Fig 1: Working Capital Priorities. Source: RBS/Greenwich research (click for larger image)
Corporations in the US and Europe are taking an 'extremely conservative' approach to working capital management, according to a new report from RBS and Greenwich Associates.
The survey, which saw 50 corporations interviewed in depth, shows that risk-averse strategies adopted during the financial crisis have become the norm, with the overwhelming majority of companies in the US and Asia saying their top working capital priority is liquidity preservation.
The list of priorities for all firms in the survey was topped by three concerns: Mitigating counterparty risk from banks, suppliers and vendors; guarding against future funding disruptions by maximising liquidity; and protecting cash balances from market fluctuations by focusing on capital preservation in their short-term investments.
Sources: http://www.greenwich.com/ ; http://www.rbs.co.uk/corporate/insight/g4/perspectives/working-capital.ashx
SWIFT has set out to support research into Global Transaction Banking with the launch of the Swift Institute, based at its Brussels campus. The new institute will issue grants to support research conducted by academics and senior industry professionals.
SWIFT board chairman Yawar Shah said, "SWIFT is stepping up to the requests of the Banking Industry, especially from the Leaders of the Global Transaction Banking Businesses, to foster research in this important area to assist with thought leadership on key strategic matters. It is a limited but important initiative for SWIFT in its role as a global neutral trusted third party."
Subjects to be covered by the Institute include payments, clearing and settlement, cash management, trade financeTrust and Securities. The first research projects to be funded will cover three areas: RMB internationalisation; Financial supply chain management and Banking inclusion
The Institute's output will include white papers, presentations and conference sessions, including at SWIFT's annual Sibos conference, which in 2012 will be held in Osaka, Japan (28 October 28 - 2 November 2012).
Seven industry figures have been appointed to the Institute's advisory council, including Shah and SWIFT CEO Lázaro Campos . The other are:
BAFT-IFSA has updated its trade finance definitions, which offer standard ways of describing trade finance transactions. More details are at BAFT-IFSA, but the definitions can be downloaded below. BAFT-IFSA welcomes input on thse definitions!
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