What's Neu - News from the The NeuGroup Network of Peer Groups

Blog entry
By bshegog, September 22, 2017
Thank you to all the attendees of the AT30 2017 H2 Meeting in Palo Alto last week and to the team from HP for hosting us! Day 1 started with a joint session with NeuGroup’s FX Managers’ Peer Group 2 (FXMPG2). Here are some highlights and key takeaways from the event, sponsored by HSBC.  
 
What GOP strife means for tax reform. HSBC’s Kevin Fromer presented the combined groups with a reality check of how dissension among Republicans is undermining President Trump’s ability to score legislative victories, despite the party’s hold on the presidency, the House and the Senate. But here’s the key takeaway for treasury: HSBC remains bullish on tax reform, asserting it’s going to get done, in part because it’s a “must accomplish” priority, noting Trump plans to visit 13 states in the next couple months to push tax overhaul. The bank argues tax law change can happen in 2018 despite skepticism about passing legislation during an election year, saying most tax reform bills have passed in even years. The bank also challenges claims the GOP will lose Congressional control in the midterm elections because of Trump’s below-50% approval rating; HSBC argues Democrats face long odds in achieving the gains they need. 
 
• Takeaway: Don’t stop planning for tax change. Treasury needs to keep planning for tax reform, including the implications for repatriation of foreign profits, despite the ongoing level of uncertainty in Washington and the dysfunction of the GOP. 
 
How to prepare for the inevitable cybersecurity attack. An AT30 member captured the attention of everyone in the room with the harrowing tale of what a cyber attack on the company’s computer network meant in practical terms for treasury and its employees. The magnitude of the disruption from losing all access to computers provided a sobering lesson, even for a department that had planned and practiced for attacks. 
 
The experience provides a real-life example of why members who have traditionally focused on preventing hacks also need to plan and prepare for the aftermath of security breaches and malware attacks, some involving phishing emails that encrypt data and demand ransom. This story underscores the need for treasury to take some basic steps like: having paper copies of critical information, including employee contact information; developing a communication plan that may rely on cellphones and personal computers; and establishing access to computers that are not connected to the damaged network. 
 
• Takeaway: Treasury must prepare for what happens after a cyber attack. Cybersecurity is not an issue that treasury can afford to relegate to the IT department — and it’s not all about preventing attacks. Preparing for the disruption to business following an attack is part of prudent planning for every department. That means having a paper trail of critical data and contact information and developing alternatives to communicate when the network is out of commission and all the computers connected to it are essentially useless. 
 
Winning formula for treasury transformation. Another member walked the group through the company’s award-winning initiative to automate a standard process for cash forecasting, improve risk management and eliminate risks from outdated treasury technology. He described “pain points” under the old system, including poor visibility to global cash balances and transactions. NeuGroup research suggests many members are still feeling the pain. While 60 percent have recently completed or are close to completing a treasury transformation project, 44% of respondents say they are not happy with their treasury transformation decisions post-deployment and are not seeing the planned benefits. 
 
How can this story lead to happier outcomes with members? For starters, a clear action plan with specific goals that’s supported by senior management is needed. Achieving the corporation’s vision took more than three years and involved creating an integrated system with components including Reval for cash management, forecasting and accounting, and FiServ’s tool for tracking global banks. In other words, it’s not all about the technology vendors you bring in from the outside. Far more important is the inside job of communicating with all stakeholders and getting dedicated support from business units and IT. 
 
• Takeaway: A carefully designed plan and clear communication is critical to the success of a treasury transformation project. Their success at meeting its goals reflected a disciplined and deliberate process of setting goals, securing buy in from senior management and finding vendors with experience at delivering the results called for in the blueprint. No wonder this transformation won the Adam Smith Award for Harnessing the Power of Technology. 
 
For more than two decades, NeuGroup has lead the way in peer knowledge exchange for treasury and finance professionals. With an unrivaled network of 18 invitation-only peer groups, NeuGroup facilitates over 30 face-to-face meetings to inform actions, transform practices, and enhance careers for more than 400 members from across treasury and finance functions, covering multiple industries and global regions. Visit www.Neugroup.com for more information about peer groups and www.iTreasurer.com for content and news.
 
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Blog entry
By afriberg, September 21, 2017
Treasurers’ Group of Thirty Large-Cap Edition meets in New York in late September with a jam-packed agenda that includes a session on duration analysis led by sponsor Société Générale. Here are some other key sessions:
 
Growing Up and Transforming Treasury — Member Case: We’ll hear how one global beauty products business tackled aligning treasury’s mission and service delivery with the company’s evolving growth strategy and business model. Of course, the devil is the details, and members will get the full picture, from goals, implementation steps and the ultimate structure and processes that resulted from this transformation. What can this member’s experience teach other companies to do and to avoid?
 
Playing Well with Financial Planning & Analysis: Treasury and FP&A play different roles within large companies, but the better they coordinate efforts and complement each other, the more value they potentially create for senior management. The discussion will include how focusing on shared data, technology, staff skills and internal groups can improve cash forecasting, financial planning and risk management. What are the roadblocks and work-arounds to creating better communication and collaboration between these two groups? 
 
Keeping on Top of Taxes: It’s not over yet, and the uncertainty of the GOP’s efforts to pass tax reform as the focus turns to the midterm elections and Trump’s popularity remains low means treasury can’t afford to take this issue off the agenda. We’ll get a read on the state of play from Société Générale, and we’ll compare notes on what various scenarios will mean for financing plans and the repatriation of foreign profits. 
 
For more than two decades, NeuGroup has lead the way in peer knowledge exchange for treasury and finance professionals. With an unrivaled network of 18 invitation-only peer groups, NeuGroup facilitates over 30 face-to-face meetings to inform actions, transform practices, and enhance careers for more than 400 members from across treasury and finance functions, covering multiple industries and global regions. Visit www.Neugroup.com for more information about peer groups and www.iTreasurer.com for content and news.
 
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Blog entry
By aorwick, September 21, 2017
Are you ready for MiFID II? The January 2018 regulations will significantly change the financial landscape for corporates doing business in Europe. Access to the right information, data and solutions will determine who gets ahead.
 
Don’t miss Geri Westphal, NeuGroup Senior Director, as she sits down with the experts from Thomson Reuters to discuss how MiFID II will impact the treasury department as well as non-financial institutions.
 
The original Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID) led to a major shift in the cash equity markets as it sought to remove barriers to cross-border financial services within Europe. The goal was to create a safer, more transparent and evenly balanced marketplace.
 
MiFID II will have an even more noticeable impact across the financial landscape, affecting everyone engaged in the dealing and processing of financial instruments, from business and operating models, systems and data, to data, people and processes. 
 
Are You Ready for MiFID II? 
Wednesday, October 11,
Europe: 3 p.m. BST/4 p.m. CET
US: 10 a.m. ET
 
Panelists:
• Geri Westphal - Senior Director, Content, NeuGroup
• Chris Leonard-Appleton - Director, Regulation, Thomson Reuters
• John Mason - Global Head, Regulatory & Market Structure Propositions, Thomson Reuters
 
MiFID II will impact all organizations engaged in the dealing and the processing of financial instruments within the European markets. Treasury professionals need to understand the implications and take proactive steps, now, toward compliance.
 
Register now for the live webinar at https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/824256973662811137
 
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Blog entry
By afriberg, September 19, 2017
FXMPG members kick-start the NeuGroup H2 meeting cycle. 
 
NeuGroup thanks everyone who participated at our FX Managers’ Peer Group meeting in Chicago on September 7-8, and especially our hosts at Accenture and the meeting sponsor Thomson Reuters. Here’s what you missed: 
 
Dashboard Envy. One member impressed her peers – to her surprise – with an overview and demonstration of her FX dashboard, which is being built internally by a data analytics team with no IT budget, using Qlikview, a BI data visualization tool, and Alteryx analytics. The dashboard, now in phase I, provides FX managers with a single and interactive source for currency exposures, hedge activity, profit impact, market data and indices. The tool shows FX exposures that allow you to drill down by currency, all in Excel, which save treasury “a ton of time” to find issues and know who to call, compared to before when she needed to do lots of research to even get that far. The topic clearly hit a nerve with members, with one saying the dashboard “looks phenomenal” and another calling it “super impressive and ambitious.”
 
Taking AtlasFX for a joyride to improve exposure forecasting. Another member generated buzz with his account of how the company’s adoption of AtlasFX’s software tool for analyzing currency exposure has “greatly improved efficiency” and forecast accuracy. The importance of accuracy is highlighted by one of his firm’s hedge objectives: To remove the impact of FX fluctuations from the business lines by using internal hedges. But corporate does not retain the impact; it is pushed down to the business; so, if the forecasts are inaccurate, the FX impact goes on the BUs’ books. 
 
AtlasFX interfaces with SAP and Reval to “seamlessly obtain key data inputs that drive forecasted exposures and hedge amount recommendations.” Translation: Atlas has taken a lot of pressure off treasury and the business. The slide presentation included this comment from a business controller at the company: “I’m really looking forward to when Atlas is fully operational as it will liberate our scarce resources by allowing more time for analysis with less time spent on data preparation.”
 
Forward movement. Another key takeaway from the meeting was how forwards are continuing to move into favor over options. Members discussing risk management strategy voiced an increasing support and preference for the use of forwards over options to hedge currency risk, with one member saying: “There is a place for options, just not today.” Another member explained his company’s decision to use a layered hedging strategy using average rate forwards over three years with the goal of reducing volatility compared with what it achieved using options. Yet another member echoed the trend, saying his bias for options has decreased given recent moves in the dollar and that back-testing revealed forwards have been better at protecting earnings.
 
If you would like more information about NeuGroup’s FX Managers’ Peer Group, visit this link. Should you qualify for membership, you can join for the group’s next meeting, which will be a “Summit” with its sister FX Managers’ Peer Group 2, sponsored by Chatham Financial scheduled for March 7-8, 2018. 
 
For more than two decades, NeuGroup has lead the way in peer knowledge exchange for treasury and finance professionals. With an unrivaled network of 18 invitation-only peer groups, NeuGroup facilitates over 30 face-to-face meetings to inform actions, transform practices, and enhance careers for more than 400 members from across treasury and finance functions, covering multiple industries and global regions. Visit www.Neugroup.com for more information about peer groups and www.iTreasurer.com for content and news.
 
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Blog entry
By aorwick, September 18, 2017
Anne Friberg, NeuGroup’s facilitator of peer groups for MNC FX risk managers and European treasurers, will return to the EuroFinance conference on International Treasury Management in Barcelona on October 5, to chair a Stream on the Challenges of Funding and Liquidity Management. 
 
In the funding markets, investors worry about the price of corporate bonds, while treasurers fret about rising rates and issuing as much as they can. But when it comes to excess cash, the roles are reversed. Treasurers are concerned with inflation and rates, political risk and structural changes to core investment vehicles. Stream 2 sessions on Day 2 of the conference will address treasurers’ plans to tackle the challenges that come with capital raising and liquidity management. 
 
Stream 2 kicks off with a session entitled “Funding: The Devil Is in the Details,” moderated by Ravi Jacob, Vice President & Treasurer of Intel and NeuGroup member. With interest rates at an all-time low and economic uncertainty increasing, the time is now to review capital structures and funding programs. In this session, Mr. Jacob will look at items to consider before restructuring, which include not only the state of the economy, but changes in the bond and loan markets as well. 
 
Ms. Friberg will also chair sessions on working capital optimization, money market reform’s impact on liquidity management and the processes involved in funding – with or without a rating. Moderators include treasury directors from Mattel, RTL Group and STMicroelectronics. 
 
 
For more than two decades, NeuGroup has lead the way in peer knowledge exchange for treasury and finance professionals. With an unrivaled network of 18 invitation-only peer groups, NeuGroup facilitates over 30 face-to-face meetings to inform actions, transform practices, and enhance careers for more than 400 members from across treasury and finance functions, covering multiple industries and global regions. Visit www.Neugroup.com for more information about peer groups and www.iTreasurer.com for content and news.
 
 
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Blog entry
By bshegog, September 13, 2017
NeuGroup’s Global Cash and Banking Group looks at how technology is transforming treasury. 
 
Members of the GCBG will meet September 27-28 at Microsoft in Redmond, Washington, to discuss a range of issues, including cybersecurity and treasury transformation.  
 
Sponsored by Bank of America Merrill Lynch, the meeting kicks off with a panel discussion on how members across a variety of sectors are preparing for the future of treasury. How is technology playing a role, and what tools are viewed as critical? One member will showcase how his company has automated its intercompany settlements process, significantly improving the application and settlement of intercompany transactions. 
 
Later, members will turn their attention to best practices in cash flow forecasting. Managing cash is a primary function for treasury, yet many members suffer from the same challenges. How much cash do they have, where does it reside, and how quickly can it be accessed? In this session, the group will share ideas for enhanced cash flow forecasting using enterprise system data, TMS and bank data. 
 
To wrap up the meeting, members will consider the new cyber threats facing treasury. Today, it’s important for business units to understand that cyber threats are not just an IT issue but also a business issue. What resources and tools are being used to mitigate these risks?
 
In addition to these sessions, the meeting will feature an open forum and time to discuss members’ top projects and priorities.
 
For more than two decades, NeuGroup has lead the way in peer knowledge exchange for treasury and finance professionals. With an unrivaled network of 18 invitation-only peer groups, NeuGroup facilitates over 30 face-to-face meetings to inform actions, transform practices, and enhance careers for more than 400 members from across treasury and finance functions, covering multiple industries and global regions. Visit www.Neugroup.com for more information about peer groups and www.iTreasurer.com for content and news.
 
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Blog entry
By aorwick, September 07, 2017
NeuGroup is pleased to announce that Craig Martin has joined us as Senior Executive Advisor for Network Development and Knowledge Exchange. In this role, he will work with all NeuGroup stakeholders to connect leaders in treasury and finance to share knowledge and experience to better their companies and careers. He will also assist with content development and partner relationships and join our team of facilitators to lead peer group sessions and other forums. 
 
Craig comes to NeuGroup after 12 years with the Association for Financial Professionals as Executive Director of the Corporate Treasurers Council and treasury practice lead. He brings to NeuGroup 40 years of experience in the financial markets, including as a practitioner in corporate treasury and finance. Craig shares our passion for building forums and relationships that encourage value creation with knowledge exchange.
 
“Craig’s enthusiasm for engaging with treasury and finance professionals was clear from the moment we started discussing potential collaboration,” notes NeuGroup Founder and CEO Joseph Neu. “He loves this as much as we do, and we are glad to give him the opportunity to continue doing what he is most passionate about.” 
 
We look forward to collaborating with Craig and seeing him share his knowledge and experience with all the leading treasury and finance professionals of the NeuGroup Network. 
 
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Blog entry
By aorwick, September 07, 2017
NeuGroup is pleased to announce that Antony Michels has recently joined us as Director of Knowledge Exchange Content. In this role, he will lead our efforts to develop content from the knowledge exchanged in our peer groups — also known as NeuGroup Knowledge. 
 
Antony is an Emmy Award-winning journalist with extensive experience in print, digital and video media. He comes to us from Yahoo! Finance and worked prior to that for Bloomberg Television, CNN and Fortune Magazine. 
 
“I believe that there is tremendous value we can create for all our stakeholders by distilling shared knowledge to make treasury and finance leaders better at what they do—and Antony will help us to do more of this,” says NeuGroup Founder and CEO Joseph Neu. “His efforts come with my promise that we will distill and distribute this knowledge without breaking the trust you have in us to share openly in NeuGroup forums.” 
 
Antony will work closely with our peer group leaders and Julie Zawacki-Lucci, who heads NeuGroup Peer Research, to ensure that NeuGroup Knowledge content has the validation of the leading professionals of the NeuGroup Network. He will also be reaching out to customers directly to better understand how NeuGroup Knowledge content can serve them best.
 
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Blog entry
By thoward, September 05, 2017
In this month’s iTreasurer, we continue a discussion of taxes, this time focusing on strategy and the need to keep in mind the global attitudes on taxes when writing that strategy. Also in this issue: Corporate cash piles continue to grow, bots for treasury and a little blockchain, too.
 
Global attitudes on how corporations pay their taxes have been developing an edge over the past several years. Take the OECD’s BEPS, or Base Erosion and Profit Shifting initiative: The name itself implies tax dollars absconding to some low-tax haven, thereby eating away at the tax revenue. The UK has initiated a new requirement that British companies of a certain size must publish their tax strategy online.
 
And the UN, as part of its environmental program, has included a list of guidelines companies should take into consideration when creating the plan. The basic premise is: be nice, pay your taxes. “I think if they are not aware of this trend yet, they’re going to be aware of it very soon,” Barbara de Marigny, a partner at the law firm Orrick, says in “Striking a Balance with the Tax Plan” on page 1.
 
In our “Anticipated Exposures” section on pages 4-5, we discuss how institutional prime funds are still finding a place in the hearts and portfolios of MNCs; using performance scorecards to measure treasurers; and how onshoring—i.e., companies moving operations back to the US—is growing.
 
On page 6 is a discussion of how corporate cash continues to expand. But there’s another related growth that’s somewhat worrying to raters: “adjusted leverage for both investment-grade and speculative-grade issuers is near decade highs and, conversely, the cash-to-debt ratio is near decade lows.”
 
This month’s peer group summary is from NeuGroup’s Global Cash and Banking Group meeting. For members of this group, tech is top of mind. A high percentage of members currently are “implementing specific solutions to improve new or existing processes, with ERP upgrades, SWIFT implementations, TMS rollouts, and blockchain among the top projects.”
 
On page 11, we look at how robots could begin taking over the back office. That’s because the back-office workload is fairly repetitive, routine and perhaps above all, dreary and uninteresting. And while artificial intelligence for now may be “pie in the sky” when it comes to corporate use, robotics or more specifically, robotic process automation, “is more readily available, effective, and affordable than people realize. And equally important, it is relatively simple to deploy.”
 
On pages 12-13, we discuss the results of cross-peer group analysis on taxes and tax prep. The upshot, writes contributor Julie Zawacki-Lucci, is that “planning and modeling for the prospect of tax reform and its impact on capital structure, capital and cash forecasting are consuming large chunks of time for many NeuGroup peer group members lately.” But treasurers and corporations want to be prepared; thus they are developing scenarios and proposing actions for various outcomes.
 
Blockchain for treasury is the focus of the story on pages 14-15. There’s been a lot of talk about the transformative power of blockchain or distributed ledger for companies. “But so far,” writes contributor John Hintze, “few practical applications for corporate treasury have emerged. But that’s now changed.”
 
For over 20 years, iTreasurer has delivered intelligence for treasurers. Based on exclusive access to senior treasury executives who are members of The NeuGroup Network of treasury peer groups, iTreasurer takes their real-world experience to produce articles, case studies and reports that are specifically meaningful to treasury best practice. www.iTreasurer.com.
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Blog entry
By jneu, August 31, 2017
The new Apple Park headquarters may steal the show, but there’s plenty to discuss.
 
When the Treasurers’ Group of Mega-Caps meets on September 27 at Apple Park – the company’s iconic new headquarters – it is likely that the host facility will steal the show. However, there’s much more on members’ minds than stylish new digs, as we plan on discussing projects ranging from cyber-event recovery strategies to WACC/hurdle-rate calculations and payment fraud controls to preparations for the end of LIBOR. 
 
Updating the group on US tax reform and preparations for its various contingencies remains an agenda item, but progress in Washington is still signaling that more time is needed for the necessary details to emerge to form a real planning picture. The consensus at the last meeting of a messy outcome, if, indeed, there even is one, appears correct.
 
Interest rate risk management, including hedging and rethinking the fixed/floating mix of the debt portfolio (and the rest of corporate capital structure) is also top of mind. We are in an unusual rate cycle, and the normal rule books may not apply. Plus, multinationals have diversified their debt mix to a much larger degree, so swap books (both interest and currency) have ballooned. Managing derivatives as new market regulations bite, with treasurers contemplating much larger exposures to counterparties, give added cause for review. These and other issues put a focus on what treasury should do as corporate objectives concerning interest rate risk management are redefined by the uncharted nature of today’s global rate environment.  
 
Finally, following last meeting’s discussion of greater use of data and data analysis, empowered by ongoing digitalization of treasury and the people and technology supporting digital transformation, we will look at how treasury and the FP&A function are interacting and opportunities to work together proactively to harness change to benefit risk management, planning and forecasting. 
 
For more than two decades, NeuGroup has lead the way in peer knowledge exchange for treasury and finance professionals. With an unrivaled network of 18 invitation-only peer groups, NeuGroup facilitates over 30 face-to-face meetings to inform actions, transform practices, and enhance careers for more than 400 members from across treasury and finance functions, covering multiple industries and global regions. Visit www.Neugroup.com for more information about peer groups and www.iTreasurer.com for content and news.
 
 
 
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