Fab 5 Questions for Treasury

    Q1: Tell us about your career path and what particular experience has been most valuable to you along the way

    One piece of advice that I received early in my career was to get as many varied experiences as possible and I have used this advice as a guiding principle throughout my career. My first job, after graduating from Villanova University was with PriceWaterhouseCoppers where I did not limit myself to only audit responsibilities, but also worked in both the tax and valuation departments. I continued employing this principle when I worked at Prudential Financial and over the course of 20 years served as a business controller, business CFO and assistant treasurer of the company. These experiences led me to my current position as treasurer for Assurant, Inc. I certainly took career risks, especially earlier in my career and I wasn’t afraid to make lateral moves. The value gained from those different experiences paid off for me in the long run.

    Q2: What is the biggest challenge you currently face?

    One area that continues to be a key focus for our businesses is privacy. As a global company, Assurant is faced with varied regulations and we spend a fair amount of time anticipating and being proactive in an ever-changing regulatory environment.

    Q3: How is the performance of your treasury group measured?

    For treasury operations, since this is considered a service function within Assurant, feedback from internal partners on how we are meeting their needs is a very important part of our performance measurement process. We also have set goals from an efficiency perspective, targets for costs and fees within our banking structure and how much value we generate from cash pooling.

    From a company capital and liquidity management perspective, we have established with our Board key targets that we measure and report on each quarter. In addition, we consider different stress scenarios against those targets.

    Q4: What takes up most of your time?

    Assurant emphasizes an engaging and inclusive environment and it is important to me that my team is reflective of that culture. As a priority, I spend a fair amount of time on talent management - maintaining, challenging and developing the members of my team.

    Also, we are currently working to implement a new treasury management system. With constant technological advancements, we determined earlier last year that a new system is needed to take full advantage of available capabilities, including enhancing forecasting of cash balances.

    Q5: How has technology changed treasury?

    Technological advancements have had a significant impact on the treasury function. Speed to gather, analyse and share information is now only a few clicks away, where in the past this activity could take many hours to days to complete. Big data and data analytics are becoming the norm to help better analyse transactions to improve customer and user experiences. We have also seen robotics play a bigger role in making certain tasks more efficient.

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