Treasury Today Asia’s Top Treasury Team 2023 Winner: Nestlé Treasury Centre Asia-Pacific

Published: Jan 2024
Photo of Saurabh R Gupta, Jacqueline Lim, Citi, Velda Chan, Bryce Chua, Benjamin Tay, Jo Chua, Wayne Wang, Alexander Seelmann, Nicolas Crozet, Felicia Foong, Toh Yong Lee, Tay Jingmin, Yeow Zhi Xing, Esther Wong, Lorraine Ng, Nestlé Treasury Centre Asia-Pacific, Nicolas Van Peteghem, BNP and Aziz Parvez, Bank of America. Jenny Chang and Michelle Ng are not in the picture.

Photo of Saurabh R Gupta, Jacqueline Lim, Citi, Velda Chan, Bryce Chua, Benjamin Tay, Jo Chua, Wayne Wang, Alexander Seelmann, Nicolas Crozet, Felicia Foong, Toh Yong Lee, Tay Jingmin, Yeow Zhi Xing, Esther Wong, Lorraine Ng, Nestlé Treasury Centre Asia-Pacific, Nicolas Van Peteghem, BNP Paribas and Aziz Parvez, Bank of America. Jenny Chang and Michelle Ng are not in the picture.

Felicia Foong

Regional Treasurer Asia-Pacific
Nestle logo

Headquartered in Switzerland, Nestlé is the world’s largest food and beverage company in the world, with 275,000 employees and a presence in 188 countries and sales of CHF 94 billion in 2022. Sales in the Asia-Pacific region in 2022 exceeded CHF 20 billion.

in partnership with

Bank of America logo
BNP Paribas logo
Citi logo

Felicia Foong leading a decade of achievements at Nestlé Treasury Centre in Singapore

Nestlé group’s treasury activities for Asia-Pacific are managed by a team of treasury professional specialists

With a strong focus on business partnering and advisory, risk management, digitalisation, process automation and operational efficiency. Nestlé Treasury Centre Asia-Pacific (NTC-AP) manages the treasury activities covering over 20 markets and all business entities in Asia-Pacific.

Leading one of the largest corporate treasury teams in Asia-Pacific is Felicia Foong, Regional Treasurer for Nestlé Group in Asia-Pacific. She heads a team of 15 treasury professionals based in Singapore and manages cash and liquidity, forex strategy and risk management, capital structure and corporate finance and funding. In her role, she is supported by a Shared Service treasury team based in the Philippines which handles all the accounting and reporting for treasury globally.

NTC-AP is an absolute clear winner for being a growing and sustained fully-fledged treasury centre model operating in Singapore and supporting all Asia-Pacific markets for all of the group’s treasury activities. Since its set up in 1998 in Singapore, NTC-AP has led the region through several financial crises and market volatility and emerged stronger and more resilient.

Leading the way in Singapore – front, middle and back office

NTC-AP’s Treasury Centre model became the first of many treasury centres to set up in Singapore. It led the way and became the treasury model for other treasury centres to follow.

Nestlé’s treasury activities in Asia-Pacific are fully centralised in Singapore. NTC-AP performs the role of a Centre of Competence for all Nestlé entities’ treasury activities in the region, with clear segregation of duties in the front, middle and back offices. The front office treasury team is a fully-fledged team dealing in forex for the region and a cash management team handling all short-term borrowings, investments and liquidity optimisation; a middle office team monitors counterparty exposure and risk; and a back office team handles settlement.

Transforming the team to support strategic growth priorities

In the last two years, NTC-AP has expanded its roles to include corporate finance, M&A integration, risk management (interest rate, liquidity risk, counterparty risk, cybersecurity, business continuity), analytics and digitalisation, compliance and bank relationship management. The team also works very closely with the commercial business, finance, accounting, legal, tax, IT and shared services.

Since the pandemic, NTC-AP has transformed itself dramatically to take on business advisory and partnering roles to all business units. This includes M&A funding and integration and working capital initiatives. Its most recent M&A integration project is in New Zealand to integrate the newly acquired business into the regional treasury framework by conducting a cash management RFP, implementing the banking integration, and establishing a funding structure and FX hedging programme.

Leadership and personal development are key to build a high performance team

NTC-AP has an inspirational leader in Felicia Foong, a Nestlé veteran, having worked in the organisation for more than 15 years and in her current role for the last ten. Felicia is a top finance leader, and an extremely well-respected treasury and experienced finance professional in the industry.

This is currently her third role in the company, previously having worked in the HQ where she and her family relocated to Switzerland. In her role in HQ treasury, she was working in corporate finance managing the Latin American and Middle East & Africa markets. Prior to that, Felicia was the Regional Head of Finance, Asia, Oceania and Africa region for Nestlé Health Science, based in Singapore.

Felicia personally develops and coaches each team member and has nurtured and brought global international talents to work in the Regional Treasury Centre in Singapore. She handpicks each of them and provides them a mission of six months to a year with exposure to front office, risk management and back office activities. Many have gone on to take on senior roles in in the respective business units and countries within Nestlé.

The four pillars of Success

1. Driving excellence in what we do
  • Getting it right the first time.

  • Delivering results that impact the business.

  • Setting and achieving stretch goals.

2. Improving operational process and efficiency

As the region in Asia continues to grow year on year, NTC-AP has led many innovative ways to automate and improve operations without compromising on compliance. High volume and value treasury transactions are executed and processed seamlessly through automation and straight-through processes, leveraging technology and automation to do more with less.

3. Business partnering
  • High sense of urgency and delivers information for decision making.

  • Top notch business partnering in times of high volatility and uncertainty.

  • Going the extra mile to make sure priorities are addressed properly.

  • Adapt quickly and efficiently to fast-changing business environment.

4. Competency and skills based
  • Treasury guidelines and best practices aligned with internal compliance and accounting policies.

  • Identify competency gaps and training development plans which includes an overseas mission based outside of Singapore.

Setting the benchmark for other Treasury Centres

Felicia Foong, Nestlé Treasury Centre Asia-Pacific

NTC-AP has set the benchmark for the industry through its leadership for adopting treasury technology and models resulting in automation, process simplification and optimisation.

The company has scored several firsts to implement straight-through automatic payment modules in Philippines, Sri Lanka and in the Pacific Islands (Fiji, New Caledonia and French Polynesia) according to its banking partners.

Cash movements between entities are automated via regional cross-border and domestic cash pooling.

The short-term working capital funding is especially crucial in supporting the business due to changes in working capital requirements especially during supply chain constraints.

The FX currency trading pairs continue to grow, and NTC-AP now manages numerous currency crosses in the region. As a result of the increasing volume of FX trades, NTC-AP has implemented a multi-FX trading platform to ensure banks deal on a competitive bidding process and the transactions are processed straight-through to the TMS.

“We are recognised by the leading banks and multi-bank FX trading platform for looking beyond and pushing the boundaries to expand the scope of countries and to increase price competitiveness. We have set the precedent for being among the first corporates to deal FX using multi-bank trading platforms in several restricted markets,” said Felicia Foong, Regional Treasurer, APAC.

Key benefits

  • Cost savings.

  • Headcount savings.

  • Process efficiencies.

  • Increased automation.

  • Risk mitigated.

  • Improved visibility.

  • Errors reduced.

  • Manual intervention reduced.

  • Increased system connectivity.

  • Future-proof solution.

  • Improved key performance indicator (KPI) metrics.

Conclusion – a decade of achievement with more to come

Felicia has led her team to be a real game-changer in the treasury community given its size, scope and footprint. As one of the largest and most advanced, it is recognised as the leading treasury centre and has set the benchmark for many best-in-class practices for the industry, delivering a sustained impact over the last ten years.

Over the past decade, Felicia has undertaken a strategic expansion of the team and investment in resources. This is due to the need to support the expanding responsibilities, coverage and scope that the role of NTC-AP demands.

It is the first in many countries to embrace its full suite of various payment automation capabilities for commercial transactions, for supplier financing and payroll. In addition, it has conducted numerous supplier financing programmes through RFPs in the last ten years thereby helping to achieve working capital improvements for the region.

NTC-AP is widely recognised in Asia and across all industries as the place for treasury professionals to develop and deepen their career aspirations in treasury. Professionals in the team learn to grow and develop core competences in cash and FX management, corporate finance and risk management, compliance, and best-in-class treasury solutions, systems and technologies and managing the treasury activities of different countries in this dynamic region.

“My passion is really in people, I look to envision, encourage and challenge the next generation of leaders to lead with courage and integrity. Going through the various financial crises and pandemic, I have learnt that we need to build resilience and foster even closer collaboration and teamwork.”

Felicia Foong, Regional Treasurer, APAC

Felicia Foong and her regional treasury team are most deserved winners of Treasury Today Asia’s Top Treasury Team 2023 accolade.

Abed Islam

Head of Multinational Corporate Coverage APAC, BNP Paribas

This award is a testimony to the centre of excellence in treasury management established by Felicia and the Nestlé TC AP team. We would like to congratulate Nestlé for winning this well-deserved award. As a key global relationship bank to Nestlé, BNP Paribas is proud of the partnership with Nestlé and we look forward to accompanying and supporting Nestlé in their growth and expansion in APAC.

in partnership with

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Saurabh R Gupta

Global Sales Head, Healthcare, Consumer & Wellness, Treasury and Trade Solutions, Citi

Citi’s partnership with Nestlé is truly global. We are impressed with Nestlé’s Asia Pacific Centre’s commitment to excellence and striving to set a high bar in execution. In Asia Pacific, we jointly identified the roadmap for meeting Nestlé Treasury Centre Asia-Pacific’s (NTC AP) digital goals and focused on adding value by leveraging Citi’s key strengths, deep understanding of the business asks, and strong local engagement to solve for friction points. Citi is honoured to have worked alongside the NTC AP team in Singapore and to be part of their journey for continued excellence, supporting the NTC AP team with creating a centralised digital setup with seamless integration to systems – which provided comprehensive visibility across their banking operations and led to improved decision making.

in partnership with

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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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