Phoenix Group, the specialist consolidator of heritage life assurance funds, was declared the overall winner at the 2018 ACT Deals of the Year Awards, held on Thursday 7 February, for its £2.9bn acquisition of Standard Life Assurance Limited (SLAL). The Awards were held at London’s Banking Hall, with an audience of over 150 senior treasurers and treasury specialists.
Caroline Stockmann, ACT chief executive, and Scott Barton, managing director, large corporates at Lloyds Banking Group, welcomed guests to the annual ceremony. Senior treasury and finance professionals from corporates internationally had come together to celebrate excellence in the treasury profession at the 22nd annual Awards. Held in the 40th anniversary year of the ACT, the Deals of the Year Awards underline the importance of the work that treasurers do and the innovation and excellence shown across the profession.
Stephen Jones, the guest speaker and first CEO of UK Finance, the trade association for the finance and banking industry based in the UK, underlined the significance of the 40th anniversary of the founding of the Association of Corporate Treasurers, and its invaluable role in supporting the treasury profession and the broader economy. In that time, the ACT has played a crucial role in driving up professional standards and providing invaluable expertise to policymakers and was recognised through the award of a Royal Charter back in 2013. Jones urged the audience not to think about treasury’s role and purpose through the prism of short-term financial value alone but to take a longer-term focus view that would in return attract long-term investment and deliver lasting prosperity. He reminded everyone that The ACT and its members had a vital role to play in this process.
Excellence was demonstrated by all the award winners on the night, many of whom are ACT members – holders of, or studying for, our professional treasury qualifications – or ACT CPD-accredited employers. Success and standards, as always, going hand in hand.
There were over 140 nominations, and the judging panel said that they had seen a wide range of exceptional examples of treasury practice. As volatility has been the almost constant theme over the past year, treasurers have had to be fleet-footed and opportunistic.
The famously competitive treasury team awards were hotly contested and saw global port operator DP World taking home the Award for Large EMEA Treasury Team of the Year. The team also won the Bonds above £750m. Tesco and St Modwen were the winners of the Large and Small UK Team of the Year respectively.
Philip Learoyd, group treasurer at OCI and chair of our panel of judges said that “For all of our team award winners, the challenge of delivering change management projects at the same time as executing the funding and takeout of major transactions is a remarkably impressive achievement.” Treasurers are being asked to provide expertise and financial leadership across an increasing range of areas, something that is highlighted by the ACT’s annual Business of Treasury survey and shown by the nominees and winners across all the Deals of the Year Awards categories.
It was the second year of the Sustainable Finance category, and the number of nominations more than doubled with a much wider range of green and sustainable finance initiatives showcased. The Award shines a spotlight on an important area of future finance. From a strong field of nominations, there were joint winners, Renewi plc and Metroline.
Congratulations to all those who were nominated, to the highly commended and the award winners. The Deals of the Year Awards are a great opportunity to recognise excellence in treasury, and we look forward to celebrating more treasury achievements in the future. The 2019 Awards will open for entry in the autumn.
The full details for all the winners are on the ACT website.