As the European Association of Corporate Treasurers (EACT) celebrates its 20th anniversary during 2022, it is an appropriate moment to reflect upon its journey from being a group of professionals largely concerned with their own national concerns, to the visionary, receptive, and respected organisation it is today.
The first associations of corporate treasurers in Europe were created in the Seventies. The French Association Française des Trésoriers d’Entreprise (AFTE) was founded in 1976, closely followed by the Association of Corporate Treasurers (ACT) in the UK in 1979. Other associations were formed over the years.
Initially, the work of the national associations was generally focused on their respective countries, but the prospect of the introduction of the euro (the non-physical form was launched at midnight on 1 January 1999 with notes and coins following on 1 January 2002) and its implementation meant they had to take an outward-looking, collective approach. Sister associations within Europe had to strive to co-ordinate their actions.
The first major joint initiative in Paris in 1995 brought together several European treasurers’ associations, Die Gesellschaft für Finanzwirtschaft in der Unternehmensführung e.V. (GEFIU – the Association of Chief Financial Officers Germany) and the European Commissioner responsible for economic and financial affairs. The group was faced with the task of preparing the European Commission’s (EC’s) Green Paper on the euro.