Against a challenging macroeconomic and regulatory backdrop, corporate treasury is expanding its company-wide responsibilities, according to Managing Risk in Challenging Economic Times, a white paper published by The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) and sponsored by Deutsche Bank. The report builds on a survey of 150 corporate treasurers and 150 CFOs.
Four in ten survey respondents list global economic growth among the top three most serious macro risks. More than half (55%) acknowledge that their function struggles to keep abreast of the rapidly changing macroeconomic environment.
The difficult macroeconomic climate notwithstanding, 80% still hold fair or large amounts of excess cash. Hence, “expanding or modifying investment strategies for excess cash” is the preferred way to adapt treasury management strategies in light of low or negative interest rates in many markets.
Low interest rates are one long-term consequence of the financial crisis; the wave of financial regulation is another. Almost 40% think the workload resulting from regulation will remain unchanged over the next 12 months, and another 40% expect that it will actually increase.
More than seven in ten respondents say the adoption of new technologies is gaining momentum in their company’s treasury department. However, interviews conducted for the white paper reveal that treasurers are reluctant to embrace new technologies. Almost seven in ten survey respondents are concerned about cyberattacks, for example.
“The macroeconomic, regulatory and technological challenges are not just shaping the outlook of corporate treasurers—they are also changing how the function is interacting with the rest of the business. Our white paper confirms that partnering with the business has increased in areas such as mergers & acquisitions and working-capital management. Encouragingly, more than eight in ten CFOs say that leadership teams now increasingly consult corporate treasurers on strategic questions.”