exporta Publishing & Events Ltd is subject to the UK Data Protection Act 1998 and is registered in the UK with the Information Commissioner`s Office.
If you wish to know whether we are keeping personal data about you, or if you have an enquiry about our privacy policy or your personal data held by us, in relation to any of the Sites, you can contact the Data Protection Officer via:
Upon request, we will provide you with a readable copy of the personal data which we keep about you. We may require proof of your identity and may charge a small fee (not exceeding the statutory maximum fee that can be charged) to cover administration and postage.
Exporta Publishing & Events Ltd allows you to challenge the data that we hold about you and, where appropriate in accordance with applicable laws, you may have your personal information:
In certain circumstances, the Data Protection Act allows personal data to be disclosed to law enforcement agencies without the consent of the data subject. Under these circumstances, Exporta Publishing & Events Ltd, will disclose requested data. However, the Data Controller will ensure the request is legitimate, seeking assistance from the board and from the company’s legal advisors where necessary.
We will occasionally update this Privacy Statement to reflect new legislation or industry practice, group company changes and customer feedback. We encourage you to review this Privacy Statement periodically to be informed of how we are protecting your personal data.
Exporta Publishing & Events Ltd aims to ensure that individuals are aware that their data is being processed, and that they understand.
To this end, the company has a privacy statement, setting out how data relating to individuals is used by the company. This is available on request and available on the company’s website.
We keep this Policy under regular review. This Privacy Statement was last updated in April 2018.