by Maarten Mol, Chief Executive Officer, Fortis Transaction Banking, Fortis Bank
The Olympics this year was an event marked by unprecedented achievement, records broken and medals won. On a personal level too, it has been an important summer for me as I moved from ABN AMRO to head up the new Fortis Transaction Banking division, a step which I have taken with a great deal of enthusiasm, but also humility, bearing in mind the high expectations of our clients, employees and other stakeholders.
But across the summer, while the back pages of the newspapers told of defying the odds and absolute focus, the front pages were filled with negativity and gloom. Undoubtedly we are all experiencing difficult times, but as every athlete will tell you, behind every success has been hardship and personal challenge. During vulnerable economic periods, there will be winners and losers. The winners are those who can take courage during uncertain times and turn adversity to advantage.
What keeps every athlete in his game is fitness and health. Without these, success is impossible. The way to keep your company fit and ensure its financial health is liquidity. Not solvency, liquidity. Ultimately, although a much-quoted phrase, cash is king. All companies need to consider how to manage what they have, and like the best athletes, push the boundaries of what can be achieved. Companies should not be pulling back and ‘playing safe’, as your competitors will certainly overtake you. Rather, you should be contemplating your financial resources and considering how to scale the company, reviewing the competition to identify opportunities and positioning the company for further growth.