Treasury Strategy & Transformation
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Head2Head: Taking a Leap – A New Era of Banking Relationships

by Jennifer Boussuge, Head of Global Transaction Services, EMEA in conversation with Bruce Meuli & Jonathon Traer-Clark, Global Business Solutions executives, GTS at Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Bruce Meuli & Jonathon Traer-Clark, Bank of America Merrill Lynch have become familiar to readers of TMI with their ‘head to head’ feature. In this edition, we are delighted to welcome Jennifer Boussuge, Head of GTS EMEA, who joins Bruce and Jonathon to discuss the changing nature of corporate – bank relationships, what both sides can bring to the relationship, and the potential value.

Jonathon Traer-ClarkJTC Bruce and I debate many topics, but one thing we agree on is that the role of treasury has changed significantly over the last decade. Individuals and companies think and act internationally. In many cases, treasury’s remit has expanded with many treasurers taking a more collaborative role within their organisations. As a result, some treasurers need a different type of support from their banks and partners than in the past. The relationship is changing and for the better.

Jennifer BoussugeJB It’s a new world; not just for treasurers but also their banks. They are businesses in their own right and are evolving too. Take Basel III for instance: increasing scrutiny of the cost and return on capital for banks directly impacts the depth and breadth of transaction services that banks are able to deliver to clients. Some people think this leads to a one-way conversation, with banks telling clients what services they are able to offer. But treasurers may be surprised at the extent to which corporates can benefit from a new value-focused relationship. Many banks are actively seeking a dialogue with their clients, and for feedback and input into their products and services. By engaging in that process, treasurers ultimately benefit from solutions that are more tailored to their needs.

Bruce MeuliBM Take the trend towards internationalisation for example. While treasurers’ roles may have been regional, or covering a handful of countries in the past, they have become global in many cases. A treasurer based in Europe may be responsible for a team in Hong Kong and work with a shared service centre in India. No longer is it simply a case that treasurers define a single set of treasury policies and processes, they now have to manage and influence across borders, gather and disseminate information, and instil common standards and practices in often diverse locations. In this environment, treasurers rely on their bank partners to be present on the ground in the countries in which they operate, sharing intelligence whilst supporting the wider global strategy. As a result, this new type of relationship between treasurers and their banks can be highly effective.