MACT was originally incorporated by large corporates in 1996, newly-installed president Anne Rodrigues told participants at
the re-launch event in Kuala Lumpur
, and it used to organise roundtables on industry topics as well as regulatory engagement and training sessions. The Asian financial crisis took a toll, however, and MACT had been dormant since 2000.
Early this year, a number of corporate treasurers expressed their view that there was a need to revive the association as a forum to exchange information and to act as an intermediary with banks, regulators and service providers, so they re-launched the MACT. As Malaysia progresses, Rodrigues said, there will be a need for an association such as the MACT to provide knowledge exchange on services, products, loans, funding proposals and complex risk management products. Treasury practitioners are realising the benefits and value evaluating from a corporate approach, independent of financial institutions.
She said that the MACT plans to provide topical treasury and financial insights so treasurers can make independent and better-informed decisions. This is especially relevant to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), since they do not have large resources, and participation can go a long way towards raising performance of treasurers. The MACT would also be the point of interaction for the sharing of information with other associations regionally or globally, and the MACT aspires to be a recognised body for articulating treasurers’ views to regulators and for raising issues of treasury management with service providers.
A growing contribution
Malaysia’s deputy finance minister, YB Datuk Ahmad Bin Hj Maslan, welcomed the re-launch. The MACT has been re-energised through the initiative of corporate treasurers who felt the need for such an association for engaging with regulators and providing comprehensive information for independent decision-making, he said. Associations such as the MACT fulfilled a need in the corporate community, especially as Malaysia matures in its development process.
Deputy chief executive (CEO II) of the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA), Dato Phang Ah Tong, noted that the government has decided to promote treasury services in the country, in line with its focus on expanding the services sector. He projects that services will grow from 56-57% of gross domestic product (GDP) to at least 65% over the near term.
President of the Association of Corporate Treasurers (ACT) in Singapore, Damian Glendinning, added his welcome to the MACT and shared the Singapore experience in providing insights on running a successful organisation for treasurers. The challenge, he said, is how to keep it going, engage members and provide value to the various people for whom the association is useful. As businesses and supply chains become more global, the level of complexity in managing the changes ends up being reflected in treasury and treasurers can benefit from an association.
Regulators can also benefit from an association because they sometimes don’t hear as much from the end users as from bankers. In Singapore, Glendinning said the ACT tailored its ambitions to its resources and emphasises areas such as industry roundtables, training, and responding to calls from the authorities for its opinions.
While corporates do continue to compete intensely, the re-launch of the MACT reinforces the benefits of collaboration in non-competitive activities in an era where the challenges treasurers face have grown, their strategic role has increased and collective interaction with bankers, service providers and regulators can bring a multitude of benefits.
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