Asia Pacific is one of communications giant WPP’s fast-growing regions, as countries across the continent embrace sophisticated and innovative communications, media and data solutions and multinational corporations extend their geographic and digital footprint. As the business and regulatory environment evolve, treasury’s role and priorities are also developing to support the business’ changing needs, as Alex Koh, Regional Treasurer, Asia Pacific for WPP outlines.
Our treasury is organised on a regional basis. One team is responsible for cash and treasury management in Asia Pacific, but team members are located across different parts of the region, including Australia, Hong Kong, India and China. As we operate in different locations, we don’t often have the opportunity to hold face-to-face meetings, so technology such as instant messaging, cross-border networks and collaboration software are essential.
Our team structure reflects the unique characteristics of our business: for example, although treasury defines policy and strategy, and manages treasury operations at a regional level, we need to support the activities and bespoke requirements of local business units. Our business is changing, however, which has an impact on treasury at both a local and a regional level. For example, historically our operating expense base was mostly in the currency of the countries in which we conducted business; however, this is changing as our cross-border interactions increases, so managing cash and risk has become more complex. As we do not have imports or exports of physical goods, we have limited trade finance requirements, hence cash and working capital management is a priority for us.