This summer’s UK referendum on the country’s membership of the European Union (EU) was a case in point. Ahead of the referendum on June 23, corporate treasurers and CFOs attending events such as the Association of Corporate Treasurers (ACT) annual conference were asked if they were for or against Brexit. On each occasion, around 80% to 85% of the audience indicated they were in the ‘Remain’ camp. Admittedly, opinion polls suggested a more even division of opinion among the general public and much of the British press advised their readers to vote for leaving. Nonetheless the announcement in the small hours of June 24 that the UK would leave the EU after 43 years was still a shock.
We offer a focus on the fast-evolving world of financial technology that centres on four central issues: robotics, cybersecurity, tech expertise and big data. Each of these poses massive challenges to treasurers – in particular, robotics tends to trigger fears about job security – but we also look at the opportunities they are opening up. Even cybersecurity has offered the insurance industry the chance to develop new products and services. In the latest in our series of interviews with treasury professionals, Rebecca Brace gets the lowdown from Giacomo Baldi of GE Power Conversion on what his job entails, while ANZ’s Emma Davine and Kamul Day report on the competition between Hong Kong and Singapore – both keen to gain the credentials of Asia Pacific’s leading financial hub and the location of choice for a regional treasury centre.