MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT
This is our first newsletter for 2017 so, on behalf of the FTA board and executive, greetings to you all and Happy New Year. We look forward to engaging with and assisting you with your professional needs in 2017.
Recap of 2016
2016 was a year of consolidation and refocus for the Association. The key areas of focus, as outlined in the December newsletter, were:
- Financial security
- Member investment
- Operational excellence
These focuses allowed the FTA to deliver several enhanced member services, culminating in our annual conference, held in November on the Gold Coast, for which we received an overwhelmingly positive response.
The FTA in 2017
Our efforts in 2016, and our continued commitment in 2017, means that members, partners and other key stakeholders can expect more targeted offerings from the FTA.
We also expect a more efficient and modern delivery of these services and partnerships, benefiting from recent upgrades and enhancements of the FTA technology platform.
So 2017 will be another active year for the Association!
Increasing geopolitical volatility…how will it impact you?
Recently, the Australian Institute of Company Directors’ (AICD) chief economist, Stephen Walters was asked to reflect on the key influential global themes from last year and comment on what these events and themes meant for company directors in 2017. His reflections and comments were emailed to every member of the AICD.
AICD members include directors that serve on boards that many FTA members report to. And company directors are critical stakeholders for treasurers, so knowing what AICD members are focused on can improve your ability to manage this important relationship.
I found Walter’s reflections insightful and highly applicable to our profession. In fact, I’d go as far to say that his reflections should highlight to company directors the importance of a good risk culture and the value that experienced and qualified risk professionals bring to their businesses.
What do world events mean for treasury professionals?
Walters was asked whether we had seen a rise in geopolitical uncertainty over the last year, whether this uncertainty would continue into 2017. He was also asked whether geopolitical uncertainty contributed to financial market volatility, and how Australian businesses should be prepared to protect themselves from it.
In response Walters cited the unexpected outcomes of high profile elections such as the UK’s EU membership referendum (Brexit) and the US Presidential elections, outcomes not predicted by the most respected polls or analysts, as evidence of heightened geopolitical uncertainty.
These results imply a shift in global thinking, where there is a global groundswell pushing back from the establishment. It’s difficult to see these events as short term and one off.
Walters goes on to observe that these events have surprised financial markets and caused volatility but not necessarily with consistent implications. For example, the A$ recently hit a 6-month low, but equity markets continue to grind upwards.
And that’s not the end of it. There are upcoming elections in Holland (March), Serbia (April), France (April/May), Norway (September) and Germany (before 23 October).
Prepare for more uncertainty – sounds like a job for treasury
So how did he respond when asked what companies should be doing to prepare and protect themselves? He says to “expect the unexpected”. He recommends being prepared, and to not assume that unexpected outcomes won’t happen. Practically, this means having contingency plans, socialising these plans with key decision makers so they can be implemented quickly and responsively as events unfold.
Sounds like bread and butter for highly skilled finance and treasury professionals? You bet. But you’re not alone. We’re here to help you every step of the way.
Mike Christensen FFTP