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Highlights from the SWIFT Corporates Forum 2017 in Singapore

Singapore | 27th February 2017

With the current market and foreign exchange volatility and regulatory uncertainty creating challenges for business and finance decision makers, SWIFT, the world’s leading messaging services that are used and trusted by more than 11,000 financial institutions, held the SWIFT Corporates Forum 2017 in Singapore on the 27th February 2017.

SWIFT Corporates Forum 2017 in Singapore


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Optimizing Working Capital & Cashflow

“Optimising working capital,” says Peter Tan, Director of Corporate Treasury and Commodities, Risks Assurance of PwC as Asia has worst cash conversion rates, he advised Treasury department.

De-globalisation and elections in Germany, France and Netherlands coupled with tightening of U.S monetary policy will disrupt the markets.  In Asia, China’s higher cost of debt burden is predicted approximately to be $600 Billion at the end of 2017.

The slowing down economies means businesses needs to think how they can reduce the cost of funding, and ( immediately), working capital can be the cheaper source of funding.


Changing & Evolving Treasury Job Market 

The top 3 financial positions in demand in the Treasury Job Market are:

  1. Financial Analyst
  2. Manager in M&A
  3. Financial Manager

The growing sectors for Treasury Job Market is in Technology, Fintech, Medtech, InsureTech and BioMed.  Matthieu Imbert-Bouchard, Managing Director of Robert Half Singapore further added that the Treasury job market have 4 main problems:” Ageing workforce, manpower crunch, decrease in job creation and Skills shortage.”

Surveys conducted shows that 31% of managers value technical skills in regulatory, risk management & compliance while 27% of managers value leadership and soft skills.


Global Payment Connectivity and Risks

Damien Dugauquier, Commercial Director and Corporate Sales for ASEAN & Oceania Lead of SWIFT mentioned that the focus is on “increasing global connectivity by doing away with the e-banking platforms for different bank transactions for (Corporate Treasurers) while providing visibility on cash balances, which will improve budgeting and forecasting.” This automates remittances and payment processes, making it fast, transparent and traceable.

“Protect yourself from financial penalties by screening your transactions,” added Jean-Philippe Soubry, Director of Compliance Services Asia Pacific of SWIFT.

Reputational risks and breakdown of business relationships are at stake if transactions are sent to sanctioned areas or individuals. The most common examples were embargo sanctions in Middle East. OFAC guidelines are updated constantly and hard to keep up with but SWIFT feeds updates live.

The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the US Department of the Treasury administers and enforces economic and trade sanctions based on US foreign policy and national security goals against targeted foreign countries and regimes, terrorists, international narcotics traffickers, those engaged in activities related to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and other threats to the national security, foreign policy or economy of the United States. OFAC acts under Presidential national emergency powers, as well as authority granted by specific legislation, to impose controls on transactions and freeze assets under US jurisdiction. Many of the sanctions are based on United Nations and other international mandates, are multilateral in scope, and involve close cooperation with allied governments.


In a response to cyber risks and building a resilient framework for customer controls, Saqib Sheikh, Head of Sales Services Asia Pacific of SWIFT replied that “the Customer Security Programme included steps on restriction of internet usage within boundaries and training, self-assertation, self inspection and third party investigation.”

Stella Lim Head of Corporate Sales Asia-Pacific for SWIFT gave a closing remark for the exciting forum discussion.  The event attended by leading industry professionals and many CFOS, Treasurers, key business & finance decision-makers in Singapore.

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