After holding its last three Annual General Meetings in Europe (Dublin, Berlin and Prague), members of the International Group of Treasury Associations (IGTA) met in New York. IGTA's 2019 meeting was held on 31 May following the annual conference of the National Association of Corporate Treasurers (NACT). The NACT is one of two national American corporate treasurers’ associations, along with the Association for Financial Professionals (AFP).
Since the Prague meeting in September 2018, 3 e-journals have been issued, provided by voluntary contributions. They can be consulted on the IGTA website: https://www.igta.org/the-igta-e-journal/. In January 2019, IGTA organized its first webinar on the topic of digital transformation.
IGTA has a new member, ACTA, the Austrian Corporate Treasury Association, founded in late 2017 and already with 180 members representing 50 companies. The IGTA now brings together 30 members and 4 observers, including the EACT.
Long discussions took place on one point of the Articles of Association: Article 8-c states that “Any member who fails to send a representative to any General Meeting for four consecutive times shall be deemed to have resigned from the IGTA”. Several associations are currently in breach of this. It was decided to waive the application of this article until 2020 and in the meantime to ask the concerned associations to confirm their interest for the IGTA.
At the end of the meeting, IGTA renewed its Directors, consisting of the following: Helmut Schnabel, representative of the German GEFIU, Chair; Caroline Stockmann, ACT Managing Director, as Deputy Chair; and Tom Deas, president of NACT as Immediate Past Chair.
NACT's annual conference was launched by the results of a survey of the priorities of US corporate treasurers, and it is interesting to compare them with those of the EACT survey on the same theme with European treasurers: in the USA, the number one priority is talent management – hire, retain, motivate and upgrade people - (14th position in Europe), followed by cyber and payment fraud risks (7th position in Europe), market volatility and political uncertainties (same places in Europe). It should be remembered that for the European treasurers, information systems and working capital came at the top.
An implicit thread emerged from this conference: the American presidential election of 3 November 2020, with an opinion shared by all speakers that "Everything is possible" - including that Donald Trump could be re-elected for a second mandate of four years.
Tom Bevan, president of RealClearPolitics, put forward several factors that will determine the next election. The economy is one of the most crucial. It’s currently doing well but is it enough to convince voters? Overall, the health care system remains the primary concern for 36% of Americans, with the economy coming next with 26% and immigration with 15%. Donald Trump remains a political enigma after more than two years of mandate. Will an impeachment procedure be launched against him? For Tom Bevan, Joe Biden would be the best Democrat candidate to beat Donald Trump – but will voters vote for an "old white man"? His conclusion is that the election will be more a vote against than a vote of adhesion.
Chief Operating Officer, EACT & IGTA