My first week as ACT Chief Executive

Well, a week into my role and it’s been pretty exciting stuff! Being a Chartered Accountant I often get the jokes about being boring and all about the numbers and the same image is often portrayed about treasurers. But my early view is that there is a great, diverse and personable group out there doing some very interesting and important work for their organisations. In my first week I have met with our Policy & Technical Committee and representatives of the Bank of England, attended our excellent Deals of the Year event (which you can read about here), and joined our President Fiona

UK Payments Strategy for 21st Century

The final strategy document has been published and can be viewed here. The (Payment Services) PS forum has spent the last year talking to stakeholders across the UK to develop this strategy to meet perceived shortcomings in the UK payments infrastructure. The ACT responded to earlier drafts and calls for discussion. Members sit on the Forum and its sub groups. In general we agree to a strategy that foresees development of a more simple system which will be PSD2 compliant and seek further standardisation of file format to ease exchange of data. The impact on corporate treasurers, and their IT

Here come the codes

We have elsewhere noted the approaching publication of a number of market codes all designed to ‘improve’ behaviour in financial markets. The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) is coordinating a worldwide code for foreign exchange through a committee of central bankers. Phase 1 was published in May 2016 and the final code will be published in May 2017. The Bank of England is coordinating the development of a UK Sterling code through the Money Markets Liaison Committee which will cover money market deposits, repos, and securities lending and is also due to come into effect from May 2017. Finally, there

QE: investment stimulus, cheaper corporate financing or pension deficit booster?

The problem with any macro-economic stimulus is that a large economy is a mix of small economies. The problem the UK shares with other western economies is that the acceptable stimuli have become few. What’s available in the arsenal? The Bank of England has base rates, quantitative easing (QE), a target consumer price inflation (CPI) of 2% (which is currently 0.6%), and a commitment to a stable financial system. The government of the day can tinker with tax rates and/or overspend (i.e. borrow). These are simple and crude weapons. Investment decisions are not simple or uniform in their nature. UK business

On external deficits and funding

During the excitement of the post 2008 global financial crisis we became used to outbursts of public debate over debt at a national level. The press delighted in telling us that the Italian government would be borrowing just to pay interest if the rate reached 7%. And then we had the public airing of the Greek debt which has, temporarily, been resolved by issuing more. More recently has been public agonising over Chinese debt problems as commercial businesses fail with musings over the potential consequences for world order. More subtle has been the emergence in the UK of acknowledgement of the

Policy and Technical insight – March 2016

Has your bank informed you? Cut-off time extension for GBP CHAPS and CREST payments From 20 June 2016, the CHAPS and CREST settlement days will be extended to align more closely to the business day. In theory, this could result in greater flexibility for end users; in practice, this extension doesn’t necessarily change anything operationally, but your cash management banks should have been in touch with you to explain how your cut-off times for CHAPS payments may alter. If they have not, it is worth contacting them to understand how any changes impact your day to day operations as they

Brexit: will we, won’t we, and what would it mean?

We receive requests to talk on Brexit. The problem for us is that there is little to talk about. Government minds have not moved to discuss how it would happen and most “exit” scenarios are pushed out by parties trying to preserve the status quo. From a financial markets viewpoint, Brexit could be undramatic: We are not in the Euro, we have our own central bank, and we have a direct relationship with the IMF and G20 We are signed up to the G20/Pittsburgh initiative, which is EMIR and CRD IV, and so these can remain transposed into UK legislation

OTC derivatives, bank regulation, non-bank lending: join the debate

The ACT Annual Conference in Manchester is now less than a month away. This is the biggest treasury conference and exhibition in the UK and members should not miss this key event in the treasury professional’s calendar. Conference calling If you cannot attend please nominate someone from your team to join us; both you and your colleagues will benefit. We provide resources for continuing professional development throughout the year but this is the most efficient opportunity to consolidate CPD, as well as catch up with peers and product and service provision – all within two days. If you have yet