Recession Ahead?!

On November 14 and 15, the Dutch Association of Corporate Treasurers (DACT) organized its annual Treasury Fair. With an all-time high attendance of 650 participants and a closing masterclass by dr. Linda Yueh, Fellow in Economics at Oxford University and BBC broadcaster, the Fair was again a huge success.

On the evening of November 14, struggling through traffic jams, the Dutch corporate Treasury community made its way to Noordwijkerhout. In spring, a picturesque village surrounded by the infamous tulip fields, but in autumn Noordwijkerhout becomes the host for DACT’s annual Treasury Fair.

Thursday night was all about catching up with peers, long-lost former colleagues and friends while enjoying beer, wine and Italian food in a relaxed atmosphere. The next day at 9 a.m. sharp the first two workshops kicked off, followed by several more rounds of workshops and product demonstrations during the day.

One of the common threads throughout the day was sustainability. As a corporate Treasurer, sustainability is no longer a choice, but a must. Interesting cases were presented around sustainability on both the financing and the investment side of our business. An interesting take-away was that you do not need to wait for a refinancing in order to embed ESG-criteria in your credit facility: it can also be applied to an existing facility. Another important point which was raised concerned the continuous discussion and alignment with your internal sustainability office as it is the key to success for a sustainable finance program.

On a different topic, a specific one-liner stuck to mind: “The IBOR transition is larger than the introduction of the Euro.” A statement made by one of the representatives of the ECB working group on the IBOR transition while outlining the challenges and issues that we will face the coming months.

In the afternoon, it was time for the famous masterclass which is a tradition at DACT’s Treasury Fair. This year the renowned economist, broadcaster and writer, Dr. Linda Yueh, was on stage where she took her audience on a trip around the global to discuss all relevant macroeconomic developments and their impact on the years to come. A central topic touched upon was the economic slowdown many countries and regions are currently experiencing. Her perspective was well-received by the audience, raising several questions. However, one cannot neglect the pessimistic outlook at some points during Dr. Yueh’s presentation. Most noticeably when she suggested that a trade war (amongst others) was a likely contender to create a recession from an economic slowdown.

Let’s hope the United States and China change their minds before we get to that tipping point!

Erwin Bastianen
DACT

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