Implementing SWIFTNet as Part of an Efficient Treasury Infrastructure
by Karen Fagan, Treasury Back Office Manager, ITV Plc
ITV Plc was seeking to create an efficient treasury function that would reduce complexity, meet our current treasury, cash and risk management needs today, and provide the capacity, resilience and flexibility to accommodate changes to the business in the future. One important element of this was our treasury infrastructure, to enable secure, efficient transaction processing and facilitate effective decision-making through access to timely, accurate and complete information.
We have a centralised treasury function that supports our subsidiary companies both in the UK and internationally. Consequently, we are responsible for managing multiple bank accounts in approximately ten currencies. Our treasury activities are quite complex. Historically, we conducted a great deal of manual processing and the confirmations process was time-consuming. One particular challenge was the lack of real-time visibility and access to group cash. For example, business units sent bank statements to treasury but this could be on a weekly or monthly basis.
To create greater visibility and control over our cash, we decided to introduce a zero-balancing cash pool, initially for our UK operations, supported by an in-house bank. In addition, we recognised that we needed to enhance automation and control over processes, for which a treasury management system (TMS) would be required. This would enable a more integrated and secure method of sending payments and producing confirmations. Processes such as accounting for treasury transactions would be automated to reduce manual processing and avoid the risk of error, and connectivity with banking partners both for sending and retrieving information would be enhanced.
Appointing our business partners
Having recognised the need to enhance our treasury activities, we selected a TMS to facilitate more efficient treasury processes and increase cash visibility, and a bank account reconciliation system to automate timely reconciliation of our operating accounts. We also made the decision to connect to our banks through SWIFTNet. Using SWIFT was an important element of our treasury strategy in order to reduce our reliance on individual banks, therefore providing greater flexibility in the future, and to ensure sufficient capacity for changes to our business.