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10 Key Takeaways from the Treasury Leadership Forum

on 19 Oct 2023
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The Treasury Leadership Forum is Standard Chartered’s client engagement platform, bringing together key corporates across industries to explore the future of treasury, digitalisation, innovation and the evolution of treasury products.

Our latest gathering took place in Barcelona in September 2023, under the title ‘The blueprint for tomorrow’s treasury’ with discussions highlighting the following priorities and topics for consideration:

1. Corporate Treasurers continue to manage ongoing, multiple demands, including tightening macro conditions, complex geopolitical environments, growing business in the new economy, and juggling internal transformation and new industry demands like ESG.

2. Achieving net zero by 2050 is a key goal that can only succeed with the collaboration of private and public sectors. Developed and emerging markets will certainly be impacted due to the timing mismatches between investment and results. Addressing these challenges must go beyond applying rules and regulations to net zero, and mutual recognition of the challenges is of the upmost importance. It can’t just be corporates. There needs to be involvement at the multi-lateral and governmental level.

3. Increasing consideration is being applied not only to price, time and quality, but also to ESG compliance which is a hot topic when speaking to corporate treasurers across all industries.

4. Expert treasurers discussed how frequently and nimbly they review policies, constantly thinking of innovative ways of reducing risk particularly in the current and long term complex geopolitical environments, and the movement away from globalisation towards localisation. Treasurers are not always hedging, they are going back into the business and discussing what risks they should take or how to change their positions, becoming adept advisors to the business on these matters. Doing so is not only a necessary effort, but a real skill that treasury experts must develop.

5. Infrastructure, automation, connectivity and data are powering the 24/7 treasury. Many clients felt that bank agnostic systems that support real time cash flow forecasting is the key to real time liquidity. We are seeing the rise in B2B marketplaces among corporates that are not traditional e-commerce players, extending their distribution and procurement channels, with global B2B E-Commerce valued at USD6.92 trillion in 2020 and, expected to reach USD18.97 trillion in 2028 growing at a CAGR of 18.30%

6. Modern technologies such as cloud computing and data science applications enable digital platforms to provide a more intuitive interface with the robustness to process millions of global transactions across the globe, and benefit from enhanced up-to-date security measures, catering for a multitude of users to ensure relevancy powered by self-service and configurability.

7. As corporates manage tightening macro-conditions, liquidity was a top issue on the agenda. Cash continues to play an important role, and deploying and collecting it appropriately is one of the skills that treasuries have developed.

8. The integration of payments functionality and interoperability across various platforms, applications, or devices, enabling seamless transactions if certain conditions are met, has application across variety of sectors and can be a big boost towards end-to-end digitisation, and this will play an important role in creating an enhanced customer experience, which will become a key differentiator over the next decade.

9. Innovation will continue to disrupt and enable breakthroughs into the way we do things. Collaboration and partnership will be the norm for corporates, banks and fintechs, combining the safety of a regulated entity with the speed to develop solutions found in a start-up environment.

10. On the horizon we will see enhanced data due to ISO 20022, with significant action to be taken to migrate all payments to the new standard both by corporates and banks by the deadline of 2025. In the following decade the environment will have adapted, however adoption is critical in the current landscape.

For more insights on real time treasury, digital innovation and sustainability visit here