During the month of February, ATEB has organized 3 “members-only” discussions, where members freely exchanged thoughts and ideas about specific treasury topics.
The first session was a Roundtable on Negative Interests. Although the issue is definitely not new, the current economic environment has added to the challenge, with more currencies being impacted and rates going deeper. As expected, we did not find a “silver bullet” solution at the roundtable, but members shared some interesting perspectives.
It seems to make sense to “shop around” and leverage your relationships with banks to the max. There still seems to be quite some differences between banks and between different customer segments.
We also conducted some polls at the roundtable, from which the general consensus was that members did not want to compromise on risk and security, and were rather looking at options that still fit in their investment policies.
We ended the roundtable on a positive note, as about half of the audience indicated that – on balance – the impact of negative interest is positive for their company. The lower interest rates also make it more attractive to issue debt, and potentially refinance early.
The second workshop of the month covered KYC processes, and more specifically the Swift KYC Registry solution.
The scope of Swift’s KYC solution is expanding rapidly, with more banks and more corporates joining efforts to have a single repository of their KYC data. The Registry currently covers around 80% of KYC requirements, with the remaining 20% mainly related to specific jurisdiction requirements or specific banking products.
The participants discussed the efficiency of loading documents, org charts, etc., and ways to automate this further. For example. Swift is assessing API connectivity to legal or other corporate repositories. Also on the Roadmap with future enhancements is the ability to establish connections with other institutions and government bodies in order to re-use data already available (e.g. LEI applications).
Another pain point remains the need for wet-ink documents and the validation of e-signed documents, where it very much depends on the location of the bank account on what will be accepted or not.
On 25 February, ATEB members joined a Roundtable on Insurances. As treasurers who have shared or full responsibilities for corporate risk management will know, the insurance market has gone really “crazy” over the last 18 months. It was no surprise that the primary discussion at the Roundtable was on understanding the insurance market today and what to expect for the annual policy renewal.
The roundtable started with an overview where we come from, the reasons for the significant increases of premiums (over the last two years, but which is expected to continue also in 2021) and why we lack some capacity in our coverage.
Another consequence of the current market condition is that some big insurers reduce their offering and even withdraw some less profitable policies. We also expect that even a good claim history (no claims, or for small amounts only) will not have as much of impact when determining new premiums, as it is based on “claims from a few needs to be shared by all”.
All participants shared the view that there is no “miraculous solution” and that the only levers to minimize the expected increases are to either lower the cover, or to increase the deductibles. The first may not be possible, the second may conflict with the corporate’s risk appetite, so not easy to strike the right balance…