Treasury Today Asia May/June 2018

Published: May 2018



What goes up can stay up

Alibaba founder, Jack Ma, is renowned for his colourful quotes on all manner of topics. One that stands out is his comment on flying pigs. “First of all, a pig can fly in the wind, but when that wind dies down it’s the pig who’s going to fall to his death, because he’s still a pig,” said Ma in a 2015 interview with Sina Tech.

Curious imagery aside, Ma’s comment holds a deeper meaning. What he was suggesting is that any business can have some success when following the latest trends. However, it is only by being innovative and driving the trends that true long-term success can be achieved.

The rest of Ma’s quote brings this idea into context: “What everyone has to think about is how to control the wind, how to grasp that wind and push yourself up. I think we shouldn’t seek the next strong wind; we should make ourselves into people that can fly at even the slightest breeze, people who can soar.”

His point should resonate for all operating in today’s business environment. Ma’s own great success has been driven by his ability to look beyond the hype of the present and build companies that are ready to harness the trends of the future. This is a lesson for all business leaders shaping the strategy that they hope will bring their company future success.

But this is equally valid for treasury too. Indeed, it is the responsibility of the department to make sure that the business has the means to thrive in the now, whilst pushing the limits of incoming trends and making sure that the resources are there to harness these in the future. This is something that Adam Smith Awards Asia winner and Group Treasurer at AIA, Scott Engle, talks about extensively in this edition’s Corporate View feature. His story is captivating and highlights the real added-value that treasury can bring to multiple areas of the business.

Carrying on with the theme of harnessing emerging trends, in this edition’s Insight & Analysis we take an in-depth look into the shift away from cash as a method of payment in many markets around the world.

We also explore how treasury teams operating within tight budget constraints can achieve impressive results and find out how to make substantial savings by driving down bank fees.

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