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Treasury Strategy & Transformation
Published  5 MIN READ

Taking the SWIFT Route to Treasury Automation

One of Australia’s largest listed companies, Wesfarmers was looking for a way to automate its confirmations and payments, notably those relating to foreign exchange (FX) deals. Seeking a solution that would integrate seamlessly with its treasury management system (TMS), Wesfarmers’ treasury team opted for SWIFT Alliance Lite2 – garnering significant cost and time efficiencies in the process.

Headquartered in Perth, Wesfarmers’ diverse business operations cover home improvement and outdoor living; apparel and general merchandise; office supplies; and an industrials division with businesses in chemicals, energy and fertilisers, as well as industrial and safety products.

Although each of these businesses are run autonomously, the majority of the group’s treasury operations are centralised in Australia. As Peter Dagnia, Senior Finance Manager, Group Treasury, Wesfarmers, explains: “All the debt is raised centrally and we do FX dealing on behalf of all of our businesses on a back-to-back basis. We’re also the banker for the group. So, all of our physical bank accounts are in the name of Wesfarmers Limited and each of the businesses has a bank account with us in their name.”

To make sure that group treasury was operating as efficiently as possible, Dagnia and his team initiated an automation programme, starting in 2009. “One of the areas we were most keen to automate was FX, since we have a significant volume of transactions across the group – and the value of these deals is also high, with some deals running to tens of millions of dollars.” Before treasury could get to that point, however, it was necessary to put in place systems that would establish the correct processes, workflows and controls to enable automation.