What do treasurers really want from their banks?
by Helen Sanders, Editor
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together” (African proverb) quoted Phil John, EMEA Treasury Director for Mars, concluding the corporate panel at Sibos, and encapsulating many of the key themes discussed during the session. The four panellists, Phil John, Tobias Thiessen (The Global Fund), Betsy Clark (Alliance Data) and Shahrul Azman Mohd Moktar (Felda Global Ventures Capital) emphasised the value of long-term partnerships with their banks. However, they expressed a number of frustrations and areas where they recognised the benefits of greater collaboration and standardisation both within banking organisations, across banks and across the wider financial and regulatory community.
Bank-agnostic channels and formats
Connectivity and visibility was the opening theme of the panel. While banks are often keen to promote proprietary systems, this is unhelpful for multi-banked corporations, who are then forced to maintain multiple systems, interfaces, security tokens and user rights. Instead, panellists emphasised the importance of SWIFT as a bank-agnostic channel. However, adoption amongst banks is still patchy, with far fewer banks in regions such as Latin America, Africa and Asia supporting corporate access to SWIFT than international banks. Furthermore, companies cannot necessarily rely on being able to access all branches of these international banks or use all message types, such as trade finance instruments. Onboarding processes can also be complex, costly and inconsistent across banks.