Provocative Bitcoin Analysis by Vrij Universiteit | Treasury Management – Post Graduate Student

| 20-05-2021 | treasuryXL | Pieter de Kiewit

About a month ago I moderated a well-attended webinar “Bitcoin. Is this the new reality in corporate treasury or is it a hoax”.  The majority of the participants were members of the corporate treasury community.

Foundation of the meeting was research done by PGO student Tristan Verhagen. He presented his findings and kicked off with a thorough description, including timeline, of Bitcoin developments so far. Not being the expert, I found his presentation very helpful in getting up to speed. His presentation evolved and brought some very interesting insights that were the basis for an discussion at academic level. The meeting was very well reviewed, a poll showed that participants have an increased interest in finding out if there is room for Bitcoin applications in their firm.

It was a conscious choice not to record the session. Given recent developments in the Bitcoin and crypto currency market and the quality of his presentation, I am happy Tristan allows us to share his slides (see below). I hope you will enjoy his writings as I did.

Pieter de Kiewit
Pieter de Kiewit





 

 

 

Are you understanding all the costs involved in your international business payments?

20-05-2020 | treasuryXL | XE |

As you search for the right payment provider, keep an eye out for these two main sources of cost: fees and exchange rate.

When making an international payment, there’s one question that’s on everyone’s mind:

“How much foreign currency will I get for my money, after all the charges have been applied?” 

The answer could surprise you.

When making an international business payment, the actual payment itself is only one part of the overall cost to your business. Depending on the provider you utilise for your payment, the exchange rate that you get for your transfer as well as the fees you’ll need to pay (their cost and the number of fees) can vary drastically.

As you search for the right payment provider, keep an eye out for these two main sources of cost: fees and exchange rate.

Fees—the charges you see 

When making an international transfer, a multitude of fees, charges or commission can apply, both for the sender and the recipient.

It can get complicated, as fees can come about in multiple ways. Providers may levy lots of small charges to disguise exactly how much the transfer cost. Some providers may instead apply their fees to the recipient, meaning that less money will come out on the other end of your transfer than anticipated.

When you get your transfer quote, look carefully at the fees that you see throughout the transaction—not just the ones advertised upfront.

Exchange rates—the charges you don’t see 

For many people making international payments, the exchange rate is the deciding factor in which provider they use.

As you search for the right international payment provider, be mindful of the way that they communicate their costs. It’s more common than you think for providers to offer “commission free” or “fee free” transfers that in fact just give you unfavourable exchange rates in return.

As a result it’s often really difficult to compare one provider with another as some will publish charges and others don’t.

Remember exchange rates often change by the minute, so to compare one company to another you need to do the comparison one after the other in quick succession.

What should you look out for? 

When shopping around and comparing your bank to a currency broker, make sure you look at both fees and rates. Compare the costs across providers—even if some claim to use the mid-market exchange rate for their transfers, you’ll find that rates can differ wildly.

Additionally, be mindful of anything that seems “too good to be true”. While some providers will offer you great deals and discounted rates, if you see a provider claiming absolutely no fees, “free transfers”, or advertising rates that are dramatically lower than the rates you see with other providers, it may be an indicator that there are extra, hidden costs.

What will it cost to send money with Xe? 

At Xe, we want to help you to get the most for your money when you make an international payment. Our money transfers come at competitive exchange rates, and we offer money transfer solutions that can help you to ensure that you’ll get a great rate for your transfer. You can lock in a rate for a future transfer with a forward contract, or you can set a Rate Alert to get notified when the rates are in your favour. Currency market volatility can cost you, but working with a knowledgeable provider can help you to minimise the costs.



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

 

 

 

Successful Businesses Excel At Cash Management

18-05-2021 | treasuryXL | Nomentia |

Nomentia commissioned Forrester Consulting to evaluate the current state of Cash and Treasury management in large global multinationals, the challenges, and the opportunities to move forward.


Embrace future-fit Cash management

We commissioned Forrester Consulting to create a study to understand how global decision-makers will embed cash management excellence into daily operations, processes, and decision-making in 2021 and beyond.

  • Cash flow management tools | To improve visibility and forecasting, companies are adapting cash management, payment efficiency, and cash flow liquidity tools.
  • Improve cash flow visibility | Cash flow transparency, flexible reporting, and data collection can eliminate the high costs associated with the lack of cash flow visibility.
  • Automate core processes | Automating core day-to-day tasks while guaranteeing payment security brings efficiency into the high complexity of treasury operations.

83% of decision-makers at large multinational enterprises say that low Cash visibility has hidden costs 

Understand the cash flow, payment visibility, and efficiency ->  Decision-makers agree that improving data analytics, increasing cash management and payment efficiency, maximizing cash flow liquidity, and improving cash flow and finance reporting are their top priorities in 2021 and beyond.

67% say it’s challenging or very challenging to collect data on cash flow

Technology can help to enable better cash management. Treasury management solutions with analytics, security, and automation can turn treasury from a cost center to a strategic revenue-creating opportunity.

52% of business leaders are prioritizing adopting SaaS Treasury management solutions

Download Study

Learn how companies are enhancing their cash excellence to strengthen and transform cash management operations.



Overcoming Resistance | Integrating Data in Cash Flow Forecasting

| 17-05-2021 | treasuryXL | Cashforce |

Treasurers at mid-cap Corporates looking to use large-scale data analysis to enhance cash flow forecasting are finding colleagues hesitant.

The advantages of using sophisticated data analysis in cash flow forecasting are clear to a growing number of treasurers intent on improving accuracy and eliminating human error. But implementing and executing a data-driven approach often requires collaboration with teams outside treasury, such as AR and credit collections—and some NeuGroup members are meeting resistance.

  • Solid support from leadership and showing the benefits of data analysis may make the transition smoother and help get members of other teams on board.
  • That key insight emerged from a recent discussion at a meeting of NeuGroup for Mid-Cap Treasurers, sparked by a presentation about data-enhanced cash flow forecasting from Cashforce. Read an earlier article from Neugroup here.
  • “A data mindset requires an analytical filter,” one member said, and if another team does not thrive on data, it takes some effort to get colleagues to buy in.

Overcoming intimidation. “I like to be very data-driven,” one member said. “Sometimes that doesn’t go over well in our company. It can be intimidating to people.”

  • “When you start questioning trends, it doesn’t always make people feel very good,” she continued. “I think there can be a lot of defensiveness.”
  • Another treasurer said that, in his experience, “having access to data and showing it to [staff] kind of scares them. People say they want to change—people don’t want to change.”
  • Though there can be a learning and implementation period, he said he was able to find success by stressing how much time data analysis could save in the long run.

Navigating collaboration. Some members said teams that consistently set low expectations for cash flow are often obstacles to using data that produces different, more accurate forecasts. “There can be sandbagging in the forecast, people can be resistant to being more optimistic,” one member said.

  • Another said that, though she would like to see the company implement a more data-focused model for cash flow, it would be too great a challenge to work with functions that don’t fit under the treasurer and do not share the data mindset.
  • One treasurer said his company is having these issues with its AR team, which does not report to him. “When you compare quarters, [we are] 10-15% over our forecast,” he said. “There’s a disconnect.”

Teamwork, dream work. That member said he was able to work with his company’s AR team to incorporate data and effectively eliminate the issue, though there was initial reluctance.

  • He recommends a single individual in a management role spearhead this kind of change. “If it is more driven by one leader, it is easier to shield criticism and make a right decision.”
  • The member said another source of friction can be FP&A and other finance or business leaders outside of treasury who want to maintain oversight of forecasts.
  • Though there is value in working together to incorporate data for forecasting, he said, “the entire organization needs to be ready to become more objective rather than try to manage divisions.”

 

Partner Interview | Manipulating market-leading data to navigate volatility

11-05-2021 | treasuryXL | Refinitiv |

As a leading financial markets data provider, Refinitiv is an essential partner for corporate treasurers. Refinitiv’s global, multi-asset and multi-jurisdiction view of risk, credit and economic data enable treasury teams to drive stability by managing the global and interconnected nature of risk today.

⬇️ ⬇️ ⬇️

In this interview, we take a look at how Refinitiv’s corporate treasury customers used Refinitiv data and apps to remain agile and proactive in one of the most volatile years ever. We also consider what data is likely to be needed as we recover from the pandemic and companies seek growth.

An introduction to:

 

Andrew Hollins

Director of Corporate Treasury Proposition, Refinitiv, an LSEG business

 

 

 

 

Rasyid Kwee

Proposition Sales Specialist for Enterprise Solutions, Refinitiv, an LSEG business.

 

 

INTERVIEW

1. From your data, what can be identified about the behaviors and activities of corporate treasurers during the onset of the pandemic?

Using the data we have available, we’ve been able to discern three broad phases of corporate treasury response and action throughout the pandemic. The period March through to May 2020 represents Phase 1, which for many Corporates could be termed the ‘Survival Phase’. During this first phase, we witnessed pronounced patterns of activity amongst our Corporate Treasury clients.

Firstly there was a strong focus on analysing and reviewing the Credit Risk of suppliers, clients and also corporate’s own credit risk. Treasurers wanted to know if their customers would be able to pay for the goods and/or services they are supplying, and if their suppliers were still going to deliver supplies, raw materials, component parts, goods, etc.

We also saw a spike in usage of Company Fundamental Data (app for company financial analysis, for financial statements and valuation metrics for over 90,000 companies listed on 169 exchanges in 150 countries), especially so for balance sheets, income statements, key ratios and Cashflow data. Furthermore, there was an increased appetite for Private Company data, which almost certainly reflected a desire to review the health of the extended supply chain, a trend which has continued.

Finally, there was an increase in usage of Sector-specific Economic Indicator data, up 30% globally from Feb – Mar 2020 (this app allows users to search for any Economic Indicator, chart the history, export to Excel and view associated press releases). An increase was also seen in the use of Peer Analysis data (allows for the comparison of a company against its peers across a multitude of measures and variables), reflecting a demand for wider sectoral intelligence, as well as insight into how related companies were performing in such a stressed environment. Conversely, we also saw a decline in demand for ESG related apps and data, as well as data and apps relating to Libor transition. Libor transition in particular had been a high priority area for most corporate treasurers, but the economic shock brought on by Covid-19 pushed these onto the back burner during the ‘Survival Phase’.

2. What are the Data and App usage highlights from Phase 1?

  • Globally, Credit Default Swap (CDS) data usage grew 115% in EMEA and Americas between February and March 2020. Asia showed a 155% rise in usage of this data during the same period. (The CDS Dashboard app provides comprehensive Streaming price coverage on major global Index and single name CDS from major market maker).
  • In the Netherlands (February to March 2020), there was an 83% rise in usage by Corporate Treasurer’s use of credit and credit risk data, specifically;
    • 68% rise in use of Debt Structure data (both for oneself and for one’s peers)
    • 67% rise in Starmine Credit Risk data (Starmine Credit Risk models utilize industry-specific accounting ratios, equity market valuations and text mining models to produce a 1-100 score of an company’s credit risk).
  • During the same period we also saw significant increases in usage of company fundamental and private company data. At the same time there was a clear drop in consumption of ESG data.
      • 81% rise in Company Fundamental data
      • 33% rise in Private Company data
      • 45% drop in use of ESG data

  • Looking at year on year data for the Netherlands for March 2020 and March 2021, we saw a 50% rise in CDS data; 50% rise in Debt Structure Data; 66% rise in Industry sector data; 113% rise in use of peer analysis apps.
  • Furthermore;
    • Private Company Data and Analytics grew by 31% between February to March 2020, receding during the summer months but then grew >100% from October 2020 into Q1 2021.

3. As the pandemic progressed, how did the behaviors and activities of corporate treasurer’s change?

Moving on from ‘Phase 1’ (above) and heading into ‘Phase 2’, which we can place from mid Q2 through to Q3 and call the ‘Cash Phase’, many companies focused on cash preservation and extending their cashflow runway as far as possible. Companies focused on maximising all sources of liquidity, in some cases working with suppliers to extend payment schedules and expedite receivables as far as possible. Companies also drew down reserves and utilised credit facilities. We also saw Bond Issuance accelerate significantly especially in Q3.

4. What are the Data and App usage highlights from Phase 2?

In the Netherlands, from June to October 2020, we saw a notable pick-up in usage of Issuance and Credit-related data and analytics:

  • A 40% rise in usage of the New Issues Monitor – (app providing a comprehensive library of new issues covered by Thomson Reuters and supporting IFR).
  • A more than 250% jump in usage of Starmine Credit Risk analytics and data
  • A 25% rise in usage of the Fixed Income All Quotes app

At the same time, there were also further significant changes in usage of apps and data related to the financial health of the supply chain and the corporate ecosystem in general:

  • Income Statement: Up 116%
  • Balance Sheet: Up 72%%
  • Key Ratios: Up 160%
  • Cashflow: Up 175%

5. How do you see the behaviors and activities of corporate treasurers changing as we move into a recovery mode from the pandemic?

If we identify Phase 3 as the ‘Recovery Phase’, which focuses on positioning and planning for a return to normality, or at least a new normal, our usage data suggests that many companies continue to focus on bond issuance and refinancing in order to take advantage of current lower yields. It’s notable that issuance of US$ denominated debt by non-US companies has been particularly strong in the first quarter of 2021.

There are distinct trends apparent in the usage data for our issuance-related Data and Analytics apps, in particular:

  • DCM Pricer – usage is up 21% from November 2020 to March 2021 (a custom bond calculator designed to build new bond issues and price them for the primary market)
  • Debt Structure app – usage is up 20% between November 2020 and March 2021
  • New Issues Monitor – usage is up 52% from November 2020 to March 2021 (New Issues Monitor provides a comprehensive library of new issues covered by Thomson Reuters and supporting IFR).

As countries navigate out of the pandemic, we can also see that ESG is firmly back on the agenda, with usage of our ESG apps and data rising strongly as we move deeper into 2021. For much of the pandemic period many companies focused on survival, but a rapidly developing global sustainability landscape is contributing to a significant shift towards adopting and ESG standards and behaviours across the corporate sphere.

Globally, ESG Data and Analytics Usage has grown 93% between Dec 2020 and March 2021, higher than the pre-Covid-19 peak.

  • Across EMEA, this was up 78% in the same period.
  • In the Netherlands, although below the global and EMEA percentages, ESG Data and Analytics usage was still up 35% in the same period.

Looking beyond Covid-19, conversations with our corporate treasurer clients have revealed an appetite for greater visibility and predictability when it comes to cash and liquidity management. Aligned to this, is a desire for increasingly accurate forecasts and risk analysis regarding projected future cashflows. Hedge accounting and hedge effectiveness tools also feature strongly in these conversations.

Furthermore, automation to support more robust and frequent analysis and reporting, as well as a comprehensive enterprise-wide view of cashflow, risk and liquidity, are also areas of growing interest which are going to feature more in the post-pandemic landscape.

Finally, ESG data consumption has recovered and is now above pre-Covid-19 peaks. This trend is likely to continue on its upward trajectory, becoming systemically more prevalent than it was pre-pandemic, given the rapidly evolving regulatory and demand led factors which are driving an ever-greater focus on sustainability. We recently hosted an event with the Association of Corporate Treasurers on treasury ESG roles and responsibilities which you can watch on-demand here.

6. How can corporate treasurers gain access to Refinitiv’s market-leading data and navigate current and future volatility?

Serving more than 40,000 institutions in approximately 190 countries, Refinitiv provides advanced data and technology to help corporate treasury teams make critical decisions with confidence. Our corporate treasury solutions help deliver accurate and relevant data, tools and analytics that can be accessed easily and intuitively – advancing your end-to-end workflows and ensuring seamless integration with your entire treasury management eco-system.

To find out more, speak with our experts by completing your details here.

Read more about Refinitiv, an LSEG Business here.

 

Liquidity Benefits From Dynamic Discounting in Supply Chain Financing

10-05-2021 | treasuryXL | Kyriba |

It might not always be obvious where business can learn lessons from somewhere like yacht racing, particularly in more specialist fields like Supply Chain Finance and Dynamic Discounting. But there are often uncanny parallels from this sport and finance, when both seek to deploy serious sums of money and leading-edge technology to deliver the marginal gains that can mean the difference between winning and losing.

I thought this was particularly evident in the recent America’s Cup yacht racing challenges in New Zealand. Those AC75 mono-hull super yachts that raced around the bays off Auckland often travelled at a logic-defying 40-50 knots, twice as fast as the winds that powered them and seemingly in defiance of both gravity and conventional sailing speed barriers.

Liquidity Made Good

The key to having one AC75 go faster than an almost identical competitor is the ability to analyse masses of data points in real-time to make the required adjustments to sails, rudders, weights and foils in order to attack the optimum route to the finish at maximum speed. It’s a concept called Velocity Made Good, with VMG now the go-to acronym that defines winners in America’s Cup racing. Perfecting VMG was the reason the New Zealand boat successfully beat its global challengers – again.

I was particularly struck by how this VMG-led transformation of yacht racing, now cascading down from the pinnacle of the sport to the club level, is not dissimilar to how a focus on technology-led cash and liquidity management is liberating corporate balance sheets. We could even refer to it as Liquidity Made Good, where, by the way, velocity also matters.

New Level Playing Field

The deployment of more powerful technologies can improve decision-making, release resources from previously opaque silos and supply chains, and deliver new competitive advantage. Historically this was only available to those high-tech firms and financial institutions with deep pockets, just like the owners of America’s Cup yachts, because of the almost prohibitive cost of computing power, data storage and analytics.

But cloud-based software platforms, the blossoming of data analytics, ubiquitous access to near-unlimited data storage and the power of connectivity-as-a-service now ensures, like in yachting, that these benefits filter down from the elite to level the playing field.

Greater Flexibility, Visibility

In particular, the once sleepy backwaters of trade finance are now waking up to new opportunities to maximise cash resources in ways that not only strengthen supplier relationships, but also enhance Corporate Social Responsibility credentials. Early Payment Discounting has been around trade finance for many years. But persistent, ultra-low interest rates and expectations of greater flexibility now demand more creative solutions from Treasurers. Answers to which technology can now help to provide.

Within the broader field of Supply Chain Finance, firms can now use technology to transform early payment schemes into Dynamic Discounting. These can be deployed as an integral part of wider working capital management, where better visibility can optimise liquidity and improve profitability. It might seem just a simple method of paying invoices earlier, particularly for businesses with surplus cash that can benefit both parties involved. But how it is managed becomes critical to the outcome.

Win-Win Solution

For Dynamic Discounting to succeed, it needs to be sufficiently flexible (dynamic) as to how and when suppliers are paid, with payments made prior to due dates at a discount to original invoice values calculated on a sliding scale. This means that the earlier the buyer pays a supplier, the greater the discount. The discount is therefore “dynamic” in relation to the number of days until the invoice due date and avoids the previous “cliff edge” difference between simply either having a discount or not.

Most importantly, suppliers get continuously paid earlier, which improves their liquidity position and which could then allow them to pay their own suppliers earlier, invest more in their business or alternatively just do more business with the buyer.

Funding Flexibility

For a cash-rich buyer operating in a low interest environment, the benefit is obvious. Rather than leaving liquidity in a low-interest account, it can pay large invoices early to receive additional discounts and strengthen profitability. For instance, if a buyer receives a 2% discount for paying a 90-day-net invoice after 30 days, it can invest the amount for 60 days and receive a return. This is the equivalent of a just over 10% annual return on capital that would far outweigh any loss of interest.

The buyer is fully in control of how this program is run, determining how much funding capital to set aside and adjusting that capital as seasonal liquidity fluctuates. Any seasonal liquidity issues could then also be managed by pairing the dynamic discounting program with a traditional SCF program. This would also allow the flexibility for third-party funding to fill any gaps that emerged due to potential, or periodic, lower cash balances available for the original arrangement.

Besides earning a return on excess cash, Dynamic Discounting can also reduce supply chain risks (in that financially more stable suppliers mean reduced supplier risk) and then strengthen supplier relationships. Conversely, on the supplier side it improves cash flow and provides early payment options, both of which save time, puts cash into accounts sooner and increases liquidity visibility. Benefits everywhere!

CSR Benefits – Risk Free Returns

There’s no such thing as a free lunch, but there are other compensating benefits to offset the initial costs of implementing a modern Dynamic Discounting plan, not least of which can be a significant increase in ROI on otherwise dormant cash without increased risk. After all, you are only effectively paying existing suppliers early, who you have to pay anyway, free of any additional counterparty risk.

And, as I mentioned earlier, today’s much more keenly scrutinised CSR credentials can also be significantly burnished by the support provided to often much-smaller suppliers down the food chain. That can then be more widely communicated directly to CSR scoring tables which, in turn, recognise responsible buyers and suppliers.

So, to get the maximum benefit of the wind in your sails and the best performance from your assets, make sure you use the right technology to strengthen decision making. After that, understanding the challenge, minimising the risks and reaping the mutual rewards of Dynamic Discounting will enable much smoother sailing and help you optimise your liquidity!

 

Market movements could impact your business—stay on top with Rate Alerts

06-05-2020 | treasuryXL | XE |

Rate Alerts are a quick, simple way to monitor the changing values of your choice currencies, without having to constantly check the markets.

If your business purchases goods or services from overseas, makes income from overseas, or deals at all with foreign currencies, exchange rate movements can and will impact your business and its bottom line. The degree to which they’ll affect your business will depend on the types of transactions you’re making, the frequency of your transactions, and the currencies that you most commonly work with. But if you aren’t aware of the latest changes in the currency markets, your next payment could be quite a bit more costly than anticipated.

While it is crucial to monitor the values of the currencies you work with and stay on the pulse of movements in the currency markets, we understand it’s not always feasible to keep an eye on them. The currency markets are constantly in motion, and currency values can change multiple times per day, or even multiple times per hour. Who has time to constantly check the latest rates?

Fortunately, you don’t need to devote your time to monitoring the markets. With Xe’s Rate Alert tool, we can handle it for you, so you can devote your time to your business.

What are Rate Alerts? 

Rate Alerts are a quick, simple way to monitor the changing values of your choice currencies—without having to constantly check the markets.

At Xe, we know the currency markets, and we’re happy to keep an eye on them for you. All you need to do is identify which currency pairs you’d like to monitor and your target exchange rates, and we’ll take care of the rest. We’ll watch the markets for you and notify you the moment your ideal rate is reached.

Want to give it a try now? 

Log in

Why set up a Rate Alert? 

By setting a Rate Alert, you’re ensuring that you’ll know when it’s a good time to make your transfer. The currency markets can be volatile, and one change in currency values could have a dramatic impact on how much your business needs to pay for one transaction. If you have some flexibility in the timing of your payment, Rate Alerts will help you to determine when the rates are most favourable, so you can make the most of your money.

In addition to helping you save money, Rate Alerts will also free up valuable time. Rather than frequently checking the markets and poring over historic currency data, you can take just a couple of minutes now to set up your Rate Alerts. You’ll know as soon the rates are in your favour, without ever having to take time away from your business.

How to set up a Rate Alert 

If you have your Xe account, signing up for a Rate Alert is quick and simple.

  1. Sign in or sign up. If you haven’t registered, don’t worry. It’ll take just a few minutes.

  2. Head to the Rate Alerts section. If you’re using the Xe app, you’ll enter through the ‘Charts’ tab.

  3. Select your currency pair and set your target rate. You can either manually enter the rate you’d like or select a point on the chart.

  4. Sit back and wait. We’ll be in touch as soon as your rate is reached.

Get Started



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

 

 

 

Bank connectivity 2.0. New solutions offer new opportunities! (Dutch Item)

05-05-2021 | treasuryXL | Enigma Consulting |

Veel organisaties hebben voor het betalingsverkeer een zogenaamde ‘Payment Hub’ geïmplementeerd voor de connectiviteit met de banken. Zo’n hub zorgt voor een veilige, automatische connectie om betaal- en incasso opdrachten naar de bank(en) te sturen en dagafschriften te ontvangen. Veel van deze hubs zijn in 2012 bij de overgang naar SEPA geïntroduceerd. Sindsdien is de technologie echter drastisch veranderd en bieden nieuwe oplossingen, via Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), rijkere functionaliteit aan tegen een veel efficiënter bedrijfsmodel. “Het wordt dus hoog tijd om uw bankconnectiviteit opnieuw onder de loep te nemen!”, aldus Roderick Kroon, partner bij Enigma Consulting.

“Het gebruik van een Corporate Payment hub voor bankconnectiviteit tussen de corporate ERP / TMS-systemen en de bankrelaties neemt in aantal toe. Trends als digitalisering, standaardisatie en de toegenomen aandacht voor fraude- en risicomanagement maken het automatiseren van de connectiviteit met banken een onderwerp op de managementagenda.”

Er zijn volgens Kroon momenteel drie interessante ontwikkelingen die resulteren in een verhoogde focus op bankconnectiviteit in de Nederlandse markt:



1. De toegenomen focus op het ‘in control’ willen zijn

“In het verleden waren Treasury en Finance vooral gefocust op de hoge waarde / laag volume Treasury betalingen en niet te veel op de commerciële betaalstromen. Uit de discussies van Enigma met veel corporate treasurers zien we een grotere focus op het ‘in control’ zijn door bijvoorbeeld handmatige activiteiten te verminderen, het aantal tokens voor elektronische banksystemen te verminderen en realtime inzicht in liquiditeit te hebben. De verbeterde proposities van TMS-systemen en netwerk partijen zoals SWIFT, leiden tot de logische stap om de bankconnectiviteit te automatiseren. Dit omvat niet alleen de automatisering van de betaalstromen, maar ook de ontvangst en distributie van bankafschriften intern.”

2. Er zijn nieuwe (payment hub) oplossingen met een revolutionair bedrijfsmodel

“Ook aan de oplossingszijde zien we interessante ontwikkelingen. Nieuwe (Fintech) leveranciers zoals Cobase, Nomentia, Kyriba of TIS nemen (multi-tenant) SaaS als uitgangspunt om de IT-footprint te verkleinen en zorgen ervoor dat klanten direct profiteren van verbeteringen die voor andere gebruikers wordt ontwikkeld. Vooral op het gebied van bankconnectiviteit zien we een verschuiving van ‘maatwerk voor de klant’ naar ‘best-practise oplossingen van de leverancier zelf’. Gebruikers profiteren direct van investeringen die reeds gemaakt zijn voor andere klanten en bankkoppelingen die al deel uitmaken van de standaardoplossing. Sommige leveranciers gaan zelfs nog verder en bieden de gehele bank onboarding aan als ‘service’.”

“Kennis van de details van betaalformaten, (bank)kanaalopties en noodzakelijk contracten is dan niet meer noodzakelijk zelf te hebben. Andere (eveneens SaaS) leveranciers zoals COUPA Treasury of Serrala richten zich op het creëren van complete ecosystemen en samenwerkingen met derde partijen om de waarde propositie en relevantie verder te versterken.”

3. Vervanging van (verouderde) Payment Hub-oplossingen

“Een derde interessante ontwikkeling is dat ‘early stage’ payment hubs aan het einde van hun economische levenscyclus zijn gekomen en aan vervanging toe zijn. Sterker nog, één grote speler (CPH van FIS) heeft haar klanten geïnformeerd einde 2021 te stoppen met het product waardoor tientallen bedrijven op zoek moeten naar een andere oplossing.”

Met de introductie van SEPA in 2012 maakte een groot aantal bedrijven de keuze om een payment hub te implementeren, vertelt Kroon. “De belangrijkste focus in die tijd was het verminderen van de complexiteit van veranderingen in het bestaande IT-landschap. In die tijd speelden Payment Hub-oplossingen vooral een rol bij:

  • Bestandsconversie of -verrijking van (in NL Clieop) formaten naar SEPA formaten
  • SEPA-machtigingsbeheer voor automatische incasso om de (te complexe) ‘FIRST versus ‘RECURRENT’ richtlijnen te volgen en het nieuw vereiste ‘machtigingskenmerk’ te administreren
  • Het bieden van een alternatief voor kanalen die banken besloten uit te faseren om hun SEPA-programma’s te vereenvoudigen (bijvoorbeeld het ING Finstream-kanaal)”

“De stand van de techniek was echter totaal anders dan tegenwoordig. API’s, SaaS of Cloud bestonden niet. De implementatie was veelal ‘on-premise’ met een aanzienlijke IT-voetafdruk en initiële CAPEX-investering. In de afgelopen maanden heeft Enigma Consulting meerdere discussies gevoerd over de noodzaak om deze ‘vroege’ payments hubs te vervangen en zijn wij betrokken bij meerdere selectie en vervangingstrajecten. De leverancierselectie projecten die we hebben gedaan ter vervanging van bestaande oplossingen hebben interessant genoeg een zeer positieve businesscase als resultaat:

  • Er zijn grote extra investeringen (soms upgrades) nodig in de legacy-oplossingen om de IT-beveiliging te verbeteren of om nieuwe bedrijfsfuncties beschikbaar te maken. Nieuwe oplossingen zullen deze kosten onmiddellijk elimineren;
  • De huidige kosten zijn in vergelijking met de kosten van nieuwe oplossingen een stuk duurder;
  • Sommige leveranciers zijn van eigenaar veranderd en de focus op payments én bankconnectiviteit is verdwenen, terwijl nieuwe oplossingen de huidige marktfactoren en ontwikkelingen in het betaaldomein zeer groep begrijpen;
  • Nieuwe SaaS / Cloud-oplossingen verkleinen de IT-footprint aanzienlijk en vereisen veel minder (vaak schaarse) capaciteit van IT voor onderhoud / upgrades;
  • De huidige payment hubs bieden een breder scala aan diensten en kunnen veel eenvoudiger (via API’s) worden geïntegreerd met andere systemen (bijv. cashmanagement, fraude, treasury, ERP, transactie monitoring);
  • Veel payment hubs bieden mu volledige ondersteuning voor ‘on-behalf’ (POBO / COBO) verwerking in combinatie met in-house bankieren en / of virtuele accountoplossingen.”

Is bankconnectiviteit een apart onderwerp?

Kroon: “Niet per se. Hoewel het onderwerp zelf perfect als individueel vraagstuk kan worden aangepakt, zien we dat onze klanten de benodigde verandering op dit domein koppelen aan een bredere discussie over hun financiële waardeketen. Vaak gaat een noodzakelijke verandering in het connectiviteitsdomein van banken hand in hand met bredere discussies over de visie ten aanzien van ‘betalen’ en het gerelateerde Target Operating Model, waarin alle marktontwikkelingen (outside in), interne ambities (inside out) en discussie over de bankrelatie (s) worden meegenomen. De selectie van de best passende leverancier voor de payment hub moet dan worden gezien in het bredere perspectief van een routekaart (roadmap) voor Payments op de middellange termijn.”

Dus wat nu te doen?

“We raden aan om de oplossing die is gekozen voor de bankconnectiviteit opnieuw te (laten) beoordelen. Indien deze nog niet geautomatiseerd is kan er een sterke businesscase zijn om dit te veranderen, de efficiëntie te verbeteren en risico’s te verminderen. Indien er al wel een oplossing is kunnen er argumenten zijn om te profiteren van vervanging door een van de nieuwe oplossingen die ‘meer bieden voor minder’.”

“Wij adviseren om verder te kijken dan alleen bankconnectiviteit en het volledige betaaldomein in beschouwing te nemen om te valideren of men voldoende voorbereid is op de toekomst, rekening houdend met alle nieuwe ontwikkelingen in het betalingsverkeer. Enigma Consulting kan de business case versterken door een efficiënt traject met behulp van de unieke ‘RFP-as-a- service’ en ‘Payments Road map’.”

ECB and a Digital euro: positive consultation results

03-05-2021 | Carlo de Meijer | treasuryXL

Last year I wrote a blog on the ECB plans to investigate if one should introduce a Digital euro. They announced to launch a public consultation on the desirability of such a central bank digital currency for the euro zone.

Now we are a half year later and in a comprehensive analysis of the results of this consultation the ECB published the findings of this inquiry that mirrored a rather positive attitude. The report thereby provides important input into the ECB’s analytical and experimental work and into the upcoming decision of the Governing Council on whether (or not) to launch a formal investigation phase in view of the possible issuance of a digital euro as a payment instrument. So nothing has been decided so far!


Why a digital euro?

In that same blog I mentioned the various reasons why central banks all over the world, including the ECB, are investigating the need and viability of central bank digital currencies (CBDCs). Such as the further digitalisation in the payments world and the continued trend towards a more cashless society. And China’s advancements with their own digital Yuan and the fear that it would become a dominant currency eroding other international used currencies like the dollar and the euro. But also Facebook’s  plan to launch its stable coin named Diem that could be used globally and the big interest of private people and companies to invest in cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ether with the danger of crowding out fiat currencies.

According to the ECB these developments may undermine central bank’s control over monetary policy and endanger financial and monetary stability in the EU. So in fact the launch of a Digital euro is increasingly becoming a strategic issue for Europe. EU members like France but also the Netherlands have recently begun experimenting with a Digital euro. But any decision would require intensive cooperation between member states.

ECB Digital euro consultation

The ECB recently released its report on the consultation on a digital euro. The consultation that was launched in October last year, received over 8200 responses. The large majority of respondents were private citizens (94%), of which mostly men between 35 and 54 years old, while the other participants were professionals, including banks, payment service providers, merchants and tech companies. Most responses came from Germany (47%), Italy (15%) and France (11%).

Main findings

The consultation report shows that Europe’s citizens are in favour of a digital euro, but under a number of conditions.

The results show that citizens as well as professionals (esp. merchants and other companies) are in favour of such a development, provided that the Digital euro respects privacy (43%) and confidentiality of transactions and that it is sufficiently secure (18%) to prevent fraud. They also support requirements to avoid illicit activities with fewer than one in ten responses from members of the public showing support for full anonymity.

 

“The record level of participation in our public consultation and the willingness of citizens and professionals to support a digital euro are encouraging. Their responses show the high expectations that prospective users have for a digital euro and provide valuable input for our work.” Fabio Panetta, ECB Board member 

 

According to the document, two in five respondents thought that “Digital euro transactions should be visible to either intermediaries or the central bank, which would effectively allow the application of anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) requirements.” Additionally, one out of ten respondents believes that transfers under a certain threshold should remain private.

 

“A digital euro would therefore allow people to make payments without sharing their data with third parties, other than what is required by regulation. This differs from private payments, where services are generally offered in exchange for personal data that are then used for commercial purposes.” Christine Lagarde, president ECB

 

The respondents also want a Digital euro that is easy to use, without additional costs (9%), and that allows for fast and reliable payments via payment cards and iPhones (8%).

More than two-thirds acknowledge the importance of intermediaries providing innovative services that allow access to a digital euro and indicate that it should be integrated into existing banking and payment systems. They would like additional services provided on top of basic digital euro payments.

Around a quarter of the respondents take the view that a Digital euro should make cross-border payment faster and cheaper. They also want to be able to use the digital euro outside the Eurozone, though with limits.

 

“A digital euro can only be successful if it meets the needs of .Europeans.” “We will do our best to ensure that a digital euro meets the expectations of citizens highlighted in the public consultation”. Fabio Panetta, ECB Board member

Next steps

The feedback is now to be communicated to the European Parliament as well as the Commission and the Council. And it is up to the Euro system – which includes the ECB and central banks of countries that have adopted the euro – to decide whether the project should be launched.

Following the findings of the consultation, the ECB is set to take a decision on starting formal investigation on a Digital euro on whether to commence central bank digital currency trials by the middle of 2021, before a further six months to one year practical trial of the technology.

And if this decision will be a positive and the green light is given, the Digital euro, a complement (not a replacement) to banknotes and coins, could see the light of day in four years from now, according to ECB president Lagarde. She indicated it may be 2025 before any digital currency would be ready.

 

“Because it’s a technical endeavour as well as a fundamental change because we need to make sure that we do it right. We owe it to Europeans, they need to feel safe and secure. The need to know that they are holding a central bank-backed equivalent of a digital banknote. We need to make sure that we’re not going to break any system, but enhance the system”. Christine Lagarde, president ECB

 

The ultimate design of the digital euro lies with the ECB that will take the public consultation into consideration and look into various possibilities, including use of distributed ledger, definition of spending limits, use of a device for transfers and payments, online/offline capabilities, or availability of cross-border transactions outside Europe.

The Dutch positive stands towards the Digital euro

In narrow cooperation with the ECB and the other national banks in the Eurozone, the DNB is also exploring the possibility of issuing a Digital euro in addition to euro banknotes and coins.

In a recently published report, the Dutch Central Bank said it was ‘ready to play a leading role’ with research and development into its own digital currency as well as a Europe-wide digital currency. The Netherlands would be a suitable testing ground, according to the report, being well placed to develop and trial a Digital euro. The Netherlands is the country where the move out of cash is the largest in Europe. Nearly two thirds of all payments in the country are digital.

The main findings of the report

In this report the DNB researched the satisfaction with the current payment system and the willingness to hold a Digital euro account among a representative group of Dutch citizens. The findings are broadly in line with those of the ECBs public consultation.

While citizens are very satisfied with the current payment options, half of the Dutch population would be interested in opening a current account for Digital euros, an electronic form of central bank money that is available for all citizens and businesses – similar to banknotes and coins, but exclusively in digital form. Relating top the amount they would be willing to deposit into a digital euro account, most of the, opted for €101-500.

Main condition is that privacy is well protected, security features should be adequately safeguarded if people want to open such an account and the risk of theft and fraud of their assets is minimized.

Familiarity with the concept of a Digital euro increases people’s willingness to use it as a means of payment. Almost half of Dutch citizens are familiar with the concept, although most people indicated they did not knew exactly what it entails. 53% said they had never heard of it, 33%had heard about it but do not know what it means while 13% knows exactly what it means.

The most frequently cited reason why the Dutch public believe a Digital euro would be useful and could be a reliable complement to cash and existing electronic payment instruments, is that central banks, unlike commercial banks, do not operate on a for-profit base.

Balancing act

While earlier discussions on CBDC were mostly academic, the focus has increasingly turned to the technical aspects and financial and monetary issues. The ECB received many technical suggestions from the respondents. According to a quarter of individual respondents, end-user solutions comprising (smart) cards or a secure element in smartphones would be preferred to facilitate cash-like features. Building a Digital euro for retail payments may require an infrastructure that is interoperable with existing point of sale terminals or with digital platforms

What may it bring?

A Digital euro could bring many benefits to the population as it would grant greater usability, speed and safer payments transactions while it could leverage technology. It could also enhance digital inclusion, facilitate monetary policy implementation, and help protect against frauds and thefts. Being issued by the ECB and supposed to be not more expensive than the use of cash, it would be a cost-efficient payment solution for individuals and businesses with limited interchange fees, if any.

What about the future of commercial banks?

A digital euro however could pose a number of problems in a number of areas. These should be attention points in the further discussion that should be addressed before the release of the Digital euro to ensure the stability of the financial and monetary system.

First of all for banks, what will be there future?  What about the already identifying competition by fin techs and big techs using crypto currencies?

Lagarde raised that certain intermediaries – that is, banks – are apprehensive about what the issuance of this Digital euro may mean for them, noting that they should not be concerned.

 

“We need to also make sure that we are not going to break the system but to enhance the system.” “Those intermediaries will continue to co-exist, to develop their business and conduct their activities with cash which will continue to be available as will digital currency.” Christine Lagarde, president ECB

 

But in an increasingly digitised world banks may increasingly have to ask themselves how they may serve their customers’ future needs and how they can distinct themselves from their competitors.

And what about financial and monetary stability?

And how to avoid in times of financial crisis that a digital euro will “blow a hole” in commercial bank’s balance sheet. Especially in the event that savers would massively transform their deposits in banks into central bank money, in case of economic or financial crisis. This bank run could increase the cost of financing for banks, and in turn the interest rates on bank loans.

Almost half of the respondents of the ECB Consultation mention a need for holding limits, tired remuneration, penalty rates to excess balances or a combination of the two, to manage/control  the amount of digital euro in circulation and prevent a massive flight to digital euros in times of a financial crisis. A similar share of professional respondents agree.

Competition or cooperation?

Another issue is: will CBDCs trigger competition between central banks or cooperation? With the exception of China, most central banks are looking for (some sort of) cooperation. Under the auspices of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), the ECB is part of a core group of central banks including the Bank of Canada, Riksbank, the Bank of Japan, the Swiss National Bank, Bank of England (BoE) and the Fed, who are jointly exploring CBDC.

The way forward

The topic of a Digital euro has gained much more public attention in the Netherlands and that is not strange as a much higher proportion of their payments is digital compared to other countries in the Eurozone. But for a Digital euro to get more footing in Europe, what is required is a more in-depth policy debate to be held more broadly across the euro area. This given that it is the Euro system that will decide on the potential introduction of a Digital euro.

If the decision should be taken within the Euro system to experiment with some more concrete type of digital euro the Netherlands said it is ready to play a leading role!

 

Carlo de Meijer

Economist and researcher

 

 

 

 

Source

Choosing the right international business payments provider: what should you check for?

29-04-2020 | treasuryXL | XE |

Once you’ve ascertained what you need from a provider, the next step is shopping around to select the best provider for your business.

Working with a foreign exchange (FX) specialist can greatly help your business to navigate the currency markets and protect your bottom line from potential market volatility. However, not all providers are the same because not all businesses are the same. Each business has its own currency needs and risk exposures dependent on its size, operations, and planned payments.

We recently offered a guide on understanding what you need from an international payments provider. We encouraged you to consider:

  • Overhead visibility of your FX requirements

  • How you prefer to conduct business

  • The simplicity (or complexity) or your FX requirements

  • The payments your business makes or will make.

All of these factors can greatly impact what you’ll need from an FX provider to suit your business.

Once you’ve ascertained what you need from a provider, the next step is shopping around to select the best provider for you. In addition to considering whether they can meet your needs, be discerning about each provider and whether they should be trusted with your business’s international payments.

Do your due dilligence 

As with any financial services company, do your research and use your best judgment. If something feels off, it very well could be. If the rate looks too good to be true, it probably is. There are some other questions that you should ask yourself as you research each provider:

  • Are they registered? Companies that provide money transfer services in the UK, for example, have to be registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). You can check which ones are authorised on their site. If you deal with a firm that is authorised or regulated by the FCA, you will be covered by the Financial Ombudsman Service if something goes wrong. Confirm that the provider is registered with your country’s authority.

  • Are they authorised? Larger companies are called an “authorised payment institution” while smaller ones are listed as “small payment institutions”. All authorised payment institutions must meet obligations that include providing certain information to customers before they commit to using the service. This includes whether they safeguard client money, what exchange rate they will provide and whether there will be any additional charges, how the transaction will be carried out, how long the money will take to arrive, how long they will take to correct a transaction in the event of a mistake and your rights to cancel a transaction.

  • How does their site look? You can also take a look at the company website to see if there are any additional security measures in place. Looking at their site will also give you a quick snapshot of the business. If their site is outdated or poorly-run, it could reflect poorly on their business practices.

  • Can you call? Sometimes, the quickest way to get a feel for a provider is to speak with them directly. Giving the company a quick call is another way to check you are comfortable trusting them with your money and to get answers to any questions you might still have about their service. This call will also give you an idea of whether you would be able to speak to someone if you do encounter any issues with your transfer.

What should you check before deciding which provider to use?

  • How strong is the company’s balance sheet? If they don’t have full accounts on their website, you can check at Companies House. Xe, for example, is owned by NASDAQ-listed global payments processing company Euronet Worldwide Inc.

  • How big are they and how long have they been in business? A large, established company with experience in the markets will likely be better-equipped. At Xe, we’ve been in the business for almost 30 years now with offices around the world to serve our customers.

  • How good is their payment processing? Are they audited by reputable auditors? Can they send payments quickly and securely?

  • How many other businesses trust them with their international payments needs? Judge them by the company they keep. Do they work with any other reputable businesses? Do they have experience working with businesses like yours? Xe for example, serves over 13,000 businesses of all sizes across 100 industry sectors.

  • What online security measures do they have in place to keep your funds safe? Look out for well-known online security ‘trust marks’ such as Norton online security. For example, if the site URL begins with “https”, that makes it a secure site. A URL beginning with “http” is a warning sign of an insecure site, which you should not give your sensitive information to.

What should your business know about Xe? 

At Xe, we know the currency markets. With nearly 30 years in the business, we are the world’s trusted authority with the knowledge and experience to help businesses navigate the currency business and their international payments. Today, over 13,000 businesses across 100 industry sectors look to Xe for:

  • Fast, secure and simple international payments

  • Tools and solutions to manage their currency needs

  • Expert FX risk management guidance



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.

 

 

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