Treasury Today Asia November/December 2019

Published: Nov 2019



The digital spice of life

India. One of the fastest-growing economies in the world.

Four years ago, the Indian government made a decision that would change the lives for its 1.3 billion citizens forever. In making digital services available for all, the Indian government has not only improved the country’s online infrastructure, it has increased internet connectivity and widened opportunities for business.

As a result, treasury has had to keep up with digital developments. To take an example, the government digitised the sharing of cross-border documentation between trade counterparties and customs offices through the ‘fourth industrial revolution project’, an online import/export portal that goes some way to easing the previously paper-heavy processes underpinning any trade involving foreign exchange.

In addition to this, e-commerce has become India’s fastest growing channel for commercial transactions. The Indian e-commerce market is expected to grow to US$200bn by 2026, up from US$48.5bn in 2018. With core systems up and running, such rapid progress has forced treasurers to keep tabs on how a new digital India will impact their business and how best they can respond.

To a certain extent, banks will be able to support that exploration, but at the end of the day it will be down to treasurers to stay on top of all available options. After all, there is a lot that can be gained from a digital India, but there is still so much work to do.

But digitalisation is not an electric switch that a government can switch on at any time. Indeed, whenever we turn on the lights or drive to work, we are contributing towards increased carbon emissions and climate change – a hot topic for today’s corporates.

We have a number of options when it comes to halting and possibly reversing the damaging effects of climate change. We can run around like headless chickens, panicking about it. We can refute the claims of scientists. We could do nothing because someone else will fix it. Or we can do something to help.

In this edition’s Risk Management feature, ‘Climate change and the treasurer’, we look at the latter option from a treasury perspective, exploring the kind of affirmative actions and preventative measures that the community can take to help make a difference. The options here are greater than you’d perhaps think.

Of course, climate change is the ‘Big One’, but risks abound (as they always will). In our Technology article, we explore the hot topic of blockchain and distributed ledger technology (DLT). Blockchain and DLT has hit the news of late, particularly given recent developments over cryptocurrencies such as Facebook’s Libra.

We explore just how blockchain has evolved in recent years, and whether or not it will become industry standard – it is certainly making waves in the shipping industry.

And finally, keeping the digital theme in mind, our ‘Question Answered’ article explores the hot topic of what does your IT department need to know about treasury? After all, it’s a question that is so often asked in boardrooms across the globe. So, as the year comes to an end and we move into 2020, it’s clear to see that the future of treasury will be a digital one.

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