The EuroFinance International Treasury Management 2019 conference is heading to Copenhagen next week, 16-18 October. The theme for this year's event is 'the resilient treasury', exploring how treasurers are holding up to the demands of a volatile geopolitical world, the rapid spread of exponential technologies, and the constant demand of having to do more with less.
Held over three days, the conference programme sees the mornings dedicated to main plenary sessions, while in the afternoons the agenda breaks out into a variety of educational streams, discovery labs, and more.
Wednesday 16 October
Day one of EuroFinance 2019 dives straight into some of the big conference themes, with an address on 're-thinking globalisation' from Karthik Ramanna, professor of Business and Public Policy at University of Oxford’s Blavatnik School of Government; which is followed up with a talk on 'technology stressors' from Kristina Libby, EVP of Future Science & Research, Hypergiant Industries.
The opening panel discussion - on treasury priorities - includes a range of treasury voices: Cuan Duncan, head of Treasury & Corporate Finance at Al-Futtaim; Regina Ochev, Assistant Treasurer with Prologis; and Naomi Holland, Assistant Treasurer at Intel Corporation. They will be talking about strategies to secure access to credit globally and locally, how to hedge price risks ahead of supply chain contingencies, as well as how to approach business continuity planning. Financial crime and cybersecurity and the impact of these on treasury will also be covered.
As a tonic to the countless challenges that treasurers face, the day one plenary sessions close with a look at smart growth strategies for tough times, with both Douglas Tropp, Corporate Treasurer at Booking Holdings and Philip Maton, VP Treasury, Head of Risk at Liberty Global sharing their thoughts on how to combine a renewed focus on risk mitigation with strategies for growth and how treasury can be a part of both.
The content splits into 12 different rooms after lunch, with 6 streams and 4 Discovery Labs, as well as dedicated content on complex markets and a regulation series. Stream 1 should be of interest if you're looking to put some fizz into your cash flow forecasting, as at 2.40pm two treasury professionals from The Coca-Cola Company in the US will be outlining how they reinvented their approach to this in way that achieved US$10m in benefits from the company's cash flow analytics, and saved 40 hours of treasury team time each month.
Also revving up on the theme of cash visibility, Stream 3 at 4.40pm features two of the finance team from Porsche talking about how they moved to increase their daily transparency over cash flows. By the end of the project, they had implemented a a multi-bank, multi-channel and multi-ERP platform system to provide a single source of truth and an efficient and automated approach to payments and cashflow.
Stream 4 includes two different stories of treasury transformation projects, with UnitedHealth Group (2.40pm) and GE (4.00pm) describing the projects that they have undertaken to re-engineer their treasury functions.
Thursday 17 October
The second day of EuroFinance 2019 in the plenary sessions has a focus on collaboration in financial services. The day starts with address on Brexit - perhaps to outline what the exact opposite of collaboration looks like - before Alberto Corvo from Motive Partners casts his eye over winners and losers in the banking world in the age of fintech disruption. He'll address if collaboration working, and if so for whom, as well as explore how this complex ecosystem affects how treasury interacts with its suppliers of financial products and services.
Simon Taylor, co-founder and director of blockchain at 11:FS is then on hand to give a presentation on the Facebook-backed crypto currency Libra, asking what it means to the financial services industry if the currency actually works. With the recent withdrawal of PayPal from the Libra project, it will be interesting to hear from Taylor what this means to the future of this project.
Taylor then joins Ann Cairns, Executive Vice Chairman at Mastercard, along with Pierre Fersztand, Global Head of Cash Management, Trade & Payments for BNP Paribas and Ebru Pakcan, EMEA Head Treasury and Trade Solutions at Citi, for a deep dive look at the collaborative culture in action. This panel discussion will what changes treasurers may have to make as more banking functions are automated or intermediated via APIs. In investment banking, digital is transforming IPOs, M&A and the sales and trading function across assets - all of which have implications for key treasury tasks. Meanwhile, the revolution in payment channels and platforms is increasingly a B2B issue, so how should treasury be responding? Come to this panel session for answers to those questions, as well as thoughts on what a treasury fintech strategy should look like.
Into the afternoon breakout streams, and Stream 6 kicks off at 2.00pm with Andreas Kern Sloth, Senior Treasury Manager at The Lego Group presenting the company's data-driven approach to currency hedging. The company has developed a transparent FX risk mitigation strategy that minimises subjective decision making and is the first step in a journey towards robotics. This entails using data driven guidance in choosing which currencies to hedge, the hedge ratios and the hedge products.
One of the most significant impediments to change inside large organisations is complexity. From digitalisation to cyber-security to central finance, the legacy dependencies, one-off fixes and other products of haphazard evolution create a tangle that eventually has to be tackled. In Stream 3 at 2.40pm, you can hear from two finance professionals from tech giant Google on how they went about building a foundation on a scalable platform that could serve all of the business’ needs and greatly simplify their system landscape.
Back to Stream 6, and with debt levels in the news, at 4.00pm there is a high level panel assessing treasury strategies for debt, investor relations risk management, and balance sheet optimisation. This is one of the best panel line-ups of the whole event, featuring:
- Paul Rekmans, head of Corporate Finance at Philips.
- Falguni Bagchi, director Treasury Operations with Hertz.
- Adam Richford, head of Treasury and Investor Relations at Renewi.
- Christian Bauwens, SVP & Treasurer, head of GBS Finance for Flex.
- Luca Pescatore, head Capital Management at Swiss Life.
Friday 18 October
The final morning of EuroFinance 2019 is all about the plenary sessions. The morning begins with a presentation from Charles Hecker, senior partner at Control Risks, who will be outlining the political stressors impacting the global economy, such as the US/China trade war, the EU and UK's ongoing Brexit dramas, currency woes in some Latin American nations, and more. Against this backdrop, Hecker will explore what businesses need to do to survive and what role treasury can proactively play in supporting this.
Focussing in on the treasurer's role in a resilient business, the following session features two senior treasury professionals from tech-savvy businesses - Randy Ou, VP Group Treasury at Alibaba and Ravi Jacob, Corporate Vice President and Treasurer at Intel Corporation - discussing the cultural impact of resilience, change and innovation. A key theme of this session will be that focusing only on process or technology, and forgetting the human element, risks failure. The session offers attendees the chance to hear real examples of best practice in which an investment in staff resilience paid dividends in terms of business results.
The final morning is also home to the EuroFinance Awards for Treasury Excellence, with winners that have demonstrated outstanding best practice across key areas of treasury in the previous 12 months. This year will include Jim Scurlock, head of Cash Management at Microsoft, and these sessions are always interesting in terms of comparing your treasury experiences with the best practices recognised by your peers.
With an entertaining final session in prospect from KAL, the Economist's resident cartoonist, the EuroFinance International Treasury Management conference will close for another year. With so much content packed into the three days in Copenhagen, make sure you have planned which breakout sessions you may want to attend ahead of time by checking out the EuroFinance 2019 agenda.
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