It will be obvious that we at the ACT just like all organisations have a strong interest in the health of the financial sector and the wider economy. Although I have described before how market ‘stress’ should bring out the best in the professional corporate treasurer, nonetheless the overall prosperity of our members’ employers – and therefore the chance to grow and develop careers – is of paramount concern. The combination of individuals’ career experience to-date and success with the ACT’s qualifications – where rigorous but fair assessment is a key distinguishing feature – equips our members to respond to personal growth opportunities when they arise. It is incidentally the case that historically we have always observed a beneficial impact on uptake of qualifications when employment prospects are coming under pressure – which makes the ACT to some extent ‘recession proof’.
Given the ‘interesting times’ in current financial markets the ACT has an important role to play in communicating how companies are responding to funding, transactional and institutional challenges. Our policy and technical team maintain contact with members; the views we take of the conditions facing the treasury and finance director community are reflected in the media whenever appropriate opportunities arise. A good recent example was the coverage in the FT of how banks’ lending practices may change over the next few years, coverage which drew on the ACT’s opinion throughout the article.
The ACT’s new qualification, the Certificate in International Treasury Management (CertITM), is meeting a real need both as a standalone qualification and as part of the overall AMCT Diploma in Treasury. We are just about to close the first enrolment period with over 120 enrolments as a standalone qualification; this bodes extremely well for the future of this vital qualification. What is especially encouraging is to see the international take-up, with candidates beyond Europe coming from Asia, Australia and North America – the split between the UK and the rest of the world is 50/50. This success is driven in part by the cooperative agreements we have signed with treasury associations around the world, allowing them to market CertITM with co-branding to link the local body with the ACT.
The results of elections for new members of the ACT’s Council will see Francis Burkitt (NM Rothschild), Jonathan Slade (Diageo) and Bob Williams (Barratt Developments) joining on 1 May. I know that all three will make a strong contribution to the ACT’s governance and strategy, and drawing Council members from both the corporate and financial sectors is a healthy reflection of the mix of members within the organisation.
With the announcement the other day of the first Islamic bond listing in London and the confirmation of the leading position of London as the western centre for Islamic finance it is particularly timely that the latest addition to our CPD tests covers Islamic finance.
I look forward to seeing many of you at our annual conference in Edinburgh at the end of April.