Discussion LinkedIn poll | The impact of recent interest rate increases on treasury

Welcome to the second edition of this newsletter where we discuss the latest treasuryXL poll on current issues in corporate treasury. We will take you through what treasurers think about a current topic by their votes, and a couple of treasury experts will explain their views on the subject. In this edition, we discuss what treasurers should do first to control against sharp increases in interest rates.

We have invited Niki van ZantenJeremy Tumber and Vincenzo Masile ACT ICM ICA ACAMS to share their views on the topic.

25-07-2022 | treasuryXL LinkedIn |

Poll Results

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We clearly notice that the majority of the treasurers are of the opinion that the first thing to do to control sharp interest increases is to reconsider the investment strategy of excess cash. We asked a number of treasury experts to explain why they voted for the other options than for a reconsideration of the investment strategy.

Views of treasuryXL experts

Niki van Zanten

 

“Place excess cash in USD requires a holistic approach, the right time and knowledge, but if applied correctly, will manage your cash like a pro”

 

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Niki voted for the option to move excess cash to USD.

 

Treasurers want to manage certain risks, and often there is a silo approach. Liquidity risk is managed with loans and deposits, Interest risk (and returns) are managed with products such as interest rate swaps and FX is managed with FX spot, forwards and swaps. Once the incoming data (think bank balances, forecasts, markets rates) is structured, the data becomes information and is sufficient to act as treasurer with clear objectives (these are often defined in the above silos).

The next step would be to validate whether the approach meets the objectives. So, far nothing to worry about….until the market exhibits unexpected behavior. For example, a disconnect between FX swap points and underlying interest rate differentials (Jan 2015 USDCHF as a reference), or perhaps a need to optimize interest rates. In this case (and when provided time and knowledge is available), a holistic approach to FX, interest rates and cash can provide the opportunity to place excess cash in a higher-yielding currency without adding FX risk to your portfolio.

In short, it may make sense to place excess cash in USD if it does not shift FX risk or if this shift is managed by FX swaps and the pricing between swaps and deposits is compared. Again, this requires a holistic approach, the right time and knowledge, but if applied correctly, will manage your cash like a pro.

Some considerations may be to look at the efficiency of FX swaps versus deposits, as FX swaps tend to be more efficient, automation of solutions, and tracking and identifying market behavior.

 

Jeremy Tumber

 

 “Analyze how your company is exposed to the economic cycle ”

 

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Jeremy voted for the option to choose something else.

 

First, analyze how your company is exposed to the economic cycle – a study I saw in the early 2000s showed that the best position for airlines was to be 100% floatig, because their business was effectively in lockstep with the business cycle.

In theory, when an entity is part of an industry that is closely aligned with the economic cycle, it has a natural hedge for its interest rate exposure, in that it can afford to pay higher interest rates when the economy is booming, and get some relief from lower interest rates when the economy is slowing. The study I’m referring to involved a major German airline; at the time, the airline’s funding was 80% fixed, and their comments at the time were not very favorable to switching to such a large floating exposure. Fast forward 15 years, or so, and I checked their Financials. They were 85% floating at the time, so they had clearly stepped into the results of the study.

The biggest risk for them would be an extended period of Stagflation, so I hope they do well in the current circumstances!

 

Vincenzo Masile

 

“My view here is that a treasurer should take a conservative approach”

 

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Vincenzo voted for the option to move excess cash to USD.

 

Macro themes continue to drive financial markets. One does not have to look much further than the inverted US yield curve or the collapse in copper to understand that investors continue to re-price global growth prospects lower.

This is possibly because: (a) European activity is more exposed to the Russian energy supply shock and b) the U.S. economy has entered this global tightening cycle with more momentum and a positive output gap.

Inverted yield curves are typically bad news for pro-growth currencies (commodity exporters + Europe & Asia ex-Japan) and typically good news for the dollar, the Japanese yen, and the Swiss franc. This environment looks set to continue over the summer months as the Fed continues its tightening policy.

Recall that the German Bundesbank estimated that the Germany economy could take a 5% GDP hit if gas is rationed. It now appears that we are now not far from such a scenario. The pressure on European growth has caused the Eurostoxx benchmark equity index to fall 22% year-to-date, versus -20% for the S&P 500. The question will be how much more the ECB can tighten before the growth valves come down.

My view here is that a treasurer should take a conservative approach and assume that there are no large loans to be repaid to the banks, existing cash in excess should be moved to USD or to CHF or to JPY at least until the end of this year.

Sooner or later, Ukraine and Russia war will come to an end, so the cycle will reverse and EUR will become more attractive for investors and for treasurers.


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 question!

Ask the treasuryXL expert #1 How might digital trade transactions reduce the threat of fraud and money laundering?​

04-07-2022 | treasuryXL Vincenzo Masile | LinkedIn |

treasuryXL is the community platform for everyone with a treasury question or answer!

Today, we discuss a question that treasuryXL expert Vincenzo Masile often gets to hear within his treasury network about digital trade finance.

Continue reading

Enhanced Global Liquidity through Notional Pooling and Payment Netting

| 21-12-2020 | Vincenzo Masile | treasuryXL |

Liquidity management is one of the core roles of treasury and maintaining the right level of liquidity to guard against risks is of key importance. Liquidity needs are affected by many factors both internal and external, some of which lie outside the treasurer control and some of which are extremely subjective and difficult to forecast. Liquidity, after all, is not an exact science

The level of liquidity held varies hugely, even between companies in similar industries and similar market positions, while due to complex account structures a “safety net” of cash holdings may be inaccessible when most needed. Effective liquidity management requires an account structure that facilitates fast decisions and simplifies transfers between the company accounts.

A global cash pool is a balance netting cash concentration solution providing with access to group liquidity through a real-time, cross-border, multi-currency cash pooling structure. The cash pool is topped by an off-balance multi-currency master account, holding the cash pool net balance in the currency of the treasurer choice. One on-balance top account per currency holds the pooled net balance in the respective currency. A global cash pool replaces multiple local cash pools and offers significant advantages to the group liquidity management.

What is Netting?

A process which reduces transfers of funds between subsidiaries or separate companies to one net amount.

What are the benefits of Netting?

  • Consolidates and off-sets payables against receivables between multiple group companies on a global and multicurrency basis
  • Reduces the number of inter-company funds transfers
  • Minimizes costs of associated foreign exchange
  • Avoids the need for group companies to make multiple transfers and execute opposite foreign exchange transactions

The Netting Cycle

Customer:                                                                                                                                                    Netting provider:

day X-4                Company “A”  participants                  Invoices to be paid >                          processing & checking

day X-2               Company “A”  participants                <  Preliminary/Final Results                calculations

day X                   Company “A”  participants                 <  Payments from participants         settlements

Payments to participants >

Why Implement Netting?

  • Less administrative workload
    – Netting center can be viewed as corporate treasury back-office
  • Continuity of operational tasks
    – Funds will be paid/collected with proper/same value date
    – Settlement over existing local bank accounts; no accounts at netting bank are required
  • Increased visibility and control
    – All netting input and output stored in one database
  • Centralization of FX
    – Consolidates FX positions
    – Improves FX spread
    – Ability to include FX hedge transactions
  • Flexibility
    – Settlement can be in any currency required by affiliate
    – Additional run on an ad-hoc basis; quarter end, year end

Global Multi-Currency Notional Cash Pool

Notional Cash Pooling

  • Group companies open bank accounts in their own name in local currency at the pooling center
  • No inter-company loans are created
  • Group companies with credit balances at BMG are deemed bank deposits and group companies with debit balances at BMG are deemed bank overdrafts
  • All account balances – both credit and debit – are treated on a net basis
  • Interest is bank interest
  • Interest rates applied are based on the net position per currency in the cash pool (not traditional bank BID/ASK spreads)
  • Treasury can choose interest margins to create revenues for Finance company/Treasury

Zero Balance Cash Pooling

  • The Finance company (or other group company) opens accounts in their name at pooling center
  •  Group companies can put cash on deposit with the finance company or borrow from the finance company
  •  Inter-company loans are created
  •  Inter-company loans need to be administered
  • Interest is inter-company interest

True Multi-Currency Multi-Entity Notional Pool

  • Enables multiple group companies in numerous geographical regions to retain local accounts at local banks; “overlay”
  • Consolidation is achieved by transferring local balances (both debit and credit) to accounts held by the individual group companies at the pooling center. There is no change of ownership of funds, and no question of intercompany loans
  •  Offset is accomplished without physical concentration/conversion (FX)

Also:

  • One interest rate per currency (no spread between overdrafts and deposits)
  • Permits not only concentration of excess cash, but allows overdrafts within the pool
  • Full offset capabilities (risk and accounting) for both client and bank
  • Operational in multiple time-zones

Notional Cash Pool & Key Tax Points

Bank Pledge versus Cross Guarantee

  • Notional Cash Pool is based on Pledging of Balances to the bank. Normally cash pools are based on Cross Guarantees which is an unlimited joint resulting in liabilities between related group companies

 Interest

  • Interest is classified as bank interest (credit and debit). All Cash Pool balances are cash on deposit or a current account overdraft

Transfer pricing

  • The bank executes the daily investments and borrowings of the group companies and applies arm’s length interest rates. Tax can insert interest margins as needed

Interest withholding tax

  • BMG is domiciled in the Netherlands resulting in no WHT on credit interest paid. In some cases WHT is applicable on interest charged

Thin cap rules

  • The Cash Pool borrowings are deemed loans/overdrafts from the bank. Thin cap rules are sometimes more flexible regarding bank overdrafts

Conclusion

Companies who implement netting or cash pooling significantly boost the efficiency of their cash and FX management. Companies who implement both, effectively create an in-house bank. The final stage in the process of designing a new cash mobilization structure (or reviewing an existing one) is to assess all possible solutions against the group’s original objectives. Treasurers should bear in mind this to ensure an appropriate and cost-effective solution is chosen.

 

Vincenzo Masile

Treasury Expert/Credit Risk Manager

 

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

The Impact of COVID19 on the Dutch economy

| 29-05-2020 | Vincenzo Masile | treasuryXL |

Recently, it was determined that the Dutch GDP fell by -1.7% in the first quarter of 2020, suggesting that the economic impact of the corona-virus was mild, at least in international comparison. Although the second quarter is likely to be much worse, the ‘intelligent lock-down’ as dubbed by Prime Minister Mark Rutte, has economically paid off so far.


Given the Dutch economy’s high degree of openness and the fact that Dutch expenditure data for January and February was disappointing, the small GDP decline might be a bit surprising. What stands out as more important, however, is the relative mildness of the Dutch lock-down compared to many Europe. That said, the Dutch government has decided to extend economic support measures by three months until September. The emergency package 2.0 means 13 billion euros of additional fiscal support.

Economic and Financial support

The existing support measures were about to expire by June 1, 2020, but have now been extended until September 1, 2020. Some conditions for public support have been made stricter. For example, firms using the wage subsidy – the main instruments of the support package, will be temporarily (in 2020) forbidden to pay out any dividends or executive bonuses or execute share buy-backs.
The firm will also be obliged to encourage employees to train or retrain and prepare the workforce for future proof jobs. Income support for self-employed people will start to be conditional on the financial position of the partner. Some major restriction to the wage subsidy scheme will be lifted and conditions of the “emergency packages 2.0” are more tailor-made for specific industries. Firms will no longer have to pay a fine for firing workers due to economic reasons, although they will still have to pay back the subsidy. Furthermore, season-sensitive industries will be able to benefit from tweaks to the reference period of their wage bill. The scheme has also been made more generous with respect to the size of the subsidy – 140% of wages instead of 130% (of which they get 90% proportional to turnover losses), in light of the fact that some firms not only have social security to pay on top of wages but also have high non-wage fixed cost.

Apart from the effect of a falling tax base (i.e. automatic stabilization), the direct costs of the extension of the emergency packages have been estimated by the government at 13 billion euro (1.6% of GDP in 2019) for 2020, excluding support for air carrier Air-France – KLM. This comes on top of an existing package of about 14% of GDP (estimates based on government figures), of which 2.2% GDP involved direct net additional expenditures such as gifts, 4.2% GDP in loans and tax deferrals, 1.8% GDP in guarantee and insurance budgets and 5.6% GDP in automatic stabilization for 2020. The bulk of the cost of the extension comes from the direct cost of the wage subsidy scheme and benefits assistance scheme for the self-employed, which mostly qualify as gifts, bringing the total direct net additional expenditures for 2020 to 3.9% of 2019 GDP.

Forward

In line with the earlier announcement, the lock-down will be lifted gradually, allowing for the start of partial economic recovery from the low production levels of April and May. Bars, restaurants, cinemas and theaters will be allowed to reopen on 1 June, generally starting with a maximum of 30 guests at 1.5 meters distance. In the first week of June, all schools including secondary and tertiary will reopen too.

The Dutch government is following other European governments in choosing a path of gradual resumption of economic activity combined with continued economic support. This should mitigate the economic consequences of the corona-virus at least to some extent. However, this won’t prevent the large decline in GDP in the second quarter, after the relatively “mild” decline in the first quarter. It is important to outline the on- going negotiations between EU countries regarding the so-called recovery fund (estimated amount Euro 500 bn.) and the impact on the EU economies.

If a reasonable compromise is reached this can boost the Q3 and Q4 outlook across all EU and the impact on the Dutch economy will be beneficial too.

 

Vincenzo Masile

Treasury Expert/Credit Risk Manager

 

Blockchain and Trade Finance: how it could work

| 07-06-2018 | by Vincenzo Masile | treasuryXL|

 

How can trade finance operate leveraging a Blockchain based infrastructure to drive efficiencies, reduce cost base and open up new revenue opportunities?

It is vital that the international trade flow is smooth and transparent but this is not always the case for the below reasons:

 

Current Isues

  1. Manual contract creation: The import bank manually reviews the financial agreement provided by the importer and sends financials to the correspondent bank
  2. Invoice factoring: Exporters use invoices to achieve short-term financing from multiple banks, adding additional risk in the event the delivery of goods fails
  3. Delayed timeline: The shipment of goods is delayed due to multiple checks by intermediaries and numerous communication points
  4. Manual AML review: The export bank must manually conduct AML checks using the financials provided by the import bank
  5. Multiple platforms: Since each party across countries operates on different platforms, miscommunication is common and the propensity for fraud is high
  6. Duplicative bills of lading: Bills of lading are financed multiple times due to the inability of banks to verify their authenticity
  7. Delayed payment: Multiple intermediaries must verify that funds have been delivered to the importer as agreed prior to the disbursement of funds to the exporting bank

Blockchain can help as follows:

Blockchain Advantages

  1. Real-time review: Financial documents linked and accessible through Blockchain are reviewed and approved in real time, reducing the time it takes to initiate shipment
  2. Transparent factoring: Invoices accessed on Blockchain provide a real-time and transparent view into subsequent short-term financing
  3. Disintermediation: Banks facilitating trade finance through Blockchain do not require a trusted intermediary to assume risk, eliminating the need for correspondent banks
  4. Reduced counterparty risk: Bills of lading are tracked through Blockchain, eliminating the potential for double spending
  5. Decentralized contract execution: As contract terms are met, status is updated on Blockchain in real time, reducing the time and headcount required to monitor the delivery of goods
  6. Proof of ownership: The title available within Blockchain provides transparency into the location and ownership of the goods
  7. Automated settlement and reduced transaction fees: Contract terms executed via Smart Contract eliminate the need for correspondent banks and additional transaction fees
  8. Regulatory transparency: Regulators are provided with a real-time view of essential documents to assist in enforcement and AML activities

Part of the gain from digitization lies in cutting costs: transactional and overheads. Digitization should also free the flow of finance to firms starved of it, partly by helping banks’ compliance with anti-money-laundering rules.

Vincenzo Masile

Treasury Expert/Credit Risk Manager

 

Trade Finance – funding your imports and exports

|28-6-2017 | Vincenzo Masile | treasuryXL |

 

You might visit this site, being a treasury professional with years of experience in the field. However you could also be a student or a businessman wanting to know more details on the subject, or a reader in general, eager to learn something new. The ‘Treasury for non-treasurers’ series is for readers who want to understand what treasury is all about. Our expert Vincenzo Masile tells us more about trade finance products.

 

Trade finance instruments

International and domestic trade is highly complex and involves a web of intricate risks. Trade finance instruments are available to deliver fast, efficient, reliable and comprehensive solutions for every stage of a company’s trade value chain to support their foreign trade activities.
Trade finance products can be combined and shaped into a custom-built product that helps reduce company’s risks and will enable the business to flourish.

Innovative tailored short, medium and long-term trade finance solutions enable banks to meet their corporate and financial institutions client’s global import and export needs in a timely, efficient, risk adverse manner.
Trade finance products include letters of credit, documentary collections and bank guarantees. With a letter of credit (also known as a documentary credit), the buyer’s bank guarantees payment to the seller if certain criteria are met. Documentary collections, just as letters of credit, reduce the payment risks on international trade transactions, and with a bank guarantee company obligations to third parties are ensured. All these products offer security and protection against risks if an international trade transaction does not go as planned.

Funding and security

Importers and exporters can also use a letter of credit to obtain financing. An exporter, for instance, can obtain funding from his local bank to manufacture the goods as this bank is assured that payment will follow when the documents are presented under the credit.

In summary, it is not difficult to see the potential complexity of the arrangements on offer and the variety of ways in which they can be beneficial to a company. It is paramount, however, to work with a bank that fully understands the financial instruments available and their protocols and applicability in the overseas markets. Given this, trade finance and cash management are powerful tools for business growth and momentum.

Vincenzo Masile

Treasury Expert/Credit Risk Manager