By Denise Bedell
As companies in Asia increasingly look beyond their borders, they are setting up ever-more advanced treasury operations to manage growth. Mid-size companies are evaluating the value of centralizing their treasury operations in local or regional centers, and larger firms are even looking at setting up treasury centers in Europe, in order to get closer to their trade flows.
In an interview with Global Finance at the annual Sibos conference, Lisa Robins, managing director and head of global transaction banking, Asia Pacific, at Deutsche Bank, noted that more and more large local corporates in Asia are increasing their outbound activity.
Chinese corporates are still focusing on domestic growth—but also starting to set up manufacturing bases worldwide. They are moving up the value chain in consumer products and are pushing higher-end products in European, and to some extent, US, markets, Robins noted. With a domestic market that has been flat for some time, Japanese companies looking for growth must look externally. Indian firms are in an acquisitional mode abroad, while Thailand is the manufacturing base for Asia and the world.
“There is now more desire for sophisticated solutions to support this outbound activity,” Robins noted. “LLCs are asking whether they should set up treasury centers, why and where; how to manage liquidity; how to manage market and counterparty risks; and who should support them—be it foreign banks or large local banks.” These developments are new, noted Robins, and the trend will only continue. But, it takes time to develop the disciplines, infrastructure and people to support these more-sophisticated treasury operations. It will be an evolution, rather than a revolution.