Last week I spent time in both Hong Kong and Singapore, touching base with our members as well as current and potential stakeholders.
It was fantastic to meet so many people who have been part of the ACT in Asia in one way or another over the last 10 years, especially hearing from them how much they value us as their association, or indeed as a partner. What came home to me was our uniqueness – because we are the leading advocate for treasurers globally, and we support our members when things get tough, our members are loyal to us, and we are therefore able to gain their insights. It’s a kind of virtual circle which, when combined with our internal expertise in the form of our policy & technical team, means that we are always at the forefront of what is important to the corporate treasurer (and their service providers, regulators and other influencers).
I met with a number of organisations, including the Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants (HKICPA), the International Association of CFOs and Corporate Treasurers, China (IACCT), HK University of Science & Technology (HKUST), Asia Securities Industry & Financial Markets Association (ASIFMA), and some banks and law firms. I spoke at a joint event with the Hong Kong ACT, for their members as well as ours, with guests from the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA), the HKICPA and the TMA. I talked to them about our new vision and mission, and the treasury education we provide, right from fundamentals through to masters level. They were very interested. We had a discussion on Brexit, and also the challenges for treasurers in Hong Kong. We followed this with some networking.
- Our educational offering is second to none, and the breadth we offer is unique.
- Universities need persuading (by advocates such as my contact in Hong Kong, Veronique Lafon-Vinais) that treasury skills should be added to the curriculum.
- There is a thirst for treasury training from a reputable organisation, and the trend is not to try to reinvent the wheel, but to partner.
- Gender diversity is an issue for a number of organisations, and they would like our support and input, similar to support we have given in the Middle East.
Clifford Chance hosted a member event at which I spoke, giving a general update on the ACT, followed by networking. I am very grateful to the firm, and to the good number of members who attended. I met with one of our trainers, Jason Mannell, as well as a number of banks, the Monetary Authority of Singapore, and the Singapore ACT. Agnes Favillier, our Vice President, attended the event and the ACTS meeting as well as spending some time with me.
- Again, our educational offering is unique, and there are great opportunities to support other bodies who would like training, as well as banks – where a win-win is created if bankers really ‘get’ the role of the treasurer and can speak the same language as their clients, and not fall into the trap of simply pushing product at them.
- Our events are world-class due to the emphasis we place on quality and thought leadership, and there is a real need for that quality in the treasury space.
The Far East is a region where we can add real value to our members and various partners. We have been active there the last ten years, and will continue to build relationships and add value, whilst ensuring the timing and frequency of our activities, as well as those whom we work with, matches our members’ needs.