Nappi discusses treasury

Treasurers more important than ever, says Nappi

As Citi’s annual Treasury and Finance conference continues in Hong Kong, Citi’s Asia-Pacific GTS head Anthony Nappi sits down with FinanceAsia to discuss the prospects of CFOs and treasurers in the region.
Anthony Nappi, Citi

What are the major opportunities facing your clients?
The global financial crisis proved a catalyst for many organisations to elevate and extend the role of treasury within their business, especially here in Asia. At no time in recent history has the importance of liquidity and risk management been more pronounced, and the treasurer’s profile within the business has grown accordingly.

This week’s conference will bring together over 250 of the leading CFOs and treasurers regionally and globally to discuss some of the key opportunities and challenges facing them. These range from global capital flows and economic growth outlooks, to the impact of regulation and opportunities in corporate funding, such as the dim sum bond market and credit risk management. Treasurers are playing an ever increasing role across the company and in many regards the function is now seen as a profit centre rather than a loss centre, and in many cases the treasury function is taking on more elements of the supply chain. This has presented massive opportunities for our clients and especially those whose business is embedded in the emerging markets.

Why do you highlight the emerging markets?
Emerging markets are increasingly playing a key role in supporting global growth. Competition for access to those markets is, I think, a new battleground in a number of industries. The share of global growth from the 12 largest emerging market countries is expected to move to around 30% by 2015, according to World Bank estimates, a doubling from 2000.

Emerging and developed markets are gradually decoupling from one another. Emerging market growth no longer depends purely on growth in developed economies. Part of the reason is that as emerging markets mature they increasingly trade with one another and so are less dependent on linkages to the developed world.

Emerging markets, and specifically Asia-Pacific, now have the power to drive global GDP. According to Citi estimates, by 2020, three-quarters of incremental consumer spending will come from emerging markets. If that estimate is correct, then by that year consumer spending in Asia will overtake North America to become the world’s largest consumer bloc. The companies that succeed in this new environment will be the ones that understand how to tap these different trade flows and serve the emerging markets and embrace and utilise modern technology.

Innovation is the buzz word in retail banking right now — using technology and digital banking to offer new services. Does this also have a role to play for institutional clients?
Asia is increasingly a global growth generator and the region exemplifies the macro trends of globalisation, urbanisation and digitalisation. The latter is especially crucial to our clients with the increased importance of digital payments via virtual channels and the development of alternative channels including mobile and online banking. Many of our clients are already embracing this digital wave and using our technology to support their needs.

Innovation is already helping to drive our GTS business in this region with the increased importance of digital payments via virtual channels and the development of alternative channels including mobile and online banking. We recently opened an innovation lab in Singapore where we will look to create and develop new products and services that embrace modern technology that can be offered to our clients. Innovation is a key theme for this week’s conference.

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