Treasury Today March/April 2023

Published: Mar 2023



Change agent

If one theme emerges from our second, suitably packed, edition of the year it is change and innovation.

Like our Insight & Analysis feature, reporting how the Bank of England and UK Treasury has just fired the starting gun for a British central bank digital currency (CBDC). Perhaps the most significant treasury opportunity inherent in CBDCs lies in cross border payments. Built on multiple correspondent banking arrangements, cross border payments are slow, opaque and incur transaction costs and risks that corporate treasury knows all too well.

In a brave new world of CBDCs, a multi-CBDC platform could process international payments, bypass SWIFT and the corresponding banking network, speeding up cross-border transfers from days to seconds. Linked to this is the potential for CBDCs to transform corporate liquidity. If payments and receivables are all tokenised and settled in real time, it will change the amount of liquidity a corporate treasurer needs to keep in the system because of unknowns around clearing or settlement times. Elsewhere, CBDCs programmability could also rewrite treasury strategy, offering compelling solutions and innovative new approaches.

Change and innovation are bywords for Séverine Le Blévennec, Global Head of Treasury at European multinational Aliaxis who shares her inspirational treasury career in this edition’s Corporate View. She explains how agility and proximity to leadership, and a culture where change is welcomed rather than seen as disruptive, can truly unleash treasury to support corporate transformation. “I am a change agent and I love it,” she says.

In a timely catch-up, this edition explores the next leg of the decade-long reform of global interest rate benchmarks. While much of the transition for Sterling LIBOR has been done, the transition away from USD LIBOR will require another leap. Treasury Today interviewees say although the transition is progressing well on the derivatives side, when it comes to loans, particularly for corporates, a lot of work still needs to be done.

We delve into the emerging role of buy now pay later (BNPL) to find that B2B BNPL providers are increasingly confident that their offerings not only improve access to finance but also reduce the risk of non-payment and can help businesses grow revenues. And last but not least, this edition travels to the UAE to find out what it takes to set up a treasury centre in the region. A strategic location between the three continents together with free zones and a pool of highly skilled workers, mean that the UAE provides a unique environment in which companies can prosper and grow.

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