CT Award winners: Asia’s Best Treasury and Finance Strategies
Now in the eighth year of our CT Awards - and the second year for our judging panel for our Best Treasury and Finance Strategies – the coronavirus outbreak has made for a year like no other for corporate treasurers.
Managing risks – for many corporates cliffside events not seen since the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the financial crisis of 1997 and even the Great Depression – has made the hunt for yield more exacting than ever.
Our awards advisory panel - Damian Glendinning, Gogo Ko Yung-lai and Aron Akesson - found choosing their winners no less exacting. The CT Awards received scores of submissions which we winnowed down to a shortlist of some 20-30 entries based on the strategy’s ability to reimagine corporate treasury.
What we were looking for were revolutionary applications that showed vision, breadth and broadened the treasury knowledge base in the Asia Pacific region.
For our judges, the task was made all the more difficult by the fact that smaller players are displaying increased sophistication, not only in the way that they approach treasury problems but in the way that they apply technology to finding a solution.
“We needed to take into account the relative advancement of small companies,” said Aron Akesson. “There were some very good solutions from larger companies, but it could be argued that, given their size, some of these things should have been in place earlier.
“Generally, there were many very advance custom-made solutions on a level that I have not seen before. At a regional level, it seems as though treasury is finally modernising.”
As with the previous year, we were very proud to have our awards treasury experts panel join us to analyse and critique our submissions and provide their combined years of experience to select the region’s best strategies.
Today we are proud to announce the 10 winners of our Best Treasury and Finance Strategies.
Keep up to date with CorporateTreasurer as we announce the winners of our prestigious House Awards – including Asia’s best banks – and our Marquee Awards which acknowledges the best of the best in the region.
Best Treasury & Finance Strategies in Asia-Pacific
Singapore Airlines | DBS
Digital payments/QR-based mobile collection. Described by judges as ‘an excellent use of technology to produce a QR code which can be scanned for online purchases and refunds’, the panel said the innovation moved the whole game forward in the use of technology, making online payments easier and avoiding the cost and risks associated with credit cards.
TCIL | DBS (India)
Unified Payments Interface for upfront payments in real time. Using smartphones to get cash advances to truck drivers without them needing to go to the haulage contractors' offices was regarded by our panel as technically outstanding. “It makes a big difference in the move to a cashless society, in a country where many people are on the edge financially,” the panel said.
Astro (Malaysia) | Standard Chartered Bank
A fully automated in-house bank. Judges liked the solution because it took a holistic view to centralising cash management, making it happen through the aggressive use of technology. While the panel said the solution seemed to “irrevocably lock the customer in to Standard Chartered Bank”, and the products themselves were not new, it was “refreshing to see a project like this being implemented in Malaysia”.
Linklogis (China) | Standard Chartered Bank
Supply chain financing via blockchain-enabled supply chain platform. The use of blockchain to provide a supply chain financing product that goes all the way down the supply chain, allowing suppliers two or three tiers removed from the end customer to obtain funding based on the credit and purchase commitment of that customer. “We liked the holistic view of the supply chain - the use of blockchain may be a gimmick - or it may be necessary – (but) it should not matter to the customer.”
Tongchen-Elong | DBS
Automated system for reconciling receipts and handling FX using Prism to understand regulations and the impact on cash flows. Judges liked the use of APIs to extract data. “We think this is very much the future,” the panel said. “We also think DBS should be commended for the Prism product, and we liked the way is has been integrated.”
DAN India | Citi/Omniscient software
Automated cash pooling and reconciliation between 26 entities with no header account. “Pooling is not exceptional per se, but we liked the use of a novel structure to manage a regulatory constraint, and the fact that automated reconciliations were built in. We also liked to see the co-operation between Citi and a fintech: this is the future.”
Shanghai Electric Hong Kong | UOB
Bespoke trade finance facility, managing payables across ASEAN, China, Dubai. Good end-to-end project financing, including term LCs, cash management and FX. “Again, we liked the way the customer and the bank took a holistic view of the problem, setting up a process to get the financing on a long term project down to the suppliers at various tiers.”
Petronas | UOB
Vendor financing programme. A solution that used Petronas’ credit rating to provide supply chain finance to contractors and their subcontractors. Judges said they liked the way it extended supply chain finance ‘up the food chain’
China Unicom Global | Bank of China (Hong Kong)
While this was a relatively classical approach - using SWIFT to get balance information to HQ and its international cash pool – judges liked its no-nonsense approach. “Though it appears to be generic and straightforward, it represents very basic treasury tasks that have to be resolved by treasurers in setting up operations worldwide,” the panel said. “This is good practice for companies with sizeable number of global point of presence. It represents a typical case for treasury management best practice.”
Sydney Airport | ANZ | BNP Paribas | KWM
The first Australian sustainability-linked loan. Sydney Airport established a market-leading and innovative A$1.4 billion sustainability-linked loan (SLL), the first of its kind in Australia, largest across APAC and largest of all airports globally. “The move to sustainability should be applauded,” judges said.