Take risks when young, keep studying and stay abreast of technology – this is key advice Nicolas Tusseau gives to anyone looking to develop their career in treasury. And he quotes Richard Branson, who famously said: “If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity but you are not sure you can do it, say yes and learn how to do it later!”
How did you come into treasury and what attracted you to the profession?
I joined treasury by chance! On the completion of my studies in France, I wanted to gain some experience abroad. An internship was open at BNP Paribas Luxembourg in the Cash Management Department. It was not entirely new to me as one of my (best) professors was an International Treasurer. After my internship, I continued on an expatriate contract, and then on a local one, still with BNP Paribas. As a result of that experience I realised this was what I wanted to do. I enjoyed the ‘project-mindedness’ of treasury, starting from a whiteboard, selling, implementing and maintaining. I also liked the technology around treasury. Even as far back as 2007 we implemented our first XML payments and reporting. Finally, this experience with a bank was fantastic when I decided to change job to become a treasurer on the corporate side. I was familiar with compliance and the pricing and implementation processes.
How has your career progressed through to the role that you hold today?
I spent two and a half years with BNP Paribas in the Cash Management Department. We were a small team working together with the middle office, so our scope of activities was large. My job was to sell and implement cash management products: web-banking, cash pooling, investments etc. But again, because of the size of our team, we were also carrying out the account opening, the project management and we were the first level of contact for clients of web-banking and cash pooling when they were having issues or had questions. We were also helping the middle office on day-to-day payments so we had a broad range of tasks.
For a young professional like me it was a great experience. On one hand, I was seeing how the bank worked, from back office to trading floors. On the other hand, I was witnessing best practices on the corporate side. Shortly after the Fortis merger I joined CBRE Global Investors as Treasurer in Real Estate Investment Funds. The role was new, so everything had to be built: policies, requests for proposals (RFPs) with banks and rationalisation of bank accounts.