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Why you need to automate swap execution

22-11-2022 | treasuryXL | Kantox | LinkedIn |

Do you struggle with having a perfect match between your currency hedging position and the cash settlement of the underlying commercial exposure? We’ll let you in on a secret: most treasurers and finance teams do. But how can you simplify this time-consuming and resource-intensive task? In this article, we show why you need to automate swap execution and how you can do it.

We reveal why this is an essential issue for treasurers, how it’s typically handled, and why automated swap execution can help finance teams play a more strategic role in the business. 

Setting the scene

Treasurers know that it is practically impossible to have a perfect match between the firm’s currency hedging position and the cash settlement of the underlying commercial exposure. That’s especially the case if those hedges were taken long before. This is why swapping is so essential.

Let us briefly see an example. If you have a ‘long’ USD forward position with a given value date and you need, say, 10% of that amount in cash right now, a swap agreement allows you to perform that adjustment.

With the ‘near leg’ of the swap, you buy the required amount of USD in the spot market while simultaneously selling —with the ‘far leg’ of the swap— the same amount of USD at the value date of the forward contract. And that’s how you adjust your firm’s hedging position.

Pain points: a resource-intensive activity

Swapping can be extremely time-consuming and resource-intensive, particularly if many transactions, currencies and liquidity providers are involved. We recently saw how a large European food producer was struggling mightily with manual swap execution, a dreadful situation faced by many, if not most, companies.

Among the most common pain points, we can cite the following three:

  • Operational risk. Many tasks are manually executed: retrieving incoming payments, selecting liquidity providers and confirming trades. The entire workflow relies on emails that circulate back and forth with spreadsheets carrying potential data input errors, copy & paste errors, formatting errors, and formula errors.
  • Lack of traceability. Lack of proper traceability hinders the process of assessing hedging performance, as swap legs are manually traced back to the corresponding forward contracts.
  • Risk of unethical behaviour. Understood as the risk that early mistakes that are not immediately reported may lead to severe losses down the road, it is prevalent throughout.

Traceability and automated swap execution

Traceability is when each element along the journey from FX-denominated entry to position to operation to payment has its own unique reference number. But how can we apply this concept to solve the problem of manual swap execution?

The answer is automated swap execution, a solution that is embedded in Currency Management Automation software. It relies on the perfect end-to-end traceability between the different ‘legs’ of a swap agreement and the original forward contract. Meanwhile, FX gains/losses and swap points are automatically calculated. It’s dead simple!

Swap automation is a powerful tool for the treasury team. At the company level, it opens the way to:

  • According to recent surveys, increasing the efficiency of treasury operations is the No. 1 expectation in tech for CFOs.
  • Using more currencies in the business to take advantage of the profit-margin enhancing possibilities of ‘embracing currencies’.
  • Taking a concrete step toward the ‘digital treasury’ is a concern voiced by many CFOs and treasurers.

At a personal level, in terms of the daily workload of members of the treasury team, automated swap execution means:

  • More time to concentrate on high-value-adding tasks such as fine-tuning and improving cash flow forecasts.
  • Reduced stress levels.
  • Increased productivity at work.

And that’s no small achievement! 

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Optimising cash and liquidity through currency management

31-10-2022 | treasuryXL | Kantox | LinkedIn |

Can you improve cash and liquidity management with the help of more effective currency management? The answer is: yes, you can! In this article, we see how currency management and cash management are, in effect, joined at the hip.


Five important touchpoints

There are at least five crucial, yet sometimes unduly neglected, touchpoints between FX risk management and cash or liquidity management. Let me briefly set the stage first. Then I will discuss their interactions.

(1) Swapping. Adjusting the company’s hedging position to the cash settlement of the underlying commercial exposure requires a lot of swapping.

(2) Collateral. In a world of shifting interest rates, treasurers need solutions that allow them to optimise collateral management.

(3) Working capital management. Solutions to improve working capital and liquidity are rarely mentioned in the context of FX risk management. Yet, they exist!

(4) Netting. Netting allows companies to generate savings in trading costs and in terms of the cash balances needed to satisfy collateral requirements.

(5) Cash flow forecasting. According to a recent survey by HSBC, more than half of treasurers worldwide say that cash flow forecasting is the most important task in treasury.

How and when currency management meets liquidity management

Take the case of a hedging program designed to protect the FX budget rate. It includes stop-loss orders to protect the FX rate used in pricing or a ‘worst-case scenario’ FX rate. It can also include profit-taking orders to lock in more favourable exchange rates.

As long as the stop-loss orders are not hit, hedge execution is postponed. This means that the cash required for collateral requirements can be set aside at a later date. It also means that treasurers have more time to improve their cash flow forecasts.

And it’s not over yet! Hedging incoming firm sales/purchase orders or invoices leads to very precise currency hedging. This means that purchasing managers are in a position to buy confidently in the currency of their suppliers. These, in turn, will be more inclined to grant extended paying terms.

With the perfect end-to-end traceability that comes with automated programs, managers can safely aggregate exposures without fear of losing the benefits of data granularity. This can create more netting opportunities, again reducing the need to set aside cash in terms of collateral.

Finally, swapping can be easily automated.

And voilà!

Feedback effects

That’s how effective FX risk management ends up improving liquidity management. Note that the process feeds on itself. Let me give you an example. Because swap automation releases valuable treasury resources, treasurers can take advantage of the benefits of using more currencies. Automated swap execution, therefore, improves not only the cash management part of the FX workflow but also —indirectly— working capital management.

That’s what I call a win-win situation!

BNP Paribas signs an agreement for the acquisition of Kantox

17-10-2022 | treasuryXL | Kantox | LinkedIn |

treasuryXL congratulates highly valued partner Kantox with the announcement that BNP Paribas has signed an agreement to acquire the leading fintech for automation of currency risk management!

Source

Kantox, a leading fintech for automation of currency risk management, will accelerate its growth with the support of BNP Paribas and the strengths of its integrated business model. This acquisition builds on the initial strategic partnership between BNP Paribas and Kantox initiated in September 2019.

BNP Paribas is pleased to announce the signature of an agreement for the acquisition of Kantox, a leading fintech for the automation of currency risk management. Kantox’s software solution has managed to successfully re-bundle the Corporate FX workflow, offering a one-stop-shop, API-driven, plug-and-play solution which has emerged as a unique technology within the B2B cross-border payments sector. Kantox’s technology provides an unrivalled level of automation and sophistication to Corporates in setting up hedging strategies.

By leveraging its integrated business model, BNP Paribas is well-positioned to accelerate and extend Kantox’s offering to a wide range of Corporate clients across the globe.

The acquisition of Kantox is supported by the Global Markets business of BNP Paribas’ CIB division and the business centres of the Commercial, Personal and Banking Services (CPBS) division. The two divisions aim to deploy Kantox technology to large corporates as well as SMEs and Mid-Cap clients, capitalising on market knowledge and the local presence of the group.

 

This acquisition illustrates BNP Paribas’ Growth Technology Sustainability 2025 plan that sets out to accelerate the development of technological innovations, enhance customer experience and provide best-in-class capabilities to its clients.

Philippe Gelis, CEO and co-founder at Kantox: “We have been serving clients together since 2019 when our technology partnership started. During those 3 years, we spent a lot of time together in the field, getting the opportunity to understand that together we were stronger and able to bring more value to clients. It is the best of both worlds, the leading software company in the currency management automation category and the leading bank in Europe.”

Olivier Osty, Head of Global Markets, BNP Paribas CIB: “We are delighted to strengthen our partnership with Kantox, which brings to our clients a unique and innovative platform to automate their currency risk management. Corporate treasurers are currently navigating turbulent markets, and advanced technology can help mitigate some of the challenges, easing the burden of manual tasks and allowing them to focus on their core business.” 

Yann Gérardin, Chief Operating Officer, Head of BNP Paribas CIB: “The acquisition of Kantox presents a further illustration of our ability to establish long-term partnerships with fintechs in an ever-increasing range of areas. Supporting our clients in their international development and providing them with the most advanced technological solutions have always been our priority and are, as such key pillars of our GTS 2025 strategic plan.”

Thierry Laborde, Chief Operating Officer, Head of BNP Paribas CPBS: “This acquisition demonstrates how our distinctive model and integrated platform strategy are able to create value and develop business opportunities. Our leading positions with European companies of all sizes will enable Kantox to further accelerate its development while improving our customers’ experience.”

The acquisition is subject to regulatory approvals and is expected to complete in the coming months.

Download Kantox’s Budget Hedging Report

28-09-2022 | treasuryXL | Kantox | LinkedIn |

Are you a CFO or Treasurer drafting your upcoming budget? Find out how to set, defend and outperform your budget rate in Kantox’s exclusive new report.

Based on real industry insights, you can learn:

🔹 The best way to set a budget rate

🔹 How to delay hedge execution while reducing forecast risk

🔹 How to improve your budgeted profit margins

🔹 Top solutions to automate time-consuming processes

👉 Get your report here