Zanders Annual Treasury & Risk Seminar 2019, Belgium

Zanders Annual Treasury & Risk Seminar 2019, Belgium

The Annual Zanders Belgium Treasury and Risk Seminar was held on Tuesday the 17th of September. Over 40 treasury professionals gathered in the beautiful Port of Antwerp to discuss treasury trends and the future state of the treasury function. This year the focus was on payment innovation.

Laurens Tijdhof, Partner at Zanders, opened the seminar by highlighting last year’s events that had an impact on the treasury function. He discussed how these events are part of ‘a perfect storm’, in which new technologies and regulations are approaching at rapid pace. Before giving the stage to Alexander van den Heuvel, Group Cash Manager at DSM, Laurens emphasized what the changing landscape could mean for corporate treasury.

Alexander then continued DSM’s anticipation of this perfect storm by preparing a digital treasury roadmap. He talked about how we should not forget about stabilization, by maintaining, enhancing and leveraging the base, before accelerating to a new maturity level. He introduced how slow thinking and factfulness helps DSM rationalize decisions in the digital storm.

Michael Pechner, COO of PayConiq, continued to talk about mobile payments and how they can enable seamless customer experience. The integration of digital payments faces a different adoption strategy in different regions as for example mobile payments are more mature in Asia versus US and Europe. In Europe however PSD2 and Open Banking have led to a scattered landscape of different, often country-focused mobile payment providers. Michael mentioned the impact on treasury still being in the early days, but faster access to data and instant payments contribute to a more intraday monitoring of cashflows.

After a short coffee break, Marc Delbaere Head of corporates and trade at SWIFT took the stage and presented SWIFT GPI for Corporates (g4C). International payments are currently a black hole, where a payment instruction leaves the sender and, if all goes well, funds only arrive a few days later in the beneficiary’s bank account. Marc outlined how g4C can help to make international payments faster and more transparent. Through service level agreements, SWIFT is standardizing the incorporation of banks. He also touched upon the Request to Pay initiative, as well as the inbound tracking on the receivable’s side.

The last presentation slot was reserved for Philip Costa-Hibberd and Johan Schelstraete, consultants at Zanders. One of the key elements in the perfect storm, is the use of exponential technologies such as RPA. Johan introduced the concept by exampling his experience on how a small RPA initiative was preferred above a large SSC offshoring business plan. To put words into practice, Philip did an interactive RPA demo with the audience. After explaining the prerequisites for an efficient RPA integration (use the right tool for the job), he highlighted the ideal target processes to automate. He concluded the presentation session with the live demo.

On top of all the above, the Port House of Antwerp offered the magnificent surroundings for the more informal exchange between the experts in treasury and risk present on yet another successful Zanders Belgium seminar.