Meet the 2019 Future Leaders in Treasury

14 November
Composite image of all four Future Leaders in Treasury

Building expertise in the early stages of a career is crucial. Here, four younger treasurers speak about the challenges and highlights within their roles

Treasurers entering the profession in the past five to 10 years will be experiencing a pivotal moment in the treasury function as digital transformation accelerates.

Keeping in step with technological and workplace changes – always with a focus on the business imperatives of the organisation – will be more crucial than ever to treasurers riding the wave of transformation in the industry.

So, how does that play out in reality? Let’s find out from The Association of Corporate Treasurers’ 2019 Future Leaders in Treasury…

Natalie O’Byrne is a relationship director at HSBC UK – she enjoys nurturing client relationships and helping their businesses grow.

Tom Dolan, treasurer at digital bank Monzo, is focused on designing an in-house treasury management system (TMS) as well as fulfilling his day-to-day job.

James Carr is financial controller at property developer Anthology; here, he thrives on making a difference to the overall profitability.

Lastly, Rathi Buvanendra is a treasury analyst at RELX, where she is currently working on a project integrating new acquisitions.

 

Natalie O’Byrne

Relationship director, HSBC UK Bank plc

I am a relationship director at HSBC UK within mid markets, managing a portfolio of client and prospective client relationships. I work to support all aspects of their finance needs, which can span from traditional lending to supporting international trade, helping improve working capital and managing financial risks while optimising treasury policy.

I am the first point of contact for the business and a large part of my role is staying close to my customers to understand their strategy, performance, opportunities and threats.

A fundamental part of my job is relationship building so that my clients trust me and know that I will do the very best I can for that business.

No two days are the same, which makes it a unique role. The client comes first, so my day is heavily dictated by them. While it can be challenging at times, it is hugely exciting.

Seeing that what I do for my clients makes a tangible difference to their businesses is hugely rewarding.

When not busy with my day job, I have joined an internal working party to help redesign all of the training programmes for junior staff members to get them ready for client-facing roles, or more complex treasury requirements and financing. I’m really focusing on where I can add value.

Digital transformation and the adoption of artificial intelligence tools within banking is accelerating, and I anticipate elements of corporate banking and client interaction will become more commoditised and automated.

This will transform the role of the relationship director – I expect it will look very different in the future. How we adapt to this and how we seek to find alternative ways to add value and build customer loyalty in the future will be a critical challenge for me.

CAREER HISTORY

  • I was at Lloyds Bank for nine years, first as a relationship manager and then as relationship director.
  • I’ve been a relationship director at HSBC since 2018.
  • Outside of work I love to travel and I have relocated abroad three times for work or study (Florida, Toronto and Houston), which has made this possible.

 

Tom Dolan

Treasurer, Monzo Bank

As treasurer at digital bank Monzo, I oversee all aspects of the treasury function as well as lead the regulatory reporting team.

Monzo is a vibrant place to work, so I end up doing lots of different things, not always wholly related to treasury. My main function involves optimising capital, liquidity, market risk and funding strategies.

I’m also heavily involved with the day-to-day cash management, regulatory decision-making, relationship management and developing new products. I spend a lot of time working out how treasury can add maximum value to projects across the bank, too.

We are currently creating an in-house TMS that will have the capability to monitor the bank’s liquidity and capital risk appetites in real time, along with operating cash balances and key ratios.

 Being a treasurer gives you a front seat in a business’s financial affairs and risks  

This is hugely exciting and will bring lots of different data sources together to be viewed and customised in one place. This project is the kind of thing that incentivises me because it will not only improve the bank’s services, but I get to learn new things, too.

Being a treasurer gives you a front seat in a business’s financial affairs and risks, and is especially rewarding when you can add value to new products and services. I’ve always found these parts of treasury satisfying.

One aspect of my job I particularly enjoy is the investment strategy. There are so many details to take into account, such as the different risks, capital, liquidity, yield and even the ethical and social aspects of investing.

Monzo, like other fully licensed banks, submits around 200 regulatory returns each year to the Prudential Regulatory Authority and Financial Conduct Authority, and we always aim to ensure they are reflective of a high-growth company like Monzo.

It’s important that treasury understands the regulation driving the metrics calculated within these returns so we can make better-informed decisions around deploying capital and liquidity.

One of the main challenges we currently face is setting up a wholesale credit risk function for treasury and risk.

These teams will review and challenge the creditworthiness of potential investments such as debt securities and money market funds to help enable the bank to make informed and safe investments.

Since this is a brand-new area for the bank, it will be a significant challenge to take this through to the board.

CAREER HISTORY

  • I joined Monzo in 2016.
  • I’ve held roles in investment banking, starting in regulation and ending up in treasury.
  • Outside of work, I've started and operated fitness studios in London since 2014.

James Carr

Financial controller, Anthology

I am the financial controller at Anthology, a private equity-backed residential property developer in London. The company is only five years old, but is growing quickly.

Currently, it owns seven sites with a pipeline sales value of around £850m. Each site is in a special-purpose vehicle and funded from a mix of equity and high street debt.

The best thing about my job is that the individual projects and financing that I work on make a real difference to the overall profitability of the wider business.

It’s an integral part of the whole process. Each development is unique with different challenges from a funding perspective, such as availability of security, lender appetite, planning challenges and the affordable housing mix.

Overcoming these to secure the most suitable package is a challenge, but rewarding. How a development is financed has a material impact on the overall returns, so careful management of the amount and timing of equity contributions is critical to the overall returns.

The culture of the organisation, which is open with a flat hierarchy, allows everyone to work closely and to take ownership of the business and its operations.

Everyone is accessible to everyone else, which is a great tone set by the leadership.

Fortunately, the 40-strong team is aware of the importance of the cash position and updates me on material changes outside the usual month-end reporting and forecasting cycle.

Monthly project meetings provide me with the opportunity to challenge revisions to sales and build programmes to ensure the numbers I am reporting tie into what is actually happening on the sites.

 There are lots of unknowns around how Brexit will impact future sales in the London market  

My main focus is on treasury activities, such as cash forecasting, modelling, debt management and scenario planning.

When new debt is being arranged, I devise and execute the hedging strategy, prepare supporting cash flows with covenant calculations and negotiate with facility agreement with lenders.

I also model the impact on the overall group returns for the different funding options. As the financial controller (reporting to the CFO), I am also responsible for reporting the group’s results, budgets and associated activities.

I love the variety of the work and the constantly changing demands of the business. What also incentivises me is the ability to educate colleagues on the importance of cash management.

There are lots of unknowns around how Brexit will impact future sales in the London market from both home and overseas purchases, and these need to be factored into the modelling.

Understanding what the cash position will be over the next 12 months is a key challenge. The complexity around the planning process and build programme causes variations to forecast cash outflows.

All these need to be understood, monitored and assessed, with realistic mitigation strategies agreed in advance to prevent cash shortfalls. But thanks to my MCT [now Advanced Diploma] qualification, I have a suite of tools and knowledge to enable me to manage these challenges.

Since speaking to The Treasurer, James Carr has become FD of the London and South East Division of Lifestory, an entity formed from the merger of Anthology with Pegasus Life

CAREER HISTORY

  • I’ve held various accounting and finance roles at M&G, Britvic and Countrywide.
  • I moved into treasury when I worked at Swan Housing Group, including head of treasury and corporate finance.
  • I’m a keen cyclist, I play the cello and I once shared a bunkroom with Ben Fogle at Dartmouth College.

 

Rathi Buvanendra

Treasury analyst, RELX London

As a treasury analyst at publishing house RELX, my job is varied and stimulating.

The best aspect of my job is the ability to be analytical and think outside the box when working on a variety of different projects.

Given the small size of the London-based team, I get the chance to support not only the treasury manager, but also the assistant group treasurer and the deputy group treasurer.

Working within a multinational corporation provides me with the opportunity to work on ad hoc projects that emerge, whether it is in acquisitions, disposals or business integration.

There are often treasury implications resulting from these projects that I am able to get involved in, which allows me to gain a greater understanding of the group as a whole.

I am currently working on an interesting project integrating new acquisitions to the banking system, which includes setting up new arrangements and facilities.

 The best aspect of my job is the ability to be analytical and think outside the box  

This allows me to work closely with the business, talking with colleagues all over the world, and provide logistical support where required, which is really rewarding.

My day-to-day role consists of preparing information and schedules to incorporate into the treasury management reporting and coordination meetings.

I also provide advice and support on banking and treasury issues to operating businesses, as well as monitoring compliance with treasury policy, such as group investment limits.

Besides the great role on offer, I decided to work at RELX because my team and the wider company were very open and friendly.

The organisation is very family-friendly, too, which has been really important as a relatively new mother. Also, staff turnover at the company is low, which is a great indicator of a good business to work for.

At present, the most significant challenges the business faces are the risks associated with the rise in security breaches and fraud due in part to the widespread use of technology.

CAREER HISTORY

  • I started out as an enterprise risk consultant at Deloitte.
  • More recently, I’ve worked as a treasury accountant and compliance analyst at Rexam.
  • Outside of work, I’m the mother of a 22-month-old son; and I play for a local netball team once a week.

 

About the author

All the Future Leaders’ stories were told to Michelle Perry, freelance business and finance journalist

This article was taken from the October/November 2019 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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