Welcome To NeuGroup

Connecting Every Finance Professional Who Wants To Share And Learn

Welcome To NeuGroup

Connecting Every Finance Professional Who Wants To Share And Learn

Our Mission

To help our members in Corporate Finance and Treasury reach their full, professional potential. We assist our members and those who serve them to drive success for their companies, their customers, their teams, their peers and themselves.

Our Vision

To connect every finance professional who wants to share and learn with others seeking the same. Bring the best of these professionals into our leading membership network for knowledge exchange to be a source for solutions, advice to achieve greater success and for new insight and validation for the advancement of Corporate Finance and Treasury professions.

The Corporate Finance and Treasury Elite From the World's Most Iconic Companies
NeuGroup Process

Share Your Projects And Priorities And What You Would Most Like To Learn From Other Finance Professionals

Connect

NeuGroup helps you forge meaningful connections with fellow finance professionals who share similar projects and priorities or have useful experience with them.

Exchange

NeuGroup establishes trust to facilitate open and honest knowledge exchange and inspires you to share and learn to reach your full professional potential.

Distill

NeuGroup distills useful content from each exchange to drive success and focuses on new insight that is validated by our peer groups of leading finance professionals.

Testimonials

NeuGroup Helps Our Members Drive Success For Themselves, Their Teams, Their Companies, Their Customers, Investors And Every Other Stakeholder In Reaching Their Full Potential

Our NeuGroups

NeuGroup currently connects 500+ corporate finance and treasury professionals from hundreds of the world’s most iconic companies for knowledge exchange in over 20 peer groups and distills insight from these exchanges to help them succeed.

Crafting a Compelling Business Case for Investing in Payments

How one NeuGroup member created the “ultimate road map” to get buy-in for building out a payments factory.

Large-scale initiatives, such as the build-out of a payments factory, are major undertakings that require significant investments of both financial and human capital. At the first-half meeting of NeuGroup for Payments Strategy sponsored by HSBC, members explored the keys to building a successful, comprehensive business case to justify the allocation of resources and get buy-in from management.

  • One member, who helped lead the session, walked through his process to implement a payments factory to address fragmented and inefficient systems, with disparate platforms creating complexities in payment validation and processing, creating the need for standardized controls.
  • But to overcome that burden and build a robust, scalable and secure infrastructure, the first stop had to be winning the support of leadership with facts and figures. “Having senior management advocate for the project is key; if you don’t have that, it’s not going to be approved,” he said.

How one NeuGroup member created the “ultimate road map” to get buy-in for building out a payments factory.

Large-scale initiatives, such as the build-out of a payments factory, are major undertakings that require significant investments of both financial and human capital. At the first-half meeting of NeuGroup for Payments Strategy sponsored by HSBC, members explored the keys to building a successful, comprehensive business case to justify the allocation of resources and get buy-in from management.

  • One member, who helped lead the session, walked through his process to implement a payments factory to address fragmented and inefficient systems, with disparate platforms creating complexities in payment validation and processing, creating the need for standardized controls.
  • But to overcome that burden and build a robust, scalable and secure infrastructure, the first stop had to be winning the support of leadership with facts and figures. “Having senior management advocate for the project is key; if you don’t have that, it’s not going to be approved,” he said.

Costs and the budget battle. Getting that support is especially critical for finance functions. The member works at a company with dozens of subsidiaries and limited budget for internal projects, with customer-facing initiatives taking the highest priority. “Everybody fights for the remaining allocation, with finance at the bottom of the chain,” he said. “It’s unfortunately been a challenge.”

  • It’s a pain point shared by many NeuGroup members vying for IT support—services billed to treasury—just one of several costs the member had to justify. Others include:
    1. The price of the payments hub software.
    2. The vendor’s professional services team, which provides consulting services to assist with the implementation.
    3. Additional modules to add to the software.
    4. Contracting with a SWIFT Service Bureau.

    An ultimate road map. The member recommends starting by crafting an “ultimate road map” that breaks the process into manageable pieces, clearly articulating the economic benefits to each step. “The more you can show return on investment and what’s providing value, the better,” he said. “Is it going to do anything for customer retention, or dollars and cents?”

    • But don’t exaggerate. “Have realistic benefits, and a realistic timeline.” He added, “I’ve seen lots of unrealistic goals. If you say six months, but really it’s a year or a year and a half, you start to lose credibility. But if you’re able to deliver and capture ROI, you develop goodwill in the company. Then it just gets easier and easier.”
    • That resonated with another member, who led a similar infrastructure overhaul. She too emphasized the need to start by laying out the tangible benefits of a payments project. “If the benefits don’t outweigh the effort, the project might be dead on arrival,” she said. “For us, the client is the most important stakeholder. If the project benefits them, our CEO will consider it.”
    • In her experience, one of the best additions to building the business case came from the company’s banking partners. “Our objectives are the same as a lot of our banks, and through conversations with them, we were able to make sure that we showed this would give us what we needed.”

    More allies, more success. Cast a wide net when looking for advocates in leadership roles. For the member’s payments hub, they included the treasurer, IT senior leaders and other senior business leaders. Part of the case to IT leaders included enabling them to retire legacy systems; other leaders saw value in the improved controls. Here is some of what the member has achieved:

    • Focusing initially on the highest-value transactions, the platform now processes 80% of the value of the company’s payments, despite only handling about 40% of the overall transaction volume.
    • Another critical component is the payments gateway, which consolidates payee banking information from legacy systems into a single secure repository. This database stores payee payment preferences and allows for API access to pull banking information as needed.
      • Additional controls include connections to the company’s delegation of authority system, and account validation services.
    • Also planned: A migration from checks to electronic payments, with an aim to reduce reliance on checks to improve efficiency and security.
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    Strategic Thinking: How Paths to CFO and CFO Roles Are Evolving

    Promoting people in finance who want strategic roles can be challenging if they find some CFO duties unappealing.

    By Joseph Neu

    During the first peer group meetings of NeuGroup’s spring season, I have been listening intently for signals indicating how finance functions are changing course. One trend may be the strengthening of strategic finance roles under the CFO. This development arises in part because not everyone who is drawn to strategic, value-enhancing roles wants responsibility for everything in a CFO’s job description—transactional controls and compliance, for example.

    Promoting people in finance who want strategic roles can be challenging if they find some CFO duties unappealing.

    By Joseph Neu

    During the first peer group meetings of NeuGroup’s spring season, I have been listening intently for signals indicating how finance functions are changing course. One trend may be the strengthening of strategic finance roles under the CFO. This development arises in part because not everyone who is drawn to strategic, value-enhancing roles wants responsibility for everything in a CFO’s job description—transactional controls and compliance, for example.

    • Of course, a growing emphasis on value creation has boosted the allure of the C-Suite for some members. They include FP&A leaders who, like treasurers, enjoy the more strategic path their roles have taken. At one recent meeting, we encouraged FP&A leaders to think about skills and mindsets needed to step up to the CFO role.
    • One session examined the evolution of the CFO’s position, moving from a transactional focus favoring executives with heavy controllership experience to one well suited to value creators with insight and analytical superpowers, favoring those who’ve come up through the FP&A ranks.

    Is there another way to advance? But given that not everyone wants the full spectrum of CFO responsibilities, what else could heads of FP&A do next in their careers? As they search for answers, CFOs seeking help on value creation may benefit from considering a career path that elevates team members who excel in this area and want to focus on it.

    • One potential solution is to continue to elevate their titles from VP to SVP to EVP and even create a C-suite role of chief planning and analysis officer or chief strategy officer.
    • A similar career path should be considered for those in treasury who want to be less transactionally and operationally focused. The same executive-level solution could apply. Indeed, CFOs have asked us for titles of treasurers so they can benchmark how many are VPs vs. SVPs or EVPs.
    • Also, could another C-suite role be designed, akin to a chief risk officer or chief of capital?

    Reviewing rotations. One recent treasury meeting highlighted a change in one member’s rotational program to encourage assistant treasurers to become business CFOs, and business CFOs to become ATs. This pushes down the strategic finance rotations increasingly seen at the treasurer level. (The path of AT to business CFO was pioneered years ago by the treasurer’s office at General Motors.)

    • The mutual advantage is pushing treasury value creation drivers into the business so business leaders learn to value them; and it brings business finance leaders into treasury to learn and use value-added skills when they return to CFO jobs.
    • Eventually, these business-level CFOs with treasury experience and ATs with business CFO experience will need to learn to love both being transactional focused and value creators, or they too will experience challenges to advance.

    Regional centers. The other area where treasury-CFO role combinations can make sense is in regional centers, especially co-located with a regional headquarters, or in countries where regulations or other restrictions prevent them from being effectively managed centrally.

    • Regional treasurers in Europe or APAC (or North America for non-US MNCs) can be given CFO responsibilities and serve as deputy regional CFOs.
    • Local treasurers in regulated or restricted currency countries like Argentina may also have broader finance director/country CFO responsibilities to help justify the extra local finance head count.
    • Arguably, this does an even better job of pushing treasury value creation drivers into the business since regional centers or in-country entities are often closer to the periphery business initiatives than corporate. It also exposes treasury professionals to CFO skill sets, including FP&A and, of course, transactional reporting, controls and compliance responsibilities.
    • Treasurers who lead tax are also prone to give these regional or local team members tax responsibilities in addition (or instead).

    Decentralized org models. Pushing value creation out to the business front lines is behind the thinking of some companies to undo the centralization of SG&A, including finance. Pushing decisions out to the periphery makes firms more agile, the thinking goes, making it worth sacrificing the efficiencies and controls of centralization.

    • Companies that decentralize in this way must also undo some specialization and deploy new CFO types who also can be effective at treasury and FP&A, while also being transactional reporting and compliance specialists.

    The impact of AI. One constraining factor on rotational programs through specialty finance areas like treasury or tax is that so much specialized knowledge is needed to be highly effective. A treasurer or tax director who has a very knowledgeable team or even a single senior direct report can get away with not having deep knowledge for a rotational assignment lasting several years. Rotating too many team members at once could disrupt this.

    • Specialty knowledge, however, could be documented and learned by AI assistants, who could in turn support strategic finance types as they rotate along. This could allow more team members to rotate or may reduce the need for future finance leaders to spend as much time in as many finance roles.
    • AI might also excel at being a strategic generalist, as much or more than being a specialist; so specialists may be needed as a control on AI decision-making, with fewer CFO-types needed.
    • AI could impact CFO career paths as well by handling the transactional pieces that people who like strategic, value-enhancing paths prefer to do without. Hence, the controller bias in the path to CFO could evolve away since AI (with some human specialist control points) may handle all of that for CFOs in the near future.

    It is probably too early to say how this will all play out.

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    Former HP Treasurer Zac Nesper’s Joyful Passing of the Baton

    Mr. Nesper’s total trust in Andrea Noseda’s abilities provided the confidence to leave a job and company he loved.

    After years of thinking about leaving a company and a job he loved to spend more time with his family, former HP Inc. treasurer Zac Nesper found the right internal person to succeed him: Andrea Noseda, a treasury novice back when he hired her for a capital markets role four years earlier (today she’s an expert).

    • In a new NeuGroup video you can watch by hitting the play button below, Mr. Nesper shares how Ms. Noseda progressed to the point where, after she interviewed for the position, HP named her treasurer in June 2023. It was an outcome he called one of the greatest joys of his career.
    • Mr. Nesper provided support during a transition period, while also serving as CFO of the company’s Strategy and Incubation business unit. He left HP at the end of 2023 to begin what his LinkedIn page describes as a career break and personal goal pursuit.
    • “I hit a point where I just was like, my kids are only going to be in the house for three more years, and I have this crazy hunger to just spend time with them,” he says in the video. “I’ve got this personal desire to step out, but beyond that, I don’t want to stand in somebody else’s way.”

    Mr. Nesper’s total trust in Andrea Noseda’s abilities provided the confidence to leave a job and company he loved.

    After years of thinking about leaving a company and a job he loved to spend more time with his family, former HP Inc. treasurer Zac Nesper found the right internal person to succeed him: Andrea Noseda, a treasury novice back when he hired her for a capital markets role four years earlier (today she’s an expert).

    • In a new NeuGroup video you can watch by hitting the play button below, Mr. Nesper shares how Ms. Noseda progressed to the point where, after she interviewed for the position, HP named her treasurer in June 2023. It was an outcome he called one of the greatest joys of his career.
    • Mr. Nesper provided support during a transition period, while also serving as CFO of the company’s Strategy and Incubation business unit. He left HP at the end of 2023 to begin what his LinkedIn page describes as a career break and personal goal pursuit.
    • “I hit a point where I just was like, my kids are only going to be in the house for three more years, and I have this crazy hunger to just spend time with them,” he says in the video. “I’ve got this personal desire to step out, but beyond that, I don’t want to stand in somebody else’s way.”

    A treasurer’s journey. Mr. Nesper’s decision to step down came after 20 years of experience in corporate finance at HP, with stints in FP&A and multiple treasury roles before he became treasurer in 2018. His time as treasurer was an eventful one, facing the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic and its fallout, as well as a hostile takeover attempt by Carl Icahn.

    • He now takes great comfort knowing that treasury is in good hands—and that there are other employees from his team that could also be corporate treasurers. “So that’s fun to have, that legacy,” he says in the video.

    Stay tuned to NeuGroup Insights to hear the full conversation between Mr. Nesper and NeuGroup founder and CEO Joseph Neu in an upcoming episode of the Strategic Finance Lab podcast. In addition to a deeper dive into the former treasurer’s decision to step down, the pair discuss the evolving role of AI, the benefits of embracing a personal brand and the lessons he learned from his path through finance.

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    Treasury Leadership Is Alive and Well in Texas

    Insights from member meetups in Austin and Houston, distilled by NeuGroup’s founder and CEO.

    By Joseph Neu

    Treasury leadership is alive and well in Texas. That’s one big-picture takeaway from my trip to the state last week. I was there to talk with treasurers—and leadership was on my mind. Here are some themes that surfaced, divided into three sections:

    Why are you a treasurer?
     I asked that question at a salon dinner for members hosted by NeuGroup in Austin. In addition to “why,” the answers also highlighted how each person rose to the position of treasurer.

    Insights from member meetups in Austin and Houston, distilled by NeuGroup’s founder and CEO.

    By Joseph Neu

    Treasury leadership is alive and well in Texas. That’s one big-picture takeaway from my trip to the state last week. I was there to talk with treasurers—and leadership was on my mind. Here are some themes that surfaced, divided into three sections:

    Why are you a treasurer?
     I asked that question at a salon dinner for members hosted by NeuGroup in Austin. In addition to “why,” the answers also highlighted how each person rose to the position of treasurer.

    • Quality treasurers beget quality treasurers. What’s interesting is that no one present set out to become a treasurer. Instead, they learned about its attractions and advantages after coming into contact with a high-quality treasury team led by a top-notch treasurer during some phase of their finance career (i.e., on the job and not in school)—either on the banking or corporate side.
    • Strategic, please. Most members in Austin were drawn much more to being a strategic treasurer than one with a more administrative role. Strategic treasurers develop a deep understanding of the business so their teams can enable it. On a lighter note, in many cases, nobody in the company really knows what you do, yet it sounds like you are a supersmart rocket scientist. That gives you some sway to do things that add strategic value.
    • An important stop for CFO. Members were split on whether they wanted to become chief financial officer, with a number saying yes to CFO aspirations and a few saying they would prefer to remain treasurer. All agreed that working with a CFO who had been a treasurer made their jobs easier, especially if the CFO lets the treasurer be the treasurer. A good working relationship between treasurer and CFO is essential.

    Treasury KPIs: Are they bold enough? The topic of treasury key performance indicators (KPIs) came up while I visited treasurers in Houston. Here are some discussion points to help answer the question:

    • Be bolder about enhancing business revenue. Efforts to enhance the revenue of the business can always be bolder, according to some back-and-forth among treasurers. Yes, the skewing of treasury KPIs toward cost reduction metrics deepened after some teams sought to profit from financial transactions, e.g., derivatives. But if treasury can instead enhance the revenue and profitability of the businesses it supports, then why not reward the function with profit-oriented goals and objectives?
    • Promote treasury leadership more boldly. The other area to strengthen KPIs is around treasury leadership. In a recent podcast, I discussed the correlation between top-performing companies and treasury leadership with Ron Chakravarti, head of global treasury advisory at Citi Treasury and Trade Solutions. He co-authored a study by Citi GPS demonstrating that companies with superior financial performance have leading treasuries. This should help both inspire treasurers to set bold treasury leadership goals and make the business case for resources to meet bold KPIs.
    • Treasury performance aligned to investors. If your treasury is in doubt about what KPIs to prioritize, think about what investors want. Ron emphasizes that treasury KPIs should be aligned to what matters to investors and that starts with a philosophy and mindset that treasury is there to support top-line growth and profitability. Accordingly, each goal should align to thinking about the business and what it may need to grow.

    Development and retention of treasury talent. My conversations in Texas also touched on the critical component of talent in treasury leadership. Three takeaways:

    • Teach treasury well. Treasurers continue to find it challenging to recruit, develop and retain treasury talent, particularly at less senior levels. Thinking back to the Austin discussion about why members are treasurers, it is imperative to teach treasury well to produce future treasury leaders. These leaders will also be attracted to a strategic treasury mindset, so teach that approach.
    • Connect staff with peers to grow knowledge. A big part of learning is found in sharing and learning with peers. In conversations with treasurers about joining NeuGroup, for example, their first reaction is often focused on how it will help their staffs develop professionally. Whether it’s with NeuGroup or another means, treasury leaders develop better with networks that source and validate new ideas and best practices.
    • Be a talent exporter. Great treasury organizations will invariably see top people leave to lead treasury at other companies. One sure sign of a leading corporate treasury is that many of the team’s graduates are treasurers elsewhere, making some treasurer meetups feel like one company’s alumni gatherings. This reality of top talent moving up and out is one reason CFOs who have been effective treasury leaders may try to retain top performers by helping them find compelling career paths within their own organizations, outside of treasury. Exporting talent this way counts, too. The problem is that love of treasury can be hard to undo!
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    Unlocking Success: The Impact of Treasury Leadership

    Citi global head of treasury advisory Ron Chakravarti on what separates the highest-performing corporate treasuries.

    A recent Citi GPS study, Treasury Leadership: Does It Matter?, reveals that corporations scoring high on measures of treasury sophistication and automation showed the highest earnings-to-revenue ratios. In other words, the answer to the question posed in the study’s title is resoundingly “yes” when financial performance is what matters most.

    • In a NeuGroup video you can watch by hitting the play button below, Citi managing director Ron Chakravarti, who co-authored the study, describes some of the building blocks and attributes that are hallmarks of superior treasury leadership.
    • Mr. Chakravarti, who has spent over 17 years at Citi and is currently the bank’s global head of treasury advisory, helped analyze the results of a survey of hundreds of clients. Among the conclusions in the 88-page report: “There are fewer excuses for treasury underperformance as we move into 2024 and beyond”—in part because of what companies can learn from the study.

    Citi global head of treasury advisory Ron Chakravarti on what separates the highest-performing corporate treasuries.

    A recent Citi GPS study, Treasury Leadership: Does It Matter?, reveals that corporations scoring high on measures of treasury sophistication and automation showed the highest earnings-to-revenue ratios. In other words, the answer to the question posed in the study’s title is resoundingly “yes” when financial performance is what matters most.

    • In a NeuGroup video you can watch by hitting the play button below, Citi managing director Ron Chakravarti, who co-authored the study, describes some of the building blocks and attributes that are hallmarks of superior treasury leadership.
    • Mr. Chakravarti, who has spent over 17 years at Citi and is currently the bank’s global head of treasury advisory, helped analyze the results of a survey of hundreds of clients. Among the conclusions in the 88-page report: “There are fewer excuses for treasury underperformance as we move into 2024 and beyond”—in part because of what companies can learn from the study.

    A carefully considered philosophy. In the video, Mr. Chakravarti also discusses the need to establish a philosophy of principles-led decision-making. It’s an approach that requires precisely outlined responses to various scenarios, but also trust in treasury team members to strategically adapt to new situations.

    • “You never know if you’re going to be right or wrong,” he says in the video. “You always want to have optionality. You want to think through the downside, and you want to make a decision that gives you optionality as much as possible—then you give people the latitude to be able to do that with good, principles-led thinking.”

    Stay tuned. Later this month, the full conversation between Mr. Chakravarti and NeuGroup founder and CEO Joseph Neu will be featured in NeuGroup’s Strategic Finance Lab podcast, available on Apple and Spotify.

    • You’ll hear them discuss the full takeaways of the survey, as well as Citi’s methodology behind identifying which treasury teams are performing above average—and the data showing that great treasury leadership leads to exceptional financial performance.
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    Talking Shop: Spend Authorization Limits for CFOs and CEOs

    Editor’s note: NeuGroup’s online communities provide members a forum to pose questions and give answers. Talking Shop shares valuable insights from these exchanges, anonymously. Send us your responses: [email protected].


    Context: Delegation of authority policies are an important part of good corporate governance and critical for companies structuring and implementing financial controls and setting limits for spend authorization as well as payment approvals. Financial authority policies cover employees inside and outside of treasury and other finance teams, and at some companies they are wide-ranging.

    • “Our authority policy has more than a dozen sections covering all kinds of limits,” one member told NeuGroup Insights this week. “Treasury’s limits address things like authority to open bank accounts, move cash, authorize FX trades, issue debt, etc. Having all of these requirements is part of a healthy control environment and avoids issues that can arise like failure to segregate duties and also mitigates fraud risk.”

    Member question: “At your company, what are the CEO and CFO spend authorization limits? I’m trying to help our chief accounting officer do some benchmarking on our financial authority policy to rightsize some limits.”

    Editor’s note: NeuGroup’s online communities provide members a forum to pose questions and give answers. Talking Shop shares valuable insights from these exchanges, anonymously. Send us your responses: [email protected].


    Context: Delegation of authority policies are an important part of good corporate governance and critical for companies structuring and implementing financial controls and setting limits for spend authorization as well as payment approvals. Financial authority policies cover employees inside and outside of treasury and other finance teams, and at some companies they are wide-ranging.

    • “Our authority policy has more than a dozen sections covering all kinds of limits,” one member told NeuGroup Insights this week. “Treasury’s limits address things like authority to open bank accounts, move cash, authorize FX trades, issue debt, etc. Having all of these requirements is part of a healthy control environment and avoids issues that can arise like failure to segregate duties and also mitigates fraud risk.”

    Member question: “At your company, what are the CEO and CFO spend authorization limits? I’m trying to help our chief accounting officer do some benchmarking on our financial authority policy to rightsize some limits.

    • “As a reference point, at my company, the CFO must approve spend—a commitment to an external party—over $2.5 million; and anything over $20 million must go to the CEO.”

    Peer answer 1. “All payment processing with SAP via banks and also budgeted spend needs dual approval. VPs outside finance have up to $250,000 authority. Finance VPs, who are CFO delegates, can approve and release via our bank up to $10 million.

    • “From $10 million to $20 million requires approval from the chief accounting officer and the CFO. The CFO can approve up to $40 million and would need second approval from the CEO.”

    Peer answer 2: “All VPs have authority up to $1 million and there is authority below that level up to $250,000. From $1 million to $2 million requires a division president or the general counsel or a corporate VP or SVP and the corporate controller. Above $2 million requires the approval of the CEO or CFO and they have discretion up to $25 million, at which point it has to go to the board.

    • “For a company of our size, with revenue below $5 billion, limits of $25 million make sense (and this is a per expense approval) because anything bigger than that is probably going to have awareness at the board level.
    • “We want to be sure that the divisional teams have financial discipline on spending and understand that we need to consider what is best for the entire company, not just specific divisions.”

    Peer answer 3. “The CFO can approve anything up to $2 million; and the CEO approves anything over that amount. Let me caveat that we are founder-led, which I think makes a difference in terms of limits based on other companies where I have worked.

    • “With lower limits, you run the risk of a bottleneck at the top. You’ve got to have a good process and a good connection to the top to get past potential bottlenecks.”

    Peer answer 4: “Purchase orders, invoices and contracts of $10 million and up require CEO approval; above $1 million needs CFO approval. FP&A managers approve anything below $25,000; FP&A directors approve up to $100,000.

    • “Once invoices are fully approved, automatic payments only require one treasury approval for liquidity purposes. If payments have to be made manually, an accounting or treasury manager enters them and a senior manager in treasury, the CFO or I can approve without any limits.”
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    Dealing with ‘Derailers’ in Board Presentations: Tips from a Pro

    A former CFO of Merck offers tips for treasurers to stay on track if board directors lob off-topic questions.

    When Peter Kellogg was CFO of Merck during the 2008 financial crisis, the greatest challenge he faced during board presentations came when directors peppered him with questions based on what they had read, seen or heard in the media or elsewhere. This is one example of what he calls “derailers”—questions about subjects that don’t affect the company directly, are not relevant to the topic of the presentation and can throw a presentation off-track.

    • These “understandable concerns” came largely from directors also on the boards of smaller, less stable companies. This required Mr. Kellogg to offer direct and clear responses to provide comfort and clarity about how the situation was different for a larger company like Merck.

    Bad news, good news. The bad news is that periods of volatility, economic uncertainty and geopolitical risk—like now—often give rise to more derailers, requiring treasurers and CFOs to respond tactfully and steer the conversation back on track.

    • The good news is that he shared how to deal with derailers in a session of NeuGroup for Life Science Treasurers last month. His tips for successful presentations to boards and audit committees are based on a business career spanning more than 30 years during which he also served as CFO of Celgene, Biogen and Frito-Lay International. And he currently sits on the board of two life sciences companies.

    Opportunity. In the meeting, one member called board presentations “just another chance to screw things up.” Mr. Kellogg, by contrast, sees them as opportunities for treasurers to send the right message and involve themselves in the company’s long-range plan (LRP).

    • “You’re representing the treasury function,” he said in the session. “You want to take the opportunity to lead with the idea that you’re a great operation, and that you’re a leader—you’re impacting the company, you’re involved in the LRP and you’re working with business development to enable key projects that could be important to the future of the company.”

    Clean slides, direct language. During the session, Mr. Kellogg discussed the need to make board presentations easily understood by any audience, especially considering some directors may not have experience in treasury.

    • Keep slides clean. Decks cluttered with charts and statistics, which Mr. Kellogg calls “banker slides,” will only be a distraction, and could lead to further off-topic questions.
    • Avoid jargon. Terminology that a generalist audience wouldn’t understand is likely to make a board cringe, according to Mr. Kellogg. “It needs to be something that’s easily understood, you want to make sure they are able to stay on track.”

    A former CFO of Merck offers tips for treasurers to stay on track if board directors lob off-topic questions.

    When Peter Kellogg was CFO of Merck during the 2008 financial crisis, the greatest challenge he faced during board presentations came when directors peppered him with questions based on what they had read, seen or heard in the media or elsewhere. This is one example of what he calls “derailers”—questions about subjects that don’t affect the company directly, are not relevant to the topic of the presentation and can throw a presentation off-track.

    • These “understandable concerns” came largely from directors also on the boards of smaller, less stable companies. This required Mr. Kellogg to offer direct and clear responses to provide comfort and clarity about how the situation was different for a larger company like Merck.

    Bad news, good news. The bad news is that periods of volatility, economic uncertainty and geopolitical risk—like now—often give rise to more derailers, requiring treasurers and CFOs to respond tactfully and steer the conversation back on track.

    • The good news is that he shared how to deal with derailers in a session of NeuGroup for Life Science Treasurers last month. His tips for successful presentations to boards and audit committees are based on a business career spanning more than 30 years during which he also served as CFO of Celgene, Biogen and Frito-Lay International. And he currently sits on the board of two life sciences companies.

    In a video interview you can watch below, Mr. Kellogg dives into three key ways treasurers can send the right message during a presentation to the board.

    Opportunity. In the meeting, one member called board presentations “just another chance to screw things up.” Mr. Kellogg, by contrast, sees them as opportunities for treasurers to send the right message and involve themselves in the company’s long-range plan (LRP).

    • “You’re representing the treasury function,” he said in the session. “You want to take the opportunity to lead with the idea that you’re a great operation, and that you’re a leader—you’re impacting the company, you’re involved in the LRP and you’re working with business development to enable key projects that could be important to the future of the company.”

    Clean slides, direct language. During the session, Mr. Kellogg discussed the need to make board presentations easily understood by any audience, especially considering some directors may not have experience in treasury.

    • Keep slides clean. Decks cluttered with charts and statistics, which Mr. Kellogg calls “banker slides,” will only be a distraction, and could lead to further off-topic questions.
    • Avoid jargon. Terminology that a generalist audience wouldn’t understand is likely to make a board cringe, according to Mr. Kellogg. “It needs to be something that’s easily understood, you want to make sure they are able to stay on track.”
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    She Told the CFO She Wanted To Be Treasurer One Day. Now She Is.

    Advice on advocating for yourself from Sandra Ramos-Alves, treasurer of Bristol Myers Squibb.

    Sandra Ramos-Alves was an assistant treasurer at Celgene when Bristol Myers Squibb bought it in 2019. By June of 2021, she was acting treasurer of BMS. And in October of that year she was named senior vice president and treasurer of the pharmaceutical giant that had acquired the company where she had worked for more than 14 years.

    In a Strategic Finance Lab podcast episode you can hear by heading to Apple or Spotify, Ms. Ramos-Alves says she may not have her current position if she hadn’t taken the advice of an insistent mentor and mustered up the courage to set up a meeting with the CFO. At that meeting, she told him she was interested in being BMS treasurer “when the time is right.”

    Advice on advocating for yourself from Sandra Ramos-Alves, treasurer of Bristol Myers Squibb.

    Sandra Ramos-Alves was an assistant treasurer at Celgene when Bristol Myers Squibb bought it in 2019. By June of 2021, she was acting treasurer of BMS. And in October of that year she was named senior vice president and treasurer of the pharmaceutical giant that had acquired the company where she had worked for more than 14 years.

    • In a Strategic Finance Lab podcast episode you can hear by heading to Apple or Spotify, Ms. Ramos-Alves says she may not have her current position if she hadn’t taken the advice of an insistent mentor and mustered up the courage to set up a meeting with the CFO. At that meeting, she told him she was interested in being BMS treasurer “when the time is right.”
    • That experience taught her the importance of advocating for yourself and telling people what you want. Because someday, when an opportunity arises, they may deliver for you. “We all do own our careers,” she says.
    • She also tells NeuGroup’s Nilly Essaides that mutual trust and integrity are the foundation of her leadership style. Trust in her team allows Ms. Ramos-Alves to empower people to make decisions and only bring her in when needed. By not wading too deep into the details of every issue, she avoids being an impediment, she says.
    • Even better, the trust allows her to step away and spend time with her family—her top priority. That includes taking vacations and leaving her laptop at home. But she never completely disconnects, she admits. Her iPhone is always on.
    Sandra Ramos-Alves
    Treasurer, Bristol Myers Squibb

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    FP&A’s Role in Making Finance an Indispensable Business Partner

    General Mills CFO Kofi Bruce’s vision of FP&A and finance: NeuGroup’s Strategic Finance Lab podcast, episode 8.

    In a world with growing volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity, also known as VUCA, so grows the importance of finance organizations that can accurately see what’s coming down the pipeline, understand how that will impact the company and how to adjust. And the skills FP&A brings to the table are critical to succeeding in that mission.

    • In the latest Strategic Finance Lab podcast episode, General Mills CFO Kofi Bruce joins Nilly Essaides, NeuGroup’s managing director of research and insight, to discuss the role FP&A teams must play at organizations navigating an increasingly VUCA world. You can hear their conversation by heading to Apple or Spotify.

    General Mills CFO Kofi Bruce’s vision of FP&A and finance: NeuGroup’s Strategic Finance Lab podcast, episode 8.

    In a world with growing volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity, also known as VUCA, so grows the importance of finance organizations that can accurately see what’s coming down the pipeline, understand how that will impact the company and how to adjust. And the skills FP&A brings to the table are critical to succeeding in that mission.

    • In the latest Strategic Finance Lab podcast episode, General Mills CFO Kofi Bruce joins Nilly Essaides, NeuGroup’s managing director of research and insight, to discuss the role FP&A teams must play at organizations navigating an increasingly VUCA world. You can hear their conversation by hitting the play button below or heading to Apple or Spotify.

    Mr. Bruce’s vision of finance evolution features an FP&A team that connects information from across the enterprise, using its vantage point in the flow of information to develop foresight that produces insight that leads to action that supports business growth.

    • As Mr. Bruce says in the podcast, FP&A’s role isn’t to only understand what will happen, but also to share “what I think we need to get on right now, and some ways and some places we can start the conversation. That’s what makes a differential FP&A organization.
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    Internal Audit Debate: Keep Reporting to CFO or Switch to CEO?

    An IA expert says reporting to the CFO may divert IA resources disproportionally to finance vs other areas.

    More than three-quarters of US publicly traded companies’ internal audit (IA) functions report administratively to the CFO, although a similar percentage of IA professionals see reporting to the CEO as ideal.

    • Presenting to a meeting of NeuGroup for Internal Audit ExecutivesRichard Chambers, a former head of the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) and a longtime IA practitioner, noted that seeming disconnect as one of several alarm bells IA professionals should consider.
    • IA reporting to the CFO does not violate audit standards, but it may hinder it from carrying out its function fully, or at least foster that perception.
    • “When IA reports to the CFO, there tends to be a much higher incidence of it doing work in financial reporting and finance-related risks,” Mr. Chambers said.

    An IA expert says reporting to the CFO may divert IA resources disproportionally to finance vs other areas.

    More than three-quarters of US publicly traded companies’ internal audit (IA) functions report administratively to the CFO, although a similar percentage of IA professionals see reporting to the CEO as ideal.

    • Presenting to a meeting of NeuGroup for Internal Audit ExecutivesRichard Chambers, a former head of the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) and a longtime IA practitioner, noted that seeming disconnect as one of several alarm bells IA professionals should consider.
    • IA reporting to the CFO does not violate audit standards, but it may hinder it from carrying out its function fully, or at least foster that perception.
    • “When IA reports to the CFO, there tends to be a much higher incidence of it doing work in financial reporting and finance-related risks,” Mr. Chambers said.

    The numbers. According to the IIA’s 2022 North American Pulse of Internal Audit report , 76% of chief audit executives (CAEs) say they work administratively for their CFOs. In response, Mr. Chambers launched a poll on LinkedIn that drew 1,700 responses.

    • “My question was, ‘Ideally, where should IA report administratively within the organization?’ It wasn’t even a contest,” Mr. Chambers said, with 74% citing the CEO, 11% the CRO and the CFO at 9%.

    Supporting the CFO line. One member said IA would be way down the list of priorities of his company’s CEO, who is effectively the head of sales and dealing with a host of macro business issues.

    • As is often the case, the company’s CFO once worked in IA and so understands it better than the CEO, he said. So while Mr. Chambers’ poll may reflect what’s best theoretically, in practical terms reporting to the CFO is a more practical model.
    • “The skill set of the CFO is better aligned with what IA is trying to do, and having an informed sponsor or stakeholder is much more effective than having someone at the CEO level,” the executive said.

    Other perspectives. Each company is different. IA reporting to the CFO may be most appropriate in many cases, Mr. Chambers said, and IA’s tendency to retain responsibility for Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) reporting can channel it toward the CFO. However, there are issues to consider.

    • Mr. Chamber’s biggest concern is that CFOs, who typically view themselves as the function’s caretaker, may unintentionally interfere with IA or be perceived as interfering within the organization.
    • And reporting to the CFO may also disproportionally steer IA resources to financial issues, when risks and the need for controls abound in areas ranging from supply chains to climate and cyber.

    Enlightening the CEO. Mr. Chambers recalled working for a four-star command in the Army and similar criticism arising about generals, like CEOs, not having time to listen to audit.

    • “We had no choice, we had to do it, and lo and behold these generals found it was very enlightening to have audit working directly for them,” he said.
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    Making the Devil’s Advocate an Angel on Your Shoulder

    NeuGroup risk managers make space for contrarians to question decisions and combat overconfidence.

    Rather than shunning contrarians for challenging conventional thinking, corporates need to make sure their decision-making processes always include a constructive devil’s advocate—someone who forces teams to consider all the ramifications of whatever action—or inaction—a company is contemplating.

    • This was among the key pieces of advice given by Michael Zuraw, head of enterprise risk management at ON Semiconductor, during a presentation on decision-making at a recent ERM-focused NeuGroup meeting. He said this best practice applies to all collaborative teams.
    • “Cognitive biases can occur at any link in the [decision-making] chain,” Mr. Zuraw said. “When you’re making a big decision, you need a contrarian thinker who says, ‘Why do we believe that? What if we’re wrong?’”

    NeuGroup risk managers make space for contrarians to question decisions and combat overconfidence.

    Rather than shunning contrarians for challenging conventional thinking, corporates need to make sure their decision-making processes always include a constructive devil’s advocate—someone who forces teams to consider all the ramifications of whatever action—or inaction—a company is contemplating.

    • This was among the key pieces of advice given by Michael Zuraw, head of enterprise risk management at ON Semiconductor, during a presentation on decision-making at a recent ERM-focused NeuGroup meeting. He said this best practice applies to all collaborative teams.
    • “Cognitive biases can occur at any link in the [decision-making] chain,” Mr. Zuraw said. “When you’re making a big decision, you need a contrarian thinker who says, ‘Why do we believe that? What if we’re wrong?’”

    Designate the devil’s advocate. Mr. Zuraw recommends team leaders designate a team member to play devil’s advocate in meetings. “You need to be able to identify, and provide space for, the realist in the room,” he said.

    • “This is the one who’s going to do a check and keep you honest with yourself and is going to help you identify and recognize biases that can creep into your decision.”
    • One member had worked at a company whose culture discouraged contrarian positions, going so far as to not invite staff members who always added a wrinkle to the latest plan with an objection or contrary opinion.
    • To combat this, the company implemented an idea endorsed by Mr. Zuraw: A devil’s advocate rotation that allows everyone on staff to play the role. “So everyone learns the skill of asking those questions, and everyone recognizes that it’s not frowned upon, it’s a value-add to the process.”

    Learn from mistakes. One member said his company had once passed on making an acquisition, a decision the team is still “haunted” by. The problem: a failure to consider the risk of not doing the deal left the corporate too hesitant to pull the trigger.

    • When opportunity arose again, a willingness to question themselves—as a devil’s advocate would—prepared the team to make a better decision, resulting in the company’s largest acquisition ever.
    • “It was an enormous risk,” the member said, but by considering all sides, he believes the company made the right decision. “We would not be able to be as effective and efficient for our customers without the acquisition,” he said.

    An object in motion. Many teams with established processes have what one member called a “bias toward inertia,” where teams are set in their ways and have a resistance to making any changes—another reason to include contrarians unafraid to voice doubts and bring up any potential risk.

    • To further combat inertia and paralysis, Mr. Zuraw also recommends what he calls a “pre-mortem” meeting right in the midst of a process to take stock, challenge key assumptions and prevent overconfidence.
      • “Making no decision is as big of a risk as any decision you could make,” he said.
    • “I think the concept of a gray rhino is a good one, and that speaks to the need for a pre-mortem,” one member said. “There are natural disasters, but a lot of things that do happen people thought about [and] knew was on the horizon, but nobody spoke up.”
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    Squeezed for Time: Internal Auditors Presenting to Audit Committees

    How auditors make sure their voices are heard when their time before the AC is limited.

    Internal auditors often get squeezed for time when it comes time to appear before the audit committee (AC) of the board of directors.

    • Given that reality, some members of NeuGroup’s Internal Auditors’ Peer Group (IAPG) have devised other ways to make sure their views are heard—or read—by members of the AC. Following are some takeaways on the subject discussed at a recent IAPG meeting.

    How auditors make sure their voices are heard when their time before the AC is limited.

    Internal auditors often get squeezed for time when it comes time to appear before the audit committee (AC) of the board of directors.

    • Given that reality, some members of NeuGroup’s Internal Auditors’ Peer Group (IAPG) have devised other ways to make sure their views are heard—or read—by members of the AC. Following are some takeaways on the subject discussed at a recent IAPG meeting.

    Short shrift. NeuGroup members say their appearances before the AC may be limited to just 15-20 minutes. In one member’s case, the AC also is the finance committee—and finance presents first.

    • This means the audit report comes at the end of the session and becomes more of a quick overview “on themes and trends.” Thus, this auditor struggles to promote the continuous improvements the internal audit function has accomplished.

    Readers make leaders. Another member says her AC is “very diligent” about reading the material audit sends the committee ahead of time. This includes reading the appendices, slides and other supporting documents. That gives her confidence the AC sees the audit function’s accomplishments.

    • Otherwise, the auditor said it is “hard to put all we’ve accomplished into 20 minutes,” adding that she still has to “speed talk” her way through the presentation.
    • Another member intersperses his report with bullets “here and there” showing what the audit team has accomplished.

    Pole position. Some companies rotate the sequence of reporting. If yours doesn’t, consider suggesting it. Because if you’re at the beginning of the AC’s session, which can include financial reporting, cyber, tech and other operational issues, you can get more time.

    Work-arounds. Several members said they have good relationships with AC members and can follow up with them after the meetings (or between AC meetings) to go into more detail about what the audit team is up to.

    • One lucky member said that audit meets with the AC beyond the typical quarterly meetings. She said she meets with the committee nine times in a year, which means at five of those meetings she can share more of what audit is doing.
    • Another member said they do “four plus 10-K” for a total of five AC meetings.
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    Test Your Knowledge of Treasury! A Trivia Contest to Attract Talent

    One treasurer uses a quiz to educate, promote communication and build interest in treasury among finance teams.

    Treasury teams often struggle to attract talent when competing with more glamourous finance functions. Part of the problem is a lack of understanding of what treasury does.

    • To build awareness and interest in treasury and enhance communication with other finance teams at his company, one treasurer created a contest to test the knowledge of senior leaders.
    • He described the quiz at a recent meeting of NeuGroup’s Treasurers’ Group of Thirty, sponsored by Standard Chartered.

    One treasurer uses a quiz to educate, promote communication and build interest in treasury among finance teams.
     
    Treasury teams often struggle to attract talent when competing with more glamourous finance functions. Part of the problem is a lack of understanding of what treasury does.

    • To build awareness and interest in treasury and enhance communication with other finance teams at his company, one treasurer created a contest to test the knowledge of senior leaders.
    • He described the quiz at a recent meeting of NeuGroup’s Treasurers’ Group of Thirty, sponsored by Standard Chartered.

    Treasury 101. As many as 40 contestants compete for a small prize by answering a multiple-choice questionnaire called Treasury 101 that consists of 20 to 25 questions on subjects including:

    • Treasury organization
    • Cash management
    • Strategic objectives
    • Corporate finance
    • Risk management
    • Insurance

    Time’s up. After the contestants have selected an answer, the subject matter expert tells them which one is correct and spends a few minutes providing more color, the treasurer explained.

    • “For instance, ‘How many people work in treasury?’ We might say 20, and then show the staff’s geographical dispersion or an organization chart showing who they are and what everybody does.”
    • As for results, he said, “We tend to find that most attendees have very little knowledge of the treasury function in general.”

    The serious objective of having fun. The treasurer said the contest has three objectives:

    1. “To educate others about who is treasury and what we do.
    2. “Establish interest in treasury and create a bench of potential talent who might be interested in a career in treasury.
    3. “Have some fun and interaction with other finance departments.”

    Positive results. In addition to the game being well attended and well received by participants, the member said the contestants are always a little more knowledgeable and appreciative of treasury’s role in the company after the event.

    • “It’s generated a lot of interest,” he said. And though participants in the game tend not to get too many questions correct, many participants reflect on how much they learned about treasury and how much fun they had.
    • While the game is better organized in an office location where lunch or snacks can be offered, in the current climate, it also works well virtually.
      • Anyone who thinks they can win by turning to the internet should know “they will not find the answers on Google—that’s for sure,” the treasurer said.
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    Differing Opinions About Audit Opinions

    Internal auditors use a variety ratings or opinions for their reporting, despite a trend of not using them.

    There is a growing trend of internal audit departments moving away from using audit opinions, or ratings, to rate the progress of a mitigation effort. The idea is to focus on the audit issue itself and mitigate it. Despite this trend, many auditees and audit committee members are happy with the current system and push back against suggestions to get rid of ratings.

    Following an audit of a process, the auditee gets a rating or opinion on the progress they’ve made on fixing the process – the audit issue. Ratings methods differ; some employ colors.  Green generally means good while colors like yellow or orange mean “needs work” or “needs improvement;” red means things are bad and not being addressed at all. “I’ve never seen a red since I’ve been an auditor,” one member said at a recent virtual meeting of NeuGroup’s Internal Auditors’ Peer Group (IAPG).

    Internal auditors use a variety ratings or opinions for their reporting, despite a trend of not using them.

    There is a growing trend of internal audit departments moving away from using audit opinions, or ratings, to rate the progress of a mitigation effort. The idea is to focus on the audit issue itself and mitigate it. Despite this trend, many auditees and audit committee members are happy with the current system and push back against suggestions to get rid of ratings.

    Following an audit of a process, the auditee gets a rating or opinion on the progress they’ve made on fixing the process – the audit issue. Ratings methods differ; some employ colors.  Green generally means good while colors like yellow or orange mean “needs work” or “needs improvement;” red means things are bad and not being addressed at all. “I’ve never seen a red since I’ve been an auditor,” one member said at a recent virtual meeting of NeuGroup’s Internal Auditors’ Peer Group (IAPG). 

    In the meeting, members described their various rating scales – no two the same – and said in some cases they were asked to move away from them. One reason for this was that many of the functions being audited focused too much on the rating and not on the underlying issue. “The (audit) finding gets lost,” said one auditor. 

    • But auditors say they get pushback when they discuss moving away from ratings. “Execs like the overall rating because they don’t have to read the whole audit report,” said one IAPG member. Added another member, “Audit reports sometimes have too many pages. [AC members and executives] will read through them and then ask, ‘what’s important here?’ So the ratings and colors are needed.” 

    And despite the industry effort to drop ratings, some IAPG members have actually added more rating categories to their scales. Several members who have three ratings for findings, typically along the lines of “satisfactory,” “needs improvement” and “ineffective” or “unsatisfactory,” have added more nuance. In a few cases they have split the middle rating, “needs improvement,” into “moderate improvement opportunity” and “needs significant improvement.” 

    Language matters. Members also mentioned that there’s sometimes pushback over the language of ratings. 

    • For one member, the legal department made IA change the red rating “ineffective” to “major improvement needed.” This was because, in the case of a lawsuit, ineffective could be misconstrued and create a problem.
    • Another member mentioned that sometimes auditees, particularly millennials, take issue even if their mitigation efforts are good or get the top rating. In this member’s case, that rating is “satisfactory,” which to some ears sounds mediocre or worse. But the auditor said it’s not his job to say it’s anything more than that. 
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    Closing a Quarter for SOX Can be Difficult in New, Remote World

    An internal auditor describes what his company has done to successfully close a quarter when some physical tasks can’t be done.

    Part of Sarbanes-Oxley, the internal controls act released in 2002, requires a corporate’s chief executive and financial officers to certify financial and other information contained in the issuer’s quarterly and annual reports. But what happens in a crisis? What if some of that info requires someone in place to record inventory or in-person meetings when employee movement is heavily restricted during the current pandemic?

    An internal auditor describes what his company has done to successfully close a quarter when some physical tasks can’t be done.

    Part of Sarbanes-Oxley, the internal controls act released in 2002, requires a corporate’s chief executive and financial officers to certify financial and other information contained in the issuer’s quarterly and annual reports. But what happens in a crisis? What if some of that info requires someone in place to record inventory or in-person meetings when employee movement is heavily restricted during the current pandemic?

    Practice. One answer is the punchline to the joke, “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?” Practice, practice, practice. That’s essentially what one member of NeuGroup’s Internal Audit Peer Group has done over the past few years. The company developed a robust business continuity plan where SOX was a particular focus and has used it a few times over the years for natural disasters and has audited the plan several times. So with COVID-19, “We’re in pretty good shape,” the member said.

    Take a photo. Despite the company being comfortable with remote working, there still are challenges to closing the quarter amid the global pandemic. This includes practices like obtaining “wet ink” signatures, getting people in place for inventory observation or cut-off testing for shipping.

    • In this case, the auditor said, the company “did what it could when it came to inventory.” Local managers took photos of inventory before they were told to leave the premises. And managers were able to obtain wet signatures while keeping in mind social distancing rules. Where this couldn’t be done, e-signatures like those provided by DocuSign were allowed.
      • In one of NeuGroup’s treasury peer group zoom meetings recently, one practitioner in Europe said his relationship banks were permitting DocuSign functionality for 90 days.
    • Preparation. The member’s company listed all the controls it thought it wouldn’t be able to use when people couldn’t access company buildings or managers had little access to each other.
      • “We identified the controls and have been able to postpone some reporting,” he said. “It’s going to be an interesting quarter, but I think we’ll be able to close with no problems.”
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    Corporate Finance Ranks Most Concerned About 2020 Risks

    What, me worry? Yes! Finance execs most worried about risks in the new year.

    Corporate finance executives have jumped to the lead in terms of companies’ top executives concerned about the magnitude and severity of risks their organizations face in 2020, with economic conditions and regulatory scrutiny their top concerns.

    What, me worry? Yes! Finance execs most worried about risks in the new year.

    Corporate finance executives have jumped to the lead in terms of companies’ top executives concerned about the magnitude and severity of risks their organizations face in 2020, with economic conditions and regulatory scrutiny their top concerns.

    On a scale of one to 10, chief financial officers’ impression of risk faced by their companies in the year ahead jumped to 6.5 from 6.0 in last year’s survey. That puts them in the lead from fifth place last year, out of seven categories of surveyed executives that comprised board members and six types of C-suite executives. Dr. Mark Beasley, professor and director of the Enterprise Risk Management Initiative (ERMI) at N. Carolina State University, noted that chief audit officers’ assessment of risk also increase noticeably from last year, and chief risk officers’ bumped up slightly, to 6.0 from 5.9.

    Chief executives officers and boards of directors instead saw their concerns about risk lesson in this year’s study compared to last year’s.

    The research was conducted by ERMI and consultancy Protiviti, and co-authored by Mr. Beasley and Ken Thomas, a managing director in Protiviti’s Business Performance Improvement practice. The survey received responses from 825 C-Suite executives and directors in companies across the globe. The top five concerns for CFOs were:

    Economic conditions. Although the second concern overall, CFOs marked economic conditions starting to restrict some growth opportunities as their top concern, a big jump from last year’s survey when it was not even among the top 10 risks.

    Regulatory changes and scrutiny. CFOs worry that an emphasis on regulations may increase and noticeably affect the manner in which their companies’ products and services will be produced or delivered. Mr. Beasley noted that the regulations extend beyond financial requirements to areas such as privacy, with European privacy regulations already in effect and those in California arriving in 2020, and increased government scrutiny of business models such as the big technology firms’.

    Resistance to change. As innovative technology is deployed at an ever more rapid pace, CFOs are concerned about their organizations’ ability to embrace that change and remain competitive.

    Top talent. Related to the previous concern, CFOs are concerned about their companies’ ability to attract and retain top talent in a tightening talent market, and consequently their ability to achieve operational targets. “How does [corporate finance] move from more production-type activities to more machine learning and other artificial intelligence technologies, taking people away from the analytics they used to spend time on and using that talent in the most efficient way,” Mr. Thomas said.

    Cyber, of course. Pervasive across companies, cyber-risk concerns keep CFOs awake at night worrying about whether their organizations are sufficiently prepared to manage cyber threats that could significantly disrupt core operations and/or damage the company’s brand. Mr. Thomas noted that finance departments’ increasing use of technology-driven analytics ingests pulls data from multiple sources, heightening the risk. “Companies are moving to more tech-driven activities and operations that rely ever more on sources of data that can be impacted,” he said.

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    Beyond Bopreal: Argentina’s Long Road To Relaxed Controls

    Why some NeuGroup members say they won’t buy Series 3 Bopreal bonds to send dividends out of the country.

    After four months of auctioning Bopreal bonds that allow importers to pay off cross-border debts, Argentina’s central bank (BCRA) is responding to flagging demand by opening up the bonds to companies seeking to distribute profits or dividends—perhaps as soon as the next auction, May 6. This possibility is being interpreted by some observers as a first step in lifting capital controls that have left multiple billions of cross-border dividends unpaid—the result of most cash repatriations via dividend requiring approval by the BCRA since Sept. 2019.

    • But here’s the rub: NeuGroup member companies expressing views in sessions and to NeuGroup Insights are decidedly unenthused about buying the bonds to pay dividends. One called them “very uninteresting.” One reason is the belief that if capital controls are lifted anytime soon, it will pay to wait for better terms.
    • “If you’re going to buy one of those bonds, then you do not believe they will open up the spigot in the short term,” one member said. He agreed, though, that allowing the bonds to be used to pay dividends may help start opening the spigot. “It’s certainly worth a try.”

    Why some NeuGroup members say they won’t buy Series 3 Bopreal bonds to send dividends out of the country.

    After four months of auctioning Bopreal bonds that allow importers to pay off cross-border debts, Argentina’s central bank (BCRA) is responding to flagging demand by opening up the bonds to companies seeking to distribute profits or dividends—perhaps as soon as the next auction, May 6. This has been interpreted by some observers as a first step in lifting capital controls that have left multiple billions of cross-border dividends unpaid—the result of most cash repatriations via dividend requiring approval by the BCRA since Sept. 2019.

    • But here’s the rub: NeuGroup member companies expressing views in sessions and to NeuGroup Insights are decidedly unenthused about buying the bonds to pay dividends. One called them “very uninteresting.” One reason is the belief that if capital controls are lifted anytime soon, it will pay to wait for better terms.
    • “If you’re going to buy one of those bonds, then you do not believe they will open up the spigot in the short term,” one member said. He agreed, though, that allowing the bonds to be used to pay dividends may help start opening the spigot. “It’s certainly worth a try.”

    Series 3: no thanks. A number of NeuGroup members purchased the first two series of Bopreals, which mature in 2025 and 2027. Many sold the bonds in the secondary market, taking a significant haircut to access the funds immediately, freeing trapped cash. Here are some specific reasons members said they don’t plan to purchase the Series 3 Bopreals, which mature in 2026 and yield 3%.

    • One company’s Argentine subsidiary has used trapped cash as working capital and does not have much remaining.
    • Another corporate’s subsidiary has too much outstanding intercompany debt to focus on paying dividends.
    • Others don’t want to wait two years for the bonds to mature or sell them on the secondary market at a steep discount.
    • Some members say they can get better deals from other investments.

    A banker on Bopreals. In an interview with NeuGroup Insights, Banco Comafi’s Mateo Gall agreed with one member who said Series 3 Bopreals used to pay dividends may make sense for corporates with large, retained earnings. “They might be interested,” he said. “Those corporates find it hard to do any of the alternatives a lot of NeuGroup members have done.”

    • That said, in a recent session of NeuGroup’s Argentina Crisis Community, Mr. Gall discussed options beyond Bopreals to free trapped cash. He recommended they purchase “hard-dollar bonds” issued by local companies. They’re dollar-denominated, offer maturities as short as one year, and allow the purchaser to lock in the blue-chip swap rate at the time of purchase.
    • Blue-chip swaps are transactions accessing an unofficial FX market that, if used by a corporate, means the company can’t access the official FX rate for 180 days. Mr. Gall said one of the first steps the government will likely take to open the so-called spigot is to cut down that waiting period.
    • “They are trying to take away demand for dollars before lifting controls,” he said. Mr. Gall added that the aim will be to “start to lift controls, causing the blue-chip swap and official FX rate to trend closer together.”

    Waiting game. What most members want to know, of course, is when today’s capital controls will be history. Gabriel Gomez-Giglio, the chair of Baker McKenzie’s Latin American banking and finance practice, said “it is a question of when, not if” the government will begin to lift controls in the short-term. “The government needs investors to start doing their part and shall be sending messages in this direction shortly.”

    • Last week, Argentina president Javier Milei celebrated the peso’s performance against the US dollar in 2024 and earlier this year said he aims to eliminate capital controls as soon as this June. Few people believe that. Mr. Gall said an optimistic but realistic view might be to expect a relaxation of controls by the end of the year. But many members are not that optimistic.
    • “There’s no way currency controls could sustain going from massive to none within a year,” one treasurer said. “You’d need to open the spigot a little bit, and a little bit more, and a whole host of things to go right for Argentina over five years—at best.”
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    The Big Picture: Why Bank Funding Changes Matter to Corporates

    Putting a NeuGroup member question about fed funds credit lines in a broader context for banks and their clients.

    Corporations have been spending significantly more time and effort monitoring and mitigating bank counterparty credit risk since the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank in 2023. NeuGroup member companies have taken a variety of steps, with some limiting or eliminating their exposure to institutions other than large, global systemically important banks. At the same time, “banks, especially regional banks, are being pushed to reevaluate their funding mix by both regulators and investors,” noted Jerry Olivo, a former banker who leads NeuGroup for Regional Bank Treasurers.

    • The question below from a member of the group about federal funds credit lines provided to banks by correspondent banks should be considered within that broader context and “the bigger story of banks revamping their contingency funding plans to diversify sources and increase the value of borrowings during times of liquidity stress,” Mr. Olivo said.

    Putting a NeuGroup member question about fed funds credit lines in a broader context for banks and their clients.

    Corporations have been spending significantly more time and effort monitoring and mitigating bank counterparty credit risk since the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank in 2023. NeuGroup member companies have taken a variety of steps, with some limiting or eliminating their exposure to institutions other than large, global systemically important banks. At the same time, “banks, especially regional banks, are being pushed to reevaluate their funding mix by both regulators and investors,” noted Jerry Olivo, a former banker who leads NeuGroup for Regional Bank Treasurers.

    • The question below from a member of the group about federal funds credit lines provided to banks by correspondent banks should be considered within that broader context and “the bigger story of banks revamping their contingency funding plans to diversify sources and increase the value of borrowings during times of liquidity stress,” Mr. Olivo said.
    • “The issue that banks and corporations care about is how changes in bank funding and the liquidity requirements mix will impact the cost of banking services, availability of credit, and the safety of uninsured deposits.”

    Banking basics. “Banks need to have tested plans for scenarios when they need to borrow funds during a period of market and/or bank-specific liquidity shortfalls,” Mr. Olivo said. “They need multiple sources of committed funding or larger liquidity buffers during these times.”

    • Correspondent banks, meanwhile, lend short-term (usually overnight) funds to other banks, known as fed funds. But these lines of credit are usually uncommitted, “meaning they can be rescinded at any time by the other bank,” he said. “So they could decline to lend at precisely the time that the requesting bank needs the funds.”

    The following discussion among bank treasurers on NeuGroup’s members-only, online community platform highlights their heightened focus on locking in reliable sources of liquidity during periods of stress. The resulting increase in their resiliency raises the likelihood that banks can continue providing services during periods of market stress while minimizing counterparty risks to their clients, Mr. Olivo said.

    Member question:
     “What is the appropriate amount of fed funds lines—and across how many correspondents? We are going through a process of trying to optimize (cut down) our correspondent bank partners. Like many of you, we have grown over $10 billion in a relatively short period of time.

    • “Through that, our correspondent bank partners and the fed funds lines provided by them have been cobbled together over time. I was wondering how the rest of you thought about a desired amount of contingent liquidity specifically from fed funds lines?
    • “Also, if you are setting a total dollar amount that you want to have access to in fed funds lines, is there a number of correspondents you want that available from for diversification purposes?”

    Peer answer 1: “From a contingency funding/stress testing scenario, we assume $0 for fed funds availability. All of our lines are uncommitted and we don’t pay a fee for the line. So, if you want to sell us money, we’ll put you on the list.”

    Peer answer 2: 
    “Our correspondent fed funds lines are also uncommitted, subject to availability, and almost guaranteed to not be available when we may want to use them. We don’t have a mix target of fed funds lines vs. available funding sources. We only have them with primary correspondents. And l also assume they are not available in stress testing.”

    Peer answer 3:
     “Same on our end as far as being uncommitted, and we assume they’d be unavailable in stress scenarios. We have about a half-dozen lines right now. But as we get larger, we are thinking about how to prune them back, depending upon the rest of our relationship with the correspondents themselves.”

    Peer answer 4:
     “Same regarding giving no credit to the fed funds lines. We keep them because they are free, but actually don’t care about them anymore in stress or in real life.

    • “We decided to test all our liquidity lines with a full-draw request on the Monday after the SVB collapse. One funded 100% in minutes. One delayed until the end of the day and I had to put pressure on them and they delivered 25% of our request. One said they would only give us $25,000, no joke. One said they had canceled our line months ago but forgot to tell us.”

    More input. During a session for bank treasury team members led by Mr. Olivo this week, only one participant said their bank includes fed funds credit lines in its contingency plan. A couple of peers said access to fed funds is part of their banks’ funding diversification efforts but not a significant funding source.

    Analysis. 
    The peer answers are consistent with a widespread move away from fed funds borrowing by banks in the wake of the global financial crisis. A blog analysis by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York last year says daily trading volume in fed funds “dropped from around $150 billion to $175 billion, or around 2% of commercial bank assets, prior to 2008 to around $60 billion to $80 billion per day in the 2010s, increasing to an average of $110 billion, or 0.5% of bank assets, per day in 2023.”

    • One reason cited: In the fall of 2008, Congress gave the Fed the authority to pay depository institutions interest on their excess reserve balances. Prior to that, Mr. Olivo said, any balance in excess of deposit reserve requirements did not earn interest so it was more common to lend excess overnight cash to other banks.
    • “Although deposit reserve requirements have since been eliminated, banks continue to earn competitive rates on balances held at the Fed so they prefer to leave liquidity buffers there or in other high-quality liquid assets.”
    • This matters to bank clients, regulators and the financial system to the extent that institutions that place excess funds at the Fed or in high-quality liquid assets represent lower risks than banks lending to other banks—without a material sacrifice of return.

    Bonus question. One of the peers asked a related question: “Do you take your fed funds providers through your vendor management (VM) process?” He received three answers:

    1. “We do have them as part of a third-party risk management process. And we do a high-level correspondent review quarterly as well.”
    2. “Not for all fed funds providers, only the high-level quarterly correspondent review. Yes for those who we are using for correspondent services beyond the fed funds line.”
    3. “We carved out our correspondent banks and broker-dealers from the VM process and include the diligence and monitoring requirements for them into a policy owned by treasury, the investment policy, for lack of a better place. I can see potential for criticism from regulators given the focus on VM.”
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    Confronting Currency Complexities: A Capability Center in India

    Designing a structure to help FX hedging effectiveness, address tax and regulatory issues, and reduce leakage.

    Establishing centers of excellence or global capabilities centers is one way a growing number of multinational corporations are transforming themselves into more efficient enterprises that tap skilled talent in overseas markets with lower labor costs to perform value-added services. These corporates must make decisions about where to locate the centers, their functional currencies, how to fund them and how they invoice the parent or subsidiaries.

    • Many NeuGroup member companies have set up these centers in India, introducing exposure to the Indian rupee, often requiring the use the non-deliverable forward market to hedge. NDFs are offshore dollar-settled currency derivatives.

    Designing a structure to help FX hedging effectiveness, address tax and regulatory issues, and reduce leakage.

    Establishing centers of excellence or global capabilities centers is one way a growing number of multinational corporations are transforming themselves into more efficient enterprises that tap skilled talent in overseas markets with lower labor costs to perform value-added services. These corporates must make decisions about where to locate the centers, their functional currencies, how to fund them and how they invoice the parent or subsidiaries.

    • Many NeuGroup member companies have set up these centers in India, introducing exposure to the Indian rupee, often requiring the use the non-deliverable forward market to hedge. NDFs are offshore dollar-settled currency derivatives.

    Billing in INR or USD? One NeuGroup member company is establishing an innovation hub or global capabilities center in India. A US-based assistant treasurer explained to NeuGroup Insights that “the initial intent is to hire technical talent in order to provide ‘value add’ work; the intent isn’t to move ‘low value’ work to this operation.”

    • The AT recently posed a question to peers on NeuGroup’s members-only, online community platform: “For companies that have global capabilities centers in India (or elsewhere) that are providing services to your companies headquartered in the US: In what currency does your global capabilities center bill or invoice (cost-plus) your US operation? INR or USD?”
    • In elaborating, the AT told NeuGroup Insights that the question concerns financial reporting and which entity “we want to incur the FX risk.”
    • The majority of members responding said their companies’ centers in India bill in USD. And one member advised, “generally, you should bill in functional currency of the beneficiary. I think a good conversation to have with your tax team is about export of services/what the controlled currency is and if there are any risks or benefits in settling in USD and having that conversion onshore.”

    Tax enters the picture. No surprise, treasury’s decision on billing and functional currencies for the capabilities center in India has to take tax and accounting considerations into account.

    • “It was the desire of our accounting team to have the Indian operation (which is not in a Special Economic Zone) be INR functional and for the billing/invoicing to be in INR,” the AT said. “There is an argument that if the revenue of the Indian entity is USD, the functional currency should be USD as well. Our new operation in India is a branch of an existing Indian subsidiary. We didn’t want to impact the functional currency of the sub.”
    • Adding to the complexity, a non-US (and non-Indian) subsidiary has administrative oversight over the Indian operation. So the Indian subsidiary bills that non-US/Indian subsidiary, which in turns bills the company’s US parent. “Ultimately, it is the Indian operation performing services for the US businesses,” the AT explained.
    • One reason that matters: “Since this work is being performed in India on behalf of our US operations, it is considered an export, exempt from goods and services taxes,” the member said. “Depending on billing currency, the India government might not consider it an export (which would have an impact on GST).”

    A nostro vostro process. The AT’s company consulted its US auditing firm and its banking partner in India to find a way to retain the exemption from GST while billing in INR. “We can do this through the use of the banking nostro/vostro process,” the AT explained. Here’s how that will work:

    • “While billed in INR, our non-US/Indian subsidiary will send USD equivalent to the nostro account of their correspondent bank in India. Through the nostro process, USD will be converted to INR and deposited in our Indian subsidiary bank account.
      • “We will have the audit trail of USD being sent into the country and then converted to INR, which meets the export regulatory requirements. And we are centralizing the FX exposures at a parent entity which helps simplify future hedging activities.”
    • The bank, the member added, will provide the documentation of the conversion (credit advices) to the corporate’s tax team, “which will be the required documents to be filed for our GST refund.” One other achievement: “Regarding leakage, we are able to competitively bid out the FX conversions versus having a single counterparty monopolize the economics.”
    • One of the peers responding to the AT’s question noted other benefits of this approach: “If the GCC is INR functional and the billing is in INR (even though settling in USD), then it eliminates P&L volatility for US GAAP in the local entity and centralizes the FX exposures at HQ. Any other option will give rise to volatility that may/may not be hedged out efficiently.”
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    Trapped Cash Unlocked: Bopreal Pipeline Pays Off for Corporates

    Some NeuGroup members are using Argentina’s Bopreal bonds to free nearly all of their trapped cash amid peso devaluation.

    During continued devaluation of the Argentine peso that may only get worse, multiple NeuGroup members are prioritizing the use of the Bopreal series of bonds launched last December to help importers pay off cross-border debt to get trapped cash out of the country as soon as possible.

    • Members discussed their use of these bonds in a recent session of NeuGroup for Latin America Treasury featuring experts from Banco Comafi. One member said their view is that devaluation will continue to worsen, and said their company would be “exposed like sitting ducks” if they weren’t able to get the cash out of the country as soon as possible.
    • Comafi’s Mateo Gall said futures markets are pricing in devaluation rates around 10% by this July amid economic, political and social challenges in Argentina. However, recent positive outcomes like increased dollar deposits in the country have led to a reduced likelihood of an official devaluation like the one that occurred last December.
    • Bopreals have been released in weekly auctions by the Argentine central bank (BCRA), with three series of bonds, each with unique maturities and restrictions. The first series, which reached its maximum $5 billion allocation in January, matures in 2027 and does not include the country’s 30% tax on outgoing cash. The second and third series mature in 2025 and 2026.

    Some NeuGroup members are using Argentina’s Bopreal bonds to free nearly all of their trapped cash amid peso devaluation.

    During continued devaluation of the Argentine peso that may only get worse, multiple NeuGroup members are prioritizing the use of the Bopreal series of bonds launched last December to help importers pay off cross-border debt to get trapped cash out of the country as soon as possible.

    • Members discussed their use of these bonds in a recent session of NeuGroup for Latin America Treasury featuring experts from Banco Comafi. One member said their view is that devaluation will continue to worsen, and said their company would be “exposed like sitting ducks” if they weren’t able to get the cash out of the country as soon as possible.
    • Comafi’s Mateo Gall said futures markets are pricing in devaluation rates around 10% by this July amid economic, political and social challenges in Argentina. However, recent positive outcomes like increased dollar deposits in the country have led to a reduced likelihood of an official devaluation like the one that occurred last December.
    • Bopreals have been released in weekly auctions by the Argentine central bank (BCRA), with three series of bonds, each with unique maturities and restrictions. The first series, which reached its maximum $5 billion allocation in January, matures in 2027 and does not include the country’s 30% tax on outgoing cash. The second and third series mature in 2025 and 2026.

    Turnaround for series 1. After a slow start for the first series of Bopreals last December, the government sweetened the terms, sparking demand. In addition, one member said that “everybody and their mother suddenly wanted in on” the bonds when it became clear they were an effective, reliable way to free trapped cash.

    • For one member with outstanding debt to vendors in the US, it took multiple attempts to purchase series 1 bonds, with the BCRA only granting half of their bid on the first attempt. But after subsequent requests in the following weeks, the member was able to free up all of the company’s trapped cash in the country using series 1 Bopreals that they sold on the secondary market for about two-thirds of the bonds’ USD value.
    • The company will be able to access Argentina’s blue-chip swap market (an unofficial FX market that carries an unfavorable rate) on April 1 to pay their vendors the remaining value while exempt from a 90-day required waiting period that typically applies to this market—a bonus exclusively for the first series.

    Scoring with series 2 and 3. One member, whose company had several million “old and cold” dollars trapped in the country, attempted to access this first series of bonds, but due to such high demand their bank could not get the bid ready in time. The company has subsequently freed more than three-quarters of intercompany debt trapped in the country with purchases from series 2 and 3.

    • The member said that, whether or not a corporate works with their bank, there is a bounty of paperwork required to register these debts with the BCRA. “There’s lots of manual work, including uploading many documents, to present yourself with payment,” they said.
    • The member was allocated series 2 bond equal to about one-third of the company’s trapped cash. They received an additional amount through a series 3 auction. 
    • In last week’s auction of series 3 bonds, the BCRA awarded the entirety of 205 requested bids. In a sign the bonds may be satiating demand, nearly $2 billion of series 3 remains and is open to all importers with debts, regardless of registered balances, in this week’s auction.

    Hold or sell? Because the bonds do expose a company to sovereign risk, this member is evaluating the secondary market to determine whether—and when—to sell the bonds.

    • “And if we take it onto the secondary market, we’d have to figure out how to account for that,” the member said. “I just don’t know if we want to pull that trigger yet, we may just wait to see how it all shakes out.”
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    Fitch Economist Olu Sonola Sees Mixed Bag for Corporates in 2024

    Companies face cooling inflation but elevated wage growth amid a slowing economy with recession unlikely.

    In a Strategic Finance Lab podcast you can listen to on Apple and Spotify, Fitch Ratings’ head of US Regional Economics Olu Sonola paints a relatively positive picture of the economic outlook in 2024, thanks in large part to the strength of the US consumer and declining inflation.

    • “The balance sheet of the US consumer is very, very strong,” he tells NeuGroup Peer Group leader Andy Podolsky in the podcast recorded in December 2023 and sponsored by Fitch.
    • This week, Fitch raised its annual real consumer spending forecast for 2024 to 1.3% from 0.6%, “reflecting the ongoing willingness and ability of consumers to draw down buffers of excess savings.”

    Companies face cooling inflation but elevated wage growth amid a slowing economy with recession unlikely.

    In a Strategic Finance Lab podcast you can listen to on Apple and Spotify, Fitch Ratings’ head of US Regional Economics Olu Sonola paints a relatively positive picture of the economic outlook in 2024, thanks in large part to the strength of the US consumer and declining inflation.

    • “The balance sheet of the US consumer is very, very strong,” he tells NeuGroup Peer Group leader Andy Podolsky in the podcast recorded in December 2023 and sponsored by Fitch.
    • This week, Fitch raised its annual real consumer spending forecast for 2024 to 1.3% from 0.6%, “reflecting the ongoing willingness and ability of consumers to draw down buffers of excess savings.”

    Mixed picture. That said, Mr. Sonola forecasts that both consumer spending and US GDP growth will slow this year from 2023, with negative implications for corporate revenues, especially for companies whose customers are on the lower end of the income scale, he explains in the podcast.

    • And although inflation will slow, companies will not have the same ability to pass on higher costs, he said. Combine that with wage growth that Mr. Sonola says is “still elevated” as well as higher interest expense but lower investment yields and corporates will see an erosion of margins this year.
    Olu Sonola, Fitch Ratings

    Along with recession, NeuGroup members surveyed in 2023 cited high borrowing costs as one of the top risks for this year. Those fears have tempered as a so-called soft landing for the economy appears more likely. But don’t expect the Fed to cut interest rates in March, Mr. Sonola said. Fitch forecasts cuts in the middle of the year, with the federal funds rate declining 75 basis points to 4.75% by the end of 2024.

    • But he expects highly-leveraged companies with lower credit ratings will need to refinance debt sooner than investment-grade corporates, meaning they “are going to be much more exposed to a higher rate environment,” noting that rates remain significantly elevated compared to three years ago.
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    Dollar-Denominated Bonds in Argentina Draw Corporate Interest

    USD-denominated Bopreal bonds offer a way for subsidiaries in Argentina to pay debts owed to US-based parents.

    The Argentine subsidiaries of some NeuGroup member multinationals are buying so-called Bopreal bonds that Argentina started selling late last year to help importers pay off debt—including money subsidiaries owe parent companies. The bonds are providing relief to corporates with cash trapped in a country with strict capital controls, hyperinflation and a heavily devalued currency.

    • Bopreals are dollar-denominated but can be purchased with Argentine pesos at the country’s official FX rate. They can only be used to pay outstanding invoices for goods delivered before December 12, 2023.

    USD-denominated Bopreal bonds offer a way for subsidiaries in Argentina to pay debts owed to US-based parents.

    The Argentine subsidiaries of some NeuGroup member multinationals are buying so-called Bopreal bonds that Argentina started selling late last year to help importers pay off debt—including money subsidiaries owe parent companies. The bonds are providing relief to corporates with cash trapped in a country with strict capital controls, hyperinflation and a heavily devalued currency.

    • Bopreals are dollar-denominated but can be purchased with Argentine pesos at the country’s official FX rate. They can only be used to pay outstanding invoices for goods delivered before December 12, 2023.
    • The bonds offer an attractive option to corporates with limited ways to get money out of Argentina. One of the more popular, called a blue-chip swap, carries an unfavorable, unofficial exchange rate and requires companies using it to wait another 90 days until accessing the country’s official FX market.
    • In recent NeuGroup sessions and online conversations, members have raised questions about Bopreals. To clear up any remaining confusion about these complex bonds, NeuGroup’s Argentina Crisis Community will meet in a virtual session on February 7 with experts from Banco Comafi to discuss upcoming auctions.

    Buy, then sell. This week, one member based in Argentina bought Bopreals that will be used to make a payment to foreign vendors. The member plans to sell the securities in the secondary market.

    • In a recent NeuGroup session, Martin Merlo from Banco Comafi said he has seen the bonds sell for 60% to 70% of their original value in the secondary market. The other option would be holding the bonds until maturity, although members have indicated vendors are unwilling to wait years for payment.
    • One benefit of selling in the secondary market, according to members, is that a corporate can then access the blue-chip swap market starting April 1 to raise the remaining percentage of the invoice in USD, while remaining exempt from the 90-day required waiting period—a special exemption for the first series of sales.
    • So, if a corporate were to buy $1 million in Bopreal and sell the bonds, the amount they transfer to the vendor outside Argentina might only be $700,000. Because the vendor still wants the remaining amount, the Argentine entity could do a blue-chip swap to raise the remaining $300,000 without the 90-day penalty.
    • One US-based exporter had been told that accepting the bonds directly from the company’s customers was the only option for payment. But, following conversations with members, he now plans to suggest the buyers in Argentina sell the bonds on the secondary market.

    Uncertainty ahead for invoices behind. Two more series of Bopreal bonds are on the horizon, with maturities in 2025 and 2026. The member said these will likely be aimed at smaller companies, as they carry less favorable conditions than the first series, including taxes and restrictions on secondary market sales. (The first series, exempt from the country’s 30% tax on outgoing cash, mature in 2027.)

    • “I don’t think you’ll get better conditions than what you will get now if you want access to dollars,” Mr. Merlo from Banco Comafi said.
    • A member responded, “If you don’t take advantage, those imports might be locked up for a long time.”
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    Bangalore Bound: Pushing Processes to Centers of Excellence

    Treasury at one company is migrating some processes to a COE in India, part of a larger transformation.

    The increasingly popular move among multinationals to establish a treasury center of excellence (COE) in a low-cost country or region is a multifaceted endeavor that for one NeuGroup member company included thoroughly assessing processes to determine which ones remain in corporate treasury or regional treasury centers, which go to a managed service provider (MSP) and which belong in the COE.

    • Members of NeuGroup for Mega-Cap Assistant Treasurers heard a firsthand account of the company’s journey to complete a treasury process realignment by mid-2024 that includes a COE in Bangalore, India. The treasury team’s director of global operations described the steps taken so far, lessons learned and the treasury COE’s relationship with the corporate’s global business services (GBS) organization.

    Treasury at one company is migrating some processes to a COE in India, part of a larger transformation.

    The increasingly popular move among multinationals to establish a treasury center of excellence (COE) in a low-cost country or region is a multifaceted endeavor that for one NeuGroup member company included thoroughly assessing processes to determine which ones remain in corporate treasury or regional treasury centers, which go to a managed service provider (MSP) and which belong in the COE.

    • Members of NeuGroup for Mega-Cap Assistant Treasurers heard a firsthand account of the company’s journey to complete a treasury process realignment by mid-2024 that includes a COE in Bangalore, India. The treasury team’s director of global operations described the steps taken so far, lessons learned and the treasury COE’s relationship with the corporate’s global business services (GBS) organization.

    Big picture. The development and expansion of that GBS organization and the more recent establishment of COEs are part of a transformation designed to limit transaction processing and provide deeper business insights to senior leadership throughout the enterprise, the member explained. This will be achieved in part through standardization and simplification of processes, and reducing work through automation and rationalization.

    • When asked by a peer about compensation cost savings, the member said there is value to realize in India. However, she made it clear that eliminating jobs is not the point of the COE. She expects treasury’s size to change over time, but more as a result of attrition, moving jobs and not backfilling positions. And in response to another member’s question, she said treasury is describing the movement of processes to the COE as a potential opportunity.
    • “We’re saying your job will look different in the future. Today you may be spending your time on operations. Tomorrow, we hope you’re spending your time providing insights to our organization. That’s how we’ve framed it and that’s been beneficial.”

    COEs, SSCs and MSPs. As NeuGroup Insights noted earlier this year, the subject of COEs often prompts a debate about how they differ from shared services centers (SSCs) used by many corporates—a distinction that matters. The presenting member said, “We view COEs as more of a center of expertise where we can pull in higher-value, operational processes that introduce more risk; I think of SSCs as performing very rules-based, prescriptive processes.”

    • For many non-treasury functions, this company is pushing repetitive, transactional, rules-based processes out of corporate teams to a third-party MSP, not an SSC, as part of a realignment overseen by the GBS organization. But only 5% of treasury processes will be performed by the MSP, including global bank account reconciliation.
    • “Our MSP doesn’t have the expertise to support all the transactional processes” for treasury, the member said. “There are and will be cases where our COE is supporting both transactional and value-add processes.”
    • The scope of a COE may change over time. One member quoted in our earlier story said, “When we started our COE five years ago, it performed pretty simple work, like data aggregation and first-line analysis. Now we are using it to concentrate high-caliber talent who can develop advanced models, which serve finance in executing sophisticated analytics.”

    Building the COE. Treasury designed a global standard taxonomy that involved documenting all its processes, requiring all treasury teams to allocate their work using the taxonomy. Workshopping sessions classified every process as either transactional, value-add or strategic. The final stage of the process is deploying structured, repeatable standard processes, tools and functional roles.

    • As a result of the assessment, treasury is moving these areas to the COE:
      • Manual treasury payments.
      • Treasury closing processes.
      • Back-office functions for derivatives.
      • Treasury system (tech) support.
      • Treasury reporting.
    • To run the COE organization, the member hired a senior manager with extensive treasury experience who is already based in India and works for the company. He will oversee treasury operations (payments, closing and back office) as well as treasury technology, which will handle tasks including level one and level two help-desk ticket support for activities including bank account management.
    • The senior manager will report to the member, who reports to an assistant treasurer. The COE reports to corporate and reports indirectly via a dotted line to the GBS organization. (Corporate treasury will manage governance, strategy and policies.)

    Lessons learned. The experience of the GBS organization demonstrated for treasury the downside of lifting and shifting processes from corporate or business teams to a COE, MSP or SSC. “Ideally you would standardize and automate before you shift work to a managed service provider if at all possible,” the member said. “We are putting those standardizations and automations in place before we move forward to establish our center of excellence.”

    • Hiring in India is hard. “The sooner you can start, the better,” the member said. The challenge reflects intense competition for talent and the need to find people with very specific skill sets. Another issue: finding people willing to work North American hours. “No one wants the night shift: that’s where we lose people.”
    • To train new employees, the member is overseeing corporate and regional teams that are documenting “as-is processes” using process maps and detailed desktop procedures. “We want enough details in those desktop procedures so that when we transfer it, theoretically someone could perform the process by just having a desktop procedure in front of them.”
    • The team is also mapping what it sees as the standardized, global approach to the process it hopes to achieve in the future. “What will a global standard process look like when we realign it into the COE?”

    Looking ahead. The AT from another company going through the COE process asked if the member, like him, was already facing questions from senior leaders about expanding the scope of the activities done by the COE. “It’s ‘why can’t you do your FX there, why can’t you issue CP out of there?’ The bar keeps getting raised as you start building out your capability,” he said.

    • The member envisions her company going through an optimization. “This is the beginning for us. But then we’ll review that taxonomy again. It will look different now that we’re evolving our organization; so we’ll take another review and see if there are any other opportunities. I think first, the leadership team wants to see this be successful. So we’re starting here, but I really do envision that evolving over the course of the next few years.”
    • Part of that process, she said, will be the establishment of metrics. “It’s going to be really important to manage our metrics so we’re working with the corporate team and regional treasury centers to develop service level agreements and KPIs and have those in place so that we’re really managing how the team is performing as we move forward.”
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    Recession and Rates Rank High on Treasurers’ 2024 Risk Lists

    New NeuGroup Peer Research reveals the risk of an economic downturn and high interest expense loom large.

    As treasurers look ahead to 2024, the results of the NeuGroup 2024 Finance and Treasury Agenda Survey reveal two intertwined risks—headwinds which may also appear at odds with each other—looming on the horizon: the continuing threat of recession, paired with interest rates that may remain higher for longer. Normally, of course, economic weakness brings about lower rates. But the last few years have been anything but normal.

    New NeuGroup Peer Research reveals the risk of an economic downturn and high interest expense loom large.

    As treasurers look ahead to 2024, the results of the NeuGroup 2024 Finance and Treasury Agenda Survey reveal two intertwined risks—headwinds which may also appear at odds with each other—looming on the horizon: the continuing threat of recession, paired with interest rates that may remain higher for longer. Normally, of course, economic weakness brings about lower rates. But the last few years have been anything but normal.

    Economic downturn ripple effect. So although more observers believe the Fed may be able to navigate a soft landing following the recent cycle of rate hikes in the US, members’ top risk headed into 2024 is the same as it was headed into 2023: economic downturn.

    • “I continue to see a great deal of uncertainty ahead that requires one to consider downside scenarios persistently in their thinking,” one member told NeuGroup Insights in an email. “The global economy is going through multiple major transitions and events are affecting economies in uneven ways and increasing overall fragility.”
    • NeuGroup senior executive advisor Paul Dalle Molle, who leads NeuGroup for Growth-Tech Treasurers, noted that fast-growing companies with credit ratings below investment grade are particularly vulnerable to the risks of tightening credit markets that would most likely accompany an economic downturn.

    Perfect storm. A potential recession, or even persistent declines in consumer spending, could put higher pressure on working capital—an issue which could compound if interest rates remain high, keeping borrowing costs elevated as well (members’ No. 3 risk for next year).

    • Over half of survey respondents expected interest rates to stay high or continue rising (see chart)—an issue that could portend weaker earnings, margin pressure and intensified calls by stakeholders to cut costs. To be sure, volatile markets and the recent decline in rates have no doubt altered rate expectations for some members—for now.

    Political fallout. NeuGroup members also expressed apprehension about political impacts, including geopolitical volatility and uncertainty around regulation.

    • Ongoing armed conflicts in the Middle East and Eastern Europe will continue to disrupt business in the new year. Other concerns mentioned by members include fallout from Argentina’s election of a president who promises to upend the status quo and another polarizing presidential election in the USA.
    • More restrictive regulation in the US on clean energy requirements may also follow in 2023, along with proposed tightening to Basel III and potential changes in Fed stress-test criteria in the wake of the banking crisis earlier this year.
    • “Fundamentally, I remain optimistic, but with a heightened sense of risk and urgency,” one member said. “For treasury, it’s a good moment to reflect on risk management. Take the time to review exposures, strategies and processes.”

    The cyber element. We should note that members ranked cyber risk No. 2 in the survey. Earlier this year, a Deloitte poll showed that over one-third of corporates had faced a cyberattack over a 12-month period.

    • In recent meetings, a number of members have shared how they are stepping up cybersecurity procedures within treasury, because insurance for cyberattacks is often too expensive.
    • One member shared that his company has regular drills in which the entire office shuts down its computers and switches to using spare, encrypted laptops for the day.
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    Currency Headache in Argentina: Chilling Effects of FX Controls

    A new regulation makes some blue-chip swaps, used to move trapped cash out of the country, less attractive.

    In the run-up to Argentina’s Oct. 22 general elections, the government body that regulates markets issued an official bulletin that has effectively limited outflows of Argentine pesos (ARS). In recent NeuGroup meetings, corporates and regional experts said the regulation increased the perceived legal risk of blue-chip swaps, a type of international asset trade where a multinational in Argentina typically uses local currency to buy sovereign bonds or shares of local companies with US listings and sells the securities offshore for dollars, often through a brokerage.

    • Blue-chip swaps offer corporates an option in FX markets in countries with tight controls on cash outflows—albeit at a much less favorable rate: Today, $1 translates to about 350 Argentine pesos (ARS) in official channels; the volatile, unofficial blue-chip rate hovers around 1,000 ARS. Some corporates are willing to accept the rate because these transactions are one of few ways to get trapped cash out of Argentina.
    • The new regulation requires five days of notice for any transaction above 200 million ARS—roughly $200,000 at the blue-chip rate. In a recent session of NeuGroup for Latin America TreasuryAlejandro Haro, CEO of Comafi Bursátil, the brokerage arm of Banco Comafi, said “this is a major change.”

    A new regulation makes some blue-chip swaps, used to move trapped cash out of the country, less attractive.

    In the run-up to Argentina’s Oct. 22 general elections, the government body that regulates markets issued an official bulletin that has effectively limited outflows of Argentine pesos (ARS). In recent NeuGroup meetings, corporates and regional experts said the regulation increased the perceived legal risk of blue-chip swaps, a type of international asset trade where a multinational in Argentina typically uses local currency to buy sovereign bonds or shares of local companies with US listings and sells the securities offshore for dollars, often through a brokerage.

    • Blue-chip swaps offer corporates an option in FX markets in countries with tight controls on cash outflows—albeit at a much less favorable rate: Today, $1 translates to about 350 Argentine pesos (ARS) in official channels; the volatile, unofficial blue-chip rate hovers around 1,000 ARS. Some corporates are willing to accept the rate because these transactions are one of the few ways to get trapped cash out of Argentina.
    • The new regulation requires five days of notice for any transaction above 200 million ARS—roughly $200,000 at the blue-chip rate. In a recent session of NeuGroup for Latin America TreasuryAlejandro Haro, CEO of Comafi Bursátil, the brokerage arm of Banco Comafi, said “this is a major change.”

    Chilling effects. Mr. Haro, as well as a NeuGroup member who has executed a blue-chip swap in the last week, said a knock-on effect of the regulation is that demand has steeply declined in the blue-chip market. That has essentially imposed a soft cap of about $3 million per swap transaction, down from around $15 million before the regulation.

    • He added that earlier this year the blue-chip swap market could see up to $80 million total per day, compared to $30 million now.
    • At a recent NeuGroup meeting, one treasury manager said he had plans to execute a blue-chip swap worth multiple millions in USD the week before the election, with an eye on another, larger transaction later. The new requirement to submit notice, in addition to increased regulatory attention, caused the treasury team to put an indefinite hold on the plan.
    • This is not the first step Argentina has taken to limit the use of the blue-chip mechanism. Earlier this year, the central bank issued a new regulation on blue-chip swaps: Before a party can execute the transaction, it must prove it has not tapped the country’s official FX market for 180 days; after the swap, it can’t access that market for another 180 days.

    Tangled legal knot. Gabriel Gomez-Giglio, the chair of Baker McKenzie’s Latin American banking and finance practice, noted in a recent interview that the new regulations, in concert with a number of other factors, including uncertainty around the Nov. 19 election run-off and ongoing price volatility in the country have “basically been a deterrent to conduct transactions.”

    • “Our clients are holding onto many more pesos,” he said, despite noticing rising demand from corporates to get cash out of the country. “It’s a vicious cycle.”
    • Mr. Gomez-Giglio, as well as Mr. Haro, noted that the regulation is unclear on how the five-day notice will be implemented, with no clarity on whether the day that notice is issued counts as one of the five days.

    Moving forward. There are many parties simply executing daily trades up to the legal limit that don’t require five days of notice, about $200,000 USD—but it’s not ideal, as the blue-chip rate fluctuates often, according to Mr. Haro.

    • The member who canceled plans for blue-chip swap transactions is looking for alternate avenues for trapped pesos. “We have been in a holding pattern, investing our excess cash in a money market fund that holds deposit balances,” he said. “This provides some protection.”
    • He’s also looking into dollar-linked bonds, as are some of Mr. Haro’s clients. Others are looking into hard-dollar bonds, which are dollar-denominated and issued in Argentina. Parties purchasing these must use the blue-chip rate—but because this does not qualify as a blue-chip swap, it does not require five days of notice or the 180-day waiting period.
    • Because of the perceived legal risk of transacting amid increased scrutiny from regulators, Mr. Haro and Mr. Gomez-Giglio each said they have noticed many corporates adopting a wait-and-see approach until after the presidential run-off election later this month. Sergio Massa, the nation’s current minister of economy, who received the most votes in the general election, will face off with libertarian economist Javier Milei, who seeks an overhaul of the economic system, leading to a “dollarization” of Argentina’s troubled economy.
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    Argentina: Trapped Cash, Election Tea Leaves, Chinese Currency

    Dollar-linked investments are one way multinationals are preparing for a possible devaluation of the Argentine peso.

    Multinational corporations closely watching Argentina’s primary elections on Aug. 13 for a preview of the general presidential election in October face significant uncertainty about the magnitude and timing of a possible devaluation of the Argentine peso. Many are seeking ways to hedge their exposure to the currency as they struggle to get trapped cash out of a country with capital controls, spiraling inflation, taxes on imports and a scarcity of US dollars.

    • “The big question mark in the market these days is what is going to happen with the official FX rate after the election,” said Alejandro Haro, CEO of Comafi Bursatil, the brokerage arm of Banco Comafi, which sponsored a recent meeting of NeuGroup for Latin American Treasury held in Buenos Aires. “We think there is a 100% probability of having a sharp movement in the official FX rate in the next year.”

    Dollar-linked investments are one way multinationals are preparing for a possible devaluation of the Argentine peso.

    Multinational corporations closely watching Argentina’s primary elections on Aug. 13 for a preview of the general presidential election in October face significant uncertainty about the magnitude and timing of a possible devaluation of the Argentine peso. Many are seeking ways to hedge their exposure to the currency as they struggle to get trapped cash out of a country with capital controls, spiraling inflation, taxes on imports and a scarcity of US dollars.

    • “The big question mark in the market these days is what is going to happen with the official FX rate after the election,” said Alejandro Haro, CEO of Comafi Bursatil, the brokerage arm of Banco Comafi, which sponsored a recent meeting of NeuGroup for Latin American Treasury held in Buenos Aires. “We think there is a 100% probability of having a sharp movement in the official FX rate in the next year.”
    • At the official exchange rate, the peso recently traded at about 280 per US dollar; the unofficial “blue-chip swap” rate that is less favorable for corporates sitting on pesos was about 590. The more than 100% gap between the rates is just one sign of the fear of devaluation and further depreciation.

    Dollar-linked investments. That outlook is driving more corporates to seek hedges through buying notes and bonds in Argentina’s relatively small debt capital markets. The yields earned on dollar-linked debt help offset the loss in value of a corporate’s cash amid local currency depreciation.

    • “We are seeing huge demand these days from our corporate clients on dollar-linked instruments that are linked to the official FX rate, not the blue-chip swap rate,” Mr. Haro said. “It’s a small market but you can use it to invest some of your pesos.”
    • Comafi Bursatil believes dollar-linked, intermediate investments are attractive, he added, noting that shorter-duration instruments have negative yields. Mr. Haro mentioned a 90-day promissory note recently issued by an Argentine company yielding about minus 12%. “We think that is a very good alterative if you want to be hedged through the elections.” He also cited a local issuer rated AA+ that sold two-year, dollar-linked notes with a yield of minus 9%.
    • During the surge in demand for hedging in Argentina over the last two years, Mr. Haro said, issuers have continued to issue bonds at a 0% rate, but with some now “pushing tenors” to five years, a rarity in the country.
    • As Bloomberg recently noted (see chart below), Argentine companies in industries including energy and telecom have taken advantage of demand by investors for dollar-linked assets, using the opportunity to issue low-rate debt to refinance or raise new capital.

    Putting cash to work. One company that presented at the meeting that is committed to putting local cash to work listed several actions for doing that, including investing in dollar-linked securities issued by the government that are held to maturity.

    • But the deteriorating economic situation in Argentina means “it’s been hard now to find alternatives to use all the cash,” the member said.
    • The corporate is also analyzing making dollar-linked loans to third parties as another way to deploy cash that offers a hedge against depreciation.

    The China factor. Adding complexity and perhaps opportunity to the calculus facing companies managing risk is the economic role China is playing in Argentina. In addition to investments in Argentina, China is strengthening economic ties through a currency swap line the South American country has tapped to avoid defaulting on IMF loans.

    • Some corporates are discussing with advisors the possibility of converting pesos to Chinese RMB and then into dollars. “Now that there’s a deal with China, do we have to maybe go through China to get money out?” one member asked.
    • The inquiring member had previously been converting pesos to dollars using the official rate. But those transactions have not been approved in many months, leading to the decision to try to access the blue-chip swap rate. To do that, a corporate must show it hasn’t accessed the official market in 180 days, and then won’t be able to access it for 180 days following use of the blue-chip swap rate.
    • Doing what the member proposed would also require regulatory approval to invoice in Chinese currency. But all other things being equal, Mr. Haro said, “I think to get a payment abroad in Chinese currency will be of much higher probability than to get it in USD. So if that is something you can do, I think that is a good idea.”
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    “I greatly value being a member of NeuGroup as it gives me a great opportunity to collaborate with peers, sharing knowledge and best practices. I’ve learned so much through these interactions.”

    Chris MitchellKoch Industries • Product Manager

    "Collaborating with NeuGroup has proven to be an effective means not only to communicate our added value to the treasury community but also to gain insights around the challenges treasury professionals are facing and how we can best position our franchise to be part of the solution. We appreciate that NeuGroup consistently engages with us like a partner with a long-term perspective."

    Sobani WarnerSiebert Williams Shank • Co-Head of Corporate Finance

    “NeuGroup has been and still is the most useful and enjoyable group of which I have been a member. You have made my job so much easier than you can imagine over the years. The membership is a great combination of industry and of size that it is always helpful.”

    John SidwellInfinera Corporation • Head of Internal Audit

    "I really like these NeuGroup in-person events because I can just talk openly about priorities, projects or case studies - I don't have to be worried about "presenting" things in a formal way, I just get to talk with peers about it."

    Luis ArrietaAmgen • Treasury Executive Director | Assistant Treasurer

    "We love the partnership that we’ve developed with the NeuGroup and the work that they do to convene constituents that are important to the growth of our business. We have found the NeuGroup convenings to be an organic way for us to connect with treasury and investment professionals , thus allowing us to continue to grow our firm’s visibility across our range of products and services. As well, the content that is created from the NeuGroup is informative and helpful to our strategy considerations."

    Sidney DillardLoop Capital • Partner

    "Tech 20 has been one of the key foundational pillars of my career development over many years. I have many friends in this group and spend a lot of time outside of the formal meetings exchanging ideas. I feel like it keeps me informed as a treasurer and helps me be smarter on trends going on."

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    "...it's a very collegiate group where we trust each other immensely and there is never a meeting that I leave without picking up at least two or three nuggets of really crucial information for me and how I operate and run my business."

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    "One of the things I truly appreciate is the ability to benchmark with my colleagues. That information can really only be garnered from conversations with my colleagues here at Tech 20."

    Odette GoLam Research Corporation • Vice President and Treasurers

    "We're interested in hearing how other professionals in the same discipline address the same problems we have. By sharing that information and doing so in a comradery type of way, you get a value that is multiple times the input that you provide. If you can consider joining such an organization, it's probably one of your better decisions."

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    "I have joined the Tech 20 group and benefit from that because I can get a lot of my industry peers together at one time and can discuss topics, challenges and how to come up with solutions and that helps me get all this knowledge all together as support to my career."

    Randy OuAlibaba (China) Co., Ltd • Treasury Vice President

    "I've been attending benchmarking meetings with the NeuGroup since 2001. I find the meetings super valuable because I'm able to benchmark with colleagues and our frank discussions under Chatham House Rules helped me to see around the corners."

    George ZinnMicrosoft Corporation • Vice President and Treasurer

    "I always love coming to the NeuGroup sessions with my peers...I belong to the Tech20 group I learn a lot from the other treasurers and I always have takeaways for my team."

    Kirsten NordlofAutodesk, Inc. • Vice President of Tax, Treasury and Risk Finance
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