Proving it wasn’t just a Baker Hughes phenomenon, another first-timer, Gianluca Gubbini, Director, International Treasury, Viacom (Overall Winner, Best Working Capital Management Solution) said “it was great to meet and share ideas with a lot of my peers who are working on similar projects”.
There is of course value in treasury being able to demonstrate its successes to other parts of the business. This is not about bragging rights but about creating awareness of what treasury can do for other functions, and how the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.
Overall Winner of Best Trade Solution was GE, led by Lynda McGoey, Managing Director, Global Head of Trade Finance. She told us that aside from the award being “an absolute honour”, it serves to highlight the importance of the global trade finance team, “our work is not always as readily understood” as some more visible treasury activities. With the win having been “communicated and celebrated” throughout GE by the Senior VP of Treasury, she reported a sense of corporate pride.
For Royston Da Costa, Assistant Group Treasurer at Ferguson, it too was “a great privilege” to accept the inaugural award for Best Cyber-Security Solution on behalf of Ferguson. He added that it was “a great honour to be recognised for the work that has been put into this extremely important area in the midst of peers from companies that are setting the pace in treasury”.
Sharing new ground
Of course, every winner has something inspiring to offer. In 2019’s new Best Sustainable Finance Solution category, the winning team from Renewi, led by Group Treasurer Adam Richford, is taking the lead on what is a vital matter for us all.
Lauded for converting its main €550m banking facilities into a green loan using a green finance framework, it managed to link its loan rates to the ESG performance of the Group via five KPIs and a series of targets for each outstanding year.
“Winning this award gives us another reason to shout about sustainability, which is fundamentally what Renewi is all about,” said Richford. “Anything that adds to that corporate narrative is welcome. It’s also great recognition for a lot of hard work that will hopefully encourage other treasurers to follow this path.”
With sustainability gathering a huge ground-swell of support, it was a hard choice in this hotly contested category. Highly Commended Winner was Republic of Seychelles. Patrick Payet, Secretary of State for Finance, Trade, Investment and Economic Planning, explained how the country went to the capital markets with a US$15m ten-year ‘Blue Bond’. With 100% of the proceeds earmarked for supporting the regional development of a sustainable marine economy, this a truly unique project of consequence.
“Seychelles is the first issuer of a Blue Bond; we are setting the example to the rest of the world,” commented Payet. “As a small island economy, we can develop our programme with other countries and they will see that if we can do it, so can they.”
Traditional categories continue to reveal imaginative approaches to treasury too. As leader of this year’s Highly Commended Winner, Top Treasury Team, James Kelly, Group Treasurer at Pearson, explained the scale of its ambition.
Within one year, it formed an in-house bank, including all internal funding, netting and FX management, launched SWIFT connectivity, designed a strategic FX policy, launched an innovative and effective hedging strategy, arranged the complete re-financing of its central RCF, and consolidated its banks. Oh, and the team also devised, created and launched the first ever sustainable lending facility linked to UN educational targets. As Kelly said, there has been “a lot of blood, sweat and tears” invested by the team throughout.