In celebration of the 30th anniversary of the IACT, Treasury Today catches up with its current President and two former presidents to reflect on the Association’s role in promoting the treasury profession in Ireland.
Founding Member and Former President,
Director, Group Treasury,
Senior Investment Manager,
Johnson & Johnson
When the Irish Association of Corporate Treasurers (IACT) formed in 1987, only a handful of treasury centres resided in the country. Today, Ireland is one of the world’s foremost treasury destinations, playing host to the European treasury centres of many of the world’s largest corporations.
There have been many factors contributing to the growth of Ireland’s position as a global treasury hub. One factor that cannot be overlooked is the role the IACT has played in promoting and formalising the profession in the country.
Jimmy Doyle, one of the founders of the IACT and its third president explains: “When myself, Gerry English and Aengus Murphy formed the Association, our primary objective was to educate the corporate sector in Ireland about the benefits of prudent financial risk management and the value a professional corporate treasury department could deliver.” But there was a more protective element at work here too. He continues: “We wanted to make sure that the treasury profession in Ireland had a collective voice to articulate the requirements of treasurers and to ensure that the banks delivered the appropriate products.”
In the early years, the IACT also started playing a crucial role in educating treasury professionals. “We ran a course in treasury management at Dublin City University,” explains Doyle. “Over 350 treasury professionals have graduated from this course and they form the basis of a well-educated and talented treasury community here in Ireland.”
The status of the IACT as an educator has increased as the treasury profession has developed over the past 30 years. Stuart Kirk, Director, Group Treasury at Xerox and former IACT President, says that this educational role proved vital during the financial crisis, providing Ireland’s treasury professionals with the skill set to deal with the challenges ahead.
“The true value of the IACT really came to the fore during this time,” says Kirk. “The networks that were created through the Association meant that no matter what the issue, treasurers had peers they could speak to, sounding out their ideas and finding the path to the right solution. These networks have continued to be important post-crisis as the role of treasury has expanded in all organisations and gained a seat at the top table.”
Today, the IACT is central to the treasury landscape in Ireland. Its primary objectives remain to educate the treasury community and facilitate networking between treasury professionals in the country.
“The modern treasurer should be curious, constantly learning and adapting how they work to meet the changing needs of the businesses they serve,” says Lorcan Travers, Senior Investment Manager at Johnson & Johnson and current President of the IACT. “The role of the IACT today is to cut through the noise. This will help ensure that our members are informed about the topics that matter to them, allowing them to continue offering value to the business.” The IACT is, he adds, also always ready to “facilitate conversation, providing treasury professionals in Ireland with a network of peers who they can turn to for advice and benchmark themselves against”.
Networking and encouraging debate around latest treasury topics and industry megatrends are high on the agenda for the upcoming IACT Corporate Treasury & Cash Management Conference. “We will cover the full gamut of topics presented by many overseas speakers, ranging from technical treasury skills to the impact fintech will have on the profession,” says Travers. “The conference will be interactive, with different formats facilitating audience participation,” he explains. “I encourage all members of the IACT to come along to the event on 15th November at Croke Park, Dublin.”