BNP Paribas Cash Management University: Key takeaways

By Vicky Beckett | 8 December 2017

The annual BNP Paribas Cash Management Universitykicked off on Thursday morning with treasury professionals congregating in Paris from across Europe.

Andrea Boettger, treasury director at Jabil, and Monica Eriksson, manager of cash management services at Ericsson, were jointly interviewed about their recent experiences when changing banking partners and how this can be done without disruption to the business.

Boettger stressed the importance of involving the company’s procurement team in the decision from the start.

“They need to understand why you chose that specific bank,” Boettger said.

“We used a scoring system which helped people to feel like they had a say in the bank we eventually chose,” she added.

This also helps integration at a later stage, according to Boettger.

After leaving their previous bank, RBS, Boettger’s final decision came down to CITI and BNP Paribas – it will be of no surprise that both Eriksson and Boettger chose to migrate to BNP Paribas.

Her team has intensive meetings with both banks over several days before making the final decision.

Boettger said this was started to build a strong relationship with BNP Paribas which has benefited their important for their ongoing partnership.

One of the main advantages of moving banks for Ericsson was the ability to have fewer bank accounts, Eriksson explained.

The company now has the majority of their European banks in the Netherlands or Sweden, unless absolutely necessary. This allowed the company to close local banks in countries such as Portugal, she said.

“We are in the tender phase of selecting a cash management platform,” Eriksson said, adding that they use SAP software across the business.

“If I was to do it again, I would ask more detailed questions from the start,” Eriksson advised.  

She also stressed the importance of having a capable and enthusiastic project manager when change banks.

Eriksson joked about the music that her project manager played once the project was completed. “It’s important to have fun,” she said.

Boettger said she would invest more time into the request for proposal (RFP) processes.

Future treasury, future treasurers: how to retain talent in a transforming world?

What the future of treasury will look like was up for discussion in a panel consisting of Pernilla Sandberg, head of cash management and settlement, Volvo Cars; Dominique Potiron, senior partner at headhunting firm Spencer Stuart; Alexander Klinke, global head of treasury management, Dennemeyer Group; and Franca Aeby, cash manager, Hoffman-La Roche.

“The profile of a treasurer is constantly changing. Now it is a finance manager and in the future people think it will be an IT manager,” said Klinke.

Potiron said that, when recruiting treasury teams, she found most hiring questions now are more focused on, “soft skills and emotional intelligence levels needed to do complex work”.

“There are requests for strong leadership skills, strategy and vision. Communication skills are also becoming more and more important.

“Flexibility is always coming first,” she added.

Potiron argued that treasury teams are now far more visible than they had been in the past. “If they are not visible, the scope of their expertise will shrink,” she said.

Companies are increasingly hiring people to treasury teams with minimal financial backgrounds. They may be data analysts or technology specialist, said Potriron.

Sandberg also said that those who spend their career in treasury for life are becoming less common.

“Today, people are more likely to move from treasury rather than into it. Some people stay in treasury for life but it is a rather small industry,” said Sandberg.

‘Do not fear technology’

Laurent Haug, entrepreneur and motivational speaker, was one of the keynote sessions, with his session titled, ‘Decoding the digital revolution: the best is yet to come’.

He stressed that we do not need to fear robots. To emphasise the point, he quoted several individuals who had warned against the dangers of books centuries ago. One questioned whether we would lose our ability to remember facts.

In a similar vein to Steve Wozniak at Money 20/20 this year, Haug argued there will always be a need for humans in the future, as they can work alongside machines

“Toyota is removing robots from their production line because only humans can tell them how they can make improvements,” he added.

Cyber attacks, fintechs and how BNP Paribas plans to work with its clients going forward were on the agenda on the second day of the annual BNP Paribas Cash Management University.

Predictive data analytics is the future of banking success, argued Jean-Laurent Bonnafé, CEO of BNP Paribas, in his session on how the bank is reinventing its approach to innovate with and for corporates.

As a bank, “you should know two or three years in advance that a specific person is likely to be asking for a mortgage,” said Bonnafé, as an example.

“If you are trying to offer them a mortgage the day they are asking for one, you are too late. There are so many other businesses that can deliver the same thing,” he said.

Bonnafé argued that future success for companies will depend on the ability to be versatile and efficient, especially with regards to supply chains and logistics.

“We can help you do a better job with your data. Please tell us what kind of data you are looking for, it is not always that obvious,” he told an audience largely made up of treasury clients. “How can we focus on what is really relevant to your business?” he added.

Using data and being versatile is part of BNP Paribas’ DNA and philosophy going forward, said Bonnafé.

“The bulk of it is the qualitative approach, the digital transformation, utilising data and having the ability to develop and preserve our franchises the right way. This is the plan,” said Bonnafé.

He also added that the bank’s focus is “to maintain a certain level of profitability”.

“Our equity is growing because we give back only 50% of the net result to shareholders.

“Be sure we are ready to invest. We invest as much as we can. We are doing it the qualitative way,” Bonnafé continued.

“Feel free to tell us that a certain project is not relevant. It will save time for you and for us. Tell us we should look at this or that,” he told the audience.

“Cash management is one of our favourite sports. We have many sports, but we like this one very much. We like to be number one but it is a highly competitive environment,” added Bonnafé.

The professionalisation of hacking 

Jamie Woodruff, an ethical hacker who has worked with the likes of Kim Kardashian, the United Nations and J.K. Rowling, was interviewed before he sat on a panel debate on cyber attacks.

“It is my job to do anything physically possible to break into a company’s computer systems without causing emotional and physical distress. I’ve been known to break into a bank dressed up as a pizza boy,” said Woodruff, by way of introduction.

He argued that for any business, staff are the weakest link in your cybersecurity.

“They are in the last line of defence and the weakest part of your infrastructure. Your employees are the weakest part,” said Woodruff.

Far from being a teenager in a bedroom, hacking has evolved into a huge industry and has even been professionalised, according to Woodruff.

Hacking has “evolved to organised cybercrime. There are office blocks around the world with hackers who get given KPIs, they have salaries and pay their taxes legitimately,” said Woodruff.

“It is their job to hack rival companies because data is far more valuable than currency. When you get hold of that data now, they will sit there for months and years because that data just gets more and more valuable. It is a huge organised business,” argued Woodruff.

This article was originally published on our sister website GTNews


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