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November/December 2011

All issues

Editorial

A little less conversation…

A little more action please. This is what is being asked of the Eurozone leaders as the frequent summits continue to provide little comfort or confidence to markets across the globe. While these meetings naturally have an agenda, questions are being asked as to whether European bureaucracy is the true hindrance to resolving the sovereign debt crisis.

Whatever the arguments may be as to why a solution has not yet been found, the paralysis of political leaders has been, at best, embarrassing and at worst, threatens to plunge global markets into a deeper downward spiral. So, the world is watching and waiting with bated breath to see whether, what began as a Greek debt crisis, will end up as Europe’s very own ‘Lehman’s moment.’

As tempting as it is to sit back and observe though, have we not learned anything from the troubles of 2007/8? All those hours, days and months spent fire-fighting as the crisis hit were when opportunities managed to slip by – at least for treasurers. So, don’t leave it too late this time round; plan ahead and be prepared.

While the ‘back to basics’ approach that treasurers adopted so successfully during (what is now being referred to as) the ‘first crisis’ or ‘crisis: part one,’ is still relevant today, the Eurozone troubles bring with them their own unique challenges. After all, are government bonds still ‘risk-free assets’ in your mind?

In order to give treasurers a steer through these testing times, Treasury Today has put together a special ‘survival guide’ to the Eurozone crisis, which is being published alongside this edition of the magazine. In it you will find an in-depth analysis of the troubles facing the single currency area, as well as a sober look at the euro’s future. We also outline what treasurers can do to make sure their company is well positioned to withstand any fallout if the euro unravels. For example, have you considered:

  • Whether new supplier contracts should contain currency clauses stipulating the obligations in the event of a country leaving the euro?

  • How your technology, such as a TMS or a payroll system, would cope with currency changes?

  • What will happen if a local entity in one of the peripheral member states suddenly loses its access to credit?

These are all valid questions – and ones which treasurers should prepare answers to sooner rather than later. Let’s make sure this crisis is all about contingency, not contagion.

Join our peer discussion about coping with the euro sovereign debt crisis at http://treasurytoday.com/forum or share your thoughts with us by emailing eleanor.hill@treasurytoday.com