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Toward tomorrow's treasury

The crisis presents an opportunity for leaders to contemplate a long-term view of the nature of their roles. The corporate-treasury function is no different – and sustainability and flexibility are the watchwords.

CRAIG It would be interesting to hear views on how the treasury world will be different for the next generation of leaders – as a result of events in 2020 as well as ongoing evolution. It feels that we are, to use the old phrase, ‘living in interesting times’. What will this part of the world look like in future?

CLARKE A further focus on sustainability will almost certainly be one of the ways in which life will be different for the next generation. It is not a large area of focus for me at the moment but I am keeping a close eye on developments in this regard.

This will lead to greater compliance reporting. But how this will look in the future is unclear and whether it will be a treasury function is unknown.

I wonder how relationship management will manifest for companies that are not located in major capital cities. In other words, whether video conferencing will continue to be a preferred method of communication and whether a higher proportion of meetings will take place in this format. In addition, will some of the training sessions that haven’t previously been available remotely become available regardless of location because the capability and technology are available?

I think, with more online and working-from-home options available, there will be more focus on cyber security – not just for treasury but the whole company.

Another question is how financial and debt markets will look in the future. I’m confident other markets, investors and formats will open to us for our funding needs.

I think, if we look back in 10 years’ time, we might conclude that things didn’t change very quickly. However, sitting where we are today, I think a change in product availability – particularly because there is considerable focus on sustainability – is imminent.

My hope is that, companies continue to embrace workplace flexibility, more women will choose treasury as a path. I also really hope people learn from these times. I'd like to see the treasurers of the future being kinder, more empathetic and more diverse.

LISA STORY INVESTA PROPERTY GROUP

STORY I think treasurers of the future will need to be resilient and flexible, similar to now. My hope is that, as what they can bring to the funding suite is going to be as important as being as adaptable, flexible and resilient as possible. At the end of the day, we share a common goal of wanting our businesses to grow, to be sustainable and to meet current and future objectives.

BYRNE I agree that flexibility will be a widespread change. This could see more women move to more senior roles within treasury. With this, I hope we will be able to bring more empathy to the treasury function and move away from the more traditional ‘alpha’ environment.

ESG [environmental, social and governance] is here to stay and will inform more decision-making in the future, including around funding and how partnerships are formed.

This can only lead to more focus on risk, which will be widespread and across the board – including foreign-exchange and equity risk, and more broadly protecting what you have.

I also believe geographical diversity of funding may become more of a focus going forward. I can’t say whether this is positive or negative, but the way countries are currently protecting ‘their own’ may play into funding options in the future.

This of itself may lead to treasurers looking to ensure as much access as possible to the various markets to ensure that, if one were to be closed to them for whatever reason, many more are still open and accessible.

CROSSLEY We would all like to think KPIs will have a sustainability focus going forward and certainly that gender diversity, in the form of women in senior positions in treasury, management and at board level, can only bring a better, balanced and more empathic regime to the world.

Personally, I’m looking forward to when we can start meeting in person again, even though we still do not know what the new normal will be or what the new formal greeting will look like. Is the shirt and tie gone forever? What are we all going to be wearing when we go back to the office? I’m looking forward to finding out.

SCHUBACH As a service provider to all our clients, the markets will have to evolve and become more agile, and we will need to be more flexible in what we provide. We have a lot ahead of us.

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