A decade defined by exceptional achievement

Published: Jul 2017

Celebrating ten years of the Adam Smith Awards

On Thursday 22nd June 2017, the very best and brightest from the treasury universe descended on the City of London to celebrate each other’s success at the tenth anniversary of the Treasury Today Adam Smith Awards. Hosted at the magnificent Plaisterers’ Hall situated by the ancient City Wall of London, the event’s location echoed the importance of the day.

Since launching back in 2008, the Adam Smith Awards programme has become universally recognised as the industry benchmark for achievement. Beginning in London in 2008, the programme was widened with the launch of the Adam Smith Awards Asia in 2013, which have gone from strength to strength, with over 200 submissions of their own in 2016. The Treasury Today Group are proud that wherever you are in the world, if you are demonstrating true excellence in our industry, an Adam Smith Award is the certified mark of this achievement.

Showcasing the very best of the work done by Treasurers, CFOs and Finance Directors, the Adam Smith Awards place treasury firmly in the spotlight. This year the programme received an overwhelming number of submissions, with 211 nominations spanning 30 countries. With Herc Rentals, Etihad Aviation Group, Microsoft, PepsiCo and Emirates Airlines amongst those honoured, it was a who’s who of leading corporates.

Taking the spotlight

The Gala Presentation Lunch began with a networking drinks reception, followed by an introductory speech from Treasury Today’s founder, Angela Berry. The opening speech reflected not just on this year’s award winners, but on the changes in the industry since the awards were launched and the increasingly high regard in which the treasury profession is held. She explained that, “2017 is the tenth anniversary of the Adam Smith Awards and this is a great time to reflect on where we are in our industry today. In June 2008 at the very first Adam Smith Awards Gala Presentation Lunch, none of us could have imagined the seismic shifts in the global geopolitical and economic environment that have occurred. Since the Global Financial Crisis and over the past decade the role of treasury as a true strategic partner to the business has been established as you are challenged to deliver better and more innovative solutions. We are proud that an Adam Smith Award is the benchmark of that achievement.”

Following the lunch, it was time for the awards ceremony, with crystal awards presented by Richard Parkinson, Managing Director, and Meg Coates, Associate Publisher EMEA and Americas. It was Herc Rentals who took home the coveted Top Treasury Team Award. It was also a great year for Etihad Aviation Group who were Overall Winner of the Best in Class Treasury Solution in the Middle East and won Highly Commended awards in the Best Funding Solution category, the Best Risk Management Solution category and the Best Trade/Supply Chain Finance Solution category. Microsoft also had a hugely successful year, taking home the Overall Winner award in the One to Watch category, the Best Trade/Supply Chain Finance Solution, the Best Cash Flow Forecasting Solution and Judges’ Choice award and Highly Commended awards in the Best in Class Treasury Solution in Africa and Best Cash Flow Solution categories.

What does winning an award mean?

We asked some of this year’s winners what an Adam Smith Award means to them. Who else can better describe what the awards represent and who they honour?

World Vision International

Overall Winner, Best Foreign Exchange Solution

World Vision International who this year were recognised as our Overall Winner, Best Foreign Exchange Solution, Ashwin Ramji, Global Assistant Treasurer replied, “Global treasury made the decision to implement a foreign exchange hedging programme over ten years ago, but recognised that static hedging is inconsistent with active cash management. It was imperative to synchronise the two, but change management takes time. Over the past few years, global treasury pursued this goal relentlessly by eliminating internal silos and emphasising a consistent message throughout the partnership that cash and risk are on the same continuum. Its effort has paid off handsomely, including its ability to generate gains by its active FX risk management programme. Today, World Vision International’s global treasury is a world-class treasury function recognised for excellence by its corporate peers, as evidenced by receiving the Adam Smith Award for Best Foreign Exchange Solution.”

F. Hoffmann-La Roche

Overall Winner, Best SWIFT Solution

F. Hoffmann-La Roche who were our Overall Winner, Best SWIFT Solution, represented by Marco Braehler, Head of Treasury Back Office responded as follows: “We are very proud and honoured that our hard work and treasury expertise has been identified to be a winner for the tenth Adam Smith Awards ceremony. It reflects not only the success of a single project, but our long-term efforts towards a centralised and best in class treasury, organisational and technology wise.” Braehler added that he hoped their experiences could help the treasury community in recognising “the right centralised strategy, in-house treasury technology expertise and a long-term partnership with SWIFT were the success factors for this project. It was all about connecting the right people to overcome the major hurdles along the implementation path.”

Herc Rentals

Overall Winner, Treasury Today’s Top Treasury Team

Herc Rentals were 2017’s Overall Winner for the highly coveted Treasury Today’s Top Treasury Team Award. Mustally Hussain, their Vice President and Treasurer, shared his thoughts on winning this outstanding award, “Winning an Adam Smith Award is an excellent validation of our effort to build a great team and deliver value to the broader enterprise as a strategic business partner. In summary, Herc designed a centralised treasury department with automated processes and advanced analytics to deliver benefits to the enterprise. These benefits ranged from re-engineering cash and banking operations to prudent risk and stakeholder management.”

Christy Barwick – Intellectual Ventures

Highly Commended, Treasury Today Woman of the Year 2017

Treasury Today Group’s worldwide Women in Treasury initiative plots the treasury profession’s path to diversity. Christy Barwick of Intellectual Ventures was recognised as recipient of our Highly Commended award in the Woman of the Year category. Whilst there are a number of exceptional female treasurers who are achieving great things, the profession remains largely male dominated and we want to honour those women who are excelling in their professions whilst also driving diversity in the treasury community. Christy Barwick shared some of her thoughts on why diversity in this space is important, “I think when you look at it from a finance perspective and how we can increase the return on investment, which is by increasing diversification or diversity within the group, that can add a lot of value and increase the ROI of an organisation”.

When asked what advice she would offer to women seeking to build a career in treasury, Barwick responded, “I would highly recommend that women seek out mentors within the finance and treasury community, primarily for three reasons. Firstly, it will help expand your professional network. Secondly, it will offer you a different perspective on certain challenges that you might be facing, and finally, it will help set you up for success in terms of finding opportunities rather than roadblocks.”

Fear of missing out?

This is just a small sample of some of the success stories heard as part of the 2017 Adam Smith Awards. In the final analysis, in spite of – or perhaps because of – continuing issues around regulation, financial uncertainty and all manner of risk, treasurers have clearly risen to the challenge. As each year’s Adam Smith Awards event comes around and the panel of judges are presented with the unenviable task of selecting winners, it is obvious that this is one profession that is constantly on the hunt for the next improvement and we can only imagine how it will evolve over the next ten years.

If you think that you or your team deserve recognition for your diligence and dedication then fear not! Nominations for our Adam Smith Awards Asia are now open and will close on 8th September 2017. The Adam Smith Awards Asia honour excellence in corporate treasury implemented in the Asia Pacific area and our Gala Presentation lunch will be held on 13th November in Singapore. Nominations for the next Adam Smith Awards recognising those in EMEA and the US will open in January 2018.

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