Best in Class Treasury Solution in India Highly Commended: WPP

Published: Jan 2024
Photo of Lilliam Sim, J.P. Morgan.

Photo of Lillian Sim, J.P. Morgan.

Clement Yeung

Deputy Treasurer Asia Pacific
WPP logo

WPP is a British multinational holding company with a vision to become the most creative company in the world. WPP employs 115,000 serving clients in more than 100 markets, including 307 of the Fortune Global 500 companies as of FY2022. GroupM is the media investment arm of WPP.

in partnership with

J.P. Morgan logo

Collaborative approach delivers solutions for WPP’s GroupM entity in India

The challenge

To deliver greater shareholder value and better serve clients amid a fast-changing and increasingly complex marketing world, WPP saw a need to review and simplify its global banking structure which had, over the years, amassed more than 5,000 bank accounts across its global operations as business expanded.

Having conducted an extensive analysis into GroupM India’s operations, there was a need to simplify its complex banking structure and optimise manual treasury and accounts payables (AP) and accounts receivables (AR) workflows across payments, cash flow forecasting and collection reconciliation, which were crucial to support GroupM’s size, scale and growth trajectory.

The solution

GroupM India recognised the need for digitalisation to drive cost efficiencies and tapped into transformative treasury solutions to enhance and simplify treasury management while enabling the firm to continue delivering for its clients in India’s complex but fast-growing market.

The company leveraged an API-powered solution to obtain a real-time and consolidated view of its balances across multiple bank accounts, utilised automated sweeps and market-linked liquidity solutions to reduce idle cash across accounts and improve yields and automated its end-to-end treasury and shared service centre (SSC) processes across payments initiation and AP/AR via virtual accounts. Besides deploying these tailored new-age solutions, the collaboration with J.P. Morgan also enabled GroupM to determine an optimal loan mix that delivers flexibility in funding and improves interest income while reducing overall cost of borrowing.

The complex transformation project was completed within just ten months – marking a remarkable feat for a company of GroupM India’s scale and size. Since implementing the solutions in Q422, GroupM India has witnessed significant cost and man-hour savings, and the solutions have been further adopted across seven other entities within WPP Group in India.

Best practice and innovation

GroupM India and WPP took pragmatic steps to identify the opportunities in its treasury and finance operations, and further deployed transformative solutions leveraging automation and new-age technologies to deliver real-time cash visibility, effective liquidity management and cost efficiencies as it continues to support business growth in one of the world’s fastest growing markets.

The transformation has yielded benefits for GroupM India and WPP more broadly, with the solutions further deployed across seven other WPP entities in India.

The success of the project comes down to two key things. First, WPP and GroupM’s pursuit to uncover the root of its problems and effectively address every single issue.

Secondly, the breadth of engagement and close collaboration across stakeholders from WPP, GroupM and J.P. Morgan that enabled the project to meet WPP’s objectives, including the ability to scale and support the broader WPP Group, without having to revisit banking processes each time.

Key benefits

  • Cost savings.

  • Headcount savings.

  • Number of banking partners/bank accounts reduced by 40%, resulting in over US$35,000 in annual savings.

  • Process efficiencies.

  • Return on investment (ROI).

  • Increased automation.

  • Risk mitigated.

  • Improved visibility.

  • Errors reduced.

  • Manual intervention reduced.

  • Increased system connectivity.

  • Future-proof solution.

  • Exceptional implementation (budget/time).

“The India challenge is unique in that the regulatory regime has evolved rapidly as the country continues to open its markets and embrace technology, but concurrently retains control on key local objectives such as currency restrictions and use of financial products. This creates complexity which treasury teams need to address by working effectively with partner banks to devise solutions, so the role and input from partner banks in the transformation process cannot be understated.”

Clement Yeung, Deputy Treasurer Asia Pacific

Stella Wong

Head of Hong Kong and Taiwan – Multinational Corporate Banking, J.P. Morgan

J.P. Morgan has enjoyed a long relationship with WPP, beginning with a multi-year advisory project and more recently expanding into global banking arrangements, identifying opportunities for cost, process and liquidity optimisation. Extensive analysis of global banking data and global collaboration across sales, solutions advisory and PSS teams identified multi-million cost savings. This win for the WPP team is so well deserved and we are delighted to have played a small part in supporting their recognition.

in partnership with

J.P. Morgan logo

The Adam Smith Awards Asia is the industry benchmark for best practice and innovation in corporate treasury. The 2023 awards attracted 450 nominations. To find out more please visit treasurytoday.com/adam-smith-awards-asia

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