Tell us about your career path and what particular experience has been most valuable to you along the way?
I have worked in Treasury and for Hitachi Capital since graduating from Nottingham University where I read Finance, Accounting and Management. Fortunately I joined Hitachi Capital at a time of rapid growth - during my time here our assets have more than doubled. I was attracted to Hitachi Capital because it was a chance to work in Treasury for a financial services company where you’re at the heart of the business.
I joined the team in 2013 as a Treasury Assistant then was promoted to Treasury Analyst in 2015. Over this time my role developed as I tried to take on responsibility for as many new tasks as possible. This included hedging FX risk as we started providing clients with finance in different currencies. I also looked at ways to optimise how we utilise our cash deposits by looking at rates in foreign currencies and associated forward points to optimise our return.
In 2016 I was promoted to the role of Deputy Treasurer. As my career has progressed I’ve had to step up and learn to work in a different ways. Becoming Deputy Treasurer at quite a young age definitely presented its challenges - one of those was going from performing tasks on your own to working a lot more collaboratively to achieve the team’s goals. However, I’ve found that if you respect people in your team, listen to them and value them then you’ll be able to win their respect.
What is the biggest challenge you currently face?
At the moment we have the following systems: one for each of the 4 Business Units, Bloomberg, Our treasury management system, our online banking portals, 360T and HSBC evolve. Often making decisions can involve taking information from many or all of these different systems and the data isn’t always formatted the correct way.
We’ve made a lot of progress in this area over the last few years but we still have some manual processes so one of our goals is to try to automate this and utilise technology as much as possible without spending vast sums of money.
How is the performance of your treasury group measured?
One of the key purposes of the Hitachi Capital (UK) Treasury team is to keep the business funded in a sustainable and cost effective manner.
A key measurement is the cost of the funding that we accrue each month. Obviously the lower this is then, ceteris paribus, the higher profit will be for the month.
However, this is not the only measure that we look at otherwise we would be funding ourselves using only short term instruments like commercial paper. To avoid this rollover risk we target having a higher duration on our liabilities than our net earning assets. The ratio of duration of liabilities to assets is tracked monthly.
As our finance agreements are priced to clients at fixed rates we also look to have a certain level of fixed rate borrowings or interest rate swaps to protect our profit margins. To measure this we target a range of interest rate effectiveness between our assets and liabilities that is monitored and reviewed monthly.
We also look at qualitative measures such as the diversification of our funding, which ensures we are not too dependent on specific regions or investors and feedback from our internal customers (the business).
What takes up most of your time?
Most of my time is taken up planning the funding for the business and trying to arrange funding for the business. Given the impressive growth of the business we have had to drastically increase how much we need to raise from banks and investors.
This has its challenges as we are raising financing almost every month and often cannot avoid the market if conditions look unfavourable.
How has technology changed treasury?
Technology has undoubtedly made Treasury and Banking a lot more competitive. Since we introduced 360T and started using FX evolve we’ve definitely seen pricing improve. It’s also allowed us to complete what were previously manual tasks much quicker and focus our efforts into finding new opportunities that add-value to the business.