As you read this, we will have already been back to Singapore, where we again, as in pre-COVID times, are running some ACT corporate treasury sessions as part of the Global Trade Review Conference 6-7 September. We can’t wait to be back and see our old friends, as well as some new (hopefully!).
We’ll be streaming in some panellists from Hong Kong and China, due to the current travel restrictions (quarantine on return), but we and GTR are very used to hybrid now, having done it already together back in February in Dubai, where it worked very well.
The topics were chosen by our Asia panel, and are as follows:
A key question for the treasurer today is how do we best face the challenge of balancing long-term and strategic (ESG) priorities against navigating operational day-to-day challenges?
Our Chief Executive, Caroline Stockmann, will be joined in person by Yvonne Zhang, Climate & Sustainability Leader, SEA Risk Advisory, Deloitte and Paul Landless from Clifford Chance, as well as Ginny Wu, CFO/Group Financial Controller, Walkershop Footwear and Veronique Lafon-Vinais, Associate Professor of Business Education, Hong Kong University of Science & Technology (HKUST) and Chair of the ACT Asia Panel, from Hong Kong.
The session will address the technical response to these questions, in a context where most treasurers have never experienced inflation before, as well as elaborate on how focusing on empowerment, authenticity, accountability, stewardship, and other skills can help leaders to hone organisational reputation, cash management, resilience and results.
Caroline Stockmann will be joined from China by Xuelin Chen, Director of Group Treasury, Trip.com and in person by Goh Seng Ti, Chief Executive Officer, BBX Holdings and Shaun Langhorne, Partner, Clifford Chance.
Fitting all the topics we’d like to into two sessions is a challenge, but hopefully we will rise to it! It will be great to have everyone engaging again in a way they could not for the last two years, though we look forward to the future when we will be able to run hybrid events by choice only, - not by necessity!
It is very interesting to observe the different approaches companies are taking as regards where and when staff work. Some organisations are mandating office work, if only for some days of the week (in some cases optional, in others the days themselves are mandated), and others are taking a more flexible approach.
So what is the right answer? How do you take into account all of the following:
I believe that there are different approaches that work well according to the type of organisation you are. The ACT is relatively small, and our people want flexibility. Hence we have moved to a small office ‘hub’, where different teams will come in every so often to be together, and we will arrange other meeting spaces for whole team sessions – to compliment our weekly Teams catch-ups for the whole organisation.
Some larger organisations are reconsidering their options, and speaking to some recently I note a couple of things:
In both cases, if not mandating exact days of the week (which is somewhat inflexible so earns a negative score perhaps), then asking more senior staff to come in more often than junior should result in there being enough leadership presence at any one time to fulfil the objectives of coaching more junior staff (including by osmosis) and setting the cultural tone.
I think we will continue to learn and experiment in this space, so any hard and fast (‘fixed’) views at this time would not get my vote!