A Silver Lining for RFPs
By Eleanor Hill, Editor
After scooping the “Best Portal Technology Solution” accolade in TMI’s 2018 Awards for Innovation and Excellence, John Laurens, Group Head of Global Transaction Services at DBS, explains how the bank’s cutting-edge cash management simulation platform, DBS Treasury Prism, continues to push the boundaries on client-centric innovation. He also outlines how corporates are benefiting from this unique platform and describes some of the new features that have been added in recent months.
TMI: For those treasurers who aren’t familiar with Treasury Prism, what is it in a nutshell?
John Laurens (JL): DBS Treasury Prism is a bank-agnostic platform built for the corporate treasury and finance community to simulate – and ultimately optimise – treasury and cash management for their business in Asia. It offers an interactive platform for treasurers to model various cash management solutions as well as receive relevant contextual insights on tax and market regulations in real-time. By leveraging these capabilities, treasurers can explore and identify the cash management structure that best fits their company’s objectives.
Treasury Prism comprises three core components: Simulation, Optimisation, and Market Insights. Through the use of algorithms, each simulation is assigned a ‘score’ based on the benefits and costs associated with its underlying accounts, flows, and structure created by the user. The ‘Optimisation’ capability is unique to Treasury Prism - the platform recommends a spectrum of feasible and optimised cash management structures for treasurers to explore. They benefit from advisory on applicable market regulations and tax, as well as potential opportunities to reduce cost and/or improve efficiency.
TMI: Why did DBS decide to create Treasury Prism? What concrete benefits does it deliver to treasurers?
JL: Treasury Prism was co-created with the corporate treasury community. We used customer journey thinking and agile methodology, to engage over 50 finance and treasury professionals across Asia to shape the platform through ideation, development and beta testing stages.
The platform was custom-built to address the key challenges that corporate treasurers face when undertaking cash management RFPs. A key challenge involves limited time and resource levels to engage with appropriate stakeholders or to implement a new cash management structure, or change the existing arrangements.
Many treasurers also struggle to quantify the benefits and costs of implementing a new structure, and to build a compelling business case around it. Also, they frequently find they have insufficient or outdated information regarding the market, or regulatory and tax issues – key to the RFP evaluation process.
Whether a treasurer is looking to enter a new market, implement a new notional pooling structure, or keep pace with the latest market developments in Asia, Treasury Prism enables them to perform preliminary exploration of different structures and analyse the corresponding cost and benefits using real or close-to-actual company data.
TMI: How did DBS enhance the functionality of Treasury Prism during 2018?
JL: During 2018, we introduced simulations and insights in simplified and traditional Chinese to to cater to client’s language preferences from Greater China. We also rolled out an additional Guided Tour module on Instruments Optimisation to provide a detailed walkthrough for users looking to reduce cost and improve efficiency in payables and receivables management.
Following feedback from our users, we also developed a Simulation Summary report to provide a detailed breakdown of the benefits and costs of each structure, with accompanying insights on market opportunities, regulations and tax. This feature has helped users with securing internal buy-in with their cash management proposals. Enhanced Simulation settings were also developed, enabling users to further customise base currency and annual sales turnover to make each simulation more realistic.
With the Knowledge Centre in Treasury Prism, market profiles are regularly refreshed and new articles added to keep users abreast of the latest market trends and developments.