26-01-2022 | treasuryXL | Pieter de Kiewit | LinkedIn | Google tells me the statement “Trust is good, control is better” is from Lenin. Perhaps this says something about the Russian culture at that time, about Lenin himself and our thoughts about the statement might also tell us about ourselves. I looked this up because of the extra screening […]
04-01-2022 | treasuryXL |
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Top 5 treasuryXL website articles of 2021
by treasuryXL, Carlo de Meijer
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Webinar Series Treasury Management | “Bitcoin. Is this the New Reality in Corporate Treasury or is it a Hoax?”
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| 30-11-2021 | treasuryXL | Pieter de Kiewit | LinkedIn | Over the last years, Treasurer Search found hundreds of treasurers. Our client contact persons are HR managers & internal recruiters, the CFO, Group Treasurer and sometimes even procurement. There is no standard first contact. Working with more than one often works best. This is what […]
16-11-2021 | treasuryXL | In 2017 we created the Treasurer Test, an online, peer-based assessment that measures the technical knowledge in treasury and the personality profile of the candidate. The idea for this originated from two important observations. First, in most labour markets there is no recognized qualification in treasury like CPA or CFA in […]
treasuryXL is the community platform for all your relevant treasury questions.
We received the following question from one of our followers…
“Should treasury always report to the CFO and what causes that this sometimes is not the case?”
With his expertise, he could help out our contact perfectly!
Pieter de Kiewit responds:
“In my opinion, treasury should in 95% of the cases report to the CFO. In my work with group treasurers and CFOs it is exceptional to find an organisation in which cash & liquidity, FX % interest risk and/or funding does not have a strategic value. Still, I see treasurers who do not report into their CFO. Sometimes just so, for example when the treasurer works in a completely different time zone and reports into a local MD. Very often not just so because the CFO considers him/herself too busy, decreases the span of control and delegates. A lack in treasury expertise of the CFO and/or the treasurer personally not being able to claim a prominent spot are, in my opinion, reasons for this..”
Do you also have a treasury-related question? Feel free to leave your question at our treasuryXL Panel. The panel members are willing to answer your question, free of charge, no commitment.
13-09-2021 | treasuryXL | Pieter de Kiewit Just before starting my vacation I created a small overview of the recent successes of Team Treasurer Search. Next to the fact that we see the speed of placements picking up, I think it is striking how international our treasury labour market is. This is not only for […]
My regular blog readers know I like to take the layman perspective on what amazes me in (Corporate) Treasury. I have my personal archive with relevant news we use to discuss every second week in team meetings. What currently amazes me most are the completely unpredictable developments in what used to be the banking market. Just some recent news:
- Wise, formerly known as Transferwise does a direct listing in London and is valued at $11 billion. They will invest in further facilitating cross border payments thus offering a bank service substitute; read more
- The competition of Wise, Revolut receives further investments and is valued at GBP 21 billion. They will establish full banking services building direct competition; read more
- Mollie, a miniature Adyen, explicitly states that they will beat banks at their game; read more
- One can also see banks creating their own new brands and services. ABN started Aymz, entering the niche market where RNHB and others are financing real estate in not too big tickets: read more
- And Niels van Daatselaar, CEO of TreasurUp writes about banks and fintechs working together: read more
- My final example is Ebury being taken over by Santander: the old world takes over the new contender: read more
A few years ago, the Traditional banks had the upper hand and would buy all parties that threatened them. By now, many Fintechs have a much higher valuation than banks. The extreme liquidity in the markets and willingness to invest leads to a situation that predicting what will be next is hard. I think that future winners find a right balance between applying newest technology, understanding potential clients, choose a clear strategy and move forward at highest speed. Many markets are winner takes all, making the game extra exciting.
I have not found a journalist or researcher who was able to solve this market equation and predict which of the various “eat or being eaten” scenarios will occur. The constant flow of new market entrants will continue. My expectations are that Apple, Microsoft, Google or Amazon entering this market with very substantial investments might be the next game changer. But why would I know?
What do you think will happen?
Owner at Treasurer Search
This is a blog by someone who does not own bitcoins or other crypto currencies and does not intend to purchase any soon. Someone who is not a subject matter expert. Someone who told his colleagues not to consider the topic relevant for corporate treasury for a long time. Someone who thought bitcoins are only relevant for extortionists or those who speculate, gamble and hope to get rich quickly. You understand, that someone would be me.
Slowly I am getting this “One wrong-way driver? I see dozens!”-feeling. Newspapers are filling up with blockchain news. Pension funds start seeing crypto currencies as a relevant asset class. Auction houses start accepting payments (Tesla stopped again) and in countries with hyperinflation in South America, people are fleeing into cryptocurrencies, especially stable coins. After a first attempt with the Libra, Facebook is introducing a stable coin with the so-called Diem that seems to be connected to the US dollar.
My main objection always was that I did not see the underlying value. Real estate is bricks, shares are a piece of ownership, bonds should be paid back and with fiat currencies you can buy in a store. I cannot live in bitcoins and my baker does not accept them as payment. But with gold I cannot buy bread either. It has some practical use as a metal but that does not justify its current value. So why measure bitcoins in practical use and underlying value?
The core discussion is about speculation and trust. There used to be times we knew a dollar or gulden could be exchanged for gold, so we trusted our money. But the gold standard is not so standard anymore. Of course the prices of dogecoins, ethereum and bitcoins are extremely volatile but how about the rates of Argentine Pesos, Venezuelan Bolivars, Turkish Liras or pre WOII German Deutschmarks? When you cannot stand the heat, stay out of the crypto currency kitchen but I do not consider volatility a reason to disqualify the asset class.
As to myself, perhaps I just have to accept that I am a laggard or at best member of the late majority in accepting the technology/solution. As to corporate treasurers, the survey shows they have the ambition to educate themselves better on the topic. Of course to be able to answer questions from their colleagues and perhaps to initiate some form of a practical application of crypto currencies. I hope that, next to the Tesla example, in further blogs we can inform you about relevant business cases. About successful implementation but of course also about the bottlenecks like taxation and reporting. There will be enough happening for many future blogs. And I will be someone who communicates differently about crypto currencies.
PS You might enjoy the slides of a recent presentation by Tristan Verhagen, recent Register Treasurer graduate, a great introduction into Bitcoins with provoking insights. See link.
Take care, Pieter
Owner at Treasurer Search
The great Dutch philosopher Johan Cruijff said: “Je gaat het pas zien als je het door hebt”, roughly translated “you only see if you get it”. I recently thought about this when visiting and working with a mid-sized local company. Their treasury team was much bigger than the teams of companies in the same industry two or three times their revenue size. In this team, for example, they had two employees full-time entering manual payments. Data and instructions are gathered from a multitude of systems and typed into banking software. Time is lost, mistakes are made, staff demotivated and money lost. They refused to hire a qualified candidate who could help because his expected base salary was a few thousands of euros too high…..
Recently the Dutch regulatory body for financial markets, AFM, published this research that shows that companies would benefit from a more mature market in alternative funding. One of their observations is that new solutions, for instance in working capital, are accepted even though the rates that have to be paid are preposterous. They see the market grow, not enough focus on credit rating and doubt if the market will stabilize in a professional manner. A stronger regulatory framework is suggested. I am in doubt, who will do the audit?
Those who are in need for strong treasury seem to ignore the available expertise. Distrust? Lack of time? Afraid of treasury lingo?
Personally I hope that entrepreneurs and CFOs will train their critical thinking and only use what they understand. Cost that are hidden in the total price of their treasury solutions are regretfully accepted easier than a separate price for the right solution and one for the advice. That is regrettable because one of the effects is that companies get perhaps the cheapest but the wrong solutions.
We have a simple suggestion: digest what you know about treasury and ask the most obvious question you can think of. Ask the expert panel and pass our suggestion forward to anyone you might think have a proper question. It is a matter of time until we get it all. I am sure.
Take care, Pieter
Owner at Treasurer Search
Efficiency, lack of expertise, stability and other reasons are all perfectly fine to consider outsourcing in general. Based upon input about outsourcing of trading in an asset management environments we decided to ask prominent corporate treasurers if they think this might work in their company. This is my, very personal, report about the meeting.
Recap Round Table
Being a treasury recruiter I hear interesting stories about the professional lives of clients, candidates and others. Not too long ago I spoke with Dmitry Zamkovoy of Milliman. He told me about their outsourcing services for financial institutions, not only middle and back office functions but also trading operations. Together we wondered if this would work for corporates. See also his article ‘Outsourced trading, is it time to make the switch? Nine factors to consider’
Most of my clients are corporate treasuries with teams with up to dozens of staff members dealing with large banks who employ thousands of specialists. Corporate treasurers have to know a lot about various topics, have important responsibilities and vacation or sickness can be a problem. So my hypothesis is that outsourcing might offer stability and expertise, perhaps efficiency.
In order to find out if my assumptions are right, we decided to organize an invitation-only round table, hosted by Treasurer Search and treasuryXL with the content expertise of Milliman. The 12 participants all have leadership roles in large or very large treasuries, managing front offices. We had group treasurers of Dutch listed companies with up to €10 billion revenue stream and directors of risk working with companies even substantially larger.
In our introduction it became quickly clear we had the right group of people to discuss the hypothesis. Relevant and related topics like regulatory affairs, cost savings, relationship with external parties, cybersecurity and also HR effects were discussed. Also, it did not take long to find out that the hypothesis was met with a lot of scepticism. Various reasons were mentioned.
- The actual trading task within corporates does not take that much time of treasurers, so what is the win in efficiency?
- Trading is one little element in the whole risk mitigation strategy of companies. The risk process starts within the operational business and all agreed business-related tasks cannot be outsourced;
- With increased transparency in the market and a decreased risk appetite in investments of corporates, the complexity of the actual trade is not that high anymore;
- Some feared that the relation with their brokers and banks would suffer under outsourcing;
- I sensed that many participants, and their staff, enjoy doing the actual trade and do not look forward to losing that part of their job;
- Also the statement “if you outsource a process, you can also automate it” did not work in favour of outsourcing.
Conclusion and what about your thoughts?
Dmitry and I raised a question and got our answer. Perhaps outsourcing is possible but not appealing. I am just a treasury recruiter with no stake in the business case but for me, some nagging questions remain:
- “is the focus only on trading too narrow?”,
- “what would be the answer if we would ask CFOs or IT experts?”,
- “there a few examples of outsourced corporate treasury I know about. What works, what doesn’t?”.
Expertise, stability and efficiency are the results of outsourcing of other functions. Does treasury have such a unique position?
Join the discussion
I look forward to your opinion in this, the discussion takes place at the LinkedIn page of treasuryXL.
Thanks for reading!