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

An Introduction to Forwards, Futures and Options | Part 2

17-06-2020 | by Aastha Tomar

In her previous post, our Expert Aastha Tomar explained how the forwards work. Lets see the second type of hedge. The second type of hedge contract is futures. Like forwards they also fix the currency rate for a future date. The major difference between a future and a forward is that futures are exchange traded and therefore they are standardized.

Features of Futures

  1. They have standard sizes, delivery dates and settlement rules. The settlement mechanisms reduces much of the credit risk .
    -> Now why do I say that credit risk is reduced ?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    As mentioned earlier, all settlement takes place through the exchange clearing house and the two parties buyer and seller are not in direct contact with each other. Therefore since it is the responsibility of exchange clearing house to settle the trade, the counter-parties run the credit risk of the exchange clearing house instead on each other.

  2. They can be cash settled or physically delivered and are legally binding.They trade in one contract size, so corporate must trade in multiples of that
  3. They move in increments called ticks and each tick has a value. The number of ticks made or lost on a trade determines the loss/profit of the trade
  4. The counter parties holding the contracts on the expiration date must deliver the currency amount at the specified price on the specified delivery date or they can even close out the position before the expiry date, this can be done by doing an equal and opposite trade in the same futures contract.
  5. To enter into a future contract an initial deposit into a margin account is required . The contract is then marked to market each day and a company is required to add more funds to the margin account if cumulative losses drain the margin account. If the company does not respond to a margin call, the exchange closes out the contract.
  6. The contracts are physically delivered four times in a year on the third Wednesday of March, June, September, and December.

Difference between future and forwards

  1. Futures are traded on an exchange hence standardized therefore a company may not be able to hedge the exact and full amount of underlying transaction. They may have to under-hedge .
  2. The delivery date in future may not be same as the maturity of underlying transaction which may open the corporate for some market fluctuation.
  3. The treasures can easily unwind a hedge position earlier than its normal settlement date if needed.
  4. In a forward contract, the bank includes a transaction fee in the contract. In a futures contract, a broker charges a commission to execute the deal.
Lets understand futures with an example :

Lets take EUR/USD as an example,

One contract size for EURUSD future is $125,000 worth of Euros and one tick size for EURUSD future is .00005. Therefore the price movement will be ($125,000*.00005) =$6.25 per EUR

Now if we purchase one futures contract of the EUR/USD, which is trading $1.0901 . We are hoping that EUR will appreciate , relative to the Dollar. Suppose we are lucky and things go as expected, and the exchange rate rises to $1.09015, We will make $6.25 in profit (per contract). Cool !!! Suppose we are luckier and FED makes some negative announcement on top of that ECB does some tremendous positive changes in their policy due to which EUR shoots up becomes much more stronger and exchange rate rises to $1.09110 (a whooping increase of 20 ticks), then we would make $125.00 in profit per contract ($6.25 x 20 ticks = $125.00).

lets see it more clearly in the following table :

Now why do corporates stay away from Futures ?

  1. Futures cannot be customized hence there is not always a complete hedge
  2. Companies don’t want to put initial margin money in the exchange
  3. They want to stay away from the hassle of mark to market each day and depositing money if the losses erase the deposited margin money
  4. With forwards there is a human interaction with the banker who enters trade with you and you feel more comfortable with that, you may also negotiate forward premia with the banker and if there is a long standing relationship with the bank, the bank sometimes forego or reduce the fees. In Futures that’s not the case.

Whether its a forward or future contract, nothing is difficult if you have the intent to learn the product . Once you start understanding how hedge market works and start realizing the benefit of it then it will eventually be beneficial for you as a Treasurer and for your corporate which will be saved from unwanted currency fluctuations. In our third and last post in this series we will talk about Options ..keep learning, be safe.. to be continued ….

 

Aastha Tomar

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

Meet our Experts – Interview Aastha Tomar

09-06-2020 | Aastha Tomar | treasuryXL

Aastha Tomar has joined treasuryXL at the beginning of 2020 as expert and already published 3 great blogs:

Aastha has been responsible for setting up of Treasury teams for her organizations from scratch and has been a founder member of FX Treasury in a Bank. Being in front office role throughout her career has made her indispensable for her organizations due to her business development and stakeholder management skills. She has single handed led transactions to the tune of USD 5Bn.
Aastha is an Electrical Engineer and master’s in finance, both from premier institutes in India. Her inquisitiveness to learn something new and accept challenging work is responsible for her stints in Software development, Investment banking, Banking and Entrepreneurship.
In her free time Aastha loves to write blogs/ articles on various topic ranging from leadership, life experiences and sustainability, her latest love.

 

We asked her 9 questions, let’s go!

1. How did your treasury journey start?

My first exposure to how Treasury actually works was quite early during my internship in my MBA. I was lucky enough to do internship in one of India’s largest Corporate Treasury. It was then I decided that I want to make my career in Treasury. Therefore my career choices after MBA were always made while keeping in mind that I have to move towards being a corporate Treasurer.

2. What do you like about working in Treasury?

Treasury is a very fascinating department, there doesn’t goes even a single day where you don’t learn something new. Every day brings a new aspect to the profile. You have to be on your toes always to be up the curve which is the best part. You are always on top of what is happening in the world and how it is impacting the business. You can always make a positive impact on organisation’s bottom line by being always ready with action of any kind of impact.

3. What is your Treasury Expertise?

I have worked in Corporate finance, fixed income financing through loans and capital markets and have worked in FX Treasury which included risk management, interest rate risk management and FX risk management.

4. Do you have examples of risk mitigation, creation of opportunities and/or cost savings?

I was responsible for ISDA negotiations where we always made sure that default covenants for the counter party are strict and always made sure that the covenants are adhered to and did frequent monitoring for the same. This always kept us informed and saved us from any shocks from covenants default which in turn would have led to default in the derivatives done with the counter party.

5. What has been your best experience in your treasury career until today?

I was the founder member of Treasury in my previous organisation. I joined the organisation before the bank was formed. The initial few months were very demanding as it involved infrastructure set up, documentation, informing corporations about our bank.  After much hard work and after few months I cracked one of the biggest deal for that year for my bank. It was such a nice experience where all your efforts which you put in finally bore fruit.

6. What’s the most important lesson that you’ve learned as a treasurer?

Time is for essence for a Treasurer, we have to take actions swiftly and seamlessly. Each day is different and bring new challenges therefore a Treasurer should be ready to face them  . Always think out of the box- what new products can be used, how to make most use of technology, how make a team which is self motivated and work towards a common goal.

7. The coronavirus is undoubtedly an unprecedented crisis. In general, can you elaborate on the impact this virus has on treasury from your perspective?

The corporations with strong risk management approach, with clear understanding potential risk on business through risk evaluation tools, such as sensitivity analysis, shall be the best place during the current scenario. They would have their foreign currency exposure hedged to an optimum limit, sufficient cash to work with and therefore, during these times, would be able to direct their efforts to improve operational efficiency, carry out M&A evaluations  rather than trying to learn swimming after being thrown in the waters. Business Continuity Management came into play and the organisations which has BSM only in theory in their policy books took lot of time to adjust to the new normal. Thus, COVID 19 brings additional responsibility of treasury towards ensuring corporations not only survive but thrive during the new normal.

8. What developments do you expect in corporate treasury in the near and further future?

One thing has been proved that there is no running away from the Technology. You may be in finance field but you got to know the technology as well. The major development which now will take place will be to reduce as much human intervention as possible in the working of Treasury which will make sure that if at all any such scenario is faced in future work can go on without much impact.

9. How have you seen the role of Corporate Treasury evolve over the years?

I answered this question in my article “The Missing Part of a Treasury Job Description“:

” Gone are the days when a Treasurer was just involved in risk management and ensuring liquidity. In current scenario of news going viral each action creates a ripple effect. As famous Jane Goodall once said : “You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make”. A Treasurer has to take an active role in policy making and lead her organization towards sustainability and protecting consumers  ”

 

Aastha Tomar

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





 


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An Introduction to Forwards, Futures and Options | Part 1

03-06-2020 | by Aastha Tomar

Our financial world has now gone through enough crisis. Some learnt from previous crisis and were braced for the next while some were still in their learning phase. The current crisis took everyone by alteration because this time it was not the financial sector which was responsible for the ordain. The fluctuations seen in equity, bond, commodity and currency markets may have become Achilles heels for Corporate Treasurers in current times.

The incumbent state of affairs was such that Corporates had to protect their bottom line while trying to stay afloat. The entire cash flow projections would have gone for a flip for those who didn’t hedge their foreign currency exposure. One way that would have taken a part of vexation away from corporate treasurers due to currency fluctuation is hedging. It would have attenuated the impact of currency fluctuation on investments, borrowings, assets etc .

Let us have a look at the most used and basic methods of hedging in this article :

Forwards

So what are forwards? In a simple language its a hedge product between two parties which freezes your cash flow for a future date. That ways whatever the market situation be on the maturity date of the hedge, your cash flows are locked and predetermined. Whether you are an exporter who can know the exact value of future payments or an importer who can anticipate the exact costs of products; a forward will hedge the risk of currency fluctuation for both.

Features of Forwards :

  1. Specifies the amount, date and rate for a future currency exchange
  2. Parties involved are banks and businesses with foreign currency exposure
  3. They are over the counter products
  4. They can be customized
  5. They need two parties, one buyer other a seller
  6. There is no upfront payment
  7. Determining a currency forward rate depends on interest rate differentials for the currency pair in question

Example :

Suppose you are an exporter based in the Netherlands and you want to sell Dollars in an years time. You know due to current euro zone, corona crisis and negative interest rate scenarios Euro may fluctuate sideways and therefore you want to lock in the price of USD today itself so that one year down the line you don’t have to worry about the fluctuating rates. What do you do ? You approach a bank informing them that you have to sell USD (buy EURUSD) for 1st June, 2021. After basic documentation bank enters with an forward agreement with you . Where in today’s spot rate , the currency premium for one year , the amount of hedge and the maturity rate will be mentioned .

 

Spot EURUSD : 1.08282 (1 EUR = 1.08282 USD )

1 year interest rate for EUR = -.07%

1 year interest rate for USD = 0.7%

 

So after one year based on interest rate parity :

 

EUR 1* ( 1+(-.0007))= USD 1.08282 *( 1+ .007)

0.9993 EUR = 1.090 USD

Therefore 1 EUR = 1.0911 USD

 

Therefore by entering a forward contract today you have fixed your EURUSD rate to 1.0911. Note that because the dollar has a higher interest rate than the EUR, it trades at a forward discount to the EUR.

 

Let us take a simple scenario analysis to make things clearer :

 

Here the forward deal amount is : EUR 1mn

Spot rate on the day of deal is : 1.08282

Forward rate fixed for the deal is : 1.0911

We can clearly see above that if the spot is same as the forward rate on the maturity date then there is no loss or gain, but if spot moves to 1.09250 then the corporate saves USD 1400 on the contrary if spot moves to 1.0900 the corporate wont be able to take advantage of the low price and will have to exercise the forward at 1.0911 as fixed earlier thus letting go of USD 1100.

So if forwards are so beneficial why do corporates still do not execute forwards for all of their foreign currency transactions :

  1. There is some documentation involved and corporates sometimes feel that its time taking and taxing
  2. At maturity date what so ever the actual spot rate be your forward will be executed at the fixed price , and some corporates feel that they may lose a chance to take advantage of better rates.
  3. Banks charge a small fee for entering the transactions which corporates want to save.
  4. Corporates feel the currency wont fluctuate much and hence don’t want to get into forward transaction.

Whatever the reasons be but the main business of corporates is not to use their energies in managing their fx risk but to increase profits by their mainline business hence its always advised for corporates to hedge their fx risk as much as possible to increase efficiency and prevent themselves from unseen shocks.

In our next post in this series we will see a second type of hedge … to be continued. Till then keep learning and be safe .

 

Aastha Tomar

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

The Missing part of a Treasury Job Description

10-03-2020 | by Aastha Tomar

Change is where Treasury is

It’s difficult to ignore the word ‘sustainability’ when you are staying in the Netherlands, one of the leaders in sustainability, green finance and green bonds. This makes me wonder that while everyone here talks about the word so much – Why is it absent from the Job description of one of the most crucial team of an organization – Treasury?

Any usual job requirement for a Treasurer includes Cash Management, Risk Management, Hedging, Cash flow forecasting, P&L and similar. But where is one of the most trending consideration? Especially, in times when corporations are weighing sustainability targets not far from their profitability targets. Is it not the responsibility of a “treasury” function to be cognizant and be considerate of possible approaches to impact environment through their decision of investments and borrowings?

This brings us to consideration – Are corporations expecting specific functions (read CSR team/ PR team) to work towards and prove their sustainability efforts to the world? Are corporations willing to implement the sustainability philosophy into organizational DNA?

With evolved considerations, gone are the days when a Treasurer was just involved in risk management and ensuring liquidity. In current scenario of news going viral each action creates a ripple effect. As famous Jane Goodall once said : “You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make”. A Treasurer has to take an active role in policy making and lead her organization towards sustainability and protecting consumers.

How can a Treasurer help in sustainability?

As I advocate sustainability related expertise, lets evaluate how a Treasurer can help in sustainability:

1. Consideration in Investment/Borrowing Rationale

  • Choosing counter-party carefully: A Treasurer while selecting for investing options for excess cash, while trying to increase returns for the company should also ensure that the partners with whom she is working are aligned with sustainability. ESG is the new word which is taking importance nowadays with almost all the organization, banks , asset management companies trying hard to come up with various financial products which are aligned with ESG . Try to choose such sustainable investing options where the counter party is trying to have a positive impact on environment and at the same time you don’t compromise on your returns.
  • Green Bonds / Sustainable finance : You don’t need to be in a renewable space to issue green bonds. You just need to have an intent: Drew Wolff, Starbucks launched green bond within few weeks of joining Starbucks in 2016. Even though it was an infrequent issuer, didn’t have leverage of being a regular issuer in the market they took chance by entering into sustainable bond space. The use of proceeds were supposed to get used to buy sustainable coffee. “The bond acted as lightning rod for a lot of separate social responsibility efforts at the company and helped align financing and these efforts for the first time” said Wolff. Additionally it increased commitment to transparency and reporting. Corporate should try to make best use of the current investment trend where investments both from retail and institutions have increased by 34% from 2016 in green investments. Investors have become savvier and trying to invest more in bonds which have green element in it. Corporates should try to integrate its financing with sustainable finance. Once they incorporate sustainable financing, they will automatically be aligned with guidelines designed for the same which will in turn give them a direction towards sustainability.

2. Business Partnership

  • A Treasurer also has a stake in supply chain, how? Let me answer this by asking one more question? Who had the most sleepless nights when Volkswagen posted loss for the first time in 15 years when caught implanting a sophisticated defeat device it implanted to pass emission tests? What would you have done if in your career you had to bear the scar of posting a loss for an organization due to an unethical supply chain? A Treasurer should increase her influence in company’s sourcing/ manufacture products and extended supply chain because they are the ones to bear the brunt when the cash flows are hit.

3.  Behavioral Considerations

  • Less Paper more technology: In this rapid world of digitization there are still few who take help of paper and pen. You may see print outs of hedging structures lying on tables. Banks sometimes still need hardcopy of underlying from Corporates for their records. A small step of ensuring less/no paper usage by Treasurer will ensure that the team follows her and will eventually impact environment in a positive way.
  • There are times when there is no one in Dealing room but the Television (which is on so that we don’t miss any global news) is on. Dealing rooms have a Televisions as a necessary accessory, and its important also to keep a check on what’s happening in world. But we also know that it can be switched off when no one is in the room.
  • There are many other ways where just by small step a Treasurer can impact the environment positively. Just by saying no to sales/ business development professionals for a physical meeting and instead suggesting a skype meeting may help save fuel and decrease carbon emission.

Eventually it depends upon an individual that she just sticks to what has been asked for or to step forward and do something worthwhile which impacts the organization, its stakeholders and our future generations who look up to us to provide them a health living environment to live.

Sources :

  1. https://www.theglobaltreasurer.com/2019/04/29/green-bond-demand-continues-to-rise-as-esg-returns-grow/
  2. https://ctmfile.com/sections/background/sustainable-green-treasury
  3. https://www.oregon.gov/treasury/invested-for-oregon/Pages/Sustainable-Investing-governance.aspx
  4. https://www.bloomberg.com/professional/blog/treasurers-need-know-sustainable-financing/
  5. https://www.treasury-management.com/article/4/412/3484/the-rise-of-esg-business-drivers-and-treasury-imperatives.html

What are your thoughts?

Aastha Tomar

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

Financing a Livable World

11-2-2020 | by Aastha Tomar

If Greta Thunberg doesn’t inspire us, breathing some Delhi air may. While these might have been in news recently, more of this discussion is on social media rather than real action.

Sustainability has thus mostly been associated with activist connotation and, less with real, on-ground impact.

As we evaluate on-ground actions, investments towards such actions become first step and these need to make “financial sense” for investors to flock in. That’s when, I believe, that traditional financial acumen fails us. The foundational elements of investment rationale shall make such investment difficult. Let’s evaluate how –

  1. It’s all about ROI in purely Financial Terms: All financial evaluations are about monetary returns. Such approach is more likely to make Investing in sustainability related projects unattractive
  2. Organizations as going concern: While some projects have started evaluating impact of climate change, organizations are often considered as going concern without climate change & its impact. It’s it a time that we start considering some serious impact of climate change while evaluating cash flow and hence the project IRR.

Of all, these foundation elements make investment capability of capital markets to adapt in disruptive situations, like we are facing now for climate change, difficult. Financial markets, in its prevailing methods, would only consider climate change once its impacts are visible, but that, I guess, would be too late.

Having worked in Debt capital markets (DCM) my first reaction was to search of how DCM is contributing in sustainability and this led me to know about a beautiful concept of green bonds. The bond by their very name “green bonds” click into mind that there is something related to sustainability in it.

Green bond principles, intended to provide a framework for debt funding for projects which shall contribute to sustainability, is a step in the right direction. It has been framed with four core pivotal elements –

  1. Use of Proceeds
  2. Process for Project Evaluation & Selection
  3. Management of Proceeds
  4. Reporting

It’s the use of proceeds which sets apart green bonds from regular bond issues. The eligible projects for such issuance should be from around ten categories including renewable energy, energy efficiency, pollution prevention and control, green buildings etc.

A cumulative $580 billion of green bonds were sold through 2018, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. According to climate bond initiative in quarter 3 of 2019 itself USD 6.2 bn worth green bonds were issued worldwide, which is 87% up YoY. There were 139 issuers from 32 countries. There are many issuers joining the race and many nations as well. European nations being the ones taking the lead.

Though figures for green bonds may seem encouraging when we see them standalone but when compared to the global bond markets which are more than USD 100 trillion market, green bond market is hardly a fraction of it. Europe alone needs about 180 billion euros ($203 billion) of additional investment a year to achieve 2030 emission targets set by the European Union in the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change.

In nutshell, green finance initiatives are steps in right direction but need more muscle and speed to enable actions on ground.

What are your thoughts?

Aastha Tomar

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