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Dynamic cash management discourse hits London

This year’s annual ACT Cash Management Conference takes place tomorrow in the City of London. Following the literal battering of the UK by recent storms Ciara and Dennis, and the metaphorical battering of the Brexit saga, global trade disputes and the constant squeeze on treasurers to do more with less, there’s certainly going to be a lot to discuss throughout the day’s agenda.

Getting to grips with market changes

The morning sessions certainly have an eye on Europe and cash management in and around the continent. Following the opening keynote presentation from Martin Runow, managing director, global head of Payments and Digital, Barclays Corporate Banking - who will be exploring the dynamic nature of cash management in 2020 - the first panel discussion of the day will be discussing the new imperative to a more strategic cash management. The focus of the panel will look at how rapid shift of economic and political activities in Europe have put more demands on corporate treasurers to improve their performance in core functions, such as cash management.

Panelists include Nick Hattori, managing director of ITOCHU Treasury Centre Europe, Han Hoestra, director, Treasury at Prologis, and James Kelly, group treasurer of Pearson. Some of the key questions they’ll be covering include what is happening in the post-Brexit environment, and how treasurers can confront economic risks and uncertainties.

Following a short break for a caffeine infusion, the morning’s second panel will be getting to grips with the challenges and opportunities of PSD2 and open banking. Europe’s payments regulatory landscape is on the cusp of significant changes, with new regulatory technical standards such as Open Banking standards rolling out to supplement the delivery of PSD2. The panel will be assessing what opportunities this offers for the corporate payments sector as well as the wider financial services market. With API-driven systems access, what does this practically mean for corporate treasurers?

An afternoon regulatory session of note will be given by Veronica Iommi, secretary general of the Institutional Money Market Funds Association (IMMFA). Iommi will discuss how money markets have changed since the European regulatory reform of the sector, and explore the major implications on treasury investment strategies these are having.

An invitation for innovation

Pre-lunch, the three weighty topics of Payments, Innovation and Regulation will be under discussion from SWIFT’s Benjamin Woodcock, Nicolas Christiaen from Cashforce, and Unilever’s Rosanna Summerville respectively. On the Innovation theme, Christiaen will be revealing how AI-powered cash forecasting solutions can deliver better insights to treasurers.

The innovation theme is applied to the world of payments in the afternoon, as Nicola Coyne, director - head of Immediate Payments, Global Payments Solutions at Barclays will be looking at the latest developments in payments systems and the cash management implications these will have for treasurers. Coyne’s presentation will address a number of important themes on this subject, from how digital payments will impact payment processes, to the impact of real-time payment schemes in the UK and Europe on corporate liquidity management, and much more.

Fintechs to the fore

What’s the best way to energise a crowd of treasurers after a sumptuous conference lunch? This year’s ACT Cash Management Conference looks to have come up with a smart answer to this - quick-fire bitesize presentations! Returning to the conference proceedings, treasurers will see four 10-minute ‘TechTalks’, presentations from a variety of fintechs covering payment fraud, how to digitise a treasury tender, simplifying cross-border payments, and digitising cash and investment portfolios. This promises to be a fun and lively session!

Later on in the afternoon, the presentation ‘FinTrek - to boldly go where no treasury has gone before’ picks up the technology theme. Among the topics under discussion, Bill Wrest, senior strategist, Cash Management Solutions at Gresham Technologies will look at how enterprise wide connectivity and file-format/bank independence are critical to future proof the treasury department.

The future of cash management

Case studies always get a good reaction at a conference, and the afternoon session ‘Cash pooling in an international business’ from Bente Salt, group treasurer of Rentokil Initial will be no different. In this session, Salt will explain the account structure selection that Rentokil has gone through, and examine the legal and practical issues of cash pooling.

If Salt’s presentation represents cash management best practice of today, what does the best practice of tomorrow look like? This is a question that the final panel of the conference will wrestle with, as they explore what Treasury 2030 might look like. Sharing their thoughts on this subject are Tariq Kazi, head of Treasury at Optivo, Simon Neville, group treasury director of Reckitt Benckiser, and Robin Terry, Barclays’ vice-chairman, Cash Management, Transaction Banking.

Some of the themes the panel will cover include how the treasury community will embrace digital disruptions in cash management, whether a mindset change or skillset change will come first, and how treasurers can contribute and support organisational sustainability in cash and liquidity management.

The ACT Cash Management Conference 2020 is an essential event for treasurers in the UK and Europe, packing in as it does so much content into such a short space of time. There will certainly be no shortage of highlights for the ACT’s Speakers’ Chair Peter Matza to cover in his closing remarks, or of discussions for treasurers to share with their peers at the networking drinks afterwards.


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