Author: Anita Hawser

Global Finance selects the best in the world.

The big international banks make it look easy, sweeping up dollars and euros and various other currencies from remote corners of the world and investing the resulting cash pile in the highestyielding instruments with acceptable risks, in order to boost a client’s return on equity.
The job is easier said than done, however, and involves a host of behind-the-scenes providers of technology as well as innovative bankers who figure out how to move money with the sun, or leave it sitting where it is, and invest the notional balance efficiently in a faroff land. Not only does effective cash management help unlock working capital, but the outsourcing of routine operations also frees corporate treasurers to focus on risk management, long-term funding and business strategy.
With input from industry analysts, corporate executives and technology experts, Global Finance selected the best providers of treasury and cashmanagement services, globally and in nine categories across four regions of the world. A variety of subjective and objective criteria were used for choosing the winners. Factors considered include market leadership, customer service, competitive pricing and innovative technologies. ■

BEST OVERALL BANK FOR CASH MANAGEMENT
citigroup Global Winner: Citigroup
Citigroup has more than 5,200 employees who focus solely on delivering cash-management and trade services in 102 countries.With direct access to hundreds of clearing systems at the country level, the bank operates an efficient and cost-effective international payments network.
Citigroup’s online banking service, CitiDirect, is available in 21 languages.The service enables customers to initiate local and cross-border payments and trade transactions and to access netting, collections, liquidity management, investments, multi-bank cash-concentration services and continuous-linked settlement of foreign exchange deals.
CitiDirect recently introduced an event-notification service that alerts clients to specified transactions and events via email, telephone and personal digital assistant (PDA) devices. CitiDirect also added a payment-investigations function and more-powerful reporting and file-management capabilities.
Instead of resting on its laurels, Citigroup is constantly seeking new ways to help clients increase their operating efficiencies, manage risks, free up working capital and achieve higher returns on liquid balances. Its ability to smoothly integrate its global capabilities with its customers’ operating environments has enabled it to win a growing share of the cash-management business.
Citigroup’s WorldLink multi-currency transaction services, a product introduced last year, enables clients to have full control of cross-border payments over the Internet.Treasurers and finance officials are able to issue payments in more than 100 countries, with real-time access to competitive foreign exchange rates.

REGIONAL WINNERS
citigroup North America
Citigroup
Citigroup serves a broad client base in North America, including multinationals, subsidiaries of foreign corporations, financial institutions and government agencies. It focuses on serving the largest companies and financial institutions. The bank simplifies the process of managing receivables with end-to-end services that help customers to reduce DSO, or days of sales outstanding. It offers traditional controlled disbursement and new methods aimed at reducing the risk of fraud. For security, Citigroup’s check authentication service uses imaging and character-recognition technology. The CitiDirect online banking and information platform provides access to a wide range of cashmanagement applications.The bank’s data repository allows clients to evaluate their procurement and corporate travel expenses on a global basis. Citigroup’s alliances with SunGard Treasury Systems and other providers of specialized treasury workstations link the bank closely with clients and enable straight-through processing.

purple Europe
Deutsche Bank
Deutsche Bank offers a comprehensive range of services to help treasurers improve their cash flow and streamline their cash-management processes, including payment and collection services, liquidity management, information and account services, and electronic bill presentment and payment services. With operations in 75 countries, Deutsche Bank has the geographical spread to support domestic, regional and global cash-management programs. It is meeting customers’ increasing demands for electronic handling of paper-based instruments. The bank’s systems enable corporate and institutional treasurers to track and monitor global cash positions efficiently, including intra-group transactions. Users have access with varying authorization profiles to match functional and security requirements.

red Latin America
Banco Santander Central Hispano
Banco Santander offers a full range of cash-management services and has a strong on-the-ground presence in the region through its numerous subsidiaries. Its online InfoCash service consolidates a company’s cash position with Banco Santander and other banks, enabling centralized administration of payments and access to local cash-management services. The bank’s online services enable treasury officials to respond quickly to changes in a region known for its volatile economic and financial environment. Accounts can be opened in both local and other currencies.

hbc Asia
HSBC
HSBC offers payments and cash-management services in 20 countries in the Asia-Pacific region through more than 590 branches and offices. It is the largest clearinghouse and payments processor in Hong Kong. HSBC is also the leading cash-management bank for multinationals in China, where its transaction volume rose 40% in 2003. In India HSBC has more than 24,000 customers, and its transactions more than doubled last year. HSBC’s proprietary electronic banking system, known as Hexagon,was designed specifically for corporations and is the largest private system of its kind in the world.With multi-bank balance and transaction capabilities, it interfaces flexibly with other systems.It provides accounts-receivable management services that streamline the collection process and improve cash flow. It can supply comprehensive information on receivables and details of intra-day cash positions.

BEST BANK FOR LIQUIDITY/WORKING CAPITAL MANAGEMENT
citigroup North America
Citigroup

In the current low-interest-rate environment, Citigroup helps corporate treasurers to increase returns on short-term working capital and balances created from receivables. One innovative product, Citibank Market Enhanced Deposits, allows treasurers to invest in bank time deposits with returns linked to the performance of the S&P; 500 index. Citigroup offers an online delivery channel for clients wishing to actively invest balances, with trades confirmed immediately.The CitiDirect online banking service provides access to a range of investment options, including commercial paper, repurchase agreements, certificates of deposit, eurodollar time deposits and money market mutual funds. Clients may choose from 18 options from Citigroup as well as third-party providers and may open money market accounts online as needed.

purple Europe
Deutsche Bank

Deutsche Bank ‘s cash-management unit has a strong position in the European market, including liquiditymanagement services linked to a cohesive global network. Its DB-Direct Internet product includes global cash-pooling reporting and indicative foreign exchange rates. DB-Cinq supplies historical payment information in both euros and US dollars. Global cash management is a core business for the bank, which is making ongoing investments to maintain and strengthen its product offerings.

citigroup Latin America
Citigroup

Some 17% of the clients of Citigroup’s cash-management business are located in Latin America. Citigroup is able to provide centralized cash-management and collection services throughout the region.It helps customers optimize their treasuries and supply chains. Where regulations permit, Citigroup offers the ability to move funds automatically, aggregate funds and transfer them to regional or global treasury centers. A key component of the bank’s liquidity services is the ability to invest excess liquidity in financial markets and instruments that are safe and provide competitive returns and liquidity.

hbc Asia
HSBC HSBC

has implemented comprehensive liquiditymanagement services for more than 700 clients in Asia, where it serves 300,000 cash-management customers. It offers notional in-country pooling and cash concentration, as well as cross-border sweeps where allowed by local regulations. In China the bank has introduced innovative liquidity services based on entrusted loan arrangements to help companies reduce external funding costs. Cross-border foreign currency netting is not allowed in China due to foreign exchange controls, but after extensive research and consultation with local authorities, HSBC introduced a modified netting service.

BEST PROVIDER OF OUTSOURCED TREASURY SOLUTIONS
blue North America
JPMorgan

Chase JPMorgan Chase’s FSP Solutions service enables clients to outsource part or all of their treasury function.The service provides a flexible, scalable infrastructure that consolidates information and reduces disconnected flows.The bank’s online Access product offers a single point of access and does not require clients to download any proprietary software. EC Gateway integrates secure communications and data-management processes to facilitate the exchange of files globally.

grey Europe
ABN AMRO

ABN AMRO is experiencing growing demand for treasury outsourcing services. Until recently, such demand has come largely from US multinationals seeking to outsource regional treasury operations in Europe.ABN AMRO is now providing outsourcing of some treasury functions for the central treasuries of US and European multinationals, as well as spin-offs and newly acquired companies. The bank is also providing outsourcing services to meet new regulatory requirements.

red Latin America
Banco Santander Central Hispano

Banco Santander Central Hispano’s InfoCash system provides online access to consolidated and detailed financial information in a choice of Spanish, English or Portuguese formats. The system provides for the convertibility of balances between eight different Latin American currencies and the US dollar.A full range of local banking services is available via the Internet, subject to local foreign exchange regulations.

hbc Asia
HSBC

HSBC offers customized cash-management services in a large number of Asian countries.The bank is fully capable of implementing global and regional infrastructures that are specific to the needs of each of its clients. Companies praise its ability to transfer functions to new systems without disrupting their existing banking operations. HSBC provides payments and receivables outsourcing and automated account reconciliation services.

BEST PROVIDER OF MONEY MARKET FUNDS
citigroup North America
Citigroup Asset Management

Citigroup Asset Management has more than $100 billion under management in liquidity and short-term fixed-income products.The bank offers a wide array of strategies available through mutual funds and separately managed accounts. Citigroup Asset Management’s US money market operation has a team of 27 people assigned to shortterm fixed-income and liquidity portfolios.The team includes sector specialists and individuals who specialize in evaluating market technical factors and Federal Reserve policy.

citigroup Europe
Citigroup Asset Management

Citigroup Asset Management’s non-US liquidity portfolio management team, based in London, is responsible for global, euro and British pound short-term fixed-income strategies.The company offers funds and customized accounts in various currencies. Citigroup Asset Management seeks to add value through duration management, country allocation, yield-curve management and credit or security selection.

red Latin America
Banco Santander Central Hispano

Banco Santander Central Hispano has an extensive network of fund-management companies in Latin America. The bank’s Internet-based InfoCash service allows for consolidation of a company’s cash assets with Banco Santander and other banks for investment at higher rates of return.

hbc Asia
HSBC

HSBC is the leading liquidity provider and market maker in Hong Kong dollar-denominated government paper. The bank’s money-market portfolio is among the largest in the region. Its Hexagon electronic-banking product enables corporate treasurers to maximize investment opportunities by monitoring and moving funds into interest-bearing accounts, time deposits and overnight money markets.

BEST TREASURY MANAGEMENT SYSTEM
suncard North America
SunGard Treasury Systems

California-based SunGard’s online systems integrate cash management and accounting functions. Its Avant- Gard products supply an interface that combines disparate data sources into a real-time snapshot of a company’s cash and risk positions globally.SunGard’s treasury application service provider automates many daily processes, including cash positioning, account reconciliation and general ledger posting.

trema Europe
Trema

Trema, based in Sophia Antipolis in France, has developed a wide range of services to support corporate treasury management operations. Its main product, Finance KIT, and Web-enabled Finance eKIT IntraBank help companies manage their global cash pools and interface with banks’ electronic systems. Finance KIT consolidates cash-flow forecasts from corporate subsidiaries and divides them into budgets, orders and invoices to indicate how certain the forecasts are.

trema Latin America
Trema

Trema’s extended straight-through processing,or eSTP, enables a multinational corporation to integrate its treasury processes through online connections with affiliates and external counterparties. Finance KIT al- lows users to concentrate cash pools within a bank or across different banks with an overlay structure.

suncard Asia
SunGard

Treasury Systems From its regional headquarters in Singapore,SunGard Treasury Systems serves hundreds of clients in Asia. In December 2003 SunGard was selected by Malaysia’s RHB Bank Berhad to integrate its treasury, risk and cash-management operations.SunGard’s AvantGard products and services support treasury and capital markets clients.Its customers include all of the world’s 50 largest financial services companies.

BEST BANK FOR RISK MANAGEMENT
blue North America
JPMorgan Chase

JPMorgan Chase’s online Horizon service helps organizations assess and manage enterprise-wide risks through self-assessment, auditing and measurement of performance indicators and loss events. Horizon is widely used by financial institutions and central banks. It is now available in a Chinese-language version.

UBS Europe
UBS

UBS offers a wide range of products and broad expertise in risk management.The bank advises companies on taking appropriate risks to ensure success and in balancing risk and security. Its derivative investment instruments combine significant yield opportunities with capital protection.

red Latin America
Banco Santander Central Hispano

Banco Santander Central Hispano applies modern methods of risk management in the context of emerging markets.The bank has a strong presence in Latin America and knowledge of local payment infrastructures. Its online account-information system helps to communicate risk exposures.

hbc Asia
HSBC

HSBC provides consistent service across the region with a full suite of products to reduce a company’s risk exposure. The bank’s extensive network of fullservice branches enables it to keep a close watch on local developments. HSBC has more than 300,000 cash-management customers in the region.

BEST BANK FOR CROSS-BORDER POOLING AND NETTING
blue North America
JPMorgan Chase

JPMorgan Chase in October 2003 became the first bank to launch a comprehensive multi-currency notional pooling service.The service enables pooling of US dollar and euro balances to provide better returns and reduced costs. It combines long and short balances in euros and dollars and eliminates the need to perform currency swaps. Since the pooling is notional, the funds are not moved. In June 2003 the bank introduced cross-border, intra-day sweeps, allowing customers to concentrate cash more quickly.

grey Europe
ABN AMRO

ABN AMRO is a leader in pan-European cash management. Its cross-border zero balancing service reduces debit interest and increases credit interest, improving a company’s ability to manage liquidity. The bank links domestic cash pools into a cross-border pooling service and books the net balance to a master account.

citigroup Latin America
Citigroup

Citigroup has a presence in 24 countries in the region. It offers target balancing, whereby cash flows are concentrated to maximize returns on excess liquidity, and facilitates notional pooling of funds for interest purposes.The bank also provides a range of automated investment products.

citigroup Asia
Citigroup

Citigroup offers in-depth knowledge of local regulatory restrictions and of tax issues that affect target balancing and notional pooling. The CitiDirect online banking system gives treasurers access to a full range of information regarding their liquidity structures.

BEST BANK FOR PAYMENTS AND COLLECTIONS
blue North America
JPMorgan Chase

JPMorgan Chase processes $2.3 trillion in wire payments daily and has been the leading originator of automated clearinghouse transactions since the ACH network was introduced 28 years ago. JPMorgan launched a Web-based payables-discounting service for corporations and offers a global electronic invoice and payment service in conjunction with Xign.

purple Europe
Deutsche Bank

Deutsche Bank has expanded its global cash management activities to include multi-currency check and draft issuance.It signed a European cooperation agreement with US-based Bottomline Technologies to offer pan-European check-processing services.The bank has constructed a national lockbox platform in the US by harnessing EDS’s network of processing centers.

citigroup Latin America
Citigroup

Citigroup enables corporations to centralize cash-management operations locally and regionally.The bank offers comprehensive payment and collection services. Its PayLink Plus enables clients to approve payment transactions from a single point. Citibank’s SpeedCollect allows corporate clients to gather deposits and continuously monitor all local and regional operations.

hbc Asia
HSBC

HSBC offers integrated payment and receivable services that can be accessed via the Internet or through the bank’s proprietary electronic banking system, Hexagon. HSBC is the largest clearinghouse and payments processor in Hong Kong.It is a leader in implementing regional cash-management systems in Asia and backs them up with support in local languages.

BEST CLS-LINKED BANK OFFERING

citigroup North America
Citigroup

Citigroup has taken a big lead in CLS, or continuouslinked settlement. Its third-party clients account for more than half of the market in North America.The bank was the first to introduce CLS to currency-futures settlement for the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.

grey Europe

ABN AMRO

ABN AMRO, a founding shareholder of the CLS Bank, introduced two new products in 2003. CLS FastTrack enables smaller banks to implement CLS quickly and with lower development costs.Its E-CLS is a special offering for banks that don’t have a SWIFT connection.

BLUE2 Latin America
Banco do Brasil

The CLS concept has been slow to catch on in Latin America. Banco do Brasil, the region’s largest bank, was the first to go live as a user of the CLS Bank settlement service. It relies on SafeSettle, the Bank of New York’s proprietary Internet link, to monitor its CLS process.

mtfg Asia
Mitsubishi Tokyo Financial Group

Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi, a subsidiary of Japan’s MTFG, serves a majority of the country’s third-party CLS customers.The bank has upgraded its technology on a global basis and is expanding its CLS services.

• By Gordon Platt