Facilitating Global Success with the Right Relationship Approach
by Bertrand Cousin, Managing Director, Head of Corporate Banking France and Vincent Lietard, Head of Corporate Sales, France and Belgium, J.P. Morgan Treasury Services EMEA
From credit revolvers to commercial cards, from SEPA Direct Debits to debt capital markets, the subjects of conversations between treasury and bank are wide and varied. Banks are often accused by corporates of approaching their relationship coverage with a big bang approach – the more experts they bring to a client meeting the more they believe it will demonstrate their knowledge and commitment to the relationship. All client needs are unique and to that extent so too must the way banks interact with them be. With the formal launch of a Global Corporate Bank in 2009, J.P. Morgan has been striving to ensure that a corporate treasurer is at ease with understanding who they interact with and why.
In France, for example, the firm has played an important role in the banking industry for over 100 years, and is increasingly one of the global banks of choice for French multinationals as they consider how best to manage their international banking business.
Obviously well known as an industry leader for North American payments, treasurers are now turning to the firm to discuss their challenges in geographies such as Latin America and Asia Pacific. To ensure the treasurer does not feel there is repetition when voicing their challenges because of separate meetings with different people, the J.P. Morgan coverage model has allowed the client to feel comfortable that they are being listened to at the very start, that the right people are engaged and therefore they know that a proposed solution will be forthcoming.
This article discusses how strong relationships are being forged and how clients are benefiting.
An expanding value proposition
In the early years of our business in France and Belgium, we focused on investment banking, but more recently, we have extended our activities to Corporate Banking and complementary business functions such as Treasury Services, FX, Cards, Liquidity, Asset Management etc. An important element of our value proposition in these countries is the degree of integration and communication that exists across each of the areas, such as Corporate Banking and Treasury Services. We collaborate closely to understand the needs of our large multinational corporate customers at a detailed level, and deliver customised, holistic solutions that specifically match these requirements. Initially, customers were attracted to J.P. Morgan for USD processing, as the firm is a clear industry leader in USD clearing, but increasingly these customers are also leveraging our services in other regions as our geographic footprint and depth of services has expanded.
Cultivating relationships and showing our commitment to helping clients implement their growth and business strategies was brought to the fore in supporting a transaction conducted by Sanofi-Aventis last year and demonstrated our complete capabilities across our global platform and franchise. This co-ordinated approach extends not only within France and Belgium, but across our whole network . It is particularly important for our multinational customers as they seek a banking partner that can maintain a close relationship with group treasury, but also has the proximity and depth of relationships locally to be able to manage credit requirements in each region and deliver local services.
Addressing regional priorities
We work with our French and Belgian multinational customers to address a wide range of priorities, which frequently differ by region and industry. For example, in Europe, we are helping customers to migrate to SEPA for payments and collections. By standardising payment and collection methods across the Eurozone, customers can leverage our euro clearing infrastructure to rationalise banking providers, simplify cash management and centralise processes. We have always taken a regional approach to European cash management, as opposed to supporting each domestic market individually, and this approach is proving particularly advantageous in implementing, and maximising the benefits of SEPA. Furthermore, as a pioneer in XML-based standards, we are enabling our customers to standardise and centralise their cash management and treasury activities at both a regional and global level.
Liquidity in emerging markets
In Latin America and Asia, we support treasurers in unlocking trapped cash and repatriating cash from across the business, taking advantage of our sophisticated liquidity management solutions and in-depth knowledge of local regulations and the evolving opportunities that exist in countries such as China, India and Brazil. A number of banks have pulled out of some emerging markets, such as in Latin America following the financial crisis, we continue to support our clients to avoid interruption to their strategic growth plans in these regions. China is a country of particular strategic focus, and we are seeing strong interest in the use of RMB as an international currency, such as in cross-border trade settlement, and we are investing heavily in expertise and solutions such as electronic banking and RMB liquidity solutions, to enable our customers to take advantage of these opportunities.