A fantastic continuation of our sessions with Senior Treasurers last night, this time via Zoom with Senior Corporate Treasurers from Sydney (and Perth!).
Obviously the conversation was dominated by discussion on corporates current realities in time of crisis via COVID-19. Was great to hear what a strong position many Australian corporates are in, and also the peer support for those whose business has been impacted greatly by circumstance from industry to industry. What was very interesting, but not surprising, was how many lessons were learned by our Senior Treasurers from the post 2008 period, being put in practice over the past ten years to ensure liquidity as best can be. Treasury truly is front and centre right now and we are lucky in Australia to have a very strong and experienced cohort.
Some really interesting conversations about the support mechanisms in place – RBA, Govt, Banks – and the inconsistency amongst these institutions, both domestically and in comparison to what is happening overseas, particularly in the UK and US. Also discussed was the issue of who’s role it is to support corporates – RBA, Govt, Banks and the messaging coming out around that.
With Liquidity being the key risk issue to be addressed right now, it was fascinating to hear differing views around direction from Boards on drawdowns of approved facilities, Bank attitudes to new facilities (and the order of who get’s priority) and the need by corporates to balance not contributing to the overall liquidity problem with their own requirements –taking timely, proactive steps being paramount.
Overall the message was that on the whole, corporates have been very well served by Treasurers over the past ten years, but that doesn’t remove the challenges that will now exist for some time, including the uncertainty around budgeting and the way out over the next period. We can’t forget that while this is about corporates, there are many, many small businesses in the ecosystem of our corporates who are affected, not to mention the hundreds of thousands of people employed. Our Treasury teams are vital to ensuring we all emerge from this in a good position, and even a better one as we learn to adapt to new ways of thinking and working.
At the FTA, we have a role to play in co-ordinating any government approach to this situation, and would welcome any feedback or contributions.
Many thanks to Sarah Scopel, Blathnaid Byrne, Michael Larkin, David Rowe, David White, James Berne, Carol Lydford, Darren Lake and Tim Cipolloni.