by Dub Newman, Head of North America Global Transaction Services, Bank of America Merrill Lynch
Resilient and battle scarred, today’s treasurers have much to be proud of. They have come through the financial crisis with stronger teams and greater influence than ever before. As companies shift their focus from survival to growth, what systems and strategies can be used to take advantage of the opportunities ahead?
Companies have been operating in a challenging environment for some time. Around the world, global issues such as low interest rates, stagnant growth and significant risk management concerns have presented a complex mixture of difficulties. In North America, threats such as the fiscal cliff have added to the concerns. But even with all of that, treasurers resisted the urge to stand still and have been working to position their companies to grow. This meant surviving daily distractions while also working to increase efficiencies and improve risk management across the board.
Many lessons have been learned since the crisis started. Companies have come through the experience stronger, more streamlined and more risk-conscious than before.
After the downturn began in 2007, companies became more averse to taking on risk, and understandably so. With the financial crisis in full swing, new challenges and distractions appeared on a daily basis, and for the first time in many years they found themselves dealing with a credit crunch, low interest rates, concerns about counterparty risk and the Eurozone crisis. As a result, they became very focused on liquidity and mitigating risk.