An Executive Interview with Pierre Fersztand, Global Head of Cash Management, BNP Paribas
What reasons do we have to be optimistic about 2015?
We are definitely seeing a more positive outlook amongst our customers. Treasurers have taken considerable steps to rationalise their cash management structures and processes, optimise liquidity and position their business for growth both in their home regions and overseas, which is contributing to greater optimism about their ability to manage the inevitable uncertainty ahead. There are, of course, considerable differences in economic conditions in different parts of the world. Asia continues to grow strongly but steadily, there is a definite recovery in the US and the UK, but ongoing difficulties in the Eurozone will mean another flat year ahead. Over the past five to six years, however, company boards and the treasurers that support them have become accustomed to, and prepared for, economic diversity across regions, and have adapted and expanded their business strategies to take advantage of opportunities that exist in their home markets, but also those in faster-growing economies.
In addition, it would be overly simplistic to assume that the economic headlines in each region reflect the experience of every corporation. With corporations of all sizes operating internationally, the world’s economies are connected more closely than ever before, and there are opportunities in every market. In Europe, with interest rates at an all-time low and high levels of liquidity, it is an excellent time to invest in growth, both to fund overseas expansion and prepare for recovery ahead.