Insight & Analysis

At the forefront of industry developments

Published: May 2024

Roche’s treasury team stays on top of the latest developments in the industry to ensure it can deliver to the company’s strategic goals. Following an exclusive session with Treasury Today, this second article in the series looks at Roche’s involvement in industry standards and how the team manages the company’s acquisitions.

Pharmaceutical company creating medical products

Stefan Windisch

Global Head InHouse Bank
Franca Aeby, Treasury Manager Front Office, Roche

Franca Aeby

Treasury Manager Front Office
Stephan Bohner, Head of Financing & Markets, Roche

Stephan Bohner

Head of Financing & Markets

According to the poet John Donne, no man is an island; they are pieces of a continent and part of the main. The same could be said for the treasury team at Roche, which has to be connected to the external financial environment and also plugged in internally to the needs of other teams within the company. In managing the treasury of the Swiss multinational, they are effective at managing relationships to ensure the company can meet its strategic goals and purpose of putting patients first.

The treasury team at Roche has long been at the forefront of industry developments, particularly when it comes to the financial infrastructure. For example, if Roche wasn’t directly connected to the Swift messaging network, it would have to be dealing with hundreds of interfaces – or separate islands – in the financial world. And part of being so well connected is being at the leading edge of the latest developments, such as Swift’s migration to the ISO 20022 messaging standard. Stefan Windisch, Global Head InHouse Bank, comments that the move to the standard has been a gamechanger and will reap even more efficiencies when it is adopted more widely by parties on both ends of transactions. Roche is implementing both payment initiation and the receiving side onto the standard. Windisch comments that the ISO standard has clear value from a corporate perspective, and even though the industry adoption is in its infancy, there is still plenty of value in the transaction data that can be extracted.

Analysing the data has been key for Roche, and the team was awarded Treasury Today’s Judges’ Choice in the 2023 Adam Smith Awards, for a project led by Windisch that analysed vendor payments data.

Just as the team needs to be connected to the financial infrastructure, it also needs to be plugged into what is happening with the company externally and how that drives the needs of colleagues in other parts of Roche. In recent years, Roche has been an acquisitive company to ensure that it stays at the forefront of healthcare innovation and remains a leader in its field. When such market developments occur, the treasury team needs to be ready to jump into action.

However, it’s not like a surprise request for billions of dollars to land on their desk. Acquisitions are part of a long process, explains Stephan Bohner, Head of Financing & Markets, and the team has to be ready to respond – or not.

And Franca Aeby, Treasury Manager Front Office, points out that the treasury team cannot sit as an island on its own; it needs to be connected with colleagues in investor relations, accounting and finance, and so on. “This is also the case when there are major announcements, such as EU marketing authorisation for Roche’s subcutaneous cancer immunotherapy.” Open and honest communication with colleagues from the business is key for understanding how inventory levels – in anticipation of high demand after the announcement – will impact liquidity and cash flow planning. Ultimately, the teams pull together in such situations so the patients can get the benefit of Roche’s latest developments.

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