Despite a marked upturn in global market conditions over the past year, the environment remains challenging for cash and risk management providers and their clients. But there are plenty of opportunities and some of the leading providers have excelled themselves during this period by continuing to invest in their business and develop innovative products and solutions.
One such provider is Deutsche Bank, the recipient of our 2010 Awards for Innovation and Excellence in Global Cash Management and Global Risk Management. Having won these awards in 2009, Deutsche Bank’s continued top billing shows it is getting things right in the eyes of treasurers at a time when many bank relationships have been tested due to tightened credit markets.
"We are delighted to receive this recognition of our efforts over the past year from the readers of TMI. Innovation and excellence are attributes we aspire to when delivering solutions to meet our clients’ cash and risk management needs,” says Marilyn Spearing, Global Head of Trade Finance and Cash Management Corporates at Deutsche Bank’s Global Transaction Banking. “Sustained internal investment and the strength of our balance sheet have helped us to continue to win market share during and after the crisis. We are well positioned to assist our clients in dealing with whatever the global economy throws at them in the coming months and years.”
Efficient cash management and risk management are crucial at all stages of the business cycle and the experiences of the past several years have certainly heightened awareness of the importance of these disciplines. Many corporates are now looking at cash and risk management in a different, more holistic light, taking a strategic approach to developing structures that will assist in driving growth but also in providing contingency arrangements should we again experience difficulties in short-term credit markets.
Deutsche Bank’s success in this area can be attributed to a number of factors. Aside from their strong track record in investment and innovation, their Global Transaction Banking (GTB) division enjoys excellent coverage in all key markets, as well as a reputation for hiring expert and experienced staff.“We seek to match our programme of expansion with the growth plans of our key clients, as well as continually reinforcing our offering in those markets where we already have a presence,” says Spearing. “For example, we have recently opened branches in Abu Dhabi and Ukraine, a fourth in China, as well as completing the acquisition of 20% of ABN AMRO’s domestic commercial banking business – making us the fourth largest bank in the Netherlands.”
Deutsche Bank is also differentiating itself through its customer service. This goes beyond simply having local language support to looking at the whole ‘client experience’ and ease of use. “We have overhauled our onboarding process and documentation, greatly simplifying both and taking a modular approach to the latter that is delivering benefits to both new and existing clients,” continues Spearing. “We are also in the processes of redesigning many of our online platforms and portals in order to develop new channels of communication with clients. In this respect, we are taking the usability of similar systems in the business-to-consumer space as our guide and are seeking to develop transaction banking systems that are intuitive and do not require large amounts of training or large manuals to operate.”
Alongside this enhancement of its online capabilities, Deutsche Bank has also continued to develop new products and solutions to meet changing client needs. For example, the FX4Cash platform, Deutsche’s cross-currency payments solution launched in 2008, has been enhanced over the past 12 months to include the addition of receivables functionality and the expansion of currencies it covers from 75 to over 120. And further enhancements are set to follow.
“The FX4Cash initiative is a collaboration between different areas of the bank – Global Transaction Banking and Global Markets,” says Spearing. “Bringing together expertise from both of these areas– in transaction processing and foreign exchange respectively – allowed us to develop a platform that addresses a previously neglected area of cash management, the handling of large numbers of low value cross-currency payments.”
Indeed, cross-business initiatives such as this are something we are likely to see more of from Deutsche Bank.
“We are looking at how internal bank structure affects the way we address client needs,” says Spearing. “In this respect, developing synergies between different areas of the bank will be a priority in the coming years and months. And we believe that this new approach to innovation, coupled with our revolutionary attitude toward client servicing, will contribute to ensuring we maintain our position as market leaders in the global provision of transaction banking services.”
BNP Paribas Cash Management is consolidating itself day by day as one of the primary cash management players in the world, and most especially in Europe, operating its extensive network (four domestic countries - France, Italy, Belgium and Luxembourg), with cash management business in 23 countries and a network of over 150 European business centres. This gives the bank unique proximity to its customers and enables it to anticipate, understand and respond to their evolving needs, as well as delivering a highly personal service.
Its global offer encompasses the most commonly used payment/collection methods used by companies worldwide. For example, BNP Paribas is a leading bank in terms of SWIFTNet Solutions for corporates: today, BNP Paribas has more SWIFTNet FileAct customers than any other bank.
Its local offer enables it to provide the full range of systems for collections, payments and major cash management solutions on domestic markets and throughout Europe. Innovation has always been at the very heart of the BNP Paribas strategy. The determination and ambition of BNP Paribas cash management are clearly demonstrated by a large number of innovative projects to enhance its global offer and simultaneously provide local solutions. Some of its major projects are as follows:
- a large European investment creating SEPA payment platforms (SCT, SDD) to make BNP Paribas a pioneer in this area
- mobile access to bank statements (the first bank to offer this type of service to corporates in France)
- an electronic process to open and manage bank accounts: e-BAM (electronic Bank Account Management)
- leadership of ETEBAC migration with its Netcash offers and the new SWIFT 3SKey certificate.
These ambitions have been realised by many successes in RFPs, a large dedicated team handles the implementation of the solutions. These customised solutions cover all regions around the world, and also a wide range of areas such as utilisation of the SWIFT network, implementation of European and worldwide cash pooling, or establishment of payment units.
The 4th Cash Management University was held in Paris at the end of November 2010. The event was a huge success, and over 250 participants discussed the key theme ‘Home and Away: Making Your Cash Work’. This provided an occasion for CFOs, group treasurers of multinationals and the cash management experts to exchange their experiences in the various modules and keep abreast of major developments in various facets of the cash management business.
The TMI Best Bank Cash Management in Europe award represents achievement of these ambitions and sends out a clear message of continuity, confidence and quality vis-à-vis its corporate clients.
Deputy Head of Communication for Cash
A Commitment to Innovation and Excellence
“SEB is pioneering the banking industry in leveraging new technology, methodologies, approaches and solutions to support a changing financial landscape. This commitment to innovation impacts every aspect of our business, from the way that we interact with our customers to the design and delivery of solutions. The success of this strategy is illustrated by these Awards, which reflect a ‘clean sweep’ of this year’s TMI Awards in the Nordic region. We would like particularly to thank our clients and friends in the industry who have expressed their support for SEB by voting for us once again this year.” Lars Millberg, Head of Global Transaction Services, Corporate, SEB
The days when banks could serve their customers simply by providing finance or processing payments are long gone. The crisis has emphasised the importance of risk and liquidity management, resulting in a changing relationship between banks and their corporate customers. For example, although the most acute liquidity shortages that characterised late 2008 and 2009 have eased, liquidity remains scarce and fears of a ‘double dip’ recession still remain. This is exacerbated by the proposed Basel III requirements which will constrain bank lending even further due to the need to hold a large value of assets on the balance sheet compared with the value of loans. Consequently, treasurers are prioritising liquidity management, and seeking innovative ways to maximise their access to cash.
“Corporate treasurers and finance managers are seeking their banks’ support in finding innovative ways to access pockets of liquidity within the organisation, unlock cash ‘trapped’ in inefficient processes in trade finance transactions, accelerate the cash flow cycle and enhance financial efficiency. Having achieved this, the next step is to leverage the company’s own balance sheet, both assets and liabilities, with a view to unlocking the potential for short-term financing.” Lars Millberg, Head of Global Transaction Services, Corporate, SEB
To facilitate this structured approach to accessing liquidity, corporate treasurers and finance managers expect sophisticated cash and liquidity management solutions, intuitive technology that can be integrated with in-house systems and high quality information to facilitate process automation, such as account posting and reconciliation. In this way, a virtuous cycle is created: as banks capture and transmit more sophisticated information, they are in a position to deliver a wider range of services across the financial supply chain, facilitate greater automation and accelerate the cash flow cycle.
“SEB continues to demonstrate innovation in fulfilling our customer needs and aspirations in our approach to customer relationships, solution design and technology. We continue to pioneer in a number of areas that add direct value to our customers, such as facilitating the Benche (www.thebenche.com), leveraging our innovative approach to technology, and commitment to encouraging dialogue, collaboration and knowledge-sharing amongst the financial community.” Patrik Havander, Head of Concept and Packaging, Global Transaction Services, SEB
SEB has focused its strategy in a number of key areas that have in turn contributed to these Awards.
Firstly, the proven Corporate Financial Value Chain™ approach is a structured way to refine financial structures and processes, leveraging the bank’s skills, expertise and commitment to close, long-term customer relationships to understand their full financial supply chain, comprising areas such as working capital, risk management and technology. In this way, SEB can advise on, and deliver, solutions to their business challenges with tangible benefits.
Secondly, SEB was one of the first banks to move away from a vertical product focus, such as Cash and Trade and Financial Supply Chain management, to a customer-focused organisation, designing solutions and delivery mechanisms to support the specific needs and aspirations of each customer segment. Thirdly, SEB has developed a strong reputation for innovation across solutions, channels and use of technology. In an intensely competitive environment, with our clients constantly seeking to lower their costs, accelerate and automate processes, and exploit new commercial opportunities for growth, innovation is essential to create competitive advantage and address today’s and tomorrow’s challenges.
“SEB has 154 years’ experience of supporting the increasingly global aspirations of our clients. We are leveraging new technologies, forming more efficient, cohesive partnerships, and adopting a fully customer-centric approach to solution design and delivery, enabling us to meet our clients’ regional and global objectives. With a culture, commitment and organisational flexibility to anticipate and respond to changing market dynamics, SEB is innovating for change, to provide the solutions and delivery channels that will support our clients’ business strategies and enable their current and future success.” Robert Pehrson, Head of Corporate Segment, SEB