Posts

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! 

Treasury Manager @ Treasurer Search

Gelderland – Full-time Read more

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

CurrencyCast Season 3 is live!

27-09-2022 | treasuryXL | Kantox | LinkedIn |

Season 3 of Kantox’s #CurrencyCast is live! In the first episode, they examine companies that manage their FX risk via spreadsheets and how they may be exposing their business to a whole other type of danger, spreadsheet risk.

Agustin Mackinlay breaks down the dangers and pitfalls of spreadsheet risk and how it can slowly erode your FX risk management processes.

He walks us through:

🔹 What is spreadsheet risk?

🔹 How to recognise this type of risk

🔹 Where it can arise in the currency management process

🔹 How to manage and eliminate spreadsheet risk

It’s an FX masterclass, all in under 10 minutes.

👉 Watch the episode and read Kantox’s key takeaways here

What’s the best hedging program for your business? Take Kantox’s 1-minute assessment

26-09-2022 | treasuryXL | Kantox | LinkedIn |

Have you seen Kantox’s Currency Management Toolkit?

With rising interest rates, increasing inflation and today’s highly volatile environment, it’s more important than ever for your company to be protected against currency risk.

Take Kantox’s 1-minute assessment and discover the best FX hedging program for your business. You’ll find out which program can most effectively handle your FX needs, help you achieve your goals, and keep you ahead of the curve.

👉 Get started here

CFO Perspectives: How to set a currency hedging strategy

30-08-2022 | treasuryXL | Kantox | LinkedIn |

How should a CFO set their currency hedging strategy, to protect cash flows or to minimise P&L impact? In the fourth edition of CFO Perspectives, we’ll explore how senior finance professionals can choose the right path when it comes to hedging.

Credits: Kantox
Source

According to a recent HSBC report, the objectives of currency hedging are pretty extensive. While three-quarters of surveyed participants mention forecasted cash flows as an FX risk that their company hedges, 61% cite balance sheet items as the risk they hedge. Other participants say minimising the impact on consolidated earnings is one of their FX hedging objectives and KPIs.

The debate about whether to hedge cash flows or earnings —by removing the impact of accounting FX gains and losses— is as old as currency hedging itself. The two sides have powerful arguments in their favour.

Cash flow hedging vs balance sheet hedging

What’s the correct approach?

The debate will likely never be settled entirely. No single approach for currency risk management is definitively better than another. Different opinions may reflect the type of business activity, the preferences of investors and even managers’ own biases.

The key step for any CFO looking to establish or revamp their business’s currency hedging program is to clarify what the firm is trying to achieve. Only with enough clarity on this matter can the dangers of ad hoc or unsystematic hedging be avoided. 

So, where does that leave us? This blog brings some welcome news to beleaguered CFOs as they take sides. While nothing replaces clarity regarding the key objectives of currency management, technology now makes it possible for risk managers to:

  1. Use a single set of software solutions to run cash flow and balance sheet FX hedging programs
  2. Automate the time-consuming and resource-intensive process of implementing Hedge Accounting

This is big news indeed!

Practical steps on the journey to the FX hedging decision

While a certain amount of debate and discussion is unavoidable when deciding the goals of a firm’s FX hedging program, a number of practical steps can be followed to determine what should be hedged.

These steps share a central concern about protecting and enhancing the firm’s operating profit margins by giving particular importance to the pricing characteristics of each business division.

These steps include:

  1. Steer clear of ad hoc or unsystematic hedging. This is a path to nowhere and should always be avoided.
  2. Set the goals of your FX strategy, such as defending a campaign or budget rate, achieving a smooth hedged rate over time, hedging transaction exposure, or removing the impact of accounting FX gains and losses.
  3. Based on these goals, define the best hedging program while imagining that infinite resources can be deployed. By doing so, CFOs can squarely focus on their FX goals.
  4. Consider using Currency Management Automation to seamlessly execute all the steps of your program, breaking internal silos and ensuring connectivity with your own company systems (ERP, TMS).
  5. Only then ‘prune’ the strategy and adjust it to the available resources, while measuring the impact —in terms of risk, costs and growth— of this adjustment.
  6. Use technology to automate the process of compiling the required documentation for Hedge Accounting.

In other words: to set a currency hedging strategy you need to do away with outdated constraints. Technology is putting to rest the traditional view of currency management as a resource-intensive activity. So the message is: give priority to your FX goals, not to the resources currently at hand.

Read the third edition of our CFO Perspectives series, 5 ways CFOs can increase the efficiency of treasury operations.

CFO Perspectives: 5 ways CFOs can increase the efficiency of treasury operations

16-08-2022 | treasuryXL | Kantox | LinkedIn |

In the third edition of CFO Perspectives, we’ll draw from our work with CFOs to explore five ways senior finance executives can increase the efficiency of treasury operations using purpose-built software solutions. 

Credits: Kantox
Source



According to a recent HSBC report, as many as 81% of CFOs view the digitisation of treasury processes as an area of increasing importance. The same survey shows that technology has moved from ‘nice to have’ to a key differentiator for treasury. 

The good news is that ‘special purpose’ technology exists that —working alongside your existing systems (TMS, ERP)— allows CFO’s and finance teams to dramatically boost the efficiency of treasury operations.

In this blog, we briefly present five areas of improvement across the FX workflow. Taken together, they present a unique opportunity for CFOs to turn the ‘digital treasury’ into a day-to-day reality, allowing members of the finance team to remove operational risks while devoting more time to value-adding tasks.

Improvements across the FX workflow

Currency management is a process undertaken in three different phases. In the pre-trade phase, FX-related pricing is managed alongside the crucially important collection and processing of the firm’s exposure. The trade phase, quite naturally, is concerned with trade execution, primarily through forward FX contracts. Finally, the post-trade phase covers accounting, reporting and analytics processes and the ‘cash flow moment’ of payments and collections.

In all of these phases, easy-to-install software solutions provide tangible improvements in terms of the efficiency of treasury operations.

These improvements include:

Improvement 1: Set a strong ‘FX rate feeder’

Pain point: Commercial teams often lack the capability to use the currency rates they need to price in a data-driven and efficient way. With favourable forward points, they could use the forward FX rate to price more competitively without hurting budgeted profit margins. With unfavourable forward points, pricing with the forward rate would allow them to remove excessive markups.

Improvement: Whatever the number of transactions involved, automated solutions to price with the required FX rate can be quickly scaled to all the required currencies, with the pricing markups per client segment and currency pair requested by commercial teams.

Improvement 2: Process all types of exposure

Pain point: When it comes to collecting the firm’s exposure to currency risk, most Treasury Management Systems (TMS) are designed with accounts receivables/payables in mind. While this works fine for balance sheet hedging, the focus on accounting items precludes the automation of cash flow hedging based on the exposure collected earlier — firm commitments and forecasts for budget periods. 

Improvement: API-based solutions allow finance teams to automate the crucially important process of capturing the relevant type of exposure information and run a variety of cash flow hedging programs, including combinations of programs that require more than one type of exposure data. 

Improvement 3: Connect the phases of the FX workflow

Pain point: The trade phase of the FX workflow is where most of the attention of CFOs has been placed, as Multi-Dealer Trading platforms such as 360T have reduced the cost of FX trading for corporations. But while the execution of trades is oftentimes manually initiated, most systems lack the capability to fully automate the process of triggering trades.

Improvement: What special-purpose software brings is the capability not only to automate the trade part of the workflow —via connectivity with Multi-Dealer platforms—but also to link it to the pre-trade phase as well by ensuring that trades are executed at the right moment in time.

Improvement 4: Automate Hedge Accounting

Pain point: Compiling the documentation required to perform Hedge Accounting can be a costly and time-consuming process, as hedge effectiveness is assessed in by comparing changes in the fair value of the hedged item to changes in the fair value of the corresponding derivative instrument. This forces companies to rely on highly skilled personnel to manually execute these tasks.

Improvement: The perfect end-to-end traceability of automated solutions makes it possible accounting team to automate the painstaking process of compiling all the required documentation to perform Hedge Accounting – allowing CFOs to cost-effectively provide more informative financial statements.

Improvement 5: Automate swap execution

Pain point: The process of adjusting the firm’s hedging position to the cash settlement of the underlying commercial exposure is one of the finance team’s most resource-intensive and error-prone tasks. It can require an enormous amount of ‘swapping’, particularly for companies that manage many commercial transactions in different currencies.

Improvement: Swap automation, a task that most TMS are unable to perform, is a key feature of Currency Management Automation software. Perfect traceability allows members of the finance team to automatically ‘draw on’ or ‘roll over’ existing forward positions while removing operational risks.

Read the second edition of our CFO Perspectives series, 5 asset management tactics CFOs should borrow from when managing FX risk.


CFO Perspectives: 5 asset management tactics CFOs should borrow when managing FX risk

01-08-2022 | treasuryXL | Kantox | LinkedIn |

When managing FX risk, CFOs could learn a lot from the world of asset management, where a revolution —led by indexing— has led to huge gains for investors. But how can you apply this to your business’s FX risk strategy? Watch below the video, or read the article!

Credits: Kantox
Source



In the second edition of CFO Perspectives, we’ll draw from our work with CFOs to explore the parallels between asset management and FX risk. We’ll break down the processes and tools used in asset management which can be applied to your currency management strategy, with some spectacular results.

Over the last couple of decades, the world of asset management —an industry with $100 trillion under management— has been turned upside down by a quite unexpected revolution: indexing. Instead of relying on managers’ capacity to time the markets, these firms have automated the selection of assets by quietly replicating stock indexes.

Can CFOs lead a comparable revolution in currency management?

The answer is: yes, they can! Let us see why and how they can accomplish that feat.

Having embraced indexing early on, two leading firms have assets under management north of $15 trillion. What’s more, they have achieved such a spectacular result with fees that are only a fraction of the fees charged by those who embrace speculation. They have saved, and they are still saving, hundreds of billions in costs to investors.

Similar changes may be afoot in the business world. The term ‘exposure under management’, now used by CFOs and treasurers, comes from the expression ‘assets under management’. More importantly, CFOs are eschewing speculation — just like their cousins in asset management.

When managing currency risk in the one-trillion-a-day forward currency market, CFOs are using more and more digitised, automated solutions.

A random walk for risk managers

Once in a while, a lack of currency hedging or even speculating on an FX market move can yield a positive outcome for CFOs. But luck will run out at some point. Sooner or later, blindfolded by overconfidence, ‘speculative’ risk managers flounder in their vain attempt to time currency markets — with disastrous consequences for themselves and their companies.

Like stock prices and the price of other financial assets, exchange rates are not predictable. They follow ‘a random walk’ in which the forecast is set equal to today’s exchange rate (the spot rate). Accordingly, investors —and risk managers— should embrace markets rather than trying to beat them.

This is the thrust of the analogy between the asset management revolution and the coming revolution in FX risk management, an event that will ultimately enhance the strategic role of CFOs.

5 asset management tactics CFOs should borrow when managing FX risk

Let us go beyond the surface and take a closer look at the key tools and processes used by the most successful companies in asset management. These processes provide a useful template for understanding how CFOs will use Currency Management Automation solutions to manage FX.

We can single out at least five main lines of action:

  1. Avoid timing the market. Nine out of ten of the so-called geniuses of the investment world have been ‘destroyed’, in terms of comparative performance, by the more modest index funds. Adding insult to injury, the latter have charged only a fraction of the fees. The no-speculation mantra has proved immensely successful in asset management. If one accepts the view that currency markets also follow a ‘random walk’, then there is no reason to expect a different outcome when it comes to FX risk management.
  2. Achieve operational brilliance. Indexed asset managers know that their success relies on engineering products that achieve operational brilliance by taking the risk of human error out of the equation. Just as indexing is measured by the tracking error between a fund’s rate of return and that of its benchmark, Currency Management Automation is at its core an engineering product that uses Application Programming Interfaces to achieve great precision in currency hedging while allowing managers to seamlessly run the entire FX workflow.
  3. Implement scalable solutions. Successful asset managers use platforms that provide scalability, which makes it possible to quickly and cheaply enter new markets such as bonds, commodities and others, almost anywhere and in many currencies. The same idea applies to FX automation, as CFOs are set to implement scalable, data-driven pricing and hedging solutions to enter new markets, enabling their companies to buy and sell in more currencies — with FX risk systematically under control.
  4. Innovate with a purpose. Indexing is one of the few truly beneficial inventions, a technology that has saved investors hundreds of billions of dollars. Similarly, the purpose of automated FX risk management is to allow firms to confidently ’embrace currencies’, reducing costs to customers and ultimately enhancing the value of the business. When it comes to innovation, purpose matters (see: “CFO Perspectives: 3 ways CFOs can use currencies to boost their business’ value”).
  5. Keep a foot in more than one camp. The world’s largest asset manager keeps a foot in both camps: active asset management and index funds. An entire platform provides a menu from which clients can select whatever financial slice they might fancy. Likewise, CFOs have at their disposal an entire ‘family’ of automated hedging programs and combinations of programs, including balance sheet hedging and a variety of cash-flow hedging programs that respond to their firms’ goals and pricing parameters.

Read the first edition of our CFO Perspectives series, 3 ways CFOs can use currencies to boost their business’s value here.