Treasury Today Country Profiles in association with Citi

HAVAS Creative Group

HAVAS Creative Group, Highly Commended, First Class Bank Relationship Management

Chalene Aw, Havas Creative Group and Deepan Dagur, ANZ

Geographic coverage was the key factor in this solution which required the partner bank to be able to satisfy this company’s needs in the Indo-China region comprising Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand.

Photo of Chalene Aw, Havas Creative Group and Deepan Dagur, ANZ.

Chalene Aw

Regional Finance Controller

HAVAS Riverorchid Limited is part of HAVAS Group – a French multinational advertising and public relations company, headquartered in Paris. As one of the world’s largest global advertising and communications groups, HAVAS operates in more than 100 countries and employs over 16,000 people.

in partnership with

The challenge

The major challenge for Chalene Aw, Regional Finance controller was to find a banking partner that could provide solutions across multiple geographies in the Indo-China region, namely Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand.

Key challenges

  • Multiple banking partnerships

    Built up to cater for remote banking requirements, with a lack of integration between internal systems and banking software. Inconsistent bank reconciliation processes across business units.

  • High levels of manual processing

    Lack of integration between internal systems and banking software, leading to paper invoices and manual allocation of debtor payments, printing and mailing of remittances, processes to allocate and approve accounts payables.

The Indo-China region, also known as the Greater Mekong, is considered to be a challenging collection of markets given the level of banking infrastructure, local regulations and maturity of banking services offered as compared to other more developed Asian markets.

Aw explains, “HAVAS is exponentially growing its business in the Greater Mekong region and was looking for a banking partner to overcome these challenges, eliminate manual processes, bring in improved controls and visibility at regional level, with efficient movement and settlement of funds. We took a structured review of the business to select a bank to provide a holistic cash management solution.”

The solution

HAVAS’s decision to award the business to ANZ was testament to their ability to recognise the opportunity of aligning treasury outcomes to the longer-term strategic vision of the company, by using technology to drive corporate objectives around operational performance, cost, control, visibility and yield.

The selection of ANZ as a banking partner provided HAVAS with a comprehensive cash management solution, which included an account structure and favourable cut off times in key markets to drive operational efficiencies.

The solution ensured that treasury challenges were being addressed along with the broader corporate objectives. Key features include:

  • Single sign on and transaction initiation capabilities across six countries – Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand and Singapore. ANZ currently is the only foreign bank to offer online electronic banking capability across the Greater Mekong region.

  • Online portal to control cash flows from a central treasury location with enhanced control and visibility in-country, regional and at head office level.

  • Elimination of manual processes with online initiation and confirmation of tax payments, uploading of supporting documents (mandatory requirement) against FX and payment transactions and simplified reconciliation through use of a virtual account solution.

  • Rationalised account structure with real-time access and extended cut-off times on settlements.

Best practice and innovation

Given the long and stable history with the previous banking provider, Aw was instrumental in harnessing HAVAS’s global best practices in methodology of switching banking provider, even when it required challenging the status-quo.

Other objectives unique to treasury included ensuring adherence to treasury policy benchmarks, assessment of counterparty rating risk for deposit-taking banks and use of technology.

“… apart from ANZ bank’s unique positioning as the only regional bank with presence in all our Indochina markets, we are also impressed by the solution offered to us both from a regional standpoint as well as committed local support,” explains Aw.

Key benefits

  • Processes which facilitate HAVAS to move from paper to electronic – tax payments, foreign exchange transaction, cross border payments, sweeps.

  • Operationally efficient account structures with real-time information which would minimise exposure to liquidity and FX risk.

  • A secure ERP connectivity solution with industry security standards. Most importantly a standardised and single platform across all countries.

  • Automated intra-day limits allowing treasury to manage mismatch in timings of receipt and payments.

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