Saving the treasury
How would you like to have been a treasury manager during the recent debt exchange experience, having to measure the effect of the proposed action on your bank or company and taking what you hope are adequate actions in order to stave off too deep or too negative an impact?
The treasury manager is expected to be a shrewd measurer of financial risk. He or she is a financial professional whose responsibilities include investment and borrowing decisions, daily cash and liquidity management, tracking and interpreting trends and changes in the local and international financial environment, managing currency exposure, banking relations and directing activities of treasury staff.
In short, s/he manages the working capital of the company and its financial arrangements.
All banks have departments devoted to treasury management, as do larger corporations.
Grace Kennedy which recently advertised for a treasury manager for its investment arm told Careers that they expect such a person to be versed in investment and borrowing decisions and daily cash and liquidity management.
They should also be adept at tracking and interpreting trends and changes in the local and international financial environment, financial risk management, managing currency exposure, banking relations and directing activities of the treasury staff.
The current climate is one in which treasury manager, an executive who often reports to the chief financial officer, may be spending each day on pins and needles until the season of change is completley weathered.
The debt exchange or JDX was an event in which the government of Jamaica made the offer to switch 350 debt instruments of varying tenors with 25 new ones at lower interest rates and, in several cases, for periods of longer duration.
The switch which had an element of forced action represented, for many organisations, a liquidity challenge and a crisis in client relations.
Being an effective treasury manager will take more than competence in managing company accounts, as you can see. It will also require above average research , analytical and decision making abilities. And of course, keeping a cool head.
The Human resources department of Grace Kennedy notes that the principal responsibilities of the treasury manager would include managing long and short term investment strategies consistent with preservation of principal and the maximisation of returns; reviewing and recommending changes to the investment strategies based on market conditions and leading and implementing strategies for optimising financing of short and long-term debt, including revolving credit facilities.
It will also require monitoring compliance with loan and other financial agreements, ensuring appropriate documentation is maintained; preparing and monitoring various cash flow forecasts, the treasury budget and performing financial modelling/scenarios; and managing foreign exchange exposure plus conducting foreign exchange exposure and forecasting including analysing and recommending hedging strategies.
Not excluded will be the tasks of establishing and maintaining positive relationships with banking institutions and maintaining and up-dating all standard operating procedures.
As treasury manger, you will also be required to prepare timely and effective reports for management which clearly communicate position and trends with respect to cash flows, investments and debt; and managing, directing, and developing the treasury department's staff.
The qualification and experiences required for the position included an M.Sc. in Accounting, ACCA, MBA (Finance) or equivalent qualifications with at least three years' working experience performing similar functions at the management level.
Key competencies , according to Grace Kennedy would be unquestionable integrity; excellent analytical, organisational, and interpersonal skills; excellent negotiation, verbal and written communication skills; willingness to adapt quickly to change; and strong team work skills.
The rewards for the hard work involved in treasury management or on par with the benefits and salaries of senior finance managers.
If you feel that you are up to the challenge, this could be the career for you.
© Copyright Jamaica Gleaner