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ACT Cash Management Conference shows some still struggling with basics

The problem for organisers of cash management conferences is that cash management doesn’t really change much, so they are always finding it a struggle to find something new. (Several corporate treasurers we know only attend a cash management conference every two to three years.) But the Association of Corporate Treasurers and Barclays did find something new in their 2019 Cash Management Conference, but one panellist said that the most surprising thing for her was that a lot of corporate treasury departments are still working on “getting the basics right”. This was reflected in the exhibitors who were mostly focusing on the basics functions in cash management. What was surprising was that there was little mention of:

  • blockchain (which was a relief)
  • Sustainable finance and climate change (which was sad/depressing and disturbing)
  • Pensions (= not a problem?).

There were the usual complaints and excitement about the speed of change in technology, cyberfraud and regulations, yet many corporate treasury departments are still getting the basics right. 

Some superb sessions

There were some superb sessions, particularly:

  • Cybersecurity and payment fraud:
    • Alex MacLean, Barclays on the dynamics of today’s cyberfraud
    • Simon Viney, BAE Systems who recommended going to the National Cyber Security Centre and downloading Checklists, see:
    • David Bight, City of London Cyber Crime Unit, who described some of their free CyberGriffin courses and training that corporate treasury departments could use, see: 
  • UPS Cash Management Study: Cash pooling and bank account structures, by Bradley Gains, Treasury Manager, UPS Global Treasury which showed UPS have:
    • Set up a combination of notional pools and ZBA pools covering the 180 countries
    • The solution flexible and is able to change as the regulations and local conditions change
  • The four ten minute ‘Tech talks’ were fascinating and all four companies are worth following:

And one stand-out session: Cash management implications, post-Brexit by Robin Terry, and Nicola Coyne from Barclays who dug into great detail as to impact on payments and liqudity of:

  • No deal
  • Chequers deal
  • ‘Norway’ deal

They gave so much detail that the audience seemed a bit shell shocked and there were few questions, but it really made everyone think.

(More on all these key sessions as we get the slides and permission.)

Pearls of Wisdom

There were several panels which occasionally yielded some useful/amusing suggestions:

  • Sky corporate treasurer: do not believe your budgets and any top-down cash flow forecasts
  • PSD2 - lawyer: you should worry about who is using your data and what for
  • Cybersecurity is a business function and corporate treasury has a responsibility too
  • Regulation is not just an overhead, it can be an opportunity to drive change through your department and your whole organisation.

CTMfile take: Really useful conference, held in an excellent venue, with some great sessions. More to come when we can get the data and presentations analysed.

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