by Kees Hoving, Head of Trade Finance and Cash Management Corporates, Germany, Deutsche Bank AG
Much has been discussed over recent years about the expanding role of treasury into areas such as working capital, trade and supply chain finance. The effect of this expansion is that liquidity and risk can be managed more cohesively within an organisation. To support them with their expanded remit, treasurers are increasingly demanding more from their banks. In particular, they need a bank that can help them optimise their cash and liquidity management (combining both cash and trade techniques), leverage technology innovation and enhance the way risk is monitored and managed across their entire geographic footprint. This article considers some of the emerging priorities amongst corporate treasurers and offers some insight into the ways the right banking partner can help to address them successfully.
Aligning disciplines for cohesive solutions
Challenging market conditions have forced greater collaboration and cohesion across treasury and finance disciplines, such as cash, trade, foreign exchange (FX), financing and investment. As a result, the endemic thinking within banks in terms of ‘silos’ no longer meets the needs of many of their customers. At Deutsche Bank, we were amongst the first banks to introduce a more comprehensive, holistic approach to the way that we design and deliver solutions and services by bringing together multi-disciplinary teams across logical functional areas such as payments, collections, short-term lending, trade finance and FX. This set-up enables us to work with customers at a more strategic level and create flexible, bespoke solutions that are specifically designed to meet each customer’s unique priorities.
The SEPA catalyst
An example is SEPA migration, currently one of the key issues that customers with a presence in Europe are dealing with. Treasurers and finance managers are increasingly recognising both the obligation to migrate to SEPA instruments as the 2014 deadline approaches and, perhaps more importantly, the value of doing so.
By adopting a holistic approach to payments, collections and cash management, we are helping customers to rationalise their account structures, leverage lower cost locations for making payments, and simplify their cash management processes. In Italy, for example, the interchange fee for today’s domestic direct debits is even higher than the current cross-border interchange fee for SEPA direct debits. We have therefore helped an Italian customer to replace multiple euro accounts with a single payments and collections account for its pan-European business located in Germany, where interchange and transactions fees are much lower.