Worrying want for working capital
Working capital and supply chain finance topped the list of concerns for corporate treasurers in an audience poll at The future of corporate banking session yesterday.
When asked what their top priorities for 2016 were and to choose one or more answers from a list of options, 50.7 per cent opted for working capital and supply chain finance. The next most popular selection was capital management with 29 per cent, followed by 27.5 per cent, who chose securing funding as an option.
The choice of working capital was a cause for concern, said Damian Glendinning, treasurer of Lenovo. “When do you really focus on it? [It] is when you are not confident about the future.”
Recurring issues cropped up in the session, in which corporate treasurers had their chance to air their grievances about what is wrong with their banks. One of those grievances was bank fees: “The problem with banking services is there is not much transparency. Really as a corporate treasurer you do not really know what you are paying for,” said Glendinning.
User experience was another issue. The panellists, prompted by chairperson David Blair, managing director of Acarate Consulting, gave their view on why banks have seemingly invested in convenience for their retail customers, but not their corporate clients.
Corporates are still operating with user-unfriendly systems. Peter Wong, founding chairman of IACCT (China) and a PWC director, joked of one corporate that had a “good TMS [treasury management system], a good bank and good ERP [enterprise resource planning system], but they did not talk to each other”.
Another gripe was that corporates were not able to link into Swift’s KYC Registry. One banker in the audience, however, said regulators in different countries do not talk to each other and so the information required by different regulators is not the same.