A Message from the Chair – October 2020

On October 23, BAFT’s Board Chair, Mark Garfield, published his monthly communication to the wider BAFT membership.

In my history classes in school much of the study of countries and societies centered around the trade of commodities; nutmeg, silk, coffee. In my finance classes, the most popular commodity mentioned in studying market prices was pork bellies. I enjoyed learning about transportation developments from the creation of the Erie, Suez, and Panama canals to move commodities more efficiently.

Maybe that is why I chose to pursue international banking which supports, finances and transacts the trade of commodities from agricultural products such as grains, nuts, and meat products to hard commodities like essential minerals, oil and gas, and the daily trading of currencies. It has kept every day interesting and fast-paced. Plus, from working with a trading company a few years back I learned that from pork bellies we get bacon!

This summer brought with it unusual circumstances in the commodities and logistics markets. The spot market in oil was in the negative. Cargo vessels were unable to unload commodities as ports were closed. There were storage shortages and disrupted supply chains.

This disruption as well as the rapid pace of technological change raises many questions. What are the immediate issues commodity industries are facing? Which commodities will be in the greatest demand in the future? How will they be delivered most efficiently? Where does sustainability fit in? Will there be virtual commodities in virtual currencies? How will our banking industry change to continue to support the exchange of commodities globally? Where are our clients looking to us to lead?

On Tuesday, October 27, we will have the opportunity to listen to three commodity companies in the second series of The BAFT Crystal Ball Series. It is an excellent chance to hear industry leaders discuss the future of the commodity markets in our ever-changing world. Thinking back to my high school science classes where I used a slide ruler to solve equations in my first year but by my third year, thankfully, I had an electronic calculator…today is moving even faster.

While this session is hosted in a European and Asian friendly time zone, our members based in North America, like me, can register to receive access to the on-demand recording.

See you soon virtually!

Mark Garfield
BAFT Chair
Head of Global Financial Institutions
Zions Bancorporation