Zero-interest rates unsettle corporates and banks


New investment opportunities urgently sought: Survey results ahead of the 27th Finance Symposium (10 – 12 June 2015) illustrate the current challenges facing corporate financial management

Vienna/Mannheim: Which investment strategies are viable in times of zero-interest rates? This is the question which is bothering both corporate treasurers and bankers, and which is therefore also a key issue at the 27th Finance Symposium in Mannheim, which will be taking place this year from 10 to 12 June. In the course of a survey as part of the preparations for this traditional industry get-together, 392 corporate treasurers and bankers highlighted which issues are currently of particular importance to them.

“Both CFOs and treasurers are concerned about the current development of interest rates and they presently have to make investment decisions in an environment which is more difficult than ever,” says Jochen Schwabe, Partner at Schwabe, Ley und Greiner, and a co-founder of the Finance Symposium. “This makes the lively exchange of experience with experts and colleagues from the industry, which has become a tradition in Mannheim, even more helpful than ever.”

40 percent of respondents are searching for new investment strategies

For a clear majority of respondents (40% of the corporates and 39% of the bankers), the question of the right investment strategy in times of zero-interest rates is the main challenge in the area of asset management. In the area of risk management and in light of the recent currency-related volatility, the top issue relates to managing FX risks (25% of the corporates and 23% of the bankers), closely followed by the issues of liquidity and counterparty risks. With regard to corporate finance, the corporates are particularly interested in rating procedures and related credit ratings (25%), while the bankers find the issues of club deals and syndicated loans particularly relevant.

This and other questions will be addressed in more detail at this year’s Finance Symposium on three consecutive days, each with different focus areas (systems, banks and treasury).

Discussion round with Roland Koch, Viviane Reding and Vladimir Kotenev

Besides a wide selection of workshops on in-depth issues, there are also various fora which will be addressing issues as diverse as trade and export financing in treasury systems, alternatives for the centralisation of payments and asset management options in an environment of negative interest rates. The CFOs of Klöckner & Co, the Heinzel Group and Sick AG will be explaining in a podium discussion why they regard financial issues differently to treasurers. The Finance Symposium will also be breaking new ground with support from BNP Paribas in the form of a so-called ‘Country Kiosk’ at which participants will be able to get in-depth information about funding options. There will also be a special focus on Turkey this year.

The opening event on 10 June is a podium discussion regarding the European economy in the midst of geopolitical crises, with Viviane Reding (Member of the European Parliament and, until 2014, Vice President of the European Commission) as well as Vladimir Kotenev (political advisor and formerly Extraordinary Ambassador and Plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation in Germany). A prominent guest speaker at the Treasury Day on 12 June will be Roland Koch, former Minister President of Hessen (Germany) and, until recently, CEO of Bilfinger AG, who will be talking about the perils of the current geopolitical conflicts for the German economy.

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