Deals of the Year 2016: chairman's intro and meet the judges

In turbulent times, Europe's winning treasurers have shown ingenuity and a steadfast commitment to quality, writes judging chair Philip Learoyd

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Feb 2017 TT Lloyds

Having been privileged to chair the Deals of the Year Awards judging panel for the first time, I am delighted to say that we had a very strong list of nominations to review this year. This has made the judging a fascinating experience, seeing in some detail many examples of the best work in the corporate treasury world.

Before discussing this year’s awards, I would like to express my sincere appreciation to my predecessor as chair of the judging panel, Lesley Flowerdew. Over the past five years, Lesley has shown great skill and patience in managing a diverse group of judges through many lively debates. I hope we can continue to build on the excellent work she has done and take the awards from strength to strength.

I would also like to pass on my thanks to Paul Johns, who has stepped down as a judge after several years of service, and to welcome Fraser Campbell, group treasurer of GKN, onto the panel.

Navigating uncertainty

Two thousand and sixteen has been another interesting year for corporate treasurers. While we have seen a number of continuing trends, such as the strong dollar and low oil and commodity prices, the primary story has been, of course, the political shocks that have reverberated throughout the world, in particular the Brexit vote in June.

It is far too early to assess what the medium- and long-term ramifications of Britain’s exit from the EU will be. All we can say with some confidence is that uncertainty and volatility is likely to be an ongoing theme as Britain negotiates its departure.

So, yet again, we have an environment where treasurers will have to prove their worth, while navigating huge uncertainty in the wider world. Whether in the field of risk management or ensuring that well-priced liquidity is available to pursue corporate objectives, we expect treasurers to remain in the boardroom spotlight.

 The major theme this year was the innovative approach a number of corporates took to readying themselves for the investment challenges to come 

Notwithstanding the political turmoil of 2016, credit markets have remained mostly resilient and funding costs have continued, at least for highly rated companies, to be remarkably low.

This has encouraged a number of corporates to take the plunge on strategic M&A, and one facet of this year’s awards was the structuring and takeout of major deals. This always provides a challenge for corporate treasury teams, which are rarely staffed to take on these hugely complex and time-consuming projects easily.

As a panel we are continually impressed with the ability of teams to execute all facets of major transactions while maintaining the quality of their day-to-day operations. However, the major theme this year was the innovative approach a number of corporates took to readying themselves for the investment challenges to come.

Innovative outlook

Whether securing funding for major projects, repairing balance sheets battered by the commodity cycle or taking advantage of new pockets of liquidity, treasurers have shown a remarkable capacity to think creatively and find new solutions to support their companies’ strategic objectives.

As a panel we believe this innovative outlook can only benefit the profession as a whole, moving treasury ever further away from being seen as a narrow technical discipline and more towards a value-driven contributor to enterprises of any size.

I am delighted that this year we have introduced our first individual award: that of Emerging Treasurer. The range of nominations for this award was incredibly diverse, in particular highlighting the different entry points to the profession, making it a particularly hard task to decide on a winner.

We hope that we will have many more nominations in future years, highlighting the strength of the talent pipeline in the profession.

I would like to extend my thanks to all my fellow judges for the commitment and time freely spent on the judging process. Their insight and comment as we worked through the many nominations is much appreciated and, as I am sure our readers can imagine, there was some lively debate in a number of the categories.

In addition, we continue to be hugely indebted to Lloyds Bank for its sponsorship of the awards, and appreciative of the work of many officers of the ACT in promoting the Deals of the Year Awards.

Before we present the winners of the 2016 Deals of the Year Awards, here are a few words from my fellow judges on how these annual honours provide treasurers with such a valuable source of inspiration. We all look forward to seeing many more examples of treasury excellence in 2017.

Now, without further ado...

...and with much pleasure, we present the winners of the 2016 Deals of the Year Awards:

Bonds above £500m and overall winner

Bonds below £500m

Loans above £750m

Loans below £750m

Corporate Finance

Emerging Treasurer of the Year

UK Treasury Team of the Year (market cap above £2bn)

UK Treasury Team of the Year (market cap below £2bn)

European Team of the Year

About the author

Philip Learoyd chaired the Deals of the Year Awards judging panel

Meet the judges

Faced with a wide range of high-quality nominations, it falls to our Deals of the Year Awards judges to sift the facts and assess the achievements of treasury professionals, both individuals and teams.

This year, we have turned the spotlight onto the judges themselves and sought their views about the significance of The Treasurer’s Deals of the Year Awards for the wider treasury profession, and for their thoughts about this year’s nominations.

Our executive judging panel

Fraser Campbell, group treasurer, GKN

Julie Fabris, group treasurer, Britax

Richard Sedlacek, managing director, Rothschild

Mark Venner, treasurer operations, BAE Systems

Paul Watters, head of corporate credit research, Standard & Poor’s

Henryk Wuppermann, vice president of corporate finance, E.ON SE

Representatives from Spanish energy company Iberdrola

The panel is supported by

Clare Francis, managing director, global corporates, commercial banking, Lloyds Bank

Philip Learoyd, chair of the judging panel

Peter Matza, speakers’ chair at the ACT

Fraser Campbell

Feb 2017 TT Campbell

After an early career in banking, Fraser Campbell moved into a corporate treasury position at ferry group P&O, before moving on to take up group treasurer roles at P&O Princess and then O2, and subsequently his current role at GKN.

He has also worked in a business development setting at Telefónica in Madrid, involving mobile money.

This is the first year Campbell has been involved as a judge at the Deals of the Year Awards.

“The awards are well regarded among treasurers and the wider finance community, and rightly promote outstanding performance across the categories,” he says. “I have been impressed by the breadth and quality of the awards in my first year as a judge.”

Iberdrola

Spanish energy company Iberdrola has supported the awards since winning in the loans above £750m category in 2012.

Director of finance treasury Jesús Martínez Perez joined the panel in 2013, followed by María de la Fuente Lecanda, head of banking business planning, in 2014 and 2015.

This year, financial analyst Iñigo Diez Lecertua coordinated Iberdrola’s participation.

Julie Fabris

Feb 2017 TT Fabris

Julie Fabris has worked in corporate treasury for more than 25 years, gaining experience in a variety of industries, such as property and retail. For the past seven, she has worked in privately owned companies, including Nomad group (part of the Birds Eye brand) and more recently the child safety seats and carriers group Britax.

She has been involved in a few refinancing structures in that time, including an early medium-term notes programme, recapitalisations and high-yield bonds. She has acted as a judge for the Deals of the Year Awards for four years, an experience that she has enjoyed immensely.

The awards, she says, shine a spotlight on individuals and teams who stretch themselves beyond their day-to-day responsibilities.

“For those receiving the rewards, I hope that the recognition from both within and outside of their organisations is something to be proud of. Usually, the deals we see are executed within a tight timescale and are fit in around the operational day job, so they can be very challenging.

I am always impressed by the way treasurers are seeking to use innovative ways to suit their funding needs and believe the foresight from treasurers brings a real change to the way the markets respond and adapt,” she says.

This year brought particular challenges on the judging front in terms of the sheer breadth of activity presented with entries. “As ever, the nominations in all categories were varied both in size and nature, and this sometimes proves very difficult to judge a winner!

“I see all of the current nominations having an impact, whether in respect of the pricing achieved, the timing around market volatility or new structures. And we must not forget the Team of the Year nominations, which for some organisations seemed quite remarkable.”

Richard Sedlacek

Feb 2017 TT Sedlacek

Managing director in the debt advisory business at Rothschild in London, Richard Sedlacek has a long career in banking, having joined Rothschild in 2008 from Deutsche Bank, where he spent 19 years.

Sedlacek has been on the Deals of the Year Awards judging panel for six years, having joined in 2010. Over that time, he has seen the activities reflected in awards entries develop and enhance.

“This year, the quality of the nominations was exceptional, demonstrating once again the high esteem the ACT and the Deals of the Year Awards are held in by both corporations, as well as the wider financing community,” he says.

Mark Venner

Feb 2017 TT Venner

Mark Venner joined BAE Systems group treasury 13 years ago as a treasury dealer and has progressed over the years to the position of treasurer operations, reporting to Raj Patara, group treasurer.

He is responsible for the day-to-day risk management of group treasury, including front and back offices, and management of group bank accounts (excluding the US).

Prior to joining BAE, he worked for JPMorgan Chase for nine years, principally managing a middle-office analysis team responsible for analysing the profit and loss and risk for the bank’s large derivatives book.

Venner is also a qualified accountant and holds an MBA from Aston Business School. He joined the Deals of the Year Awards judging team last year.

The aspect of judging that he most enjoys is seeing the diverse range of deals that treasurers get involved with.

“Treasury teams vary in size,” he says, “so a particular deal might be far more challenging for one team compared to another. When judging, I always try to consider the impact of the deal on the wider treasury team, rather than focusing on the one or two individuals that might have been nominated.

“The awards are a great opportunity for treasurers to highlight the challenging and important role that they play in most corporate environments.”

Paul Watters

Feb 2017 TT Watters

Paul Watters is head of corporate credit research at Standard & Poor’s. He has held a number of senior roles in S&P’s leveraged finance group since joining the rating agency in January 2002.

Prior to that, he spent 15 years working in debt capital markets at both Lehman Brothers and Nomura International. He is also a fellow of the ACT.

“The awards recognise the skill and innovation treasurers bring to their important financing roles in both large and small companies,” he says.

Henryk Wuppermann

Feb 2017 TT Air Liquide Wuppermann

Henryk Wuppermann is vice president corporate finance at E.ON SE. He joined the energy company in 2008 to head the corporate finance team, which is inter alia responsible for E.ON’s capital market transactions, corporate ratings and debt investor relations.

He has also led several finance workstreams in E.ON’s major M&A disposals as well as in E.ON’s recent spin-off of Uniper SE.

He has extensive experience in large-scale bond and bank financings, liability management, equity and equity-linked transactions, as well as rating projects. Prior to E.ON, Wuppermann worked at Bayer for seven years. He holds an MBA from Munich’s LMU.

In his view, the awards reflect the exciting breadth and depth of transactions executed by corporate treasury teams all over Europe, as well as the outstanding expertise, market judgement and speed that award winners show in their respective transactions.

“The awards not only recognise deals by their sheer size, but allow smaller transactions to succeed. Given that award-winning transactions are judged and selected not by banks, but by corporate treasurers, they represent the best examples from a corporate perspective,” he says.

“This year was a tough competition with both unanimous votes, as well as heavily discussed selections, representing both the strength and the breadth of nominations,” he adds.

About The Treasurer's Deals of the Year Awards

The Treasurer's Deals of the Year Awards recognise the outstanding work of treasurers, both within the treasury community and the wider business world. Through them we champion the success and achievements of treasury teams that have stood out in the market over the prior 12 months. Winning an award is a great way to strengthen your organisation's and your treasury's profile, bringing peer and industry acknowledgement. Find out more here.

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