In the last few months of the year, ATEB has organized quite a few events.
In early September, we held our next session in our transfer pricing cycle, this time again in partnership with Zanders. In this session, we discussed how to apply the OECD and Belgium transfer pricing rules in the context of pooled transactions. This hands-on session has given participants some great insights on how to comply with regulations in a practical and manageable manner.
Next up, ATEB partnered with Deloitte to discuss the 6th EU Directive on Administrative Cooperation, also referred to as DAC6 or the Mandatory Disclosure Rules (MDR). The topic was new to most participants and many corporate treasurers did not realize the reach of this new reporting requirement. The difficulty seems to be finding the right balance between having to report all cross-border transactions that potentially can be considered to have a tax rationale, and the way to determine the “main benefit” of such structure. Also the fact that the so-called intermediaries (such as banks or other service providers) have the primary reporting obligation on behalf of corporates, raised some concerns. The key takeaway from this session was to discuss with your tax teams and your intermediaries on how they will approach compliance by the initial deadline of 28 February 2021.
Late October, ATEB organized a next session in the Doing Business In… – series. This time we focused on Brazil, in partnership with Citi. We first discussed the geopolitical and economic situation of Brazil, which has not been great in 2020. In fact, its currency performed worst of all EM currencies this year. Despite these challenges, the banking and treasury landscape is quite advanced, with a lot of digitalization opportunities, also in connection with supply chain financing. Although it is possible to centralize, standardize and digitize a lot of the processes, particularly the fact that BRL is not freely convertible, combined with a difficult tax and regulatory environment, makes it difficult to fit Brazil into a global treasury footprint. As discussed on the session, most corporates end up with a hybrid solution, where they automate and centralize as much as possible, leaving the local team to deal with the complexity of the over 1500 different taxes and FX processes.
ATEB also conducted two interactive “members only” working group discussions on technology. The first one was a more holistic overview of the challenges and developments related to technology. Members compared notes on how to manage their processes and which systems to use. As one member put it, the conclusion appears to be that “there is no system that covers all you need”. We also discussed about available connectivity solutions and other systems to capture part of the treasury process, such as cash forecasting, bank fee analysis, etc.
During the second working group, the members zoomed in on bank connectivity specifically. The big discussion was on whether we are okay to use bank proprietary E-banking portals (potentially with 3rd party bank information linked into it), use Swift connectivity, or look at new technology solutions to aggregate banking data. As always, it depends on the nature and strategy of the company. And in the words of one member: it is key to first make sure you have rationalized your bank account structure, before you consider any new connectivity solution.
In a slightly different format, ATEB organized also a roundtable on trade finance, where members discussed different instruments, best practices, pricing, market constraints related to issuances to third parties.
Please visit ATEB’s upcoming events here to find out what’s coming up and to discover how you can be a part of it.