Shanghai Free Trade Zone and capital markets in Asia top the members’ discussion list.
The Asia Treasurers’ Peer Group (ATPG) held their sixth meeting in May 2014, which was hosted by Hewlett-Packard and sponsored by Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited (ANZ). This was ANZ’s first sponsorship participation with The NeuGroup. Members began the meeting by exchanging notes on their 2014 objectives and projects. The NeuGroup shared brief highlights of its historic milestones as tribute to its 20th Anniversary, and spoke of exciting new initiatives such as the China CFO group.
Following are a few highlights from the meeting:
(For a more in-depth look at the key takeaways from this and other groups in The NeuGroup Network, subscribe to iTreasurer at iTreasurer.com.)
China. China remains a key focus for this group, given the significant size of business operations there for member companies, and the Shanghai Free Trade Zone (SFTZ) is a "hot topic.” Progress here seems disappointing for both the regulators and corporate participants, as the pace of change is far slower than wished for. There is a sizable gap between reform excitement and leaden reality. Corporates are jaded by "Pilot Fatigue,” while treasurers are constantly weighing the benefits of first-mover advantage versus awaiting nationwide policies, which provide clarity and detailed guidelines learnt from the "pilot" experiments.
Capital Markets in Asia. Motivated by diversification of funding sources, some member companies are exploring attractive market opportunities that exist in the Asia capital markets. Members shared experiences on asset-backed securitization in China, and forewarned of the huge amount of paperwork and regulatory-related work involved. ANZ gave an overview of the AUD, SGD and CNH bond issuance market. It is interesting to note that the SGD and CNH bond issuance markets do not require a credit rating on the issuer, allowing issuers to take advantage of local brand recognition in the fine pricing on such bonds.
Asia Treasury Organizations. There is a wide spectrum of complexity in member companies’ business structures depicted by the number of legal entities and bank accounts, and thus a similarly wide variety of treasury organizations in Asia is required to support member companies’ growing business in the region. Asia treasury teams are diverse in size, scope of work (global functional vs. regional business support), reporting lines, and geographical responsibility. Each member shared information about their team structure, and the activities done locally, regionally or centrally from a global hub.
In addition, ANZ gave their views on the economic outlook for the region and useful insights on Basel III. We thank all of the members and representatives from ANZ for their contributions to the discussion and overall success of the meeting.
The ATPG was founded in October 2011 for regional treasurers of large MNCs with treasury operations in Asia. As the first NeuGroup in Asia, we expect it to be the catalyst for other Asia-based NeuGroups to serve our members in the region.
The NeuGroup provides leading peer knowledge exchange and intelligence for treasurers through its iTreasurer publication and The NeuGroup Network of 16 member groups serving more than 330 treasury and finance professionals across functions, industries and global regions.