How important is it for you that someone has a well-known Treasury degree?

31-10-2022 | treasuryXL LinkedIn |

The fifth edition in which we discuss the latest poll, is available for your reading. We show how treasurers voted to express their opinions on a current issue, and several of our treasury experts will talk about their perspectives.

We thank our experts Konstantin Khorev,  Arnoud Doornbos and François De Witte for sharing their valuable views on this topic in this edition.

How important is it for you that someone has a well-known Treasury degree?

There are plenty of education and training courses in treasury, with the aim of obtaining treasury certificates. We wanted to explore how important you think this is, in the job market or for other things. There was a very good participation in the poll, resulting in a record 113 votes. Thank you everyone for actively participating, and join us in voting for the poll that is currently live and let’s try break the record votes right away!

Question: How important is it for you that someone has a well-known Treasury degree? On the job market or for other things?

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How do treasures think of a treasury degree?

We see a considerable spread of votes. A large proportion of treasurers value expertise more than a degree. On the other hand, a large proportion considers a treasury degree minimally of high importance. Some of our treasuryXL experts from different backgrounds explained their views on the subject.

View of treasuryXL experts

Konstantin Khorev

Konstantin voted for the option that a treasury degree is a guarantee of quality.

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” Specific, treasury-focused education certainly makes sense.”

From the perspective of a recruitment manager who has conducted a number of interviews, I find that a standard academic programme does not focus enough on the topics relevant to the treasury function.

For example, I note that too many candidates for treasury positions find it difficult to understand or don’t know FX forward pricing (relationship between interest rate differential, spot and forward pricing), or don’t understand the difference/relationship between net income and cash flows, etc.

And, of course, these are only general topics; other topics – like cash pooling or hedge accounting are just not part of the regular curriculum. Therefore, specific, treasury-focused education certainly makes sense.


Arnoud Doornbos

Arnoud voted for the option that a treasury degree is just one of the key aspects.

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” There are also elements that you can never learn from a book”

A treasury degree is a great start to a career in treasury. But after having interviewed many candidates in my life, I am also convinced that practice is also a very good learning opportunity. There are also elements that you can never learn from a book. You must have done that. But a treasury degree is a nice theoretical framework to start with.

In treasury you have to think in terms of cash flows and risks. In addition, you still need some understanding of financing, how to price it in relation to the risk that the bank runs on your company.

I don’t have a treasury degree myself, but I am completely self-made man. After 25 years in dealing rooms of banks and then 9 years as a treasury consultant, I think I have seen all facets of the profession.


François de Witte

François voted for the option that a treasury degree is a guarantee of quality.

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” It is key to ensure that both the candidates and the current treasury staff keep their treasury knowledge updated”

Within Finance, Treasury is a fast-moving activity, which requires in addition to the soft skills a lot of technical skills and competencies. We are in the war for talent, and we experience more and more staff rotation. Hence it is key to ensure that both the candidates and the current treasury staff keep their treasury knowledge updated.

Several programs have been developed, the most well known being the ACT Certificate in Treasury Fundamentals. In the Netherlands NIVE also organizes the QCM (Qualified Cash manager) and QT (Qualified Treasurer) training. In Luxembourg, ATEL organizes with the House of Training the Certificate in International Treasury Management and Corporate Finance, with a Fundamentals version and an Advanced version.

Some treasury associations partnering with universities to provide treasury certification. In France, the AFTE has teamed up with the university of Paris Sorbonne, the university of Rennes and the University of Lille to develop a full master program in Treasury Management.

We also have in the Netherlands the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam who organizes the postgraduate Executive Treasury Management & Corporate Finance program combining two finance disciplines which largely overlap and are inextricably connected: Treasury Management and Corporate Finance. It has now been running for more than 20 years.

Beside this we have a lot of other treasury trainings organized by organizations such as Van Groningen, Finsiders Academy, Orchard Finance, etc. However, they do not offer a certification.

In an ever more sophisticating environment, and in view of the increased regulations, it is for me key to look at certified trainings to build a solid background in a Treasury Management field. It enables to meet other talented treasurers and teachers. In addition, thanks to the certification, based upon an examination and/or end paper, you can get a additional quality label, which can be very useful in your career.

In this respect, I wish to share my personal experience in a completely different area. I am currently looking for Board Mandates and realized that there also a certification can be useful. Hence I have started the Guberna programme to become a Guberna Certified Director.

In the event that due to circumstances, you cannot follow certified trainings, you can also get a certification thanks to the Treasurer Test developed by treasuryXL


Would you like to explain your own vote for this poll? Join the discussion in the comments. And above all, don’t forget to give your opinion on our latest poll question

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Top 5 most read articles at treasuryXL.com and LinkedIn of 2020

31-12-2020 | treasuryXL | Kendra Keydeniers

The last day of 2020 is here. The whole world experienced a ‘year not to forget’. I can imagine that when you popped the champagne last year you had other thoughts and plans in mind for 2020.

To make sure you don’t miss out on the pieces that made the most impact this year, we sifted through the data to uncover the articles our readers loved most in 2020 on our website and LinkedIn. (Treasury Topic ‘What is’ articles excluded).

Top 5 treasuryXL website articles of 2020

  1. Corporate Governance and Treasury | Embrace the Corporate Treasury Policy

    by Francois De Witte

  2. Top 5 most common pain points in Treasury

    by Michael Ringeling

  3. Corporates: Caveat IBOR!

    by Daniel Pluta, Enigma Consulting

  4. Exclusive interview with FX specialist Arnoud Doornbos about FX Risk Management

    by treasuryXL, Arnoud Doornbos

  5. How to simplify Procurement and Finance in the Supply Chain

    by Wim Kok

Top 5 treasuryXL LinkedIn posts of 2020

  1. Nomentia (former OpusCapita) makes Liquidity Management free for all customers!

    by Nomentia

  2. What is the difference between Treasury and Accounting?

    by TreasuryXL

  3. The missing part of a Treasury Job Description

    by Aastha Tomar

  4. An introduction to Forwards, Futures and Options Part 1

    by Aastha Tomar

  5. Partner Interview Series | The deeper dive with TIS (Treasury Intelligence Solutions)

    by treasuryXL, TIS

Within two weeks we will post a full recap of 2020 with an overview of the partners and treasury experts that have joined us, together with some interesting treasuryXL facts!

Thank you for being part of the treasuryXL community. Now it’s time to pop the champagne! Let 2021 begin…

 

Kendra Keydeniers

Director, Community & Partners treasuryXL

Recap of the first ‘Meet the Expert’ interview series and full overview

| 04-08-2020 | by Kendra Keydeniers |

A couple of months ago, we started the ‘Meet the Expert’ interview series with experts from the treasuryXL community with different treasury expertise.

Treasury needs to deal with an increasing availability of alternative financial products, intensifying risk management requirements, regulatory and compliance constraints.

What do our experts think about this rapidly growing movements within the treasury world? What developments do they expect in the future? What opportunities do they see?

We interviewed 10 experts over the last 10 weeks and asked them about their treasury career, experiences, the future of treasury and of course how COVID19 impact treasury from their perspective.

Did you miss an interview? No worries, here is a full overview of the ‘Meet the Expert’ series:

 

 

 

Bertus van de Kamp

Senior Business Consultant & Cash Management Specialist

read interview

 

 

 

 

 

Wim Kok

International Business Consultant & Trade Finance Specialist

read interview

 

 

 

 

 

Aastha Tomar

FX & Derivatives | Debt Capital Markets | MBA Finance | Electrical Engineer | Sustainability

read interview

 

 

 

 

 

Michael Ringeling

Corporate Treasury, Corporate Control and Banking

read interview

 

 

 

 

 

Olivier Werlingshoff

Cash- and Treasury management

read interview

 

 

 

 

 

Ger van Rosmalen

Trade Finance Specialist

read interview

 

 

 

 

 

Francois De Witte

Owner at FDW Consult | Sr. Project Manager at Gaming1 | CFO at Safetrade Holding

read interview

 

 

 

 

 

Arnoud Doornbos

Interim Treasury & Finance | Consultant | FX & Interest Derivatives | Treasury Outsourcing| Risk | Fintech | TMS

read interview

 

 

 

 

 

Vinzenco Masile

Treasury Expert/Credit Risk Manager

read interview

 

 

 

 

 

Arnaud Béasse

Debt Management Specialist

read interview

 

 


A big thank you to everyone that worked with me on this series, to everyone that selflessly shared their knowledge and experience with all of us! You guys rock.

If you’ve enjoyed our series so far, don’t worry, this is just the beginning! We are looking into more perspectives to share with you later this year when we will start the second ‘Meet the Expert’ interview series.

Take care and thanks for reading,

Kendra Keydeniers
Community & Partner Manager at treasuryXL

Forward Rate Agreement (FRA)

| 05-01-2018| Arnoud Doornbos |

Money Market outlook

At the press conference on 14 December 2017, the ECB announced that expectations for economic growth and inflation have been adjusted upwards. But despite optimistic growth, the ECB is not yet fully convinced of a continued upward trend in domestic price pressures. And thus Draghi: “An ample degree of monetary stimulus … is necessary for underlying inflation pressures to continue to build up.”

For this reason, the ECB will maintain the buying program at least until September 2018. And only then will an increase in policy rates come into the picture. Since the beginning of 2017, investors have seen the chance that the ECB will implement an increase in policy interest rates. This has not yet had an effect on the three-month Euribor rate. This has been stable at around -0.3% for the whole of 2017, and we expect that this will be the case in the vast majority of 2018 as well.

But markets will go up again for sure during time and borrowers need to prepare themselves for that moment. A good interest rate risk management can help to extent the pleasure of using favorable low interest rates for your company. Hedging your short term interest rate exposure with FRA’s could be a good idea. Good timing is essential.

 

 

Definition

A Forward Rate Agreement’s (FRA’s) effective description is a cash for difference derivative contract, between two parties, benchmarked against an interest rate index. That index is commonly an interbank offered rate (-IBOR) of specific tenor in different currencies, for example LIBOR in USD, GBP, EURIBOR in EUR or STIBOR in SEK. A FRA between two counterparties requires a fixed rate, notional amount, chosen interest rate index tenor and date to be completely specified.

FRAs are not loans, and do not constitute agreements to loan any amount of money on an unsecured basis to another party at any pre-agreed rate. Their nature as a IRD product creates only the effect of leverage and the ability to speculate, or hedge, interest rate risk exposure.

 

 

 

How it works

Many banks and large corporations will use FRAs to hedge future interest or exchange rate exposure. The buyer hedges against the risk of rising interest rates, while the seller hedges against the risk of falling interest rates. Other parties that use Forward Rate Agreements are speculators purely looking to make bets on future directional changes in interest rates.

In other words, a forward rate agreement (FRA) is a tailor-made, over-the-counter financial futures contract on short-term deposits. A FRA transaction is a contract between two parties to exchange payments on a deposit, called the Notional amount, to be determined on the basis of a short-term interest rate, referred to as the Reference rate, over a predetermined time period at a future date.

At maturity, no funds exchange hands; rather, the difference between the contracted interest rate and the market rate is exchanged. The buyer of the contract is paid if the published reference rate is above the fixed, contracted rate, and the buyer pays to the seller if the published reference rate is below the fixed, contracted rate. A company that seeks to hedge against a possible increase in interest rates would purchase FRAs, whereas a company that seeks an interest hedge against a possible decline of the rates would sell FRAs.

 

Valuation and Pricing

 The cash for difference value on a FRA, exchanged between the two parties, calculated from the perspective of having sold a FRA (which imitates receiving the fixed rate) is calculated as:

where N is the notional of the contract, R is the fixed rate, r is the published -IBOR fixing rate and d is the decimalized day count fraction over which the value start and end dates of the -IBOR rate extend.

For USD and EUR this follows an ACT/360 convention and GBP follows an ACT/365 convention. The cash amount is paid on the value start date applicable to the interest rate index (depending in which currency the FRA is traded, this is either immediately after or within two business days of the published -IBOR fixing rate).

For mark-to-market (MTM) purposes the net present value (PV) of an FRA can be determined by discounting the expected cash difference, for a forecast value r:

where vn is the discount factor of the payment date upon which the cash for difference is physically settled, which, in modern pricing theory, will be dependent upon which discount curve to apply based on the credit support annex (CSA) of the derivative contract.

Quotation and Market-Making

 FRA Descriptive Notation and Interpretation

 

How to interpret a quote for FRA?

[EUR 3×6  -0.321 / -0.301%p.a ] – means deposit interest starting 3 months from now for 3 month is -0.321% and borrowing interest rate starting 3 months from now for 3 month is -0.301%. Entering a “payer FRA” means paying the fixed rate (-0.321% p.a.) and receiving a floating 3-month rate, while entering a “receiver FRA” means paying the same floating rate and receiving a fixed rate (-0.321% p.a.).

Due to the current negative Money Market rates means receiving actually paying and the other way around.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Arnoud Doornbos 

Interim Treasury & Finance

 

 

Basel III and the impact on cost of hedging

| 30-3-2017 | Arnoud Doornbos | Treasury Services |

Corporates will save hedging costs and administrative costs significantly if they shift their hedging activities to exchanges such as CME (Chicago Mercantile Exchange).
In the summer of 2007 a large number of defaults on U.S. mortgage loans did arise. The banks were hit hard by the global domino effect that resulted. A major financial crisis which was followed by an economic crisis led to a revision of the capital requirements of Basel I and Basel II.

New Basel III

The core of Basel III is that many banks have to hold more capital and liquidity to their outstanding investments than they used to in the past. The rules are implemented as from 2013 and should eventually be fully effective in 2019.

Basel III will be a huge challenge for banks in the coming years. The impact on the pricing of financial products and transactions between banks and their clients will be significant.
Since July 2008, the Basel Committee for Banking Supervision has been working on Basel III for all banks worldwide. The European Commission has introduced three Capital Requirements Directives which contains concrete actions and requirements in terms of risk, capital and liquidity management within a bank. The new requirements, part of Basel III, aim to improve the quality and level of capital reserves of banks.

The capital requirements of certain products have increased and banks are encouraged to create additional capital buffers during good economic times so that they are better positioned to absorb losses during periods of economic stress.

Impact of Basel III on liquidity management

Besides sharpening the capital requirements Basel III has a major impact on liquidity management. The new liquidity standards are based on a stress test. In addition Basel III also introduces new long-term liquidity standards that reduce the mismatch between the maturities of assets and liabilities.
Banks will have to increase their reserves sharply in the coming years. Previously, banks only had to keep 2 % capital to their outstanding investments. Now with Basel III this capital requirement has been increased to 7 % (4.5 % hard buffer and an additional 2.5 % margin in bad times) . As a result banks will probably not distribute their profits in the coming years but will add to their capital buffers. Furthermore many banks will have to issue new shares in order to attract extra money in order to meet the new demands.

Counterparty risk

Within Basel III it has been determined that capital must be held for the credit risk on a counterparty a bank is exposed to in OTC derivatives or equity financing transactions. In addition, market participants are encouraged to take one central counterparty (clearing houses) for OTC derivatives. Any time a bank takes a risk against another party the probability of default exists. To offset this concern, and to support on-going stability within the interbank market, banks have long emphasized the importance of measuring and managing counterparty risk. Now banks have becomes noticeably less comfortable trading with other counterparties including other banks.

The recent deterioration in credit ratings that has hit many U.S. and European banks has led to a heightened sensitivity over counterparty risk. These apprehensions may not be voiced directly, but they become evident when front office trades that would have cleared in the past, no longer do because credit lines have been reduced. There is increasing focus on limiting exposures, even among global banks. And that is starting to affect the way we do business.
CVA (Credit Valuations Adjustment) desks have grown in popularity, as banks seek more effective ways to manage and aggregate counterparty credit risk.
The market has changed now in terms of how counterparty credit risk was calculated. Now, no client is assumed to be truly risk free. Different prices are now expected for different clients on that same interest rate swap, depending on variables including the client’s rating and the overall direction of existing trades between both parties.
On all new interest rate, FX, equity, or credit derivatives, CVA desks price the marginal counterparty risk for inclusion into the overall price charged to the client. CVA is a highly complex calculation.

CVA looks at default through the spread of the counterparty. A swap facing a single B credit that trades at 1200 in CDS is going to be charged a lot more than the same swap facing a AA counterparty. The CDS spread is normally a core input of CVA pricing.

What we see in practice is that in the manual process, the CVA desk team of a bank often passes along suggestions to the salesperson for improving the credit risk in a trade and enabling the sales person to offer the trade at a lower credit price. Examples of that would include improving the collateral agreement with a client, or inserting a break clause.
In the traditional CVA approach, a bank accepts a new trade, takes a fee and uses that fee to buy good hedges for all the risks in that trade. These hedges should eliminate all of the bank’s risk, but this is not necessarily the case once Basel III is taken into account.

Basel III does not recognize all types of hedges that the bank might want to use. Therefore the regulatory capital for certain trades will not be zero, even if the bank has used the full CVA fee to hedge all its risks.
The first impact Basel III has on CVA desks is on pricing. Pre-deal pricing needs to be reviewed to ensure the costs of imposed regulatory capital are covered. If not, additional pricing may need to be added. And the decision on which risks are efficient to hedge also becomes affected not just by strategic or business reasons, but also by the regulatory capital impact.
As part of Basel III’s updated regulatory capital guidelines, a new element has been added: [email protected] on CVA. Regulators have specified very precisely how the underlying CVA must be calculated for this charge. Banks will therefore need to decide whether to adjust their pricing and balance sheet CVA to match the Basel III rules, or to use different CVA calculations for pricing and regulatory purposes.

EMIR / Dodd-Frank

The Dodd-Frank / EMIR financial reform bill gives a new set of derivatives rules that either will clean up the market or send the world spiraling off the deep end. The truth is probably somewhere in between. The crux of the derivatives regulation is the requirements that standardized swaps be centrally cleared and traded on a Swap Execution Facility, or SEF. This moves derivatives from bilateral agreements between bank and client to centrally cleared products where credit risk is no longer bank-held, but is centralized in a clearinghouse where daily margin is managed. Once clearing is in place, customers no longer are locked into a single dealer, long and short positions can be netted, and SEFs can begin to match buyers and sellers without having to worry about the credit lines of each counterparty or dealer.

This will begin the migration of the derivatives business from a principal-based OTC market toward an agency-based bid/offer SEF market.

Treasury Services’ analysis:

  • Hedging is penalized decreasing the liquidity in the markets leading to increased costs to hedge financial risks for corporations. This is further emphasized by the penalization of the interbank markets through requirement of more capital, and additional constraints on liquidity on interbank transactions.
  • There will also be an increase in administration costs for corporates costs due to EMIR.
  • Corporate credit by banks is penalized: More capital is required in general. For back-up facilities on commercial paper programs it is required that banks will have to have 100% of liquid assets whilst these facilities are fully undrawn. The cost of carry will obviously be invoiced to the client. The ability of the bank to borrow long term will determine the availability of back-up facilities.
  • Restrictions in maturity mismatch (including for repayments) are introduced. This may mean that the risk of borrowing short term to finance long term investments will be transferred to the corporate sector.

The advantages of the OTC market compared to exchanges has become questionable. High cost savings can be achieved by shifting your hedging activities to exchanges such as Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME).
Shifting hedging activities to an exchange such as CME requires changes in your risk management function. This supplies the possibility to bring the cost of hedging back in your control.

 

Arnoud Doornbos

Associate Partner

What’s FinTech and how does it change the financial world?

| 22-2-2017 | Arnoud Doornbos |

FinTech is a term that is becoming popular in the financial world. Only one third of the financial experts know what this means  and understands  what consequences it has for their business. How this innovation is currently changing the ecosystem of money, is still relatively unknown.

FinTech is a contraction of the words financial and technology. In other words: it covers all innovative financial products and services that simplify and accelerates the way we handle money. For traditional banks FinTech is still an uncomfortable concept. Why? Because a large portion of the revolutionary financial concepts are derived from technology driven start-ups. These start-ups change the traditional ecosystem. This is enormously important in a country like the Netherlands where the majority of firms is financed by banks and personal finances of the people are predominantly held by financial institutions  which find it often difficult to modernize.

The emergence of ICT in the financial sector may also have different consequences. Those FinTech companies that focus on a single product or service can erode the business model of banks. At the same time the same technology also offers opportunities for traditional players to improve their service and reduce costs. Also, traditional players have a competitive advantage over new entrants based on their knowledge of regulations and access to information from relationship banking (also called soft information).

FinTech companies have greatly changed the rules of the sector. Today we can pay via our mobile phone, quickly apply for online credit and invest online with one click. The list of innovative ideas is endless and an enrichment for everyone.

FinTech VC investments

The explosive growth of the financial technology industry continued in 2016.

  • 2016 has seen 839 deals globally attracting $15.2bn of investment
  • Global investment is up 27% to Q3 2016 vs the same period in  2015 and has surpassed the 2015 total of $14.9bn
  • Global deal size is slightly ahead of 2015 Q3 levels, with the average increasing from $14.3m to $18.1m, partially attributable to large Chinese investments such as Alipay

 


Source: Pitchbook Innovate/Finance

Most money was invested in start-ups. Projections show that the amount of investment will continue to rise.

The power of this technology-driven financial services lies in the fact that it is fast, efficient, transparent and mobile. You can use these services as long as you have Internet access. Of course, this strongly contrasts with the discontent which experienced customers from traditional banks.

Looking ahead — the FinTech industry could experience even greater growth moving into the coming year. The future remains positive from an investment perspective. We may expect an uptick after relative slow growth in the second half of 2016 due to political risks such as the Brexit and the US elections which fueled great uncertainty across all emerging sectors. Along with increased attention, the industry could see a large number of fresh launches and FinTech could make its way into an even stronger growth pattern in 2017 as investors have become more certain about industry prospects.

The possibilities for FinTech in Netherlands

In the Netherlands, there is also a strong rise of FinTech companies. Companies like Paypal are rapidly gaining market share. The biggest and best-known Dutch company FinTech Adyen. This company was recently valued at more than € 2.3 billion.

The FinTech Top 100 announced in 2016 that there are eight Dutch FinTech startups are part of the leading European companies in the financial technology. The financial infrastructure and the international focus play an important role. In addition, capital and expertise is also necessary for innovation, two factors Netherlands as a European Member State meets. The Netherlands also rise in 2016 from the 5th to the 4th place in the ranking of most competitive economies in the world.

The infographic shows that, perhaps inspired by Adyen, payment providers constitute a large share of the pie. Also data startups and alternative financing (crowdfunding example) are well represented in the Netherlands.

Dutch FinTech awards 2017

FinTech startups are disrupting the financial sector. Innovative companies are eager to please millions of frustrated banking customers. Investors are fascinated by the phenomenal profits made by banks struggling with outdated technology. Today, more and more money is being invested in FinTech. The Uber of the banking sector has not yet emerged, but this is only a matter of time. On April 21 the Dutch FinTech Awards 2017 will be held in Utrecht at the Rabobank Headquarter. The panel of judges of this years event consists of seasoned investors, academics, marketeers, entrepreneurs with an extensive track record in finance and/ or technology.  (http://www.fintech.nl).  The author of this article is one of the judges

Future

What we see in practice is that components of banking products and services are being redeveloped by the FinTech Industry.
These FinTech solutions are smarter, faster and better.
As a result we now see that different FinTech companies will work together. The individual Fintech products often turn out to be complementary to each other.
FinTech companies now recognize that collaboration with other FinTech companies leads to high growth and a better product range.

The Uber of the banking sector

 

The Uber of the banking sector has not yet emerged, but this is only a matter of time.

 

 

Arnoud Doornbos

Associate Partner

 

 

 

 

Impact of Basel III on Notional Cash Pooling

|17-1-2017 | Arnoud Doornbos |

afbeelding

 

Since the start of the financial crisis a growing need for more bank independency with companies has arisen. Bank counterparty risk became an issue. A large cash management bank announced in 2015 to stop their transactional banking services for continental Europe. What will happen with current cash pools running with banks in the UK? Increased regulations (Basel III) may stop certain banking products.
All types of events where companies feel a growing need for more bank independency.

Basel III

In the coming years, banks have to prepare themselves for compliance with the new Basel III rules on financial institutions.
The financial crisis of 2008 brought the shortcomings of Basel II to light. The capital requirements for banks were found to be insufficient and banks were running risks which were not identified by Basel II.
Therefore the focus of Basel III is to restore previous mistakes and adding requirements to both the quality and composition of the capital held by banks and liquidity position and governance to manage the risks.

Effective liquidity management is a way to look for “Idle” cash. An increasing number of companies therefore choose for notional pooling as it enables them to gain more insight into their (global) financial position and in order to optimize the interest income on their accounts.
Simultaneously Basel III imposes stricter requirements on offsetting balances (credit and debit), and this brings notional pooling possibly into danger. The question is what impact the introduction of Basel III has to notional pooling services offered by banks.

Notional Pooling

Notional pooling is a mechanism for calculating interest on the combined credit and debit balances of accounts that a corporate parent chooses to cluster together, without actually transferring any funds between the accounts. It is ideal for companies with decentralized organizations that want to allow some autonomy to their subsidiaries, including their control over bank accounts.

Treasury Services- without notional pooling

Benefits of notional pooling

The use of notional pooling has increased tremendously in recent years. At the moment it is a commonly used structure to concentrate balances and maximize the interest income on bank accounts. In addition it will provide companies with an increased understanding of their financial position and the company is therefore able to manage their money more effectively. Another commonly used technique is physical pooling (zero balancing) where the money from the participating accounts is transferred via a physical transfer to a higher-level account. The difference between them is that with notional pooling the money shall be paid only virtual and with physical pooling a physical transfer of money takes place. By using physical pooling through physical money transfer, internal debt positions will be created. Notional pooling and physical pooling can also be combined in an overlay structure.

Liquidity management

Basel III introduces a number of new financial ratios that aim to strengthen the capital base of banks.
One of the most significant ratios is the liquidity coverage ratio which banks are required to hold in high-quality liquid assets (cash money or assets which can be sold on the market quickly). This liquidity coverage ratio shows how far banks are able to withstand sufficiently a ‘crisis’ on cash flows for a period of thirty days. Moreover, the new law increases the capital requirements for banks and make these requirements more risk-weighted than before. The requirements are also countercyclical, intended to encourage banks to build up more capital in economic good times.
Liquidity management is gaining popularity by two simultaneous developments. On the one hand, credit is a less attractive source of profit for banks, which enforced banks to shift their focus to activities without capital requirements. On the other hand, companies need to make optimal use of internal cash as bank financing is becoming increasingly difficult. Notional pooling offers the option to concentrate the balances at several (international) accounts and optimize the interest.

Uncertain future for notional pooling

Basel III does not always allow that liquidity ratios are calculated by means of netting the outstanding balances of accounts in the notional pool. This means that banks must calculate their ratios based on the gross value of individual accounts. To cover the negative positions in the notional pool banks need to hold more liquidity. The negative position is seen as overdraft, which is associated with unattractive Risk Weighted Asset (RWA) for the bank. The conditions for reducing this RWA vary by bank and are depending also on the central bank of an individual country. To prevent that banks are required to hold a higher amount of risk capital they must be in possession of a legal right of offset. However, the process to obtain this right involves a lot of time and high costs (both for the bank and the company) and requires the necessary legal and tax knowledge. First, the law in the jurisdiction of each participant of the notional pool must allow compensation in the event of bankruptcy. In addition each participant of the notional pool must sign a paper that allow them to guarantee for other participants. Finally, the company must demonstrate that netting has occurred periodically.

Regarding the future of notional pooling, there are a number of scenarios to think of when it comes to the continuation of this service by banks:

  • Banks will only allow entities in the notional pool if there is an enforceable right of compensation;
  • Banks will charge the higher costs related to notional pooling to the companies;
  • Banks offer notional pooling selectively based on the creditworthiness of the company.

If banks decide to increase the price for notional pooling, it is likely that companies will go for alternatives for their cash management activities (e.g. physical pooling). Therefore it is advisable to contact your bank regarding notional pooling, so you are not faced with unnecessary surprises.

Treasury Services monitors the developments in the Basel III framework closely and combines its expertise in the areas of Payments, Treasury and Risk in order to provide its customers the best advice.
The Treasury Services Cash Management Scan analyses the impact of Basel III on your current cash pools and will explain how to manage this in the future.

Bank independent Cash Pooling

Treasury Services has developed a solution to set up cash pooling structures completely independent from banks through software. This creates significant additional savings and advantages compared to a cash pooling solution with banks.

The bank independent cash pooling allows companies to pool different bank accounts with different banks in different countries.

The advantages are:

Treasury Services advantages Cash pooling tool

The solution we have developed is a complete solution. It does not only consist of a software solution, but also proposed changes for policies and processes, and we investigated the legal and fiscal constraints.

For  more information please refer to this link.

 

arnoud-doornbos

 

Arnoud Doornbos

Partner at Treasury Services