Efficiency & Technology for Enhanced Treasury Management
by Linda McLaughlin-Moore, Managing Director J. P. Morgan, Treasury Services Product Management and Delivery, EMEA and Mike Burn, Product Executive, J.P. Morgan - Treasury Services, EMEA Client Access
Even during a prolonged period of economic fragility, every organisation’s ambition is to grow more quickly and more sustainably than its competitors. At J.P. Morgan, we share the same objective. We aim to achieve this by anticipating, delivering and supporting the solutions and services that our customers require as they expand into new markets and customer communities. Pivotal to achieving growth is both operational and financial efficiency, and risk mitigation. These are the central tenets of our strategy, both in the way that we deliver our solutions and services, and the benefits that these offer to our customers.
Standardisation for efficiency
One important way in which our customers are aiming to enhance their operational efficiency is through greater standardisation of systems, processes and formats. Bank integration is a key element of this. We are helping our customers to plan their bank connectivity to enable streamlined processing based on secure data exchange and standardised formats. One method of achieving this is to use SWIFTNet, formerly the bank-to-bank communication network, through which non-financial corporations are also entitled to exchange financial messaging. By leveraging a non-proprietary network across all their banks, corporates manage their connectivity risk more effectively than using multiple electronic banking or host-to-host systems provided by individual banks. A key benefit is that there is no need to change bank connection in the event of changing or adding banking partners. A single channel also makes it easier to standardise processes and formats, and avoid fragmentation of information. SWIFTNet offers maximum security and resilience, which are vital considerations in managing operational risk.
Enhancing decision-making through greater efficiency
Using a bank-agnostic, robust single channel for communicating with banking partners enables corporate treasurers and finance managers to focus on the information itself, as opposed to how it is transmitted and received.
At J.P. Morgan, we are active in supporting customers to use data more efficiently, both to automate processes such as reconciliation and account posting, and facilitate better-informed decision-making. For example, a valuable advantage of working with us is the ability to access several advanced workflow tools. These not only deliver information on flows and transactions with J.P. Morgan, but more widely across the J.P. Morgan Network, i.e., our partner banks with whom we provide a comprehensive global service.
The decision to embrace multiple channels for exchanging information is an important strategic decision for a bank, as traditionally, each channel was considered a product. We recognise that a key element of our success in meeting the needs of our large, complex multinational customers is to support the diversity of channels they require, including SWIFT, web-based electronic banking systems and host-to-host connections. Messages and transactions may not necessarily be approved through the same channel as they are initiated, so a flexible, channel-neutral approach is essential to meet customers’ specific needs as they expand globally. Security, convenience and interoperability are key requirements, and these are all areas on which we are focused to maximise confidence and trust in our solutions.
The strategic decision to be channel-neutral in the way that we communicate with our customers also has an impact on the way in which we embrace newer industry initiatives such as eBAM (electronic bank account management). eBAM has considerable potential to improve and streamline processes, and enhance risk management for both our customers and the bank. We are seeking to ensure that however a customer communicates with us, they are able to access the same capabilities and benefits.
Efficient technology hits the road
Some technology in which we invest is targeted at promoting financial and operational efficiency in the workplace, but finance executives also need to be efficient when they’re on the road. This was the motivation behind the development of J.P. Morgan ACCESS Mobile, a smartphone and tablet tool that enables rapid, convenient access to a wide range of information, actions and analytics. Just as internet banking first became popular for retail banking before it emerged as a valuable tool for wholesale banking, we have seen a huge growth trajectory in the use of mobile technology for retail banking which we expect to see replicated in the wholesale banking community in due course. This is likely to happen far more quickly than the slower, more gradual progress we saw towards internet adoption, due to the experience that has been built up in developing confidence in security and controls, as well as providing convenience and usability.