The calibre of entries for the 2017 Adam Smith Awards Asia was extremely high with over 200 nominations received. The overall winners and highly commended winners were presented with stunning crystal awards at the Adam Smith Awards Asia Gala Presentation Lunch on 13th November 2017 at the prestigious Four Seasons hotel in Singapore. Scroll down to see all the winners.
This is a true team effort under the leadership of the Global Treasurer with responsibility for overall treasury management comprising 15 people who run all 60 countries centrally. The team has had to respond to the company repositioning itself from a PC seller to a multi-faceted international technology giant. With over 200 entities covering four regions and approximately 70 banking partners with more than 800 accounts, this is no mean feat. Working capital financing, capital markets, FX and SSC operations have all contributed to this most worthy team achievement.
Samantha’s recent move to head up the Asia Pacific treasury department at IMG is testament to not only her talent and hard work, but also her unrelenting belief in herself. Indeed, one of Samantha’s main mottos in life is: if you want something then go and get it. Throughout her career Samantha has lived up to this and now she is keen to lead by example and bring through the next generation of treasury professionals.
This solution harnesses all of Maersk Group’s transport and logistics entities to strengthen its ability to be present across its customers’ value chain. The solution is all about enabling global trade, bringing together the flow of goods and money for its customers using a simple digital interface.
Highly Commended: Ball Asia Pacific (Foshan) Metal Container Limited, Booking.com, Anglo-Eastern Univan Group
Overall Winner: Jessica Cheung, BW Maritime
This is a classic cash management solution underpinned by collaboration between the company, its bank and TMS partner. The solution has enabled BW Maritime to transform its entire treasury and IT processes. A new legal entity has been created to be the in-house bank and payment factory for the group and its subsidiaries.
InterGlobe Aviation Limited identified liquidity management as a critical facilitator of continued sales growth and future cost reductions. The company worked with its bank to improve cash flow forecasting accuracy through enhanced analytics and improved visibility which has delivered some impressive benefits.
Overall Winner: Nick Chen, Lenovo (Singapore) Pte Ltd
Lenovo was looking for a working capital solution to improve its balance sheet, so the company went about creating a supplier financing programme with the bank that would see Lenovo negotiate extended payment terms (from 45 to 90 days) with its suppliers while the bank offered Lenovo’s suppliers the option to sell their due-receivables.
Overall Winner: Chen Tao, Gamesa Wind (Tianjin) Co Ltd
The partner bank in this solution structured a RMB200m uncommitted supplier financing purchase programme extended to Gamesa to discount its payables owed to various suppliers. The structure sees the bank purchase 100% of the invoices issued by the suppliers to Gamesa without recourse to the suppliers in case of default by Gamesa.
Highly Commended: Alibaba.com Inc, Vodafone Mobile Services Ltd
Overall Winner: Flora Li, SAIC GM Wuling Automobile Co Ltd
Many of the bank accepted drafts (BADs) that SAIC GM Wuling Automobile Co Ltd (SGMW) receive are issued by smaller banks, leaving the company exposed to high levels of counterparty risk. SGMW collaborated with its bank to develop a tailor-made committed BAD discounting solution.
Highly Commended: Petroliam Nasional Berhad (PETRONAS)
Overall Winner: Michael T. Molloy, Rio Tinto
This card solution has switched 9,000 cards in over 30 countries from six providers to just one in a very short time frame. The solution addresses Rio Tinto’s own T&E needs as well as for its purchasing and B2B requirements. The company required a card which was as reliably accepted in Brazil or Iceland as it was in Australia or the US.
Lenovo currently manages a debt book of around US$3-4bn and taps various market instruments to finance the group’s funding requirements. The team is continuously looking for opportunities to refine the debt mix and, just this year, Lenovo tapped the capital markets for US$500m of long-term senior debt and US$1bn of perpetual debt securities.
By standardising settlement methods and payment terms with suppliers, the entire SCF solution is expected to deliver over US$10m in working capital benefits for Whirlpool, of which US$5.5m has been realised since the solution went live in China and Hong Kong.
Overall Winner: Narongchai Wongthanavimok, Thai Airways International
The solution here addresses two key risks to which THAI Airways was exposed; transaction FX Risk from operating flows and translation FX risk from the balance sheet. These risks are especially heightened during volatile markets. The key concept of the solution is for THAI Airways to use its own net cash surplus in some currencies to service foreign currency debt to reduce FX translation risk, simultaneously, with lower funding cost and to align with its hedge accounting treatment.
Overall Winner: Pooja Nawani and Charles Cao, General Electric
This is a classic example of the value of first class relationships during a major merger of two large companies; Baker Hughes and GE. This project had over 300 touch points across both companies, involving treasury, finance, legal, compliance and business. Similarly, externally the project required regulators, rating agencies and banks to work together.
TDK wanted to include China into its global netting centre and this solution is the first netting filing deal approved by SAFE Shanghai (excluding the SFTZ). This was completed within 20 working days and implemented within just one month. The solution also incorporates the first fully-automated ‘against-the-sun’ US dollar cross-border sweep structure.
After undertaking a market study and strategic review of its global cash positions, JD.COM realised that having the bulk of its cash holdings with banks might be concentrating risk, while consuming time and effort maintaining multiple counterparty bank relationships. The company decided it needed offshore US dollar and onshore RMB solutions which included money market funds.
Highly Commended: South32, BAT Bangladesh Co Ltd, Tenaga Nasional Berhad
Overall Winner: Gary Gray, AIA Group
This life assurance group has a presence in 18 markets across the APAC region and has harnessed technology to fundamentally change their approach to cash management. SWIFT and SAP are key components of this solution.
Overall Winner: Prabakaran Achuthan, BorgWarner Morse Systems India Private Limited
The solution here addresses the difficulties encountered when suppliers outside of India need to be paid in currencies ranging from USD and JPY to EUR and KRW. Furthermore, complex Indian exchange control regulations compound the problems. The digital solution took just under a month to implement.
Highly Commended: Samsung High-Tech Electro-Mechanics (Tianjin) Co Ltd, Thomas Cook (India) Ltd
Overall Winner: Mark Smith, Bacardi Limited
Bacardi wanted to leverage SWIFT to standardise transaction formats, protocols and processes through a single, reliable platform. Given that its project and technical teams were based in the US, Bacardi further worked with its US bank to migrate its host-to-host connectivity to SWIFT for its APAC operations.
Highly Commended: Robert Bosch (SEA) Pte Ltd, Juneyao Air Co Ltd
Overall Winner: Wei Li-Tuomela, Stora Enso China Co Ltd
Stora Enso China Co Ltd operates a unique business model where it partners with local firms to operate via joint ventures (JVs) across China. The company has introduced an innovative liquidity structure which uses a single overdraft facility shared between Stora Enso as the pool header and its participating accounts (the JVs).
Highly Commended: Mondelēz India Foods Pvt Ltd, Amway India Enterprises Pvt Ltd.
Overall Winner: Pradeep Garg and Lalit Khilani, Maruti Suzuki India Limited
Maruti Suzuki India Limited was exposed to significant foreign exchange, commodity price and interest rate exposures. The solution has moved the company away from spreadsheets and it has implemented a project that has fundamentally reshaped the treasury through the usage of best practices.
Overall Winner: Ally Liao, Didi Chuxing Science and Technology
Ride-sharing continues to gain popularity in China and across the globe, Didi Chuxing Science and Technology (Didi) is embarking on an ambitious expansion plan and needed to enhance the payment structure of its app to include an English interface as well as the ability to accept international credit cards. The solution will enable Didi to service over one million foreigners working and living in China, and over 28m visiting tourists annually. Certainly one to watch.
Ariel Liu is a rising star at Johnson Controls International (JCI) who has already proven her treasury prowess by playing a pivotal role in several high-profile projects within the organisation. Ariel is an avid learner with a strong desire to grow and advance her skill set. She started learning Japanese because of the JCH integration project, with the aim to communicate better with her Japanese counterparts from Hitachi. In addition, she is also undergoing the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) programme.
With an eminent career in treasury spanning over 20 years, which involved heading the Asia Pacific treasury functions for various MNCs including Schenker, Apple, Toshiba and now M+W Group, Florence Tan has treasury in her DNA. In a generally male-dominated industry she has shown great passion for her career and achieved much success as a treasury professional in Asia Pacific, a region amongst the most regulated and complex in terms of treasury management.
Highly Commended Winner: Nicole Zheng, Ball Asia Pacific (Foshan) Metal Container Limited
Ball Asia Pacific wanted to optimise its liquidity management and sought solutions to reduce physical bank accounts, achieve full visibility of accounts on a global basis, make reconciliation of payments and receivables more efficient and reduce overall operational and transaction costs. The company worked with a regional and local bank to deliver the solution, where host-to-host connectivity with the local bank is key.
Booking.com books over 1.5m rooms per night. Its major cash management challenges were the problems of dealing with global and trapped currencies, under-developed banking infrastructure, ever-changing regulations and a rapidly growing client base. The company worked with its bank to deliver a solution which involves virtual accounts in Greater Mekong.
Highly Commended Winner: Aiden Fung, Anglo-Eastern Univan Group
This solution has streamlined over 120 accounts across the company’s global footprint, with 80% of the solution successfully implemented within an eight-month period. The solution incorporates a regional cash concentration structure via two-way sweeping to a master account in Hong Kong.
Highly Commended Winner: Sha Sha, NARI Huaisheng Cable Co Ltd
The partner bank has created a payables finance solution – an unsecured trade facility that provides NARI Huaisheng (as the buyer) the flexibility to draw loans based on its working capital cycle. The solution leverages a pre-defined credit facility design based on NARI Huaisheng’s asset conversion cycle (facility tenor).
Alibaba B2B was looking for an end-to-end solution from its banking partner across Hong Kong and the US to automate, simplify and streamline its collections processes, provide liquidity and FX management to improve operational efficiencies and enhance its cash visibility. In addition, Alibaba also wanted to become the first global eCommerce corporate to achieve online collection and domestic collection for its B2B flows.
Highly Commended Winner: Vodafone Mobile Services Ltd
Vodafone has implemented a virtual account-based auto-receipt generation process via near real-time reports received using an SFTP channel into the billing system. This has enabled Vodafone to significantly streamline its order-to-cash process, reduce manual efforts/handoffs in the application of receipts. The treasury and collections team now have complete visibility of collections, mapping directly into Vodafone’s billing system.
Highly Commended Winner: Arnold John Devadason, Petroliam Nasional Berhad (PETRONAS)
This solution has improved the company’s business travel management model and was introduced to 51 subsidiaries involving approximately 33,000 employees across Malaysia. According to MasterCard, “PETRONAS’ programme is the ‘best managed central travel account (CTA) programme globally’ for achieving 100% data excellence and straight through automated reconciliation process.”
Highly Commended Winner: Biren Fozdar, SE Solar Limited
This is a solution involving an innovative transferable letters of credit (LC) structure that would enable onward procurement of capital equipment by SE Solar’s engineering, procurement and construction contractor which hitherto did not have the correct bank facilities to issue LCs to offshore suppliers for procurement of capital goods.
Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL) wanted to re-engineer its trade processes. The advent of digitisation and automation has moved the treasury world forward in leaps and bounds. HUL and its bank have jointly created a project (Trade Digitisation project) which leverages technology and has automated most of the processes, making reconciliation an automatic activity.
Flex has developed a three-pronged solution with its partners, comprising supply chain finance, dynamic discounting and purchasing card. Importantly, the solution took only weeks to complete from a single country pilot to full globalisation.
Highly Commended Winner: Ong Lay Ling, Eurokars Group
Speed was a necessity in this project to organise a combined financing package and enable a seamless takeover and re-launch of the Mazda dealership under PT Eurokars Motor Indonesia’s (PT EMI) leadership. This is an end-to-end trade and supply chain financing solution.
Highly Commended Winner: Judith Leung, Sime Darby Motor Group (HK) Ltd
Sime Darby’s challenge is to efficiently hedge and fund forward payments to car suppliers that enable the costs to be locked in, provide more accurate forecasts to management and ensure market trades (FX and financing) are executed at fair market prices. The response is a cross-asset pre-trade analytics solution.
The strong partnership between Lanxess’ finance and logistics teams, together with clear objectives determined from the onset, were critical to the success of this project which demonstrated first class relations. The approach was key when they embarked on a search for a new trade finance provider.
In partnership with its bank, Nidec designed a treasury centralisation roadmap and established a regional multi-entity, multi-currency notional pooling platform based in Singapore. The initial phase, which was implemented in February 2017, included the opening of ten accounts across the company’s subsidiaries in Hong Kong, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.
Highly Commended Winner: Youngeun Kim, Atlas Copco Korea
This solution comprises domestic and cross-border cash pooling structures in Korea, with some impressive benefits realised. For US dollar cash surpluses, the solution utilises a FX regulation called ‘consolidated management of funds’ or CMF.
This is an innovative solution for Atos – a Chinese Yuan (CNY) money market fund (MMF) auto-transfer service. The tailored solution enables Atos to automatically invest surplus operating cash into a high-yield CNY MMF.
Highly Commended Winner: Khaled Rahman, BAT Bangladesh Co Ltd
BAT required a solution to enable it to pay casual/substitute workers, traditionally paid in physical cash. The company worked with its banking partner and now uses a solution which involves mobile wallets which enables BAT to pay its workers through mobile banking.
This solution uses technology to address the legacy of a cash management structure that was still largely manual after the company was demerged in May 2015 to form South32. One of the resulting benefits is that the CFO can now access treasury exposure reports via apps in near real-time.
Highly Commended Winner: Nor Asikin Binti Mohd Dun, Tenaga Nasional Berhad
Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) established a comprehensive Treasury Management Transformation (TMT) project to address a number of strategic as well as operational challenges. The project was designed around the implementation of three key components; a new treasury management platform, new banking structure and platforms and an integrated ERP financial platform.
Highly Commended Winner: Amit Baraskar, Thomas Cook (India) Ltd
TCIL’s customers are very sensitive both to exchange rates and to the cost of a transaction, so the FX business has always been run on the tightest of margins. The new solution needed to adhere to various parameters – larger coverage in terms of currencies catered for, better pricing and faster turnaround time.
Highly Commended Winner: Kang Hong, Samsung High-Tech Electro-Mechanics (Tianjin) Co Ltd
The banking partner in this solution proposed to interface the banks’ systems with the company’s ERP (SAP) via SWIFTNet connectivity which provided a global cash management platform with a standardised data environment and a high level of security.
Highly Commended Winner: Li Bing, Juneyao Air Co Ltd
Juneyao Air’s treasury team decided to cooperate with its banking partner to implement a mobile wallet collection solution. The bank’s solution leverages WeChat – a leading mobile payment aggregator in China (for credit, debit, stored value) – delivering a ‘one-stop shop’ eCommerce solution.
Highly Commended Winner: Bikash Mukherjee, Amway India Enterprises Pvt Ltd
The solution implemented by Amway aligns with the government of India’s mission to digitise financial services. The solution harnesses technology on both the accounts payable and accounts receivable fronts and also includes host-to-host integration with the company’s ERP.
Highly Commended Winner: Pratyush Mittal, Mondelēz India Foods Pvt Ltd
This is a solution for a FMCG company in the electronic collection space involving cheques and the move to direct debit. In the last five months, more than 100 distributors have been successfully migrated and nearly 150 distributors are in the process of being migrated.
Ruchi Agrawal firmly lives up to the saying that there is no substitute for hard work. Throughout her education and career, Ruchi has constantly sought to improve, take on new challenges and push the boundaries.