Insight & Analysis

Treasury community lights up at Germany’s Mannheim Finance Symposium

Published: May 2022

Germany’s Mannheim Finance Symposium comes back to life in-person with treasury expertise across payments, supply chain, working capital, technology and much more.

Aerial cityscape of Mannheim, Germany

For the first time in two years, the corporate treasury community, banks, fintechs and software providers gathered in-person at Mannheim, Germany’s celebrated and largest specialist finance congress. Over 300 speakers discussed today’s most pressing treasury issues spanning the impact of Russian sanctions to how treasury should prepare for the EU’s sustainability taxonomy. Elsewhere, panellists discussed the implications of rising rates and inflation, adaptation to new risk free rates following LIBOR reform, and treasury digitisation. “There was a really diverse programme,” said Philip Tüttö, Managing Director and Partner at financial services provider Schwabe Ley & Greiner, which organised the conference.

Geopolitics and the impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine dominated treasury discussions; volatile and uncertain markets (particularly energy and commodity markets) are keeping treasury teams busy. Attendees also voiced their concern around how best to manage unpredictable cash flows and rising counterparty risk triggered by geo-politics.

Developments in the payments industry, trade finance and supply chain finance – particularly integrating sustainability – were other keys themes. Delegates heard how instant payments are set to evolve around EPI, R2P and a digital euro; reflected on the role of MMFs as interest rates start to rise, and pondered green issuance and the importance of the right KPIs in sessions structured around real, corporate example and experience.

Another frequent topic of conversation centred around long-term treasury transformation and digitisation goals. “Treasury innovation and ongoing improvements are still on the to-do lists of every treasury team,” says Tüttö. Here, priorities include ensuring the right technology; the cost and the need for treasury teams to build the skills required to manage its integration.

Highlights of the conference included the keynote from Martin Schulz, former President of the European Parliament, who shared his thoughts on how the war in Ukraine could impact Western unity and democracy as well as its impact on Europe’s defence strategy, and energy strategy. “Schulz had been acting at the centre of power for many years and experienced the players as well as the contexts at first hand. It was a touching speech packed with interesting insights far removed from our day-to-day treasury topics,” says Tüttö.

Perhaps the most abiding message or take-home from the conference was treasury’s central role in a changing world, helping shape the future instead of just imagining it. From driving innovation, to rethinking education, implementing cutting edge technology to celebrating equality and protecting the climate, corporate treasury is invariabley centre stage.

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