Regulation & Standards

Global Cash Management: after the crisis, or ‘crisis as usual’?

Published: Sep 2010
Treasury Today Talking Treasury Forum participant group photo

Are we moving out of the crisis, or just getting used to it? Six senior bankers have a frank and insightful discussion about the evolving challenges of global cash management.


Portrait of Tarek F. Anwar, Global Head, Sales Managing Director, Transaction Banking, Standard Chartered

Tarek F. Anwar

Global Head, Sales Managing Director, Transaction Banking
Standard Chartered logo

Luc Caulier

Deputy Head Global Cash Management
Portrait of Alex Caviezel, Head of Treasury Services EMEA, J.P. Morgan

Alex Caviezel

Head of Treasury Services EMEA
J.P. Morgan logo
Portrait of Michael Guralnick, Global Head Client Sales Management, Citi

Michael Guralnick

Global Head Client Sales Management
Citi logo
Portrait of Dub Newman, Global Head of Sales, Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Dub Newman

Global Head of Sales
Bank of America Merrill Lynch logo
Portrait of Marilyn Spearing, Global Head of Trade Finance and Cash Management, Deutsche Bank

Marilyn Spearing

Global Head of Trade Finance and Cash Management


Richard Parkinson

Managing Director
Treasury Today logo


Richard Parkinson (TT): I’d like to start with bank relationships, particularly looking at credit. What are you, as banks, doing differently post-crisis?

Marilyn Spearing (Deutsche Bank): My relationships with corporates are falling into two very distinct camps. There are those that are awash with liquidity, not in need of credit, and looking for how they’re going to place it. And there are those that are constrained, and are looking for access to credit in a different way.

In terms of how we are looking at that, the banks have made commitments to the governments that they would continue lending. There are various forms of those programmes, but I think the biggest thing that I’m seeing is that everyone’s looking to get much more secure lending in place. There is a lot of focus on transactional finance, supply chain finance, because generally your lending is needed further down the credit chain from the top tier. The dialogue has become very open and frank. If the bank is going to put its balance sheet forward, how do we then have a deeper relationship and get compensated for that?

Michael Guralnick (Citi): Coming out of the crisis, companies are looking to us to provide them with more innovative solutions to help them drive efficiency and access sources of liquidity that they may not have accessed before. They are looking further into the supply chain – into the areas of distributor, customer and supplier financing, and are challenging us to find innovative ways of helping them to ensure stability within that supply chain. In terms of credit, they are looking for support from their banks holistically across their commercial businesses, rather than just for direct lending.

Tarek Anwar (Standard Chartered): One of the things that we looked at through the whole crisis was how to continue to support our clients. While some banks did pull back their balance sheet, causing issues for some of the corporates, we didn’t. When you look at a client’s ecosystem, the issue really is with the SMEs and with the middle market clients in smaller companies that may get short of liquidity and therefore interrupt the operations that affect a big multinational. So you have to be on the ground, you have to be able to support both the buyers and the suppliers, and that was quite critical.

I think the crisis itself also taught both the banks and the corporates the importance of the counterparty risk issues. Corporates weren’t just asking “where do I place my deposits?”, but “who stays with me through this cycle?” and “who can actually help me survive?”

Luc Caulier (BNP Paribas): For a long time we have had a development model focused on customer service and based from the very beginning on a balanced business portfolio, meticulous risk management and genuine flexibility. Following the acquisition of Fortis Bank and BGL, we have four domestic markets: France, Italy, Belgium and Luxembourg, where we are able to offer strong proximity. We continue to carry out our primary mission of helping clients to optimise their working capital and make their collections more efficient. In general, we will continue to see that financing is moving closer to the business cycle, with trade finance, inventory finance and factoring solutions, for example.

Alex Caviezel (J.P. Morgan): There’s an interesting paradigm that’s developed if you look at the statistics. Bank deposits and sweeps are up significantly, so there’s lots of liquidity, and yet treasurers remain preoccupied with where and how they can obtain funding. So what we’re seeing now is a shift of focus towards driving internal costs down through process efficiencies, as well as on liquidity management techniques for self-funding. And also we are seeing far more attention paid to counterparty risk.

You know, companies have become much more adept at managing through the crisis now. In fact, they’re moving into a second phase, and they are getting a lot more demanding of financial institutions. Essentially, it’s a matter of trying to find alternatives to maximise funding – and it’s not always in the most classical manner. We engage with clients to discuss novel and highly creative methods and this promotes broader dialogue which often uncovers the opportunity for other areas of business development.

Dub Newman (Bank of America Merrill Lynch): Probably the only thing I’d add is that it is much more than a supply chain relationship. There have been times in my banking career where some clients saw it that way. Now, however, I think our corporates have the same motivations as us: more capital, more liquidity, more focus on risk. We have common denominators in our dialogue that make for a healthy partnership that looks beyond a click price, or a margin on a deposit.

Around six months ago, there was an interesting dialogue about whether we would forget 2008/2009. I think the world is looking a bit more like 2008 right now with everything that’s out there, and it’s important that we don’t forget that. Those lessons are a part of a healthy relationship, and also a healthy financial institution/corporate banking environment.

Crisis as usual?

Spearing (Deutsche Bank): I am intrigued with this idea of a second stage of the crisis. Have corporates become so used to the economic crisis that now they’re viewing it as ‘business as usual’? I would say that they have.

Caviezel (J.P. Morgan): You’re beginning to see companies aligning to that reality. I think a lot has already been said about how much more influential the treasurer is and it feels as though there’s been a slight shift in corporates’ organisational structure: the treasurer is much more visible; the CFO is much more aware of the value that the treasurer can add; the treasury systems are much more refined; and I think the treasury function has become a lot more focused on efficiency.

Portrait of Tarek F. Anwar, Global Head, Sales Managing Director, Transaction Banking, Standard Chartered
Tarek F. Anwar, Standard Chartered

Anwar (Standard Chartered): I’d like to tie together these two themes: the shift in roles and ‘crisis as usual’. I think that the treasurer and CFO roles have become very much more closely aligned with the business than before. Rather than being viewed as a support function, they’re actually there at the table.

Another important point is that practically everywhere in the world, regulatory change and regulatory risk and interpretation is affecting businesses quite a lot. That requires a high degree of interpretation, and working with partners like banks that will help them either understand or even lobby for that change – especially in some of the high growth emerging markets.

So I think there’s an added dimension. It’s ‘crisis as usual’ at home, but you have to be able to navigate the places where you want to grow. You cannot just stay in your home market anymore.

Guralnick (Citi): It’s not just the funding and liquidity side that has changed. Coming out of the crisis, treasurers are thinking more critically about how they manage the different risks. While they continue to be concerned about counterparty risk, they are also thinking about how they manage settlement risk. “I have money, I have to move it, I have to settle. What is the risk of moving it through the system? Then once I have it somewhere, how do I deal with the resulting liquidity?” There are more opportunities to place funds in portals and different instruments. I think the landscape is becoming much more exciting for treasurers.

Caulier (BNP Paribas): In times of crisis, and when funding is becoming scarce, we look at the different strategies adopted by corporates. Foremost, is the diversification of funding; choosing more banks where they get their credit and invest their surplus. This, however, is not the only technique. Corporates also try to optimise their internal processes, in particular those linked to their procurement/payments/sales/receivables chain. We often see walls within companies between these different departments, as we still see walls between supplier finance, trade and cash management with banks. Breaking through these walls creates large opportunities for both corporates and banks, releasing cash from the operational cycle to provide for (part of) their funding.

Portrait of Marilyn Spearing, Global Head of Trade Finance and Cash Management, Deutsche Bank
Marilyn Spearing, Deutsche Bank

Spearing (Deutsche Bank): Treasurers can now see the value of self-funded supplier programmes where they’re saying, “We have that liquidity, but we want to use some other systems to help us get a smooth process.” Maybe that’s that creativity you were alluding to, Michael, everyone really trying to say “how do I get access further down the chain?” and “which way is that handled?”, and that does come back to technology.

Caviezel (J.P. Morgan): I think the success of the supply chain concept today is coming to the fore because there is a clearer definition of different types of credit than in the past. Companies with a better credit rating are in a position to leverage this strength and support those who are of a lower credit rating, for example, a large multinational buyer leveraging its own credit risk to support a smaller supplier. The supply chain concept has been around longer in certain countries where there has been a net differentiation in credit risk, but not in countries where it has been more even. So what you’ve got here is an evolution of the risk management concept and a gradual proliferation of this new approach throughout the region.

Anwar (Standard Chartered): The interesting thing is they also don’t want recourse – they don’t want it on their balance sheet. They’re asking us to make the magic happen, which is what we all do.

Guralnick (Citi): I think at the end of the day, over and above the innovative solutions banks develop, when I speak with treasurers and CFOs, they make it eminently clear that if you’re not putting up your balance sheet, you’re not going to get a piece of the wallet.

Parkinson (TT): And are you meeting those demands?

Anwar (Standard Chartered): Yes we are.

Spearing (Deutsche Bank): And I agree with Michael, there is a real deepening on a relationship level, and people are deciding who their friends are.

Parkinson (TT): Deepening, but not exclusive anymore. There was a time when some companies were getting close to one bank solution: and that’s gone, hasn’t it?

Anwar (Standard Chartered): If you look at US corporates, European corporates or others, who are going to China, and India, and so on, they are looking at the old revolver that they used to have in the US that used to sit there and not get used. They’re saying “well actually why do I need that here, why don’t I put it in the markets that I need?” So therefore they might look at a different panel of banks. They may still need their lead bank to help them with that, but they will still go into different markets which means they look at different domestic collection structures that are regional structures and so on.

Guralnick (Citi): As companies invest in new markets such as China and India, they may look to supplement their international bank relationships with a local bank. However, they also continue to rely heavily on their primary banking partners such as Citi – global banks that have local expertise, as well as the capital and innovative solutions to support their needs as they grow in these new markets.

Collections are the new battleground

Parkinson (TT): This does broaden out the number of banks that they can look at as well, doesn’t it? So that means you are facing more competition, in a way.

Anwar (Standard Chartered): Not really, because we are in Asia, Africa and the Middle East mainly, so those are our territories and we have a pretty good handle on them. I think the issue really is where you have a very strong relationship that a corporate has with a US bank or a European bank in their own territory. And they’re getting demands from their bank to also participate in areas like Africa, for example, which they may not be very strong in. So, it’s that shift of saying “I need to go into new territories, I need to invest where there’s growth, but also are the capital markets deep enough; can I do what I do at home in some of those markets?” That’s the challenge.

Spearing (Deutsche Bank): I would say yes, we’re facing loads more competition. It has always been a really fragmented market, you know, the total cash management marketplace between domestic, regional and global players. And some of the strong domestics are moving out into other countries.

Portrait of Luc Caulier, Deputy Head Global Cash Management, BNP Paribas Cash Management
Luc Caulier, BNP Paribas

Caulier (BNP Paribas): The choice of the banks that companies are going to use is very much dependent on having a local collections offering. We see a lot of common ways of doing things on the payments side, but on the collections side, the countries are still extremely different from one another. As for all of us, it is extremely important for companies to get paid. The ability to offer clients smooth ways of getting paid is starting to determine, to a certain extent, the choice of banks by corporates. We are putting a lot of emphasis on collection solutions. We have a deep-rooted bank in four domestic markets as well as in Poland and Turkey. BNP Paribas also offer cash and card solutions, we are able to assist our customers in their local collections and have recently developed lockbox solutions in several European countries.

Spearing (Deutsche Bank): I call that ‘collections as the new battleground’. The payments world is fairly well taken care of with shared service centres and so on – there’s still room to improve, but really it’s collections that count.

Caviezel (J.P. Morgan): On the other hand, whilst the level of competition on the payments side might be going up, the fact that you’ve got this fragmentation out there means that the difficulties associated with collections are actually leading to greater levels of co-operation between financial institutions, ironically. There’s a greater willingness amongst financial institutions to leverage each other’s core competencies as long as the client bases are well defined and differentiated.

Guralnick (Citi): Payments are all about cost management amidst increasing regulatory pressure, and given the challenges involved in developing new technology, many banks have chosen not to invest in technological infrastructure and instead, opted to focus their resources on the front end and managing their clients. They choose to partner with institutions such as Citi that can provide them with a global platform with the breadth and reach they need. Part of Citi’s strategy on the financial institutions side is to work with these banks, offering them the ability to leverage our platforms and free them up to focus on building their client relationships.

Additionally, we are starting to look at an enterprise payment suite that merges the capabilities of our consumer and corporate banks, in order to access new customers and provide them with added value to help them meet their business challenges. This thinking opens up a whole host of opportunities for payments: for example, it leads us to mobile payments which leads us to consumer-to-consumer payments. The opportunities multiply for an innovative institution like Citi. There remains a large opportunity for growth in the payments space by being innovative and leveraging the core competencies of Citi’s corporate and consumer platforms. The paradigm broadens even further as you create enterprise-wide payment solutions.

Anwar (Standard Chartered): When selecting a relationship, clients are not only looking at the credit or the balance sheet, or counterparty risk – they are also asking “What makes that bank tick? How is the staff’s performance being measured? Are there geographic silos? Are there product silos? Do they actually collaborate across those places?” At the end of the day they’re choosing a team and if the fundamentals inside the bank don’t lend themselves to that, no matter what systems you put in place, the client is not going to get the team functioning in the way they want.

Newman (Bank of America Merrill Lynch): A healthy relationship involves capital markets, investment banking advice, it involves all these things to get a return for the client, and a return for us that is satisfactory. The relationship between a company’s cash flow management and its capital markets position has never been closer than it is today. The challenge for organisations is that products are important, but it comes down to blocking and tackling between inter-related parties within an institution to serve their clients. I’ll be honest with you, that’s the hardest thing to accomplish. I mean while technology is critically important it’s the integrated interaction with the client that’s the magic bullet, but it is hard to do.

Caulier (BNP Paribas): And sometimes it is just about simple things. Electronic bank account management is one solution, it enables corporates to standardise, streamline and also secure account administration. But often the big challenge is entering into a new relationship with the bank in a new country, for a subsidiary for example. “Is this account opening process going to be simple? Will I have to explain everything again locally or do I have a bank with smooth cross-border co-operation and administration?” We believe that it is extremely important to be able to provide this smooth service to our clients. That is the reason why we have created over 100 business centres in most European countries. Their task is to service the subsidiaries of our clients, be it the large corporates or the cross-border operating mid-cap clients.


Parkinson (TT): We’ve got this far through the conversation and SEPA hasn’t yet come up. What’s going on in the SEPA space?

Spearing (Deutsche Bank): We’re waiting for the direct debit finalisation in November. I’m still seeing a number of discussions with treasurers who are trying to get the benefit from it and ready themselves for what is the possible opportunity as to where debit will go. To cut a long story short, we’ve always preached it was evolution, not revolution. We’re gradually seeing people changing and we’re shifting a lot of our traffic, when we can we shift it – we shift 70% of our traffic into SEPA format – but it’s a gradual trend.

Caulier (BNP Paribas): Something that will accelerate the adoption of SEPA is the proposition by the SEPA Council at the beginning of June that there will actually be end-dates. Our large customers have shown a lot of interest in direct debits because where SEPA payments are relatively straight forward, direct debits are a complete change for them. Up until now it’s usually the banks that make sure the mandates are kept and controlled. With the SEPA Direct Debit, that moves to the companies and many are worried about that. That’s why we offer mandate management solutions to our customers. I agree with you, it’s never going to be a revolution, but if you compare it to a year and a half ago, treasurers are much more concerned and are preparing themselves for the changes ahead.

Caviezel (J.P. Morgan): Even in the United States, when there was a move to ACH it didn’t exactly take off immediately, and there you had an environment with a mature single currency market. Here we’re talking about a somewhat different situation. We are still working through a significant economic downturn, which shouldn’t be forgotten – and understandably, people have had their eye on other things than SEPA. So that will obviously have impacted uptake since its launch in 2008, but clearly SEPA remains a monumental industry-wide change, but was never expected to reach critical mass overnight.

Parkinson (TT): The difficulties that some of the European countries – Greece, Italy, Spain – are getting into is probably not helping this whole process either. Some are even saying that we may see countries coming out of the euro. What advice are you giving to your corporates about this?

Spearing (Deutsche Bank): I think this is Europe’s own crisis, but frankly the cash management world is a little bit removed from this. I have not suggested to any clients that they stop transitions or changes that they’re making in their treasury. Really, the discussions with corporates are around what are they going to do within the currency, how are they hedging it, the fact that so much of trade is intra-Europe, there’s a fair amount of natural hedging already in place.

Guralnick (Citi): As a result of the crisis, corporates have been doing a lot of contingency planning the past two years. We continue to provide advice to our clients on how they should prepare for possible scenarios. For instance, there has been open discussion in the marketplace on the possibility of some European countries reverting to national currencies. Clients have asked us how we, as their transaction banking partner, would handle that situation should it occur, and in turn, how they should adjust their business systems to prepare.

We continue to advise clients who are in the midst of an implementation to continue on their current path, but to also design possible contingencies for alternative scenarios. Following the recent crisis, clients are more risk averse and are spending a lot of time with us white-boarding alternatives to ensure they have visibility and access to liquidity within their system.

Portrait of Dub Newman, Global Head of Sales, Bank of America Merrill Lynch
Dub Newman, Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Newman (Bank of America Merrill Lynch): They’re really interested in understanding what we’re doing. The questions I get are about us – do we have the technology to manage slow but potentially rapid shifts in credit behaviour in a particular country, or with a particular provider? And how are we handling that? I think it’s healthy for our clients to be as interested in how we manage our affairs, as we are in how they manage theirs.


Parkinson (TT): Can we talk about technology – what are you doing, what are you seeing, what advice are you giving to your corporates?

Spearing (Deutsche Bank): The biggest change is in the advice we are giving, certainly at Deutsche Bank. Right up until 12 months ago, we were saying to any corporate, “We’re agnostic about what channel you use in accessing your banks. You can come directly to us, or go through SWIFT.” Now that’s changed and we are saying, “If you’re rebuilding your whole infrastructure, you should be adopting SWIFT, and going direct into SWIFT. Build in that longevity.” It’s going to be the route that will drive more efficiencies for them.

Obviously we have been investing a lot in our channels, and what we now see is the two are really going to ride parallel tracks. SWIFT and SCORE and direct access are there for big volumes, and as services become commoditised, that’ll ride the SWIFT rail. But the portals that we’re all investing in, ride that other rail, where corporates are looking for inter-operability to monitor what’s happening in the big box, and to be able to be a bit more fleet of foot. The portal allows us to connect everything and present a transaction bank in its full glory, as opposed to “Here’s your payment access, here’s your collections access, here’s your liquidity access, and, oh by the way, custody is a separate one altogether.”

Caulier (BNP Paribas): We have always been a pioneer in SWIFTNet solutions. Today, our bank has more SWIFTNet FileAct customers than any other bank. We’re getting away from the idea that a portal is actually competition to SWIFT. What matters is the added value you build around SWIFT solutions, whether that relates to execution, pooling, visibility or reporting.

Newman (Bank of America Merrill Lynch): For big companies using in-house banks or shared service centres, the people who use those portals are not necessarily those who might have used them five years ago. These centres are located in markets and staffed by people who may not have English as their first language. I think the content’s important, but the usability of the capabilities we put in front of our clients needs to target, potentially, a different level of the organisation than we might have historically thought of as just the treasury staff.

Anwar (Standard Chartered): It is interesting to think about future users in a corporate environment who may be different from the previous users. What tools will the future decision makers need? It’s about developing the analytics and the information and the pro-activity in the portals that allows them to tailor what they need for that specific function. And it’s the future function.

We talked about the changing role of the treasurer – sometimes it’s a credit manager who would not have necessarily been the guy that you would have been talking to or somebody who’s on the business side who’s actually trying to push sales growth. Those are the spaces that our clients are going into and we’re investing into.

Portrait of Alex Caviezel, Head of Treasury Services EMEA, J.P. Morgan
Alex Caviezel, J.P. Morgan

Caviezel (J.P. Morgan): I fully agree with you. SWIFT has to be the way forward for developing standards and infrastructure, but alongside SWIFT, a proprietary channel proposition can add enormous value in terms of reporting, reconciliation, forecasting and analytics. So I really think that SWIFT and home-grown technology can be highly complementary and effective for the corporate treasurer.

The other area that I think which is interesting is CLS. All of a sudden, CLS is becoming another way that corporates are taking advantage of an industry-wide initiative, originally aimed at mitigating FX settlement risk amongst banks. And now these corporates are integrating CLS into their own risk management processes with impressive results.

Spearing (Deutsche Bank): Focusing on investment, I continue to see a reluctance among corporates to invest – they’re squeezing that nickel until it hurts. This is not the time when they want to spend a huge amount on their treasury systems; they’re looking at shorter paybacks, but they’re willing to invest if payback is really good. And that’s where I’m seeing in the technology discussion come round on the supply chain type of discussion as to how can I get the information to reduce my days sales outstanding. It’s the trapped liquidity discussion, but not from the traditional cash management angle. They’re now trying to push out into those adjacent areas to say, can I help the collections team find a shorter route? The fertile space, and a difficult one for corporates, is how to get real visibility over what is happening on the collections side of their businesses.

Guralnick (Citi): We see corporates accelerating capex for upgrading or building new commercial infrastructure such as plant equipment, and consolidating operations to take advantage of economies of scale. They are preparing their businesses so that they may be well-positioned for growth as economies around the world rebound.

On the other hand, another interesting trend we see is corporates turning to specialised companies to provide their technological infrastructure and architecture, rather than tying up capital for fixed hardware and systems. They are leveraging these specialised companies so that they can take advantage of the newest technologies in the marketplace, without having to invest in the systems themselves.

Anwar (Standard Chartered): What is interesting is that it then becomes a bit of a challenge, because it smacks into that brick wall of regulatory change that’s trying to put more defences around client confidentiality within a certain country, and says “Oh, you can’t go and rent somebody else’s stuff across border”. These two smash into each other. Then you’re throwing them into the lap of local banks and local competitors that may want to do that. So it becomes an interesting challenge.

Newman (Bank of America Merrill Lynch): You know great technology is important, but if we can’t help our clients figure out how to use it to really improve their business, then it doesn’t mean much. I tell our guys, our clients are looking to you to be the experts of working capital, not the experts in just selling a product. You should be able to be the ones to go in and evaluate their business. You need to understand the value of the solutions, the technology you sell, as much as you value the inner workings of the product. That’s also where you begin to build this relationship that has legs over time.’

Collaboration or competition?

Anwar (Standard Chartered): I think the interesting thing that is happening and is going to happen even more, is the co-investment with clients into spaces. Last year we touched on eBAM, I think, and whether we should get more people and more teeth into it, in terms of clients and co-investing. If you ask what differentiates one bank from another, it is things like being creative and spending money and co-investing, either with other banks or with corporates, in order to get this sort of project off the ground.

Portrait of Michael Guralnick, Global Head Client Sales Management, Citi
Michael Guralnick, Citi

Guralnick (Citi): In this day and age, while we all compete in many areas, there are certainly many ways we can work together. ‘Co-opetition’ is a concept that really resonates today: co-operative competition can be beneficial for all parties – clients, banks and the market.

One area of possible collaboration could certainly be around eBAM. Electronic bank account management is a key topic in the marketplace today – and is a concept that can be equally beneficial to all banks and our respective clients. Rather than each bank doing something individually, working in a collaborative manner would allow us to provide client-centric solutions for the benefit of all our customers. A separate utility such as SWIFT or a similar industry facility may be well positioned to play a leading role in this initiative.

Parkinson (TT): It does seem to me that anything you can do on a portal potentially could be done through SWIFT. If I was a corporate, I think I’d be saying “Well, actually I would quite like to have a lot of the additional information I want reported through a single portal.”

Anwar (Standard Chartered): An aggregator. And that’s the point I think you get within each of the banks – you get what we would call public space and private space, stuff that you would build over a period of time that you would keep in the private space for specific clientele that are yours, and there’s stuff that’s out in the public domain. But if you’re a client that works with a multitude of different banks you don’t want to go to every single individual portal, you want to be able to aggregate.

Newman (Bank of America Merrill Lynch): I think your portal is your virtual relationship manager. We all probably do online banking. I go online and I can see my flows in and out, I can view and move money between my parents’, my children’s and my wife’s accounts. That’s not something I’m going to look to SWIFT to create and they wouldn’t know how to do that for my client base either. SWIFT can’t give individuals or companies the flexibility they need, they don’t know where I might have a banking relationship in multiple countries. So I don’t think the portal space is in their space to be able to customise to my need as a company.

Caulier (BNP Paribas): The trend is definitely towards a single portal. The client wants to find enriched information on their reporting. As I mentioned before, the treasurer wants global visibility and efficient payment execution, but also needs to have efficient balances management, through investment and pooling, visibility, reconciliation and multibank reporting. Having one or more portals is probably less important than the quality of the information he will find in it.

Spearing (Deutsche Bank): Plus with the SCORE model, what some of my clients are telling me is that they are starting to see the difference in the banks very clearly. They thought if they were a SWIFT participant, they would then have access to the 3,000 plus banks and they assumed that every bank participated to the same degree. But what they’re finding is that there are only about 500 banks that are participating in SCORE.

Caviezel (J.P. Morgan): I’m confident that we’ll see a steady increase in the number of larger multi-banked corporations connecting directly to SWIFT to streamline the processing of payment instructions and statements. But I also feel that a portal solution, offering a whole dashboard of value-added services is just as much part of the future treasury landscape.

Where next?

Parkinson (TT): Are there any final words of advice you’d like to be giving? Particularly thinking about where we’re going in the next year.

Anwar (Standard Chartered): We started off this discussion by looking at relationships, and I think these will continue to be key in the next year. It is relationships, looking at the track record of those relationships, but also looking in detail at those institutions, and not just financial institutions, it could even be other counterparties that they deal with. Going beyond the first layer of coverage and looking at what are its values. I believe there are more and more clients now beginning to say: “We share common values and visions with that institution and therefore that is key to us.” Going forward that is going to be even more important.

Spearing (Deutsche Bank): Facing the next 12 months, we know there’s going to be continued economic disruption with new financial regulations and the currencies going through changes. So the advice is to do exactly what they have been doing: to focus on the risk management and have that really crisp dialogue with the bank, because the banks are very focused on the relationship depth. The banks are looking to say how do we broaden and deepen on an individual relationship level, because you want to make sure you’re secure with the relationships you already have, particularly in a difficult environment.

Caviezel (J.P. Morgan): I would say corporates should be looking at the past couple of years as a training ground, and take those learnings and drive them into core competencies. I agree – as banks we should continue to promote open dialogue with corporates to enrich those relationships. It’s actually quite interesting to see that the treasury services departments of larger financial institutions have enjoyed greater success at finding ways to help their clients implement more efficient cash management processes. So it’s again focusing on those core competencies and sharing best practice techniques and continuing to delve into a client’s challenges. That is something to do over the next 12 months.

Newman (Bank of America Merrill Lynch): I used to think that what we went through in 2008 was the 100 year flood, and now I’m beginning to think it is the generation we’re facing. Some of that is because there is an inter-connectiveness between things globally, and so there’s a continual flow, but it’s rare in my banking lifetime, that you will have such a near term ability to apply lessons learned in a difficult time: typically that’s five, seven, ten years and so you’re thinking ‘What was it like in the early nineties?’ or ‘What happened, how did I behave the last time we went trough this?’ Now that’s just two years ago. And I really do think that we’re going to have the ability to apply those same lessons learned, and that’s what I would say, I think that’s what corporations are doing. I think applying lessons learned can only prove to be beneficial for us all.

Caulier (BNP Paribas): For the year ahead, whether we get out of this crisis or not, funding and optimisation of processes will remain key. When we do get out of the crisis, companies will require substantial new cash to finance their operating cycle as sales pick up. Inventories, work in progress and receivables simply consume cash. It is therefore imperative to look at the full value chain, to put the heads together to find solutions, internally as well as externally. There is a huge role for the treasury, together with sales, production and procurement, to get the most cash out of the operating cycle. It is also the role of banks to come up with global solutions encompassing supplier finance, factoring, trade and cash management solutions.

Guralnick (Citi): Without wanting to sound trite, it is all about our clients challenging us, and sharing their vision, goals and ambitions with us so that we can help them meet their objectives. At Citi, we invest a significant amount of time daily in understanding our clients businesses.

Due to our innovative transaction services platform and global reach, corporates continually seek Citi’s advice on how we can help them achieve their strategic objectives. Everything we’ve discussed today at this Treasury Today roundtable revolves around our client-centric approach to providing our customers with value-added solutions.

Parkinson (TT): So we end where we began with relationship banking. Relationship banking is king!

Thanks again to our participants

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