The Treasurer’s Guide to Digitisation 2015

Sponsor Interview: Laura Milani, BNP Paribas

Published: Sep 2015

Laura Milani

Liquidity Management Marketing Manager

Laura Milani joined BNP Paribas Fortis Cash Management in 2005 as Liquidity Management Solution Sales for MNCs and international mid-cap clients. As Liquidity Management Marketing Director she is now responsible for the marketing of global liquidity solutions at BNP Paribas Cash Management Competence Centre in Brussels. Prior to that, Milani worked in corporate treasury for over ten years, based in London. She has a Master’s degree in business and economics and she is ICM qualified at ACT UK.

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BNP Paribas has recently rolled out a new liquidity module for clients. What does it offer?

Connexis®, BNP Paribas’ well-established e-banking channel, offering a web-based payment platform with real-time account visibility, has been complemented with an interactive liquidity reporting toolkit. The solution enables users to achieve many consolidated and detailed views on cash positions across physical and notional cash pooling structures.

With real-time control over cash and reporting, treasurers can anticipate what the end of day consolidated position will be. The toolkit also enables them to concentrate accounts on a regional and global basis and to determine, before currency cut-off times, how much excess cash can be invested short term, or, alternatively, what and where the shortfalls to be financed are. That view is possible not only across different countries but also across different currencies, with the possibility to consolidate the position in a given currency.

What was the driving force behind this development?

A few years ago, BNP Paribas started delivering cash position reporting on an email basis. That service was greatly appreciated by our clients, but it needed to evolve with technology. It’s far better to have centralised access, embedded within Connexis, with security tokens and passwords in place, as well as the ability to set different user profiles according to different needs.

What are the main benefits of the new liquidity module?

The overall aim of this solution was to enable treasurers to achieve more in a shorter time and with less effort. The immediate benefit of easy access to global cash is greater visibility and control. The potential benefits increase as more bank accounts, denominated in more currencies and located in more jurisdictions, are included in any analysis. Moreover, resources dedicated to establish positions can be freed up to invest cash more effectively. Last but not least, we recognised the strategic role of corporate treasury within the organisation and wanted to support its needs for risk assessment, as well as audit readiness, by delivering cutting-edge reporting solutions.

Next to the aggregated cash balances view, corporate treasurers can drill down into transactions and follow up their status throughout the day, until their completion with final booking on the account. As our system is multi-bank, it gives visibility to pooled accounts held with BNP Paribas, as well as with third-party banks.

Users can track back all SWIFT messages received intra-day and end of day, on which basis the reported aggregated balances have been calculated. So it’s very easy to make a query if you feel you are missing a particular message and it also provides an audit trail. Elsewhere, we have worked hard to ensure the user-permissioning is, at the same time, straightforward for clients and compliant to the highest security standards.

A typical implementation of our Liquidity Management Module takes less than five days. The solution is available to all BNP Paribas’ clients using liquidity management structures, and it is not dependent on having a subscription to the Connexis e-banking proprietary portal as such.

How does the new liquidity module help with intercompany management?

A tailored solution enhancing intercompany lending/borrowing positions monitoring and management is now available. A set of harmonised information, including intercompany interest statements and account balances, is made available real-time in one location, eliminating fragmentation and cutting down on the treasurer’s workload.

What future developments do you have planned?

Planned enhancements include data analysis through graphs and other visual tools to highlight trends and provide real-time business insights. The setting of alerts for critical events notification is another feature currently under development.

Putting BNP Paribas’ technology to the test

Sofia Meneses

Corporate Finance Director

Headquartered in Portugal, industrial group Logoplaste manufactures rigid plastic packaging for some of the most reputable companies in the world. Logoplaste manages more than 60 factories and 350 machines, with locations in 17 countries.

Since Logoplaste supplies plastic bottles ‘just-in-time’ from factories installed directly on the site of the client, the company inevitably has ‘light’ local operations in each of the 17 countries where it is present, with a central treasury team based in Portugal. Fortunately, since the company’s growth has largely been organic, it has been able to implement the same ERP (SAP) – and therefore the same ledger – across all sites.

Nevertheless, the geographical fragmentation means that Logoplaste has more than 240 bank accounts, across more than 27 banks. “With all these accounts – and some in difficult geographies such as Vietnam, Malaysia and Ukraine – there is a real need for visibility and control,” says Sofia Meneses, Corporate Finance Director, Logoplaste.

So, in 2013 Logoplaste began looking for a cash pool structure in Europe to help achieve these goals of visibility and control. BNP Paribas, the company’s main cash management bank and a relationship bank for over 20 years, won the RFP. “In terms of design and pricing, BNP Paribas really hit the nail on the head. Everything is very centralised via the bank’s Connexis portal. You enter the portal and can quickly and easily see all the cash positions of all the companies, in all the geographies, as well as getting an instant overview of the cash pool position. No more logging on to 20 different portals! It also allows us to see all the payments that have been inputted across every country, even on local accounts.”

Having this information at its fingertips has allowed Logoplaste’s treasury to not only implement best practice, but also to add strategic value to the organisation. In addition, having this level of visibility has allowed Meneses’ team to more closely monitor growing risks such as sovereign risk, whilst the assurances provided by BNP Paribas help to minimise the threat of cyber risk.

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