Q&A with Erin O’Shea, Senior Manager International Treasury, Legg Mason

Erin O’Shea is the senior manager of international treasury at Legg Mason, a global asset management firm. She is an Irish and US citizen from a large family in a small Ohioan town. O’Shea has a BA in Political Science from Indiana University, an MBA from The Thunderbird School of Global Management, is a certified public accountant (CPA), and is currently enrolled in an MS in Taxation. She has 15 years of finance experience, the majority of it in international treasury, managing foreign exchange (FX) and market risk, repatriation/pooling strategies, intercompany netting, cash management, and, most recently, transfer pricing.

Q (gtnews): What does your typical day as a senior manager ofinternational treasury involve? Could you describe some of your key responsibilities?

A (Erin O’Shea, senior manager of international treasury, Legg Mason): I spend a lot of time on the phone and email. I would say my day is split between a number of different functions: 30% of my time is spent on projects (repatriation/pooling of cash, funding foreign affiliates); 20% is spent on foreign exchange (FX) risk management; 20% on trouble-shooting; 20% banking/cash management; and the remaining 10% is spent on reporting.

Much of the above is in collaboration with people from tax, accounting and legal departments, and affiliate companies.

Q (gtnews): What are your main challenges? Are they industry/region specific?

A (O’Shea): Time zones are a challenge. Being based in the US means that calling Asia can only happen in the early morning/late night for both parties. Another challenge is limitations on inter-European banking. We would like to have a single euro account, but this isn’t possible due to the lack of a cross-border direct debit.

Q (gtnews): What steps will you be taking to make your treasury and cash management operations more efficient in 2011? For example, what’s on your treasury wish list at the moment?

A (O’Shea): We are hoping for a treasury workstation, which has been on hold since prior to the financial crisis.

Q (gtnews): What made you interested in making treasury a career?

A (O’Shea): It is a creative area of finance where you get to talk with people, travel and teach.

Q (gtnews): And finally, if you didn’t work in treasury, what would you choose to do?

A (O’Shea): I would love to write for a finance/economics periodical, such as The Economist.