UniCredit’s New Head of GTB Americas on Taking Technology to the Next Level


Since joining UniCredit in 2014, and playing an instrumental role in the expansion of the Germany-based team serving tech firms, Frank Nicolaisen has steered a course that places him perfectly to oversee the next phase of growth of the bank’s GTB Americas platform.

Indeed, Nicolaisen will be instrumental in delivering a holistic approach to supply chain and working capital efficiency, rolling out new client solutions, including UC eBanking Global, European Gate and IMEX.

As a confirmed technophile, he welcomes the fact that digital technologies have become integral to our daily and working lives, with an ever-greater number of digital, mobile and cloud-based technologies being adopted in all kinds of industries. And treasury is no exception, he states.

“We see the digitalisation of treasury as more important now than ever before – not least due to the effects of the pandemic, which has made upgrades more urgent,” he notes. He fully understands that business teams need to evaluate huge amounts of data, at speed, in order to make the best possible decisions and to efficiently manage everyday operations.

In treasury, this means processing cash transactions, optimising financial assets and liabilities, driving cash flow improvements, and managing financial risk. But increasingly this is in real time and, for now at least, often from home offices.

The idea that treasury could become too dependent on technology, losing certain skills, is not one that Nicolaisen supports. He believes that technology in the treasury space serves to automate bureaucratic or administrative processes – such as executing FX conversions, or generating cash flow forecasts – while eliminating the potential for human error.

“This frees up the workforce to focus on developing the most important, strategic skills, such as engaging with clients, listening and responding to their needs, and devising creative solutions,” all of which, he says, “are much less susceptible to automation”.

Inclusive approach

For many progressive, forward-thinking treasurers, Nicolaisen recognises the aim of establishing a digital, real-time treasury set-up with fully-automated routine processing, so that large amounts of data can be handled with ease.

The approach to achieving this, he feels, will vary depending on a number of factors, including the size of the corporate, how technologically agile it is and the extent of any legacy treasury infrastructure that needs to be overhauled.

“Naturally, it is tougher to update an old system as opposed to simply bringing in a new one,” he admits, cautioning that companies switching away from legacy technology “need to be aware of the additional workload, operational risks during the switch-over and, of course, the financial cost of the whole process”. Either way, he advocates a “digital revamp” as a “critical long-term investment, promising to maximise a business’s financial health and better insulate it against economic shocks”.

The problem is that not every treasury is advanced as it can be technologically. For Nicolaisen, those looking to catch up with the digital revolution happening in treasury should begin by educating themselves on the subject, understanding the stakes, and speaking to banks and other potential partners about the options.

“Some companies may be lagging because they don’t see an urgent business need,” he comments. “Over time, however, as the late adopters see their peers deploying an increasing number of digital treasury tools and reaping the benefits, the sense of urgency and value will grow.”

One of Nicolaisen’s priorities now will be helping to bring across proprietary GTB solutions from UniCredit’s core European markets and implementing them in the Americas. For example, its global eBanking tool is due to be rolled out in the Americas mid next year. This is aimed at streamlining the payment experience for clients in the US “and ensuring the same high level of client experience regardless of geography”.

Of course, this example dovetails with his broader mandate, which is to continue to sharpen the bank’s Americas cash management, trade finance and working capital offering. “We’ll be leveraging the group’s strong presence in our core European markets to meet US multinational clients’ needs in Europe, while at the same time, providing access to US markets for our European clients.”

Frank Nicolaisen, Head of GTB Americas, UniCredit

Most recent episodes

What’s on the Horizon for Short-term Investments?

The treasury community has risen to the ongoing challenge of rising interest rates and inflation, with corporate cash serving as the sought-after safety net. Here, Daniel Farrell (Northern Trust Asset Management) and Karl Adams (ICD) consider how the latest MMF reform proposals affect short-term...

Transitioning a Corporate from LIBOR to CME Term SOFR

The loans market has predominantly moved to forward looking term rates, and both corporate borrowers and global lenders are increasingly turning to CME Term SOFR as the forward looking risk-free benchmarks to support their activities. Listen to this podcast, featuring Gavin Lee, Marco Bianchi (CME...


HSBC’s Sibos Spotlight – View from Sibos

TMI's Eleanor Hill invites Neil Atkinson, Nadine Lagarmitte, and Vinay Mendonca (HSBC) to discuss the critical treasury topics and conversations highlighted at this year's Sibos conference in Amsterdam. Amongst a wealth of market insights, our guests consider the most critical developments emerging from...


ECB’s Targeted TLTRO Tweaks Set to Drain Excess Market Liquidity

Welcome to the latest edition of Liquidity Link Live, your exclusive market analysis provided by Northern Trust Asset Management, one of the world’s largest cash managers. Tune in each month to discover the very latest insights on the UK, Eurozone and US markets. This edition was recorded on the 7th...


Asian Treasury Trends: Learnings and Opportunities

Former corporate treasury professional, Valerie Heng (Deloitte) joins Eleanor Hill to discuss the hot topic of treasury transformation, alongside other key shifts treasurers should be aware of. In this podcast, Valerie uses her knowledge of the Asian Treasury market to explain how the role of the...


Collaborative Trade Finance: How to Unlock Liquidity at Speed

Imagine if trade finance applications were fully collaborative and corporates could communicate with every trade participant via an open digital hub.  In this podcast, Vincent Almering (Interfood Holding B.V.) and Enno-Burghard Weitzel (Surecomp) explain to TMI's Ben Poole how collaborative trade...


Critical Trends in Trade and Supply Chain Management

Three trade finance experts from Societe Generale join Ben Poole (TMI) in the virtual TreasuryCast studio to discuss critical developments in the trade space that are particularly impactful to corporate treasurers. In this podcast, Isabel Santos, Ariel Emirian and Pierre-Antoine Barreault (Societe...


Citizen Development: The New Productivity Engine for Corporate Treasurers

‘Citizen development’ is about encouraging non-IT professionals to learn software development skills. Here, Dor Haim (Kryon) questions whether, with the roll-out of low-code platforms, treasure...


Managing the Impact of Rising Interest Rates and Inflation

With interest rates rising as central banks try to contain inflation, a difficult balancing act is in progress. The responses of the various monetary policy committees are being watched with a keen eye by treasurers the world over as they consider their next actions. Tarek El-Yafi and Karen Hom (Standard...


Community Impact: Cash and Fixed Income Investing for Good

CNote is a tech-enabled impact investment platform – and a means for finance to be used as a “tool for economic justice”. Its focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion helps corporate and institutional investors use their capital to strengthen underserved communities.  Catherine Berman (CNote)...