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

Blog entry
By mkmoore, September 10, 2018

NeuGroup and Bank of the West collaborate on inaugural meeting of the Tech20 Treasurers’ Peer Group High-Growth Edition. 

Attendees at the first meeting of the Tech20 HG—a new peer group for treasurers at fast-growing tech companies meeting at ServiceNow in Silicon Valley on October 11—will discuss the unique financial challenges and opportunities facing the tech sector. To open the meeting, sponsor Bank of the West will look at what’s driving the bank’s interaction with treasurers in high-growth tech as well as key trends among its clients. 

 
While on the topic of banking, the group will get a lesson in relationship management. The banking relationships that sustain a startup may not suffice as the company expands into a large multinational. How should you manage the migration, and how do banks view the relationship as you mature and reach milestones? Learn how to set up banking infrastructure to scale and take advantage of open banking and fintech opportunities. 
 
Also on tap is a session about keeping pace with the business while solidifying treasury’s strategic say. Today’s treasurers should practice pulling out of their comfort zones in the tactical treasury domain and positioning themselves as strategic partners. Three members will consider how to set up a cash and risk culture incenting forecasting by the business and proper exposure identification, plus ways to supplement the human element with automation, smart systems, data extraction and reporting.  
 
Also on the agenda: a briefing on the FX environment and an update on US tax reform. 
 
For more than two decades, NeuGroup has led the way in peer knowledge exchange for treasury and finance professionals. With an unrivaled network of 18 invitation-only peer groups, NeuGroup facilitates more than 30 face-to-face meetings where members connect, exchange knowledge and review distilled insights. These face-to-face interactions, coupled with formal benchmarking, inform actions, transform practices, and enhance careers for the 440 members of the NeuGroup Network. Find out how you can connect at www.Neugroup.com.
 
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Blog entry
By thoward, September 06, 2018
ION, which has acquired a host of treasury solutions, will discuss its product line and how to select the best TMS for you.
 
Serial treasury management system acquirer ION Group will partner with iTreasurer and NeuGroup for a webinar to discuss selecting a TMS and ION’s plans for how the businesses it has acquired over the last several years will work together. The webinar will take place on September 20, 2018, at 10 a.m. EST.
 
ION first bought into the treasury systems market in 2011 when it acquired Wallstreet Systems, now Wallstreet Suite (WSS). Along with WSS, its stable of brands now includes Treasura, City Financials, IT2, ITS, Reval, and more recently, Openlink. ION has been relatively quiet about these acquisitions, leaving many treasurers wondering where these products stand in terms of support and their future. 
 
The webinar will begin with an explanation of the current state of treasury and what treasurers need to consider when selecting a TMS. Specifically, treasurers and treasuries are under more pressure than ever to automate and proactively make the right decisions. These factors introduce unnecessary complexity for the system-provider decision-making process. In this webinar, ION, as the world’s largest provider of treasury and risk management solutions, will offer details on how it can make the systems selection process much easier for customers. 
 
The webinar will feature compelling customer success stories and ION’s vision for the future of treasury, its new offerings as well as technology from the company’s portfolio of solutions. Participants will also hear how ION Treasury’s unparalleled technology roadmap supports all seven of its unique treasury products to better support customers in their digital journeys.
 
The webinar will also address the RFP process, and why it is outdated and not helping clients make the best decisions.  
 
Join us to learn more about a new approach to selecting a TMS with the most benefit for you.
 
For more than two decades, NeuGroup has led the way in peer knowledge exchange for treasury and finance professionals. With an unrivaled network of 18 invitation-only peer groups, NeuGroup facilitates more than 30 face-to-face meetings where members connect, exchange knowledge and review distilled insights. These face-to-face interactions, coupled with formal benchmarking, inform actions, transform practices, and enhance careers for the 440 members of the NeuGroup Network. Find out how you can connect at www.Neugroup.com.
 
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Blog entry
By aorwick, September 05, 2018
The Assistant Treasurers’ Group of Thirty gets a sneak peek at how Amazon is embracing technology. 
 
Today’s treasury professionals are being bombarded with buzzwords, acronyms and phrases such as bots, AI, blockchain and digital transformation. And few companies are as good at cutting through the confusion and using technology as Amazon, which hosts the AT30 on September 20-21 in Seattle, Wash. Members will visit a checkout-free Amazon Go store, which is sure to spark conversation about new technologies and applications for broader use. Learn how other corporates are taking advantage of web services, data visualization, automation and other tools. 
 
Day 1 also includes a session on in-house bank add-ons, retoolings and new builds. In the wake of US tax reform and Brexit, many MNCs are making changes to IHB platforms, while others are putting them in place for the first time. What’s the new state-of-the-art model for IHBs from the perspective of greenfield setups as well as for adding to or retooling existing IHBs? Meeting sponsor UniCredit will give a quick overview of the IHB evolution and touch on the advantages of IHBs over cash pools and intercompany lending programs without IHBs. 
 
Post-US tax reform, US MNCs are revisiting their capital structures and capital allocation. Are capital decisions being made methodically or evaluated on a case-by-case basis? And how are these decisions evaluated? Members will share examples of substantial changes made to their capital approaches and the processes being used to determine how much and where to invest. 
 
Also on the agenda: an update on Euro capital markets and a discussion on treasury roles and responsibilities. 
 
For more than two decades, NeuGroup has led the way in peer knowledge exchange for treasury and finance professionals. With an unrivaled network of 18 invitation-only peer groups, NeuGroup facilitates more than 30 face-to-face meetings where members connect, exchange knowledge and review distilled insights. These face-to-face interactions, coupled with formal benchmarking, inform actions, transform practices, and enhance careers for the 440 members of the NeuGroup Network. Find out how you can connect at www.Neugroup.com.
 
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Blog entry
By thoward, September 04, 2018
There are top risks, but attention must also be paid to risk velocity, or how fast a risk can impact a company.
 
Say you’re on the bridge of the USS Enterprise (and hopefully not wearing a red shirt). To starboard is a giant, ship-obliterating meteor closing fast, while to port, a Klingon warbird is hovering, weapons locked and powering up. A very risky situation indeed. Which risk to address first? Whatever decision you make is likely based partly on calculating the velocity of each risk and the impact it will have.  
 
That’s why it’s important to consider risk velocity, which Gartner recently pointed out in a list of the top 10 emerging risks of the second quarter of this year. The list included all the usual culprits, but two risks, numbers 3 and 10, stood out for their “risk velocity,” which was measured as the speed at which these issues could escalate and damage a firm were they to occur.
 
At number 3 was GDPR regulatory risk. As most know, the General Data Protection Regulation was introduced by the European Commission and went into effect in May of this year. GDPR is a set of rules created to give European Union citizens control over their personal data. The rule has been well received by regulators worldwide, many of whom have adopted it for their own jurisdictions. Gartner describes the risk as “a specific breach of compliance with GDPR” that leads to “a significant fine to the organization.” And it is very clear that a breach could sting. For a GDPR violation, companies can be fined over $20 million, or, more significantly, 4% of total revenue. Shoot the meteor first then read more here.
 
Also this week, making the most of a company’s channels for cross-border transactions with China. At a spring meeting of NeuGroup’s Tech20 Treasurers’ Peer Group, one China-based member updated peers on the best way to communicate with state regulators at the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) and China’s State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE).
 
For one, this member said, be able to determine which regulator is which. The two major regulators are PBOC for cross-border fund flows in CNY and SAFE for USD. The ability to generate flows in both currencies will help companies work the branches and sub-branches along with the Beijing offices of these regulators. It therefore pays to understand which questions must go to Beijing and which don’t. And consider the interests of the local regulator and the impact on that city, both now and if your business needs change. Read more here.
 
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 aorwick, August 30, 2018
Members can expect to see familiar faces at front of 2018 H2 meetings. 
 
NeuGroup is pleased to announce that long-time employees Julie Zawacki-Lucci and Ted Howard will be serving members in a greater capacity as peer group leaders starting this fall.  
 
Ms. Zawacki-Lucci, who has led NeuGroup Peer Research since joining in 2015, has been promoted to Director of Knowledge Exchange and Research. Going forward, she will serve as leader of the Global Cash and Banking Group, which meets next on September 26-27 at Bloomberg in New York City. In her new role, Ms. Zawacki-Lucci will continue to oversee survey and benchmarking processes, analyze trends and conduct research across the NeuGroup Network. 
 
“I am thrilled to be moving into this new role at NeuGroup,” said Ms. Zawacki-Lucci. “My career history in treasury, coupled with the last several years managing NeuGroup Peer Research makes this a great fit.”
 
Before joining NeuGroup, Ms. Zawacki-Lucci served as Senior Manager, Capital Markets & Foreign Treasury Operations, at CVS Health Corporation, where she was responsible for capital structure initiatives, global cash management, affiliate capitalization, international investments and bank relationship management. She also held a variety of key treasury and investor relations positions at Hasbro, Inc. During her time as Manager of Capital Markets at Hasbro, she was an active member of the Foreign Exchange Managers’ Peer Group. 
 
Mr. Howard, Managing Editor of iTreasurer, will also take on new responsibility this fall as the leader of the Corporate ERM Group. As current leader of the Internal Auditors’ Peer Group, he is uniquely qualified to facilitate conversations on risk management and strategy. 
 
“ERM has become such a critical part of managing risks in the organization,” Mr. Howard said. “I’m excited to lead NeuGroup’s Corporate ERM Group and help members learn more from each other about how best to meet the challenge of mitigating ERM’s growing universe of risk.” 
 
Mr. Howard has been with NeuGroup since 2005. Prior to joining, he was a writer and researcher at Institutional Investor. He has more than 15 years of experience as a journalist covering the financial markets and has worked in various roles in the business and financial communication industry, writing for corporate clients and financial websites.
  
Please join NeuGroup in welcoming Ms. Zawacki-Lucci and Mr. Howard in their new roles. 
 
For more than two decades, NeuGroup has led the way in peer knowledge exchange for treasury and finance professionals. With an unrivaled network of 18 invitation-only peer groups, NeuGroup facilitates more than 30 face-to-face meetings where members connect, exchange knowledge and review distilled insights. These face-to-face interactions, coupled with formal benchmarking, inform actions, transform practices, and enhance careers for the 440 members of the NeuGroup Network. Find out how you can connect at www.Neugroup.com.
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Blog entry
By thoward, August 29, 2018
Spikes in commodity prices, tariffs have companies doing a little hedge reflection.
 
Commodities have awakened in the last year. The price of Brent crude oil jumped more than 70% between June 2017 and June of this year while the price of aluminum climbed from under $1,500 a ton in early 2016 to more than $2,400 a ton in April—about a 60% jump—before falling to around $2,100 by mid-August. Then there’s the 10% tariff on aluminum imports imposed by the Trump administration. 
 
The significantly higher costs for some commodities present big challenges for many companies, especially those in competitive, thin-margin industries such beverages, and they are no doubt prompting some to reevaluate their hedging strategies. 
 
Bryant Lee, a director on Chatham Financial’s risk-management team, said his firm saw a jump in corporate clients seeking to review their hedging strategies in 2018, as prices keep creeping up and as FASB finalizes guidance for new hedge accounting rules that go into effect at the start of 2019. The Trump administration’s trade policy and overall approach to global politics have provided further prompting. Read more here.
 
Also this week, a look at what expectations are for faster payments. Innovations in making payments quicker abound today but implementing them fully will take time, in large part due to the significant changes corporates must make to their legacy technology infrastructures. But the expectation – and demand – for faster payments is strong, according to a survey from NACHA, the Electronic Payments Association.
 
TD Bank recently released the results of its annual commercial payments survey of mainly corporate executives, which it conducted at the NACHA Payments Conference earlier this year in San Diego. Integration of immediate payment capabilities captured first place, at 42%, as the technological innovation expected to positively impact the payments industry the most in the next three to five years. Artificial intelligence and machine learning took 20%, while 14% voted for mobile applications, 11% for blockchain technology, 9% for fraud and cybersecurity software, and 4% for biometics, or making payments via means including voice, face-scanning, and fingerprinting. Read more here.
 
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 thoward, August 29, 2018

NeuGroup’s Internal Auditors’ Peer Group will get a chance to see Microsoft’s Digital Crimes Unit in action at its November peer group meeting. 

Save the elections, save the world. That could be Microsoft’s latest tagline, as one of its businesses recently made a name for itself in cybersecurity news. In late-August, Microsoft announced it had stymied a group of Russian hackers by disrupting and taking control of several of its websites. 
 
By thwarting an attack on conservative groups, political campaigns, voting machines and advocates for tougher cybersecurity, Microsoft has thrust into the limelight its Digital Crimes Unit (DCU). Using a phalanx of specialists from a variety of a disciplines, the DCU executed a court order to disrupt and transfer control of six internet domains created by a group widely associated with the Russian government and known as Strontium, APT28, or more informally, Fancy Bear.
 
Microsoft says its DCU is made up of an international group of attorneys, investigators, data scientists, engineers, analysts and business professionals all focused on “protecting people, organizations and our cloud against cybercriminals. We disrupt cybercrime through the innovative application of technology, forensics, law and partnerships.”
 
In a way, Microsoft is becoming the top cop of the Internet, experts say. According to reports, the company has used the courts 12 times in the last two years to shut down 84 fake websites associated with Strontium. However, it has also used legal tactics to go after botnets, or malicious networks of automated accounts, since at least 2010. “We use creative technical and legal strategies to disrupt the criminal infrastructure, deter nation-state actors from using our platform, and notify victims of these cyberattacks,” Microsoft said in a press release.
 
And members of NeuGroup’s Internal Auditors’ Peer Group (IAPG) will a get a first-hand look at what the DCU does at the group’s meeting November 1-2 at Microsoft in Redmond, WA. The tour of the DCU will happen on Day 1 of the day-and-a-half gathering, which will also include sessions on agile auditing, audit committee reporting, and applying artificial intelligence and robotic process automation to the audit process. Members will also see some of the tools the DCU uses for its own investigations. 
 
Microsoft has a history of heavily investing in internal security, whether for straight-forward fraud like travel and expenses’ transgressions and theft of equipment and services, or for the more complex cybercrime world. It has hired ex-law enforcement professionals, including former FBI agents, former postal inspectors, and forensic accounting specialists.
 
According to Microsoft, the DCU is currently involved in using AI to help crack down on tech support scams as well as help in the fight against online child exploitation. It also recently announced a new service for political campaigns and other organizations to help “protect themselves from cyberattacks.” It is also broadening a Defending Democracy Program announced earlier in the year by partnering with NewsGuard Technologies, a new company that says it will rate “the reliability of news and information websites” and focus on “reducing fake online news.” 
 
For more than two decades, NeuGroup has led the way in peer knowledge exchange for treasury and finance professionals. With an unrivaled network of 18 invitation-only peer groups, NeuGroup facilitates more than 30 face-to-face meetings where members connect, exchange knowledge and review distilled insights. These face-to-face interactions, coupled with formal benchmarking, inform actions, transform practices, and enhance careers for the 440 members of the NeuGroup Network. Find out how you can connect at www.Neugroup.com.
 
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Blog entry
By aorwick, August 23, 2018
NeuGroup and Wells Fargo team up for the inaugural meeting of the Life Sciences Treasurers’ Peer Group.
 
NeuGroup is proud to introduce a new peer group designed for treasurers in the biotech, pharma and med-tech industries called the Life Sciences Treasurers’ Peer Group (LSTPG). It will meet for the first time at Gilead Sciences in Foster City, California, on September 25. To open the meeting, sponsor Wells Fargo will look at the M&A landscape across the life sciences sector. Attendees will hear from experts about the impact trade policy, tax reform and various political and economic realities may have on the deal environment, as well as how finance professionals should be thinking about valuation, especially when traditional quantitative valuation metrics have been stretched to the breaking point. 
 
With tax reform still top of mind, NeuGroup is continuing to place emphasis on its impact in fall meetings. The LSTPG will hear from a tax specialist on how new regulations and clarifications may affect life sciences companies reviewing their available cash, capital structures and general tax planning. Expect updates on rules and guidance from the IRS/Treasury, clarity on the four income baskets (general, passive, GILTI, branch) and responses and expectations from key foreign jurisdictions.
 
We’ll also ask members to think strategically about insurance, risk retention and alternative risk finance with universal and sector-specific risk types. All corporates face evolving risks, and those in life sciences have unique exposures. How are insurance products keeping up with changes, and what alternatives should firms be considering to most effectively mitigate risk, eliminate gaps in traditional insurance products and get the most for their risk management spending?
 
Also on the agenda: a round-robin on providing customer financing for medical therapies, treatments and devices. 
 
For more than two decades, NeuGroup has led the way in peer knowledge exchange for treasury and finance professionals. With an unrivaled network of 18 invitation-only peer groups, NeuGroup facilitates more than 30 face-to-face meetings where members connect, exchange knowledge and review distilled insights. These face-to-face interactions, coupled with formal benchmarking, inform actions, transform practices, and enhance careers for the 440 members of the NeuGroup Network. Find out how you can connect at www.Neugroup.com.
 
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Blog entry
By aorwick, August 21, 2018
The Treasury Investment Managers’ Peer Group keeps focus on tax reform and repatriation. 
 
This past spring, TIMPG members were just beginning to consider how much company cash was going to be repatriated, when it would be moved back to the US and what the cash would be used for. Half a year later, the post-tax-reform picture has become a bit clearer, and members are finalizing their plans. The group meets September 12-13 at Franklin Templeton Investments to discuss tax reform’s impact on the investment portfolio. 
 
In addition to tax reform and repatriation, the TIMPG will get a lesson in creating an optimal short-duration portfolio from sponsor Franklin Templeton. Expect talks on portfolio budget risk management, proper diversification and use of comingled products. Plus, members will share their formulas for asset allocation. 
 
The group will also explore opportunities in emerging markets debt and retirement issues in two special breakout sessions. For investment managers with the option to shift out of traditional corporate cash assets, emerging markets might be the way to go. Franklin Templeton tells you how to prepare. And for members getting involved in pension programs, we review trends in the 401(k) market.
 
Also on the agenda: a look at the state of the global economy, an update on municipal markets and US fixed income perspectives.
 
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 more than 30 face-to-face meetings that connect peers, exchange knowledge and distill discussions. These face-to-face interactions, coupled with formal benchmarking, inform actions, transform practices, and enhance careers for the 440 members of the NeuGroup Network. Find out how you can connect at www.Neugroup.com.
 
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Blog entry
By thoward, August 20, 2018
Corporate debt-to-GDP levels are at record highs. But until earnings weaken it should not be a problem, says Moody’s. 
 
Corporate debt rose to a record 45.5% of US gross domestic product in Q1 of 2018, according to Moody’s. Meantime the speculative default rate dropped to 3.4% in June and is expected to drop even lower by 2019. Moody’s says the last time the ratio of corporate debt to GDP was nearly as high as today was the second quarter of 2009. And back then, the default rate shot up to a high of 14.7% (in November of 2009). 
 
What does it mean? It could mean a bout of volatility commodity prices for one, says Moody’s. The rating agency notes that the 80s saw oil prices plunge as a high corporate debt-to GDP-ratio and a rising default rate led to a drop in oil prices (vs. dire predictions of excessively higher crude prices). But since corporate earnings continue to improve in the second half of 2018 and the default rate is muted, it likely means price stability in commodities for the time being. Read more here.
 
More efforts to bury Libor. With well over $170 trillion in debt linked to the London Interbank Offered Rate it’s no secret that regulators and investors will face headwinds as they try to disengage from the scandalized reference rate. But advocates for switching from Libor to new risk-free rate (RFR) offerings like the Federal Reserve’s Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR) got a boost in the last month or so by two big entities offering securities linked to the Fed’s new rate. SOFR is a rate based on transactions in the US Treasury repo market.
 
First up was Fannie Mae, which at the end of July issued what it billed as the “the market's first-ever” SOFR securities. The three-tranche $6 billion SOFR debt transaction settled on July 30, 2018. Then the World Bank weighed in with an offering of its own. Read more here.
 
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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