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13 takeaways from the Treasury Barometer 2018

Focusing on the themes of sustainability, diversity and talent in treasury, as well as technology and connectivity, the Treasury Barometer 2018, a survey-based report published by Rabobank and Enigma Consulting, gives a snapshot of what's currently most important to corporate treasurers in the Netherlands. Overall, green financing and environmental regulations are very much on the radar of Dutch corporate treasurers – although many don't fully understand the process of issuing a green financing instrument. When it comes to gender, age and ethnicity, more than half the respondents said their treasury department is diverse – yet only 15 per cent of the survey's respondents were female. And on the topic of technology adoption, seven out of 10 Dutch treasurers said they don't have a treasury technology roadmap. They did, however, express high expectations for developments such as virtual accounts, Swift GPI, treasury as a service and instant payments.

Some of the results from Treasury Barometer 2018 are:

  1. 62 per cent of Dutch treasury professionals says environmental requirements and regulations have had an effect on their treasury activities in the past three years, while 32 per cent said they have not been affected at all.
  2. Treasurers reported that they felt the pressure of environmental requirements mainly from their banks and that bank relationship management was the main treasury area affected. However, the board, regulators and shareholders also exerted influence in terms of environmental requirements.
  3. 51 per cent said the main advantage of using green financing instruments was to support the company's sustainability, while 21 per cent said it gives them access to a broader range of financing. However, 83 per cent said they don't understand clearly how to issue a green financing instrument.
  4. In terms of employee gender, age, cultural or ethnic background, 60 per cent of respondents say their treasury department is diverse. However, the survey also showed that only 15 per cent of the respondents to the Treasury Barometer 2018 survey were female – although the average percentage of female employees in the financial sector is 44 per cent. More than half – 53 per cent – said their treasury department has a diversity, inclusion and equal opportunities strategy.
  5. Most treasurers haven't followed a specific treasury education path. According to the report, they start in treasury mostly because of the high (strategical) impact on the cross section between business and its banks.
  6. Pieter de Kiewit, the owner and founder of Treasurer Search, who was interviewed for the report, has observed increased demand for treasury managers with IT knowledge, while at operational level positions have disappeared.
  7. According to the report, treasurers are underestimating the possibility of a security breach although many are upgrading their controls and protection against cybercrime.
  8. 32 per cent of respondents use Swift or EBICS.
  9. 44 per cent have relationships with up to nine banking groups.
  10. Around 32 per cent have more than 200 bank accounts worldwide.
  11. 70 per cent of respondents said they don't have a treasury technology roadmap and the report notes that “technology is all over the place”. 61 per cent said they expect to be 'followers' when it comes to implementing new functionalities, rather than early adopters or non-users.
  12. More than four in every 10 respondents said that virtual accounts is an important development for the treasury function. Other important developments were Swift GPI, treasury as a service and instant payments.
  13. The respondents expect blockchain to have the greatest impact on payments, trade finance and clearing.

CTMfile take: This year's Treasury Barometer shows a mixed set of results, with Dutch corporate treasurers perhaps showing a lot of forward-thinking and open-mindedness with regards to sustainability, diversity and technology adoption. Meanwhile, reality still has some way to go to catch up with these ideals.

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