Five months into 2020, the world continues to face a crisis no one could have foreseen. Since the last issue of Treasury Today Asia, the epicentre of the COVID-19 pandemic has moved from China to Europe, and then to the United States, with millions of people and businesses affected. While the Wuhan lockdown has been lifted, and several countries in Asia Pacific are beginning to focus on rebooting their economies, considerable challenges lie ahead.
For many treasurers, one of the most immediate challenges brought by the pandemic has been the need to adjust rapidly to a working from home model. While many companies already offered flexible working patterns to their employees, other have had to transition overnight to a completely different method of working. In this issue’s Technology article, we take a look at the benefits of working remotely, as well as exploring the challenges that the ‘new normal’ has brought for treasurers. We also discuss the role that different technologies can play in smoothing the transition from working in the office to working from home.
Treasurers will know all too well that robust liquidity management is particularly critical during a crisis. In The Corporate View, Siang Chee Chew, Head of Treasury at JERA Global Markets, explains how the lessons he learned about the need for strong liquidity management during the 2008 global financial crisis have resonated throughout his career. He also delves into the challenges faced by treasurers as their roles continue to evolve, as well as the potential application of technologies such as blockchain in supporting trade.
Turning to geographical considerations, when companies seek to centralise their Asia Pacific treasury activities via a regional treasury centre, it’s essential to choose the location that best fits the company’s business needs. In Insight & Analysis we review the options available to companies facing just that decision, from frequently cited locations like Singapore and Hong Kong to other markets which may also offer attractive tax incentives and benefits, such as Thailand and Malaysia. Industry experts review the options available and explain what factors companies need to consider when making a decision.
Last but not least, this issue’s Country Focus article takes a look at the island nation of Mauritius, from its varied history over the last 500 years to its banking landscape. The article also discusses some of the factors that treasurers need to bear in mind when managing cash in Mauritius.