B2 Group at the Group Treasurers' Exchange, 11-12 September 2017, Munich, Germany

15 September 2017
Bill Wrest

This post was originally published on B2 Group website.


So, we are fresh back (I say fresh, but I got back at 1 a.m. this morning -they cancelled my flight again- thanks!) Enough on my woes though, we went to Group Treasurers Exchange in Munich and found it to be a very different experience in terms of Corporate Treasury Conferences or indeed conferences in general.

At a time when there are frankly too many conferences with similar agendas and diminishing budgets to go to them, plus lack of time due to day to day pressures, change, regulation etc. -it was refreshing to see a bold and different approach.

Yes, there are the usual speakers, panels and roundtables and yes, someone got Blockchain onto the agenda at least more than once, but the overall topics were good and in a relatively smaller and more informal setting.

The BIG difference however is what goes on in terms of business partners like ourselves that want to come and talk to the participating group treasuries. The old format would be a booth, maybe a speaking slot etc. What GTE have done is innovative and yet strikingly simple (isn’t that the essence of real innovation?).

Each participant, Treasury or business partner completes a questionnaire on their aspirations, objectives for the next year, budget, system orientation, banking landscape and then this matches off against the capabilities of the various participating suppliers at the conference.

GTE arranges one-one slots throughout the two days for matched participants to “speed date “from a Treasury perspective in half-hour slots. It’s sharp, focused and best described as “Tinder for Treasuries”! The conversations were diverse and relevant because of the pre-screening process.

So, all good, and is this the future roadmap for conferences? Well maybe but observationally something interesting still struck me in that I can say I am currently well-resourced or I want a treasury system in the next 12 months when actually what I want is global connectivity to my Banks, future-proofing and centralized payments via one secure conduit. One very astute Treasurer described it better than me, as CENTRALISATION THROUGH VISIBILITY. This made me think about regional treasuries, payment factories, shared service centres and what does it really mean -is it about geography or technology? Also in analogous terms, I might like a Ferrari in the next 12 months but I need something that gets me from A to B cheaply, economically and safely. So, do my wants match my needs -match the solutions available -and is technology changing the framework of treasury solutions?     

The answer is that it’s all the above plus regulation like PSD2 and an emerging Fintech revolution. At B2 we pride ourselves in working to our client’s solution rather than selling a vanilla product capability and on that basis, it is not wrong to challenge the needs and priorities when they are detailed in this way for an informed discussion together. 

So, in summary a really good event with a very interesting and different approach which deserves to succeed. What it really serves to do is generate open and frank discussion about upcoming needs and priorities with what is available to solve those problems.

Innovation can take different forms both positive and disruptive but it does not have to be about invention necessarily. As someone pointed out if Block-chain works seamlessly as a solution then do their clients really need to know unless it tangibly changes the model?

By definition -Innovation is often also viewed as the application of better solutions that meet new requirements, articulated needs, or existing market needs. This is accomplished through more-effective products, processes, services, technologies, or business models that are readily available to markets, governments and society. 

So maybe less invention, more discussion and understanding of needs to be able to provide the best solution available -simple eh?? 


 If you would like to hear more from us on this -please contact me on bwrest@greshamtech.com

The B2 Group was aquired by Gresham Technologies plc on the 4th July 2018.  The B2 Group is now known as Gresham Cash Management Solutions and Multi Bank is Clareti Multi Bank.