How the ACT’s Educational Trust nurtures budding treasurers

ACT bursaries provide invaluable support to would-be treasurers in developing countries, boosting their corporate and environmental impact, writes Lucy Gee

Just over 10 years ago, the Association of Corporate Treasurers (ACT) Educational Trust launched a bursary scheme, providing financial support to students in developing countries, who were not in a position to fund their ACT studies.

During this time, the bursary scheme has helped more than 50 students complete an ACT qualification.

ACT’s Chartered status mandates that it should operate in the public interest, and the bursary scheme is a key way in which the ACT can bring significant benefit to employers, emerging economies and the students themselves.

The rationale for this is that if we support students in building their professional competency, this, in turn, helps their employers work more efficiently, effectively and ethically.

 If we support students, this, in turn, helps their employers work more efficiently, effectively and ethically 

This then positively impacts the regions and economies in which they operate, the goal being that both capacity and capability grow in treasury against globally recognised competency standards.

For the students themselves, completing an ACT qualification often has a significant impact on their career, giving them the confidence to take on additional responsibilities within their roles, the knowledge to make improvements to treasury processes within their organisations, or opening doors to new employment opportunities.

Since the launch of the new ACT qualification structure in 2015, we have seen consistent and impressive results from our students studying under the bursary scheme, with a 100% pass rate at the Certificate in Treasury Fundamentals level.

On top of that, 86% of these students are going on to study the higher-level Certificate in Treasury qualification.

Bursary beneficiaries

Chikondano Chisala, senior treasury dealer, NBS Bank, Malawi

Chikondano Chisala

Chisala was one of the first students to complete CertTF under the bursary scheme. Having achieved a distinction, Chisala is now studying towards the CertT qualification.

She was selected as one of the ACT’s 2016 ‘Ones to Watch’, a group of 16 treasury professionals who we see as tomorrow’s treasury leaders.

“I joined NBS Bank as a management trainee and first came across the treasury world during one of my rotations,” she says.

Chisala applied for the ACT bursary scheme to study CertTF with the hope of gaining global expertise in treasury and working towards ACT accreditation.

“I found CertTF to be relevant to me as a treasury professional working in a developing country, particularly with regard to understanding advanced risk-management tools to manage financial, business and operational risks that are very common in developing countries.

“Studying with the ACT opened many doors for me. I was promoted to senior treasury dealer. Last year, I was the lead representative from treasury on a project team to upgrade core banking systems, working on the swaps and forward contract modules. I find the involvement with international markets exciting.”

She continues: “The CertTF and CertT courses are rich, well structured, practical and they have equipped me with tools to apply in my day-to-day operations as well as provided me with a good foundation to support my future career aspirations.”

Wisdom Akakpo, dealer, Barclays Bank, Ghana

Wisdom Akakpo

Akakpo is one of two students who have now completed both CertTF and CertT under the scheme, achieving a distinction for CertTF and impressively completing all five CertT units in one sitting. He is now planning to apply for a bursary to study the DipTM qualification.

“CertT deepened my understanding of cash and liquidity management, corporate finance and risk management markets, among others. The course has helped me improve in my liquidity and risk management roles,” says Akakpo.

“The online Learning Academy was of great use as I could interact with other students and tutors, and seek clarifications on any readings. The ACT team was very helpful and available to clarify and resolve any questions I had. I am humbled at the team’s dedication to see me succeed.”

One of his career objectives is to become a well-equipped, world-class global markets professional. “The ACT qualifications are comprehensive and internationally respected. The ACT Charter will broaden my knowledge in financial markets, sharpen my practical finance skills, improve my marketability globally, and prepare me as an agent of change in Ghana. Via the ACT mentoring service, I have access to a network of ACT Charter holders for mentorship.”

He concludes: “Studying for CertTF and CertT was a great experience. Personally, I have never felt more equipped to become a world-class corporate treasurer.”

Marcell Molnar, relationship manager, Deutsche Bank, Hungary

Marcell Molnar

Molnar was the winner of the 2015 Gay Pierpoint Award, in recognition of being the highest-scoring CertTF student studying under the bursary scheme.

He went on to study CertT, passing all five units in one sitting with either a merit or a distinction. He is currently studying towards DipTM with the support of the bursary.

Molnar says he began studying corporate treasury in an effort to better understand his clients. “While the ACT exams were challenging at times, the study material is up to date and crystal clear. As everything is available online, it was really easy to access anything I needed, including communicating with a personal tutor, access to the student forum and downloadable extra reading.

“It was a real honour winning the Gay Pierpoint Award, and actually took a few days to sink in. I am grateful for the bursary as it enabled me to complete these fantastic courses. The bursary application process was straightforward and I felt very supported throughout my studies. Most importantly, I was able to instantly apply what I learnt in my daily role.”

Molnar’s manager, Katalin Tornyai, head of global network banking for Hungary at Deutsche Bank, says: “Marcell’s commitment to his ACT studies and his excellent exam results demonstrate his client-centric attitude and self-initiative. We are delighted to have people like him in Central and Eastern Europe.”

How to help

The ACT Educational Trust relies solely on charitable donations. With your help, we can continue to support individuals throughout the developing world who wish to forge a career within treasury. We therefore ask you to consider making a donation, however large or small, via the online donation form on our website.

The Trust is also always keen to hear from people who are interested in joining the board as a Trustee. If you would like to request further information or a person specification, please email Lucy Gee at the ACT.

About the author

Lucy Gee is programme manager at the ACT.

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This article was taken from the November 2016 issue of The Treasurer magazine. For more great insights, log in to view the full issue or sign up for eAffiliate membership

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