2021 Treasury Technology Survey Report from GTreasury Shows Key Trends Affecting Treasury Modernization Across Organizations

22-07-2021 | Gtreasury |

The first-of-its-kind, in-depth global report details how far along treasury and finance teams are in digital transformation, the technologies they are most excited about, and where resistance remains.

CHICAGO – July 22, 2021 – GTreasury, a treasury and risk management platform provider, and Strategic Treasurer, which delivers consulting services for treasury management, security, technology, and compliance, today announced the release of the 2021 Treasury Technology Survey Report.


The comprehensive 50-question survey across myriad facets of treasury technology deployment, opinion, and planning drew responses from hundreds of treasurers, treasury analysts, and other treasury and finance professionals from around the world and across industries.

Highlights from the 2021 Treasury Technology Survey Report include:

  • Significant growth anticipated. Payment factories, treasury aggregators, and TMS solutions are expected to realize 35-45 percent growth over the next two years.
  • APIs are becoming must-have capabilities. Seventy-three percent of corporate treasury groups indicated that APIs are critical to their current processes. Machine learning capabilities are also drawing outsized focus from treasurers further along in their modernization initiatives.
  • The gap between cash forecasting importance and reality is high. While cash forecasting is very important to 84% of treasurers, only 38% indicate they are performing at a high rate of accuracy.
  • Fraud prevention gains a heightened focus. Thwarting fraud is a top focus for 77% when considering the application of new technology in product development. Treasurers also report high demand for incorporating automation into fraud prevention processes.
  • Resistance to formats remains. Comparing legacy formats to newer and more enriched formats like XML, treasurers showed surprisingly high levels of resistance to adoption.

“Across continents and industries, treasurers are grappling with how best to transform their treasury technology stack to make processes more efficient and effective, and to drive visible value within their organizations,” said Pete Srejovic, Chief Technology Officer, GTreasury. “This survey provides a unique window into what excites and frustrates treasurers right now, and how the industry is approaching transformation in a quickly-moving ecosystem. This is a must-read report for treasury and finance professionals.”

The 2021 Treasury Technology Survey Report collected responses from March through April 2021, with 50+ questions and 250+ respondents. The full survey with all results and data is available for free download here.

Additionally, a webinar offering analysis of the report’s findings and featuring Srejovic and Craig Jeffery of Strategic Treasurer is available here.

About GTreasury

For more than 30 years, GTreasury has delivered the leading digital Treasury and Risk Management System (TRMS) to corporate treasurers across industries. With its continually innovating Software-as-a-Service platform, GTreasury provides customers with a single source of truth for all their cash, payments, and risk activities. The TRMS solution offers any combination of Cash Management, Payments, Financial Instruments, Risk Management, Accounting, Banking, and Hedge Accounting – seamlessly integrated, on-demand worldwide and fully secured. Headquartered in Chicago with offices serving EMEA (London) and APAC (Sydney and Manila), GTreasury’s global community includes more than 800 customers and 30+ industries reaching 160+ countries worldwide.

About Strategic Treasurer

Strategic Treasurer provides consulting services for treasury management, security, technology and compliance. Corporate clients, banks and fintech providers throughout the world rely on their advisory services and industry-leading research. Strategic Treasurer is headquartered in Atlanta, with consultants based out of Atlanta, Cleveland, Detroit and Washington D.C. To learn more, visit strategictreasurer.com.

 

 

#3 Sole focus on Exchange Rates (Dutch item)

22-07-2021 | XE |

Companies that need a currency service, either for their daily transactions or for a more strategic planning for the future, will logically first go to the exchange rates offered. Why wouldn’t you choose the provider that offers the best possible rates for your money to begin with?

Het antwoord op die vraag is dat de koers weliswaar belangrijk is, maar niet de enige factor is die van invloed is op de blootstelling van uw bedrijf aan valutarisico’s. Bedrijven die alleen maar gefocust zijn op het volgen van de koersen, kunnen bovendien het grotere plaatje missen.
Als iets te goed lijkt om waar te zijn, dan is het dat meestal ook. Met andere woorden: als u een uitstekende koers krijgt aangeboden door een provider, is er dan iets anders wat u niet krijgt? Dat kan het serviceniveau zijn dat uw bedrijf nodig heeft, of de juiste ondersteuning. Hoe snel reageert uw provider bijvoorbeeld als een betaling fout loopt?

“Bedrijven die alleen maar gefocust zijn op het volgen van de koersen, kunnen het grotere plaatje missen.”

Het is ook belangrijk om te begrijpen dat koersvergelijkingen misleidend kunnen zijn. Valutamarkten zijn zo bewegelijk, dat u de koersen van een specifiek moment moet nemen om een correcte vergelijking te kunnen maken. Een provider die nu aantrekkelijk lijkt vergeleken met de koers die een van zijn concurrenten twee uur geleden bood, is misschien helemaal niet zo aantrekkelijk. Het is zeker zinvol om rond te kijken. Veel bedrijven accepteren de matige standaardservices van hun valutaprovider omdat ze nooit naar alternatieven hebben gekeken. Maar doe dat rondkijken op basis van waarde in plaats van prijs. Wat hebt u behalve concurrerende koersen nog meer nodig van uw valutaprovider? Zijn de aangeboden koersen open en transparant, zodat u altijd precies weet hoeveel u betaalt, na aftrek van kosten?

In de praktijk bieden valutaproviders een verscheidenheid aan meerwaarde. Misschien hebt u een online service nodig die is afgestemd op de specifieke eisen van uw bedrijf, met autorisatie van verschillende mensen voor verschillende soorten transacties. Misschien hebt u de snelst mogelijke service nodig zodat u langere betalingstermijnen hebt. Verder kunnen valutaproviders de valutamarkten voor u in de gaten houden. Als uw bedrijf zijn valutatransacties zo probeert te timen dat u de best mogelijke koers krijgt, ga dan op zoek naar een provider die koersmeldingen of marktorders biedt. Dan ontvangt u een melding wanneer de koers een bepaald niveau bereikt of wordt uw transactie automatisch verwerkt tegen die prijs.

 




 




 

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The Art of Selecting Suitable Treasury Technology

| 21-07-2021 | treasuryXL | Nomentia |

Many Corporate Treasury functions are aware of the importance of utilizing technology to deliver improved efficiency and control in their treasury operations. This is being driven by the increasing pace of regulatory change, continuously evolving business models, volatile economic conditions, and fast-growing technological developments. Also, treasurers are recognizing the benefits of a strategically focused ‘smart treasury’ – one that utilizes the latest technology to be more integrated, automated, and optimized; adding value to the business.

However, as the treasury technology landscape continues to evolve at a rapid pace, many organizations find it difficult to successfully adopt this technology, either because their entry point is not clear or because they had previously made the leap and are now struggling to keep pace with the evolution. There are a multitude of options and considerations for those looking for the right solutions, which are important to understand before deciding on what is right for an organization.

We have outlined below some key insights and considerations when selecting suitable technology solutions.

Develop a treasury technology roadmap

Your roadmap should consider essential functional requirements that must be satisfied immediately – current hot topics include improved cash visibility, robust and accurate cash forecasting, a more efficient payments and receivables process, and fraud prevention. All of these areas are ‘must-haves’ for many organizations, so the first building block for the roadmap is finding a solution that can satisfy them.

However, alongside considering your immediate needs in your roadmap it is also important to plan for the future. To do this, you must look at the internal and external drivers of change for your business and how the treasury will need to support that.

An example of an internal driver could be where accelerated geographical growth is expected, and therefore treasury will be required to rapidly connect with new banks, set up new accounts, and adopt new currencies. This comes with challenges around dealing with country-specific requirements for payment formats and new types of bank connectivity, so your chosen technology solutions should be capable of adopting these easily.

Similarly, for external drivers you can look at the current markets you operate in and identify any expected developments in payments and banking initiatives. Current examples of external drivers for those operating in the Nordics and Europe include the P27 Nordic payments initiative or PSD2 electronic payments services regulations. Once again, your technology solutions should be chosen to ensure you are able to keep pace with these changes.

Self-hosted versus SaaS solution

We find that a number of treasuries have had historic on-premise solutions which have not always kept up to date with the developments in functionality and the market. As a result, treasurers have had to establish a number of in-house workarounds which are costly and complex to maintain.

To improve upon this, most technology companies now provide a solution that is delivered as software-as-a-service (SaaS), a deployment method that comes with several benefits.

SaaS solutions are hosted in the ‘cloud’ and hence there is no need for the organization to manage technical matters such as maintaining appropriate servers, backups, etc. Because the solution is managed in the cloud by the vendor, there is no longer a need for users to manually upgrade their solutions and perform the associated regression testing – upgrades are tested and deployed by the vendor on a regular basis, ensuring all organizations using the solution are using the latest version containing the latest functionality. Over the past years, we have seen an increasing number of solutions being offered as a SaaS solution and can see this as a trend that will continue to dominate in the future. You should also consider your organization’s overall IT strategy as it is critical to ensure you are aligned with this.

All-in-one versus best of breed

Over the years we have seen significant shifts in the treasury technology market with innovative and specialized Fintech solutions driving advancements in the market. These applications are often focused on specific areas of functionality rather than covering the broad set of requirements a treasury function may have. They are often meant to be complemented by other platforms to form a suite of treasury applications that cover all requirements.

Hence, the key consideration for an organization is whether to opt for an ‘all-in-one’ TMS or to deploy a stable of ‘best of breed’ solutions. An all-in-one TMS comes with clear benefits such as a single platform to handle all treasury transactions/processes and fewer interfaces to monitor and maintain.

However, for some organizations the all-in-one TMS comes at a significant initial and ongoing cost commitment when their requirements aren’t as broad compared to the functionality on offer. Although many of the vendors of all-in-one TMSs allow organizations to choose which modules of the platform they utilize for a reduced license fee, it is often not the case that if you are only using 50% of the functionality you will be paying 50% of the price. A much more palatable solution comes in the form of best-of-breed solutions, which deliver a more flexible technology landscape utilizing specialized systems that may address the many unique requirements of a treasury function, at a lower cost than the all-in-one TMS. Previously the use of multiple platforms was not favorable due to difficulties that could be faced such as technical integration and reporting. However, the rising use of digital APIs has improved the way systems interface with each other. Also, data-warehouses coupled with BI solutions has enabled reporting based on data sourced from a variety of platforms.

Typically, when implementing a new system you will sign a license agreement for a minimum 5-year term, so it is important to ensure you have considered the suitability of the technology partner(s) and the functionality to support you in your digitalization over many years. During the selection process, it is important to perform an analysis of partners and vendors focused on their experience, innovation roadmap, development track-record, reliability, and support model. These are attributes that will demonstrate to you that the vendor is able to support your business not only now but also in the future, as your operations and the demands placed upon the treasury function change as your business grows and evolves.

Final comments

One size does not fit all treasury functions, as each organization’s treasury remit and activities will drive the appropriate solution or solutions.

 

How to pay your overseas suppliers quickly, easily and securely

15-07-2021 | treasuryXL | XE |

Having a reliable, easy-to-use payment method can make a world of difference to your company’s bottom line and to the efficiency of your processes.

When you purchase goods from overseas suppliers or pay international invoices—especially if you do so on a regular basis—having a reliable, easy-to-use payment method can make a world of difference to your company’s bottom line and to the efficiency of your processes.

If you do a quick Google search, you’ll see that there are countless options for you to make your international payments. Your bank branch may have their own money transfer services, and there are also online providers that specialize solely in overseas money transfers. But which option is the best for your business’s payments?

International money transfer is the answer 

When making an international payment, the payment itself is just one part of the cost. By that we mean that you’ll also need to consider the exchange rate for your money transfer as well as the fees you’ll be charged for the service of converting your currency and moving it to another country.

These costs will not be the same across all providers. If you shop around, you’ll find that each provider sets their own rates, and many will add their own margin atop the current mid-market rate. Additionally, many providers may add numerous fees to your transactions (and may not always disclose them to you before you confirm your payment).

While your bank branch may do a fantastic job of holding and managing your funds, they may not be the best option for transferring it. Rather than utilising your bank and their unfavourable rates and numerous fees, you may instead wish to turn to international money transfer providers that can offer you specialised service at a fair, transparent price.

How to find the right international payments provider 

As we’ve discussed previously, you’ll want to begin your search for a provider by assessing your business operations and payment needs. This will tell you what you need from an international payments provider. You may want to consider things such as:

  • Your business’s FX requirements 

  • How knowledgeable and confident you are about foreign exchange

  • How frequently you make payments

  • Where you make payments (and in which currencies)

  • The types of payments and capabilities you’re looking for

  • How much assistance you’d want from your provider

We also previously detailed what you’d want to look out for in your search for a trustworthy provider. You’ll want to do your due diligence for things such as:

  • A provider’s size

  • How long they’ve been in business

  • How many businesses they work with

  • What their online security measures are

  • If they are registered and authorised with the relevant bodies

  • The quality of their payment processing

Pay your overseas suppliers with Xe 

At Xe, we provide money transfer and risk management solutions for businesses of all sizes, across all industries. Whether you’re a sole trader or a large multinational corporation, our experts will work with you to tailor your payment solutions to your operation and provide you with an FX strategy to best suit your needs. As an authority in the currency world for nearly 30 years, we understand foreign exchange and have the experience and expertise to help you with your FX, so you can focus on your business.

Xe offers numerous money transfer products to suit different payment needs, such as:

  • Spot transfers for quick, simple transactions

  • Forward contracts so you can schedule future payments at secured rates

  • Market orders to target the ideal exchange rate for a future transfer

  • Rate alerts, so you’ll always know as soon as the market has moved in your favour.

Get in touch with XE.com

About XE.com

XE can help safeguard your profit margins and improve cashflow through quantifying the FX risk you face and implementing unique strategies to mitigate it. XE Business Solutions provides a comprehensive range of currency services and products to help businesses access competitive rates with greater control.

Deciding when to make an international payment and at what rate can be critical. XE Business Solutions work with businesses to protect bottom-line from exchange rate fluctuations, while the currency experts and risk management specialists act as eyes and ears in the market to protect your profits from the world’s volatile currency markets.

Your company money is safe with XE, their NASDAQ listed parent company, Euronet Worldwide Inc., has a multi billion-dollar market capitalization, and an investment grade credit rating. With offices in the UK, Canada, Europe, APAC and North America they have a truly global coverage.

Are you curious to know more about XE?
Maurits Houthoff, senior business development manager at XE.com, is always in for a cup of coffee, mail or call to provide you detailed information.

 

 

Visit XE.com

Visit XE partner page

 

 

 

E-Book: ERP Migration | How to Simplify and Accelerate Bank Integration

14-07-2021 | treasuryXL | Kyriba |

ERP cloud migration is a costly and time-consuming undertaking, particularly where IT is concerned – and for many corporations, the bank integration exercise can be among the most daunting aspects of the project.

The good news is that companies can simplify and accelerate the bank integration component of ERP migration, and reduce payment connectivity and format costs by up to 80%.

In this latest ebook, you will learn about the IT challenges involved in the bank integration element of ERP cloud migration, including:

  • Following banks’ schedules
  • Navigating geographical variations
  • SWIFT certification
  • Resourcing challenges

You’ll also find out how you can reduce the need for IT resources while minimizing costs, reducing complexity and accelerating the bank integration project.

Fill out this form to get your copy of the comprehensive eBook.

 

 

Are you leaving Money on the Table with your Checkout and Payment Solution?

12-07-2021 | treasuryXL | EcomStream |

Benchmarking your checkout and Payment solution is worth the effort. There are often areas for improvement that are relatively easy to execute or implement.

In 2018, EcomStream has assisted a number of online entrepreneurs, large and small, by benchmarking and optimizing their payment solution and checkout. This results in an improved customer experience and lower costs, sometimes up to 50% cheaper.

In optimization processes the checkout and payment solution is often seen as a functionality with little or no conversion uplift opportunity. Wrongly!

Studies from Baymard Institute show why in this final phase of your sales funnel, where visitors should just go through checkout and payment, they are leaving your site. It also shows what you can do about it.

The Payment solution is often overlooked in optimization projects. “Don’t fix if it ain’t broken” you sometimes hear. Many entrepreneurs are therefore already happy when their online payment solution functions properly and provides basic functionalities. There have been many developments in this area in recent years that make it easier to migrate from a payment service provider and there are considerable savings opportunities thanks to increased competition. You can compare the payments market with the market of energy suppliers but it is far less transparent. Competition is fierce and it is worthwhile to compare, renegotiate or migrate.

Let EcomStream do a benchmark assessment of your checkout and payment solution. You will be amazed by the findings. In the area of customer experience but also with regards to contractual terms and rates. A meaningful agenda item for your next optimization meeting or contact EcomStream now

#2 No Policy for Currency Risk Management (Dutch item)

08-07-2021 | XE |

Nadat een bedrijf zijn potentiële valutarisico in kaart heeft gebracht, is de volgende stap het opstellen van een plan om dit risico te beheren. Met name grotere bedrijven zouden een risicobeheerbeleid moeten overwegen waarin wordt beschreven hoe het bedrijf valutarisico’s aanpakt. Daardoor krijgt u een doorlopend raamwerk om volatiliteit te beheren, zodat u niet steeds op ad-hocbasis hoeft te reageren.

De aard en de details van uw beleid hangen af van de omvang van het risico dat uw bedrijf loopt. Een bedrijf met een omzet van €1 miljoen zal zich natuurlijk veel meer zorgen maken over een potentieel netto valutarisico van €200.000 dan een bedrijf met hetzelfde risico maar met een omzet van € 10 miljoen. De context is hier dus van belang.

“De aard en de details van uw beleid hangen af van de omvang van het risico dat uw bedrijf loopt.”

Niettemin moet elk risicobeheersingsbeleid enkele basisprincipes omvatten. Zo moet er beschreven worden hoeveel valutarisico het bedrijf bereid is te nemen en over welke periode. Verder moet er worden aangegeven welke hulpmiddelen het bedrijf wil gebruiken om deze risico’s te verminderen. En er moet vastgelegd worden wie in het bedrijf gemachtigd is om beslissingen te nemen.

Het doel moet zijn om een degelijke procedure te ontwikkelen om het valutarisico permanent te beheren, in een vorm die gedeeld kan worden met een groep mensen in plaats van alle verantwoordelijkheid bij een enkele persoon te leggen. Dit moet een collectief en algemeen begrepen beleid zijn dat het bedrijf te allen tijde kan toepassen en dat niet wordt losgelaten als een sleutelpersoon ontslag neemt of ziek is.

“Veel bedrijven weten niet dat ze te maken hebben met een valutarisico. Als u zich in die positie bevindt, is de kans groter dat de impact van de volatiliteit van de valutamarkt op uw bedrijf een nare schok zal zijn.”

 

Uw beleid voor valutarisicobeheer moet ook regelmatig worden bijgewerkt, bijvoorbeeld ten minste eenmaal per jaar. Het is onvermijdelijk dat uw bedrijf in de loop van de tijd verandert en dat geldt ook voor het risico dat het loopt. Als u meer of minder zakendoet in bepaalde markten of als de vooruitzichten voor de valutamarkten veranderen, moet uw beleid daar op aangepast worden. Maar zorg ervoor dat u strategische planningsbeslissingen neemt en niet in de verleiding komt om tactisch te reageren op dagelijkse ontwikkelingen. Bedrijven die niet weten hoe ze risicobeheerbeleid moeten ontwikkelen of wat zo’n document moet bevatten, zouden hun opties moeten bespreken met een valutaspecialist.




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DeFi and Regulation | the European Approach

| 07-07-2021 | Carlo de Meijer | treasuryXL

In an earlier blog about the newest trends in 2021 in the blockchain world I mentioned the spectacular growth in decentralised finance or DeFi. Decentralized finance, an unbundling of traditional finance, is challenging the centralized financial system by disempowering middlemen and facilitate peer-to-peer transactions and let users retain control over their money. Being almost completely unregulated, DeFi promises a dynamic, disintermediating revolution in finance, steadily taking over the traditional financial world. In this blog I will touch some of the high-level implications of DeFi for existing financial regulations, as well as the challenges regulators are confronted with. I will especially focus on Europe’s approach MICA.

What is DeFi?

But first of all what is decentralised finance or DeFi? Decentralized Finance refers to platforms that allow consumers to perform financial type transactions with each. The goal is thereby improving the availability of and efficiency in financial services through disintermediation. DeFi uses blockchain, cryptocurrencies (mainly stablecoins) and smart contracts to manage financial transactions such as lending, borrowing and trading outside the control of traditional financial institutions like banks, brokerage firms, and centralised exchanges. Users thereby interact with the open software protocols through unhosted wallets—which are digital wallets that are managed by users themselves rather than by a service provider.

How does DeFi work

Decentralized finance uses blockchain platforms to disintermediate centralized models and enable the provisioning and settlement of financial services anywhere by using crypto currencies, rather than going through traditional financial intermediaries. By eliminating intermediaries, DeFi users are able to maintain full control over their money through personal wallets (DeFi smart contract tokens) and trading services, as well as directly interact with them via DeFi dApps.

Smart contracts

DeFi makes use of smart contracts that provide the fundaments for the functioning of DeFi apps, because they encode the terms and activities necessary for the functioning of these apps. Smart contracts are computer programs run on a blockchain that controls digital assets, and automate agreement terms between buyers and sellers or lenders and borrowers. They are used to execute a transaction between two or more parties, thereby reducing friction and costs.

Software protocols

DeFi software protocols on blockchains are standards and rules written to govern specific tasks or activities. They are interoperable, meaning they can be used by multiple entities at the same time to build a service or an app, enabling  buyers, sellers, lenders, and borrowers to interact peer to peer. DeFi protocols achieve their investment purposes through self-executing smart contracts that allow users to invest crypto assets in a pool from which other users can borrow. The most common protocols for current DeFi projects are built on Ethereum.

Decentralised applications (dApps)

Decentralised applications (dApps) abstract underlying protocols into simple consumer-focused services.  DeFi can be used for the full range of financial services including crypto asset trading, lending and borrowing, savings, payments, derivatives trading, insuring risk etc.

Governance tokens

Some DeFi protocols allocate so called “governance tokens” to reward users for engaging with the system and for conducting or supporting different types of transactions. Participants typically earn tokens by interacting with and providing services to a protocol, for example by providing liquidity in a decentralized exchange or collateral on a lending platform.

These governance tokens generally give users a right to returns from the project and allow users to vote on changes proposed to the protocols. Because of these associated rights, governance tokens have value and are tradeable. This structure gives a wide range of holders the ability to contribute to a project’s governance and evolution by voting on proposals to change the protocol and, therefore, its incentives and operations.

DeFi platforms

DeFi does not just build financial services natively as software, but it recreates the entire ecosystem of finance on novel technical foundations, so-called DeFi platforms. These  platforms are consumer-facing financial interfaces that require blockchain technology and  crypto stakers (the transaction processors) to operate. The blockchains thereby act like digital highways allowing DeFi transactions to move. Several decentralized platforms exist including decentralized exchanges (DEX), lending and borrowing, trading (complex) derivatives, insurance, asset management etc.

Decentralised exchanges

Decentralized exchanges (DEXs) are marketplaces that allow the trading of digital assets without any centralized controller. They replace the market-making and custody features of exchanges with a powerful algorithm that dynamically adjusts prices and executes trades based on available liquidity. Automated market makers (AMMs) have become a popular means of providing liquidity. They match buyers and sellers of digital assets or let them “swap” one cryptocurrency or tokens for another (exchange trading). Rewards on this platform results from providing liquidity in token pools. Well known examples are Uniswap and Justswap.

DeFi lending platforms

And there are decentralized lending platforms, that allow holders of cryptocurrencies to lend anonymously vast sums of funds instantly to people who want to borrow, provided that they can provide enough collateral to deposit in a smart contract and settle the loan within an agreed timeframe. Lenders earn interest on the loaned amount (credit intermediation). Some DeFi protocols offer crypto loans against fiat collateral and vice versa. Apart from loans, DeFi users can borrow a token to participate in blockchain activities such as governance. Leading examples are Compound, Makerdao, and Aave.

DeFi derivatives platforms

DeFi derivatives platforms establish markets for synthetic assets, in which users can establish derivative positions in cryptocurrencies while posting collateral to support those positions (derivatives trading). They automatically track the value of commodities, stocks, indices, or any combination of financial instruments. Most known example is Synthetix.

Other DeFi platforms

Other DeFi platforms offer insurance, asset management, and other higher-order financial services, to maximize portfolio returns, as well as collateralising crypto assets for proof of stake or liquidity provision.

Non-Custodial Lending Platforms

Cryptocurrencies have further extended into the world of DeFi through the recent creation of non-custodial lending platforms. These are decentralized markets where users participate as depositors or borrowers. The concept of these lending platforms are designed to mitigate any potential losses or defaults through controlling collateral on the blockchain. Retail lenders are able to quickly liquidate unhealthy loans on these lending platforms through the underlying technology of the platform itself. DeFi pools also have the potential of opening up liquidity in cross-jurisdictional markets that have previously not been able to transact. DeFi users are (theoretically) able to extend credit and liquidity through cryptocurrencies to users across the globe, including markets in developing countries that traditionally do not see influxes of western funds.

New DeFi services

Thanks to DeFi, users can now obtain financial services such as margin trading,  yield farming, liquidity mining, and crypto staking  on a distributed ledger. Especially staking platforms and yield farming protocols have surged in popularity. Yield farming is a tool to help provide network liquidity. It is “the act of hunting for rewards” by interacting with DeFi protocols, by temporarily putting depositing assets as collateral in a liquidity pool, that could be used by others including investors and start-ups, in exchange for financial rewards.  Liquidity mining is a specific form of yield farming, in which digital asset owners provide liquidity to DEXs (Decentralized Exchanges) in return for rewards. Since DEXs historically suffered from low liquidity, this is an important development for the ecosystem as well as a major source of revenue for some digital asset investors. While liquidity miners and yield farmers add funds to liquidity pools, stakers either hold funds in a wallet or delegate their coins to a validator node. This involves locking assets in a wallet in order to gain governance rights and token rewards in proof of stake (PoS) blockchain’s native asset.

DeFi market

Decentralized finance has been one of the fastest-growing crypto sectors since 2019. Interest in crypto and decentralized finance (DeFi) rose sharply during the Covid-pandemic and investment has accelerated. Though decentralised finance is still in the beginning stages of its evolution, the total value locked into DeFi of various types (collateral pools, DeFi smart contracts/protocols) in leading platforms such as Maker, Compound, Uniswap and Aave has grown from less than US$1 billion in 2019 to over US$90 billion early June 2021.

This rise was fuelled in part by investors looking for increased transparency and control of their funds regarding its open network as an attractive alternative to traditional banking. Another reason for the firm growth was the maturation of stablecoins, i.e. cryptocurrencies designed to track the value of stable assets, such as the US dollar. And there was the emergence of incentive structures, such asyield farming and governance tokensthrough which participants can earn returns for providing liquidity to DeFi services.

DeFi and benefits

Using DeFi applications has a number of interesting advantages beyond the traditional financial services, in terms of easier access to financial products and liquidity, improved market efficiency, enhanced financial privacy, lower fees and faster innovation.

Easier access

The protocols are easily accessible, making it possible for everyone to experience banking-like services. DeFi applications not only make financial services accessible but also affordable. Besides moving between protocols is relatively frictionless because users have full control of their assets/funds.

Peer-to-peer trade

Since dApps power the ecosystem without intermediaries thereby using self-executing codes that envisage the outcome and resolution of activities on these platforms, it allows for a flexible, direct person-to-person trade with high levels of transparency and zero requirements for joining.

Availability

There are also (theoretical) benefits for international financial transactions. The distributed nature of DeFi platforms and protocols makes them available across the world. The idea is that with a cheaper alternative, remittance charges and commission fees will drop, and currency conversion will have to get cheaper to be more competitive.

Improved market efficiency

Individuals can also borrow of these platforms instantaneously by using crypto assets as collateral. This automation may increase the speed of financial transactions, decrease costs, and—given enough time—broaden the availability of these services.

Lower costs

Such decentralised and non-custodial platforms have low start-up and entry costs as market entrants often remain unregulated and have minimal operating and regulatory costs. The absence or lack of central intermediaries makes it hard for regulators to forbid DeFi services.

Innovation

It may also lead to new types of services, triggering further innovations.  If a community of users is displeased with the service provided by a protocol, that community can vote to change the services supported by it or can fork the existing open source code base and develop a new protocol to meet the community’s needs better.

DeFi and risks

DeFi is an emerging phenomenon that comes with various risks, such as user errors. Who takes responsibility for any mistakes done during a transaction as blockchain is nearly impossible to alter?

And there is the smart contract vulnerability. The engine that runs DeFi applications is embedded in the code bundled together to make a smart contract. When this code has a flaw, it exposes the entire project leading to loss of funds.

Software systems may also malfunction due to a wide variety of factors. For example, what if an incorrect input causes a system to crash? Or, if a compiler which is responsible for composing and running codes makes a mistake. Who is liable for these changes?

While many DeFi tokens have already delivered lucrative returns, they come with considerable risk and price volatility that exceeds that of established digital assets like Bitcoin and Ethereum. Their lower liquidity means that they are more prone to large price swings.

And the anonymity of participants in DeFi transactions, makes it vulnerable for cyberattacks, hacks, scams, false, misleading, or greatly exaggerated recommendations. This may lead to funds theft or loss, without any regulated recourse.

No consumer protections

DeFi has flourished in the absence of rules and regulations. DeFi users however do not receive the protection benefits of transacting with regulated intermediaries. In centralized finance banks are required by law to hold a certain amount of their capital as reserves, to maintain stability and cash you out of your account any time you need. In DeFi they do not receive risk disclosures. Protocols are not subject to risk management requirements, such as capital and liquidity requirements, that protect against loss of consumer funds and systemic risks. So DeFi users may have little recourse should a transaction go foul. There is no help desk or relationship manager to contact if a transaction goes wrong.

Present regulation

DeFi is currently subject to existing regulation laws. The regulatory frameworks that apply to cryptocurrency projects however do not regulate the specifics of DEFI. Their approach is still based on the presence and regulation of centralized intermediaries, and would not work for decentralised DeFi digital asset classes. DeFi transactions conducted between individual users through unhosted wallets would not be subject to existing regulatory requirements, including KYCand AML reviews.Because DeFi protocols support anonymized transactions, there is no meaningful way for market participants to determine what requirements apply to their DeFi transactions.

Regulators are puzzling

Regulators world-wide are gathering speed to step in. They however are puzzling how to deal with DeFi and how to fill the gaps. Considering the fragmented and diverse nature of the DEFI market the task for regulators seems impressive. Who and what is there to regulate? From a regulatory standpoint, DeFi poses several serious and multifaceted risks and challenges, that will become more serious as the market further grows. DeFi does not fit within the historic practical and regulatory model used for financial transactions.

No intermediaries

Present regulation assumes the presence of intermediaries, and it applies regulation to intermediaries as a way to regulate financial markets and related activities comprehensively. But why apply rules designed for centralized finance to decentralised non-custodial, open  information DeFi systems?

Decentralised networks

Blockchain networks are decentralized and global, so participation in DeFi activities presently does not require interaction with the regulated financial system or other national legal regimes, such as taxation and national identity systems. How to look at these centralised networks from a regulatory standpoint?

Governance tokens

As with any new market, classification will be challenging. Governance tokens issued by DeFi projects may not constitute ‘investment contracts’ under securities laws. The absence of intermediaries and a wide dispersal of governance tokens may further weigh against governance tokens being subject to existing securities regulation. How are they going to be classified will determine under what regulatory regime governance tokens will fall.

Codes

Even when a corporate entity develops the software for a DeFi service, the service itself is just software code executing on a blockchain and accessible to all through the internet. This makes regulatory enforcement challenging. Using just the traditional financial services view to regulate the codes is not enough. They not only relate to just blockchain virtual assets, but also around automation and smart contracts more generally. These are very much linked and regulators need to look at those things together.

Source of information

It is also difficult to imagine a practical situation where a user of a DeFi platform is able to provide the source of information about an exchanged private or non-private crypto coin beyond one or two transactions. So what regulatory rules should apply?

WEF Policy Toolkit: regulatory clarity and balanced approach

Policy-makers and regulators are urgently looking for frameworks to address these issues responsibly. The World Economic Forum recently published a policy toolkit for decentralized finance, in a bid to assist governments around the world to appropriately address this phenomenon and help shape regulation of digital asset marketplaces between different countries. Regulators worldwide contributed to the policy document including representatives from lawmakers involved in creating the new European Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA) rules. The toolkit provides a foundational basis for understanding and examining the critical factors concerning DeFi regulations that should drive policy-making decisions. Authors thereby call for technologically neutral approaches that can balance objectives of regulatory regimes and innovation and market development with policies that are fair, efficient and enforceable.

New regulatory approach: basic principles

As DeFi projects eliminate the need for financial intermediaries, regulators may need to fundamentally rethink their approach. They will need to step away from traditional thinking and take an approach that should have a number of basic principles.

Regulatory clarity

Regulation is key to, at least, set minimum standards to market participants in the DeFi industry, to protect capital and clearly define the regulatory treatment of all crypto-assets that are not covered by existing financial services regulation. Regulators will need to further clarify these guidelines for reporting entities a.s.a.p. to solidify international adoption.

No overregulation

In order not to frustrate full adoption in the DeFi world, government agencies will need to be more flexible in their approach. One should prevent too strict regulation as that could severely disincentivize people to enter the DeFi market. The approach should be based on disintermediation whereby regulatory bodies should look beyond the centralized intermediaries approach.

Balanced approach

To promote the development of the various DeFi markets, it is necessary to put in place a safe and proportionate regulatory framework to support innovation and fair competition. Regulators should thereby maintain an adequate balance between safeguarding positive blockchain-based financial innovation in terms of greater efficiency and broader inclusiveness in finance on one hand and limit the potential of these financial applications being misused for money laundering and terrorism financing.

Level playing field

Given the increasing interwovenness of traditional financial institutions and the crypto market that have to compete against a growing number of non-regulated decentralized and non-custodial DeFi platforms, traditional business may be adversely affected if they fail to compete on an equal basis against them. So regulators should follow a level playing field approach, based on functional and operational equivalency.

European DeFi regulation: MICA

Last year September the European Commission adopted the Markets in Crypto-Assets Regulation (MiCA) proposal. Aim  is to improve harmonisation and legitimisation of how tokens are being regulated generally and the supervision of issuers and firms that qualify as crypto-asset service providers (CASPs). MICA would set clear rules of the crypto assets throughout the European Economic Area (EEA) establishing a common framework and avoiding inconsistencies. MICA thereby follows a technology, asset class and jurisdiction agnostic neutral approach.

MiCA aims to provide greater legal certainty, supporting innovation, ensuring appropriate levels of consumer and investor protection, promoting market integrity and financial stability and thus transform Europe’s current fragmented crypto-asset legislative and regulatory framework into a uniform approach. MiCA will apply to persons engaged in the issuance of crypto-assets and to crypto-asset providers in the EU-27. MiCA itself may be implemented as early as between mid-2021 and early 2022 and aims to be fully operational by 2024.

Main proposals

This new MICA regime clarifies which tokens will qualify as a “financial instrument” and thus fall under the existing financial services regulatory regime, as amended, and which tokens will qualify as “crypto-assets” and thus fall under MiCA’s specific regime for crypto-asset services (CAS).

Assessment of whether a digital asset will be a crypto-asset and subject to MiCA or a token that is a financial instrument subject to the existing financial services regime, will look at the substance over form and thus depends on the content of an instrument and not the technology behind it.

With MiCA, the European Commission intends to include stablecoins within the scope of the tailored MiCA regime on crypto-assets (to the extent not already regulated) and to modify the e-money regime to include a new type of e-money: “ ‘electronic money token’ or ‘e-money token’ means a type of crypto-assets whose main purpose is to be used as a means of exchange and that purports to maintain a stable value by being denominated in (units of) a fiat currency”

Other stablecoins are likely in scope as ‘asset-referenced tokens’, defined as: “a type of crypto-assets whose main purpose is to be used as a means of exchange and that purports to maintain a stable value by referring to the value of several fiat currencies, one or several commodities or one or several crypto-assets, or a combination of such assets.”

For stablecoins that do not fall within the above definition, the issuers must still publish a white paper, notify the regulator and may not refer to their coins as being ‘stable’. Stablecoin (being a type of ‘asset-referenced token’) issuers not already regulated as credit institutions or e-money institutions will need to be authorised and to publish a white paper approved by their home state regulator.

Issuers of ‘significant e-money tokens’ and ‘significant asset-referenced tokens’ will be directly regulated by the European Banking Authority (EBA) and will have additional obligations in respect of capital, interoperability and liquidity management.

ECB and MICA

In February this year the ECB published an Opinion on the current proposed form of MICA regulation. Their proposals generally aim to grant greater powers to the ECB, set prudential requirements for certain stable coin issuers and generally improve anti-money laundering and financial crime prevention measures.

The ECB is generally in favour of MICA’s aims and its contribution to harmonization of crypto asset regulation. The ECB however suggests several adjustments and clarifications, specifically calls for improvements, including greater scope of which tokens and what activity will fall under and be regulated by MICA and by which regulatory authority under MICA and what activity will be subject to the MIFIR/MIFID II framework. The ECB has called for changes to provide a clearer definition of what constitutes a crypto-asset and thus falls into MICA. This to help support the provision of crypto-asset services on a cross-border basis and to establish a truly harmonized set of rules for crypto-assets.

The ECB has suggested a distinction between crypto-assets that would be classified and thus treated as MIFID II financial instruments and those that would fall under the scope of MICA’s regulatory regime. Specifically the ECB has requested a number of changes concerning the supervision of stable coins i.e. what MICA defines as asset-referenced tokens (ARTs). The ECB asks for additional safeguards under MICA, including prudential and liquidity requirements for such issuers. And there is the issue of what financial stability and prudential supervisory aspects will require greater regulatory and supervisory oversight by the ECB, and how this will interact with oversight from other European authorities.

The way forward: regulatory sandboxes and safe harbors

Implementing full-fledged regulations right now however would be unwise. Regulators should get well-required time to gain experience in this new technology, interact productively with the DeFi industry, and provide informal regulatory guidance to them. In the meantime regulators can learn from techniques that are proving effective for the existing cryptocurrency market via so-called regulatory sandboxes. These could create a safe space for regulators and innovative services to work through the various issues. In addition, regulators should start with clarifying relatively easy cases first to provide guidance to the industry. This can give them enough time to solve the harder issues later, while ensuring market participants remain confident in the broad contours of the regulatory environment.

Because DeFi encompasses a broad range of applications and protocols, many of which may lie outside securities law, US SEC Commissioner Pierce suggested implementing a so-called ‘safe harbor’ policy with respect to DeFi and cryptocurrency projects. Disclosure requirements or safe harbors can encourage market participants to provide regulators with information that helps them better understand market dynamics and develop best practices. Without this safe harbor policy in place, it is currently impossible for someone to develop a truly decentralized system without potentially being in breach of securities law throughout the development process.

 

 

Carlo de Meijer

Economist and researcher

 

 

 

 

Source

Refinitiv Corporate Treasury Data Insights | June 2021

06-07-2021 | treasuryXL | Refinitiv |

Andrew Hollins, Director of Corporate Treasury Proposition at Refinitiv, brings you the June 2021 round-up of the latest Corporate Treasury Data Insights.


  1. Issuance of non-U.S corporate USD denominated debt has increased, and is most pronounced in Japan and driven by M&A.
  2. Sign-up to learn more about the rise of digital treasury in India and watch a video to observe how crypto trends are evolving.
  3. Are we witnessing the start of a commodities supercycle? And watch a webinar to learn more about the impact of LIBOR on the need for USD cash market to have fallback rates.

Corporate Treasury Chart of the Month

M&A drives demand for the dollar

We are seeing a continued rise in non-U.S. corporates issuing US$ denominated debt this year, with Japanese companies in particular taking advantage of strong investor demand, favourable interest rates and healthy US$ liquidity (see chart below) to deliver an M&A-driven issuance boom.

For example, we recently saw 7-Eleven raising $10.9 billion to fund its $21 billion acquisition of Speedway, the U.S. convenience store operator.

Being a safe haven currency, 2020 was a period of JPY strength against the USD. However optimism of a strong post-pandemic recovery has seen the JPY give back most of these gains since Q1 2021. Corporates with USD liabilities can monitor market expectations of further JPY weakness using apps like FX Polls and the FX probability feature in Refinitiv Eikon.

USDJPY currency basis spreads narrowed during COVID-19 in response to decisive Federal Reserve monetary support and liquidity provision. You can view these spreads using the Refinitiv Eikon Chart app (CHT).

Get these issuance insights in Refinitiv Eikon

  1. Search for the ‘deals screener’ app ‘DSCREEN’
  2. Select ‘USD’ under the ‘currency’ dropdown
  3. Select ‘bonds’ under the ‘asset class’ dropdown
  4. Add ‘date’, ‘target market’, ‘principal amount’ and ‘industry’ filters

Secure your spot: the rise of digital treasury in India

As treasury evolves into a strategic centre for companies, the adoption of technology becomes pivotal to strengthen resilience and insight. Secure your spot at an event we are co-hosting on 24 June 2021 with our partner, leading TMS company IBSFINtech, and hear from a leading panel of experts, including the Country Head of SoftBank and the Head of Global Corporate Treasury at Wipro Enterprises.

Crypto trends

The world of crypto and decentralised finance is starting to broaden in terms of products and coin offerings. And many of the biggest crypto moves have been preceded by shifts in sentiment that can be picked up from social media sources. Watch this seven-minute video to see evolving cryptocurrency trends and how they can be tracked by analysing social media.

Watch the video: Tracking the Biggest Trends in Crypto – Data on the Data

The start of a commodities supercycle?

You can see the rebound of the Refinitiv/CoreCommodities CRB Index is gaining steam in a directional move comparable with the beginning of the last commodities supercycle in the 2000s.

However, the overlay of several cyclical upswings of different raw materials and the transition towards a low-carbon economy suggests something more complex is happening.

Access FX liquidity in Russia

Discover how Refinitiv is helping local and offshore traders maximise access to a broad range of FX liquidity providers in Russia.

LIBOR transition webinar: why does USD cash market need fallback rates?

Join us on Wednesday 14 July to discuss the USD cash market and the need for fallback rates with the Loan Syndications and Trading Association (LSTA), Wells Fargo and The U.S. Federal Reserve. Sign-up today.

On-demand event: COVID-19 recovery in U.S. power and gas markets

As more countries and markets open up after COVID-19 lockdowns, how will U.S. power and natural gas markets be impacted? Hear what our panel of experts from Refinitiv, IIR Energy and Yes Energy think.

 

For many CFOs, the time is now to embrace AI for Cash Forecasting

05-07-2021 | treasuryXL | Gtreasury |

The chief financial officer (CFO) has never been under as much pressure to deliver more accurate Cash Forecasts – the anticipated revenue, spending, and Liquidity data that acts as the rudder for all corporate decision-making. More precise foresight is essential not only to driving profitability under normal business conditions, but has now become even more crucial as companies try to navigate the continuing wake created by COVID-19.

Read the full Article


About GTreasury

For more than 30 years, GTreasury has delivered the leading digital Treasury and Risk Management System (TRMS) to corporate treasurers across industries. With its continually innovating Software-as-a-Service platform, GTreasury provides customers with a single source of truth for all their cash, payments, and risk activities. The TRMS solution offers any combination of Cash Management, Payments, Financial Instruments, Risk Management, Accounting, Banking, and Hedge Accounting – seamlessly integrated, on-demand worldwide and fully secured. Headquartered in Chicago with offices serving EMEA (London) and APAC (Sydney and Manila), GTreasury’s global community includes more than 800 customers and 30+ industries reaching 160+ countries worldwide.