Country & Regional Focus
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Location, Location, Location

Location, location, location

by David Blair, Managing Director, Acarate Consulting

With Hong Kong very publicly gunning for Singapore’s pre-eminence, treasury centre location has become a hot topic again. What are the key success factors? And who is likely to win this round in the RTC wars?

RTC (regional treasury centre) location has always been a lively debate within treasury circles. First, there is the basic decision – centralise or not? I have always thought this a rather crude distinction, and I argue that the decision must be taken at a more granular level. For example, it might make sense to centralise foreign exchange dealing for internal control and scale economy reasons. Likewise, funding from banks and markets – although things like umbrella facilities may reduce the need for some corporates. On the other hand, many corporates will prefer to keep collection management in country because they value customer proximity for that function.

This granularity also brings up the important distinction between RTCs and SSCs (shared service centres). Most would agree that RTCs handle funding (loans) and investment (deposits et al), which means centralising corporate interactions with money and debt markets. Most would also include foreign exchange dealing. Likewise the related derivatives. On the other hand, core SSC activities typically include high volume commercial (as opposed to treasury) transactions – receivables, payables, accounting, reporting, payroll, fixed assets, etc.