AT30 Hang at Amazon and Talk Financing in Europe, In-House Bank Definitions and What RPA Means for Treasury

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AT30 Hang at Amazon and Talk Financing in Europe, In-House Bank Definitions and What RPA Means for Treasury

The Assistant Treasurers’ Group of Thirty meeting hosted by Amazon and sponsored by UniCredit in Seattle were treated to tours of the "Spheres" before settling down to talk about these key issues. 
 
Europe vs US rate outlook.  UniCredit’s European economist told members that: 1) the ECB will be lucky to get to zero percent rates before the next recession in 2020; 2) European governments will need to lean on expansionary fiscal policy as a result; and 3) the ECB will need to be prepared to support this fiscal policy with the resumption of debt purchases. Accordingly, liability management for MNCs should factor this in, as well as the small chance that this support mechanism does not succeed in preventing a currency shift, resulting in the breakup of the euro.
 
IHBs as a platform. Take an open-ended definition of in-house banks to take advantage of most people’s understanding outside the treasury world of what banks do, which will help them understand what a centralized treasury does. There is also an advantage of viewing the IHB as a centralized platform to manage and control a wide variety of treasury and other financial services to the business and even broader stakeholders. These should be the drivers of your IHB definitions and the business case to build them. 
 
Digitalization of treasury favors human generalists. One member discussed both how structural logic can be a challenge in organizing treasury optimally but also how bots will reduce the time sucks from mundane tasks. Those pursuing RPA at the lower end of the value chain will help everyone by sharing what’s working, but the risk is that there may be some disruptive technologies that sneak in unnoticed at the higher-value end. Data fed into machines will learn to analyze and suggest or perform actions with increasing intelligence, for example, and could start to outperform treasury specialists. Thus, the consensus shared by the group that becoming more of a high-performing generalist sounds smart. For instance, the strategic finance rotations bringing in treasurers without deep treasury experience may become supported by machines with “artificial” treasury intelligence. They should also be smart enough to surround themselves and maintain people in key treasury roles, with good general treasury judgment honed by experience in a variety of treasury and finance disciplines, to provide environmental, social and governance checks on the machines while also ensuring they understand how to support all stakeholders.
 
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