MACT is back on the scene in Malaysia, spearheaded by a number of large corporates. Its mission? To help solve pain points for treasury professionals operating in the country and across the region.
Major corporates, including Telekom Malaysia, Astro, MISC, Axiata, Genting, UEM Group Berhad, Malaysia Airline System (MAS) and SunGard, have encouraged the relaunch of the Malaysian Association of Corporate Treasurers (MACT), which took place on 9th October in Kuala Lumpur.
In an interview with Treasury Today, Anne Rodrigues, President, MACT, identified two reasons for relaunching the association in the current conjuncture: “Corporate, as well as individual members, have found the need to have a forum for discussion and the exchange of views, plus have a representative body to meet with regulators on issues of common interest. The other impetus was that an increasing number of companies are going global and thus needed MACT as a resource centre for many of their transactions. Training for new entrants joining the profession is also key and remains as one of our strategic objectives.”
The MACT wants to position itself as a “centre of excellence” for all aspects related to treasury management within Malaysia. For the past several months, it has been working toward setting up a reliable forum for treasury practitioners’ to exchange views and share information on the financial market and the economy.
It aspires to be the recognised body to articulate common views of its members to regulatory bodies, banks, vendors, and training institutes. The MACT will also work together with these parties to raise the knowledge level of treasury management in Malaysia.
Currently with less than 100 members, the association will now spread its wings to other corporates and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) within Malaysia, as well as reach out to those who have already indicated interest in order to finalise their membership. “We hope to work together with the Central Bank of Malaysia and other banks to reach out to SMEs,” explains Rodrigues. “We already have a strong database of SMEs and intend to tap into this.”
MACT is committed in its approach towards providing financial literacy and training, thereby elevating present skill levels, particularly in the complex areas of treasury management, while at the same time supporting learning and on the job training and education for newcomers in the profession.
According to Rodrigues, the greatest challenges treasury professionals in Malaysia face include:
Efficiency in cash management.
High transaction cost.
Tax and regulatory roadblocks.
Reporting efficiency across entities within the group.
Access to timely information for effective decision-making.
A main objective of the MACT is to “maintain, nurture and step up existing dialogue” with sister treasury associations in countries, including Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia, UK, and those associations affiliated to the International Group of Treasury Association (IGTA). One of the principle functions behind such information exchange is sharing of views on common issues and updates on matters of present day economic concern and interest. MACT will also serve as a single point of contact for treasurers worldwide intending to seek information on prevailing treasury practices and new regulations affecting the treasury scenario in Malaysia.
“We have been in touch with regional sister associations, as well as the IGTA, and intend to play a productive role as a reference point for information on treasury-related information required by these associations, as well as the other way around,” says Rodrigues.