8 Career Hurdles in a Transfer from Banking to Corporate Treasury

| 07-07-2016 | Pieter de Kiewit |

careerAn increasing number of bankers come to my recruitment desk wanting to make a transfer to corporate treasury. This transfer can be made successfully but there are a number of things to take into account. Below the 8 career hurdles, I hear most about, in a transfer from banking to corporate treasury. 


8 Career Hurdles in a Transfer from Banking to Corporate Treasury:

  1. Understand the essential difference – Corporate treasury is about supporting the core business, banking is the core business;
  2. Translate the lingo I – Banks use different words; they talk about “transaction services” for the payment infrastructure. Within a corporate this term is often used the way auditors do for due diligence processes in M&A;
  3. Translate the lingo II – Banks give different meaning to the same words. An easy example is “treasury”. This is only financial markets related within a bank and a description of the whole department within a corporate environment;
  4. Bankers do not leave their vertical – Due to the size of banks, bankers can be specialized in one area and often do not leave their field. Corporate treasuries are often small and need generalists;
  5. Bankers are paid better – It is what it is.
  6. Corporate treasurers are not in the center of attention – Being in a supportive role, they often do not get the same respect bankers get;
  7. Banks provide a more extensive support infrastructure – The level of support in HR, legal, IT and other aspects banks can provide, is often not available for corporate treasurers;
  8. Bankers have to deal with the stigma – That they are overpaid, vain, lazy, inflexible, not hands-on and one cannot trust them.

Non of these hurdles are, in my perception, deal breakers. Bankers are often well-educated, hard-working, smart and business savvy potential colleagues that can really contribute. First, they have to deal with the above by themselves. They have to be convinced they want make the transfer for the right reasons. Then they can translate this in a proper labour market communication strategy and find the corporates that have dealt with the above.

It can be done, I am available for support. What do you think?

Pieter de Kiewit



Pieter de Kiewit
Owner Treasurer Search


Funding Stories with a strong Business Connection

| 30-06-2016 | Pieter de Kiewit |

towerAlready over a decade the treasury community agrees that the modern treasurer does not act out of an ivory tower. Still, a lot of the treasury stories about funding, I hear in treasury recruitment, are about technical details. I learn in detail about USPP’s, interest hedging strategies and convertible bonds. Between these technical stories I notice other ones. I think they are inspiring and would like to share two of them.

The Dutch market for retailers is extremely tough. Last February I learned what sets one of the more successful ones apart from the rest. In a tight cooperation between procurement, merchandising, supply chain management and finance a business concept was designed in which each store is able to renew its full collection every two weeks. This attracts customers constantly and increases revenues. Suppliers are paid after the customer in the store bought! Can you imagine what impact this has on the working capital situation! This of course only works when all functions are delivering. And they are. Treasury now has to think about what to do with excess cash….

At the Corporate Finance Summit one of the keynote speakers described the success story of AB Inbev, a company that dominates the global beer market. What strikes me in this story is the aspect the long term vision of the family that owns the company. They are not afraid to go all in, because they know their choice is the proper one. After acquisitions focus is on reducing debt, bringing the balance sheet back to a conservative state. We have recently seen companies with a different focus, as well as the consequences. I enjoyed his presentation.
Read his story under this link (in Dutch).

Pieter de Kiewit



Pieter de Kiewit
Owner Treasurer Search



Walk the walk into FX exposure: my first baby steps

| 20-06-2016 | Pieter de Kiewit |

Being a treasury recruiter I know how to talk about many aspects in corporate treasury, never having to prove I understand and can execute. Apparently this is not necessary to do a proper recruitment job. As a small business owner I do have my miniature corporate treasury tasks. Below I want to describe the most complex FX issue I encountered so far. Not so much for the readers who are seasoned treasury professionals, but for my fellow entrepreneurs and others not dealing with FX on a daily basis.

A large, listed firm with a presence in various countries asked for my support in finding an interim treasury manager for a transition project. Doing what we do, this task was executed swiftly. The next steps were a bit more complex, given the fact that the assignment will be executed in Switzerland and The Netherlands and the interim manager is from the UK. Our previous cross border, non Euro payments were related to permanent placements, resulting in a single invoice. Most of these can easily be done via electronic banking. I know the bank in that case charges me a fee for the actual transfer and without sending me a quote will earn from making Euro’s out of other currencies. Perhaps I should have asked how much. I suspect I paid over 40 base points.

In this case, there will be many invoices related to one project, resulting in many transfer fees. The interim manager wants to be paid in GBP, if my client would pay in Euro’s this will lead to many Euro-GBP transfers. I am not too keen on that, I expect costs will be substantial. On top of this, the Brexit is in the news constantly creating a blurry situation for me. How to move forward? What is the advise of my bank? What do companies like NBWM or Monex tell me? Spots, forwards, swaps? Without going into detail this is where I stand.

My client is willing to pay me in GBP. With my bank I could open a GBP account quite swiftly. Instead of researching and managing this part of the FX risk I will invoice in GBP, making this a complete GBP project. This way I do not have to think about FX risk during the project. At the end of the whole project I will decide if my bank will convert my GBP in Euro’s or I will ask others. I do have to decide if I will accept the risk of the GBP collapsing or if I will hedge this risk. My costs are in Euro’s, who can predict the future for me?

Pieter de Kiewit



Pieter de Kiewit
Owner Treasurer Search


Treasury Education: great but do not expect career miracles. Do make a strategy.

| 25-05-2016 | Pieter de Kiewit |

studyLast week I visited an information session about financial postgraduate education. It was organized by the VU (Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam). I noticed an increased interest in comparison to last years session, which is great. Information was provided about courses I see back in the CV’s of treasurers: CFA, RBA (Register Belegging Analyst) and of course RT (Register Treasurer) that has an overlap with the ACT courses. Education, specifically postgraduate, is a topic that returns in many of my meetings. This is what I notice on the topic:

Investing in education is like investing in your network: if you start thinking about it when the need is urgent, you are too late and you will have to work harder. Education as a topic comes up, most of the time, when somebody is planning his career strategy, being in a position or when somebody is between jobs. In the first situation I often notice an intrinsic motivation, eagerness for knowledge and curiosity about other people’s experience. Elements for a solid basis to complete the education.

Candidates that lack these elements often have a harder time to complete their education. Even when they are willing to invest their own money. Furthermore, candidates that are between jobs are open for a broader range of positions than those who search from being employed. This makes it harder for the unemployed to choose which education to pursue. To complete this negative list, regretfully employers often do not have a good understanding of the value of specific treasury courses. In our assignments postgraduate treasury education is hardly ever a dealmaker or a deal breaker.

This is not a plea to stop learning! Treasury education is always great. Sometimes timing can be improved. This is a plea to plan ahead, about your career and education.

If you want to brainstorm, contact me. And let me know what your thoughts are.

Pieter de Kiewit




Pieter de Kiewit
Owner Treasurer Search



If you are not a Treasurer with the ambition of a Dentist

05-05-2016 | by Pieter de Kiewit |

Career pathIn a previous blog I wrote about a career in treasury possibly being a dead end street. My former boss Cees taught me about the concept of the ambition of a dentist: when you graduate in dentistry, you most likely will do the same at the start of your career as you will do at the end. There is nothing wrong with that, if that is what you want. I would like it when my banker and shoe repair man would have the same ambition.

I know treasurers with the career line of a dentist. I know treasurers who are trying to avoid or leave the dentistry line. Here are some alternative routes I have seen:

  • Make lateral moves to other jobs, but still in the CFO team: accounting, control, credit management, perhaps legal. This may be the path to become a CFO;
  • Start helping your business development colleagues with the financing part of business opportunities and gradually move in their role;
  • Switch sides of the table: become a banker, a consultant, an auditor, a treasury software specialist or a teacher;
  • If you are really fed up with being a treasurer and/or want to make a drastic move you should be prepared to invest: give up your monthly salary, seek further education and become yoga teacher, or something else. This can also be done gradually by combining jobs/education.

I think life is too short to be in a job you do not like. Luckily I have daily meetings with treasurers who are passionate about their job. The majority of the working (treasury) population did/does not make conscious career choices, a fact that always intrigued me. I meet people who live the ambitions of others (parents or spouses). If you want to give direction to your treasury career or discuss the dentist thing, give me a call. I am happy to brainstorm with you,

Pieter de Kiewit



Pieter de Kiewit
Owner Treasurer Search