by Anneli Walltott, Head of Treasury Operations, ASSA ABLOY Financial Services
In 2008, ASSA ABLOY migrated its group treasury department from Geneva to Stockholm, a major undertaking involving an entirely new treasury team. Now that the department has been established in Stockholm for a year, this article looks back at some of the challenges and opportunities that the project presented, and makes some suggestion to other companies embarking on a similar project based on our experiences.
The decision to migrate
ASSA ABLOY operates a centralised treasury organisation, with group treasury managing the cash and treasury requirements on behalf of all group entities. In 1998, group treasury relocated the treasury department from the corporate headquarters in Stockholm, Sweden to Geneva, Switzerland, which remained there for ten years. Fifteen people were employed with dedicated IT support, so the department was largely self-reliant. At the end of 2007, with new management in place, there was a concern that treasury was too remote from strategic decision-making at ASSA ABLOY’s corporate headquarters, so in early 2008 initial plans were put in place to transfer treasury back to Stockholm. This was a huge undertaking as treasury was very well-established in Geneva. Most of the team were either Swiss or Swedish professionals who had settled in Geneva and consequently wanted to remain there.
‘Treasury in a Box’
The new treasury in Stockholm is a completely new team who effectively inherited the cash, debt and investment positions, banking structures and technology in their entirety from Geneva treasury team.
Consequently, the new treasury in Stockholm is a completely new team who effectively inherited the cash, debt and investment positions, banking structures and technology in their entirety from the Geneva treasury team. While this means that no-one has vested interests in legacy processes, it also means that no-one has any history with the company or insights into past decision-making. This has created particular challenges from a technology standpoint.