Tell us about your career path and what particular experience has been most valuable to you along the way?
I graduated from University with a degree in Computer Science before beginning my career as a computer programmer at a Bank where I became familiar with all of the main treasury systems. After finishing my ACCA exams just prior to the Asian Financial Crisis, I took up an opportunity with Hongkong Land who were looking to hire someone with Treasury, Accounting and IT skills to help revamp their treasury function. After 9 months transforming their processes and systems, I became their full-time treasury manager.
After 9 years with Hongkong Land Group, including a stint as the financial controller, I joined Hutchison Properties for 2 years and then Link Real Estate Investment Trust in 2009. Link REIT is the first real estate investment trust listed in Hong Kong, currently Asia's largest REIT, and one of the world's largest retail-focused REITs in terms of market capitalisation. With a portfolio spanning Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou and Shenzhen, we serve the community by creating vibrant and unique retail experiences that meet the needs of the people who live around our shopping centres, and providing an effective platform with which the tenants of our retail and office properties can flourish.
We have specific Treasury KPIs and 3-year budget plan which we are consistently measured against. Although low financing costs are extremely important for us it is paramount that we maintain or enhance our treasury risk metrics
What is the biggest challenge you currently face?
Link REIT has been very active in acquiring and disposing of assets in recent years, where the funding could swing in either direction by HKD20bn within a short period of time. This creates a huge challenge for my team with managing our funding plan and cost budget. Some of my friends argue that financing shouldn't be too difficult for Asia's largest REIT, however, our tolerance for error is extremely low and can make everyday planning a challenging task!
How is the performance of your treasury group measured?
We have specific Treasury KPIs and 3-year budget plan which we are consistently measured against. Although low financing costs are extremely important for us it is paramount that we maintain or enhance our treasury risk metrics. In addition, our ability to capture market opportunities remains at the forefront of our function. Just this year, we issued the inaugural HKD4bn green convertible bond in the real estate sector globally. It is also the largest CB offering in Hong Kong in the last eight years. Other KPIs include supporting M&A acquisitions & streamlining front to back processes within the organisation.
How has technology changed treasury
Technology has certainly helped streamline processes such as providing market information and intelligence. Bloomberg is a tool each treasurer spends a lot of time on, and it has helped enormously with providing transparent pricing information over the past 10-20 years. More recently, Algo trading has become more and more popular with Treasury functions and more banks are offering Algo trading functionality for FX transactions.
What takes up most of your time?
I try my best to balance my time across monitoring market movements, planning, execution, operations and talent management.
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