ABN AMRO pushes ahead with working capital solution

The Dutch bank takes corporate treasurers back to basics helping them to predict cash flows more accurately.

Since rebranding its traditional transactional banking services under working capital solutions at the end of last year, ABN AMRO has picked up several new clients and appointed about 40 new hires in the region.

The bank's old cash management, trade finance and securities services businesses are now branded under the working capital label to give customers a holistic approach to capital management. While the principles are the same - built around expediting collections to create efficiencies and optimise the way a business is run - the new focus brings together the bank's foreign exchange, cash flow, trade and liquidity advisory products.

"Essentially we're helping customers to unlock the value that lies in their accounts payable and accounts receivable ledgers," says Ricor da Silveira, ABN AMRO's head of cash flow advisory for Asia. "It may sound simple but we're surprised at how many company executives need to be reminded about the benefits of reducing the days payable on their receivables."

In the past 12 months the bank has picked up a number of customers on the back of the service including several clients in India such as Whirlpool, Hero Honda Motors and Ingram Micro India Private Limited.

Basell Polyolefins has also appointed the bank to help it seek greater transparency within its financial supply chain, says da Silveira. "We are helping Basell on the trade side," he says. "They have awarded us their Europe, Asia and Middle East export documentation processing business, as well as their receivables collection. We will also be financing their transactions." Basell is also using the bank's web-based MaxTrad to access information about its trades on a timely basis.

On the custody side, ABN AMRO is now working for the Clearing Corporation of India, that country's first centralized clearing and settlement facility for the financial services sector, acting as custodian of Settlement Guarantee Funds which have a value of $110 million in US dollar treasury bills. The bank was also mandated to provide fund accounting, registration and custodial services to the mutual fund of PT Bank Mandiri in Indonesia late last year.

ABN AMRO is focusing on five key markets in Asia - China, Taiwan, India, Singapore and Indonesia. The markets are divided among cash flow advisory team leaders including two new hires Aldian Arief Djanin and Hiten Joshi. Djanin is ex-Citibank while Joshi comes from JPMorgan. Another recent hire is Malcolm Elley, a former employee of SunGard Data Systems, who is now in charge of cash flow advisory implementation.

In total, ABN AMRO has appointed about 40 new hires in the region, nearly doubling the size of its working capital teams in markets like India and China.

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