Moonshot Technologies and Their Impact on Treasury
Craig Jeffery, Strategic Treasurer
Royston Da Costa, Ferguson plc
Tiffany Wan, Bank of America
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Episode Transcription - Episode #218: Moonshot Technologies and Their Impact on Treasury
Welcome to the Treasury Update Podcast presented by Strategic Treasurer, your source for interesting treasury news, analysis, and insights in your car, at the gym, or wherever you decide to tune it.
Craig Jeffery 00:18
Welcome to the Treasury Update Podcast. This is Craig Jeffrey and I have two guests with me today, Tiffany Wan and Royston Da Costa, I’ll let them introduce themselves in a moment. I am delighted to have this discussion about moonshot technologies and their impact on treasury. We’ll find out what that means in just a moment. But welcome to the Treasury Update Podcast, Tiffany and Royston.
Tiffany Wan 00:42
Thank you, Craig.
Royston Da Costa 00:43
Thank you, Craig.
Craig Jeffery 00:45
Maybe the best thing to begin with is just a quick bio from each of you. Let’s begin with you, Tiffany. Maybe you could just tell us where you work, what your responsibilities aren’t some background, I’ll move over to Royston.
Tiffany Wan 00:57
Absolutely. And thank you again, Craig, for having me here this morning. Like you said, my name is Tiffany Wan and I am the Head of Product Strategy and ESG for Bank of America as global transaction services. So really, what that means is I spend a lot of time thinking about the future of Treasury and the future of payments, how payments are going to change how emerging technologies are going to change the everyday for a treasurer, and how a treasurer can actually infuse those emerging technologies into their everyday work to make things run better, faster and more efficient.
Craig Jeffery 01:33
Right. Thank you. And you’re based in New York.
Tiffany Wan 01:36
Yes, I’m based in New York. I’m over at Bank of America’s headquarters in New York at One Bryant Park.
Craig Jeffery 01:42
Okay, and Royston. You’ve been on the podcast before. And we have to travel over the Atlantic, maybe you could just give us your background and where you’re located.
Royston Da Costa 01:50
Craig, thank you very much again for giving me this opportunity to have this discussion. Thank you, Tiffany for agreeing to join us on this podcast. So I’m bracing the cost. I am the system group treasurer. I work for a company called Fergusun PLC. We are a North American leading value added distributor of plumbing and heating products. Turnover circa $23 billion. And we just recently this year listed our primary listing on the New York Stock Exchange. So proud moments in our company’s history. I’m currently responsible for the front office, middle office and Treasury technology for our group. I’ve been in Treasury proximately, 34 years 20 of those deals with Fergusun and but previous to that I worked for Sky, Gillette, Polygram, a company called Seagram, and we’re going to universal. Finally, I’d say we have 13 cloud based solutions, including Cooper, which is our main treasury management solution. Thanks for the background. And let’s begin with a discussion on what our moon shot technologies. Maybe we can begin with the banker view Tiffany, maybe you could start us off with what what does that mean? What do you include in it? And then we’ll shift over to Royston and after that.
Tiffany Wan 03:07
When I think about moonshots, I really think about new technologies that inspire massive change, disruptive change. So think about technologies that, you know, they have these far reaching attempts to extend the limits of almost what we know today, almost harkening back to that first time that you know, the US, the US, I’m thinking about the US because I sit here but the US made that first mission to the moon. So really think about technologies that would you know, change the market that would change humanity even to an extent. And that sounds really big and massive when you’re thinking about okay, how do I bring that back to like every day as a treasurer every day when I’m trying to make or receive payments. But I think the point is really to think boldly about, you know, what could be what’s the potential of some of these technologies?
Craig Jeffery 03:59
Yeah, that’s a great example. I think it’s in the Boston Airport. They used to have it, it would always highlight certain things that were done for the mission to the moon that ended up having commercial applications, so reverberating applications across the board. Great. Great example, Royston, we’ve, we’ve talked about different items before including things like digital twins and other items on the treasure update podcast. Maybe you could describe your view on whether it’s moonshot technologies or just what are those topics of great interest for treasures, as we look out ahead, and maybe maybe many years, or maybe a few years down the road?
Royston Da Costa 04:36
So Craig, do you got a smile on this? I think because, as you know, we never have enough time to talk about all the things that I love to talk about. But I do think that Tiffany start off with a tastic point and back in the initiative for Bank of America first started with is what really got my interest, this Moonshot Initiative initiative. And it’s interesting isn’t in terms of what era Presented why they call it that, because for me as much as we I’m going to talk about the individual technologies that really, I think are quite important that we look, we should look out for, it represents, to me the way that the world has evolved. Because you know, you’ve seen the various kind of five, in my view clips and landmarks around how technology is evolved, particularly if you look at 2006. And how when the iPhone came in, you know, the landscape really changed. Forget even the internet, smartphones and what we interact with today. But the point I really want to make first for is this 50 years ago, when the first man land was referred to as the first man landed on the moon, it was a big deal, and is still a big deal, right? Well, today, it’s not just about NASA, doing it, obviously, is still a big deal. But there are companies out there like even Elon Musk, they’ll make it possible for the likes of you and me, dare I say, any normal human being that got the cash, they could go into outer space. So the point behind all this is that accessibility to technology, I think, has always come invisible in terms of those walls that used to exist before. And this goes across society. So if you look at what we, from a corporate treasurer perspective had to deal with in terms of banks, historically, I think it’s fair to say that the retailer, the consumer, as always tend to receive that technology firsthand. And corporates have always seem to lag behind because of whatever reason, you know, from both sides. But today, they can’t say that anymore. I mean, there might still be some nuances or some kind of legacy systems that banks trying to upgrade. But the pace that this technology is evolving, means that whether you’re an individual or corporate, there’s a demand now almost, and the companies, the fintechs, in particular, are striving to deliver that same experience, because it’s, it’s synonymous, always, when we look at things like for example, this twins, which is one of the divisor very keen on purely for the simple reason that if you look at what’s happened with a pandemic, digital twins, in principle, the two products use across industry, as far as I’m aware, allows you to effectively create a duplicate of a system and environment, a city for that matter, in the cloud, not just staff, you then can emulate all the stress testing that that live environment has to go through in this digital space, you can see what that means that in terms of you look at Treasury, whether you’re hedging, you’re looking ahead 510 years, whether you’re trying to forecast, climate change, or you’re hedging against all sorts of eventualities and creating a pandemic, this will enable us to ensure that we are better prepared for what could be around the corner. So there should never be entire this should never be a case where although yes, we can never predict 100% What’s going to happen, we should be in a position to at least be prepared. If it does happen.
Craig Jeffery 08:05
You mentioned a couple of technologies that the three of us talked about when we were preparing for this ESG and some of the changes there and digital twins, either you or Tiffany maybe you can mention some of the other technology areas that we might cover. You know, when we think about moonshot technologies or radical changes, yeah, well,
Tiffany Wan 08:25
when I think about, again, these moonshots, it’s really, it’s like the true technology that’s going to transform everything, the full end to end, I think racing really hit on it, that it’s not just about, you know, even if it’s a technology that maybe shows up first in our individual consumer lives, these technologies really are going to impact far reaching industries, and broadly the market. And you know, Royston said something that I think is really important in you know, we think a lot about it at Bank of America, which is, you know, this this concept of we call it the consumerization of wholesale. So the idea being that because actually one of the big moonshots, or one of the big things that’s discussed in the Bank of America report on moonshots is of mass demographic shift, and you’re seeing it that you know, the next person who sits in my seat or maybe in Royston seat or Craig’s see they’re going to be a Gen Z person who has always lived their life. For example, Royston mentioned the iPhone, on their smartphone. And so even when it comes down to how they’re managing, you know, their HR functions, how they’re managing their treasury, they’re going to have a different perspective, a different comfort level with technology than maybe you know, myself or Royston did when we were younger and first started out in our jobs. And all of that’s going to end up coming back to Treasury Right. Like if you think about even the end experience that Ferguson is trying to create for its customers, that end experience is going to have implications upstream or downstream on what Royston is doing sitting in Treasury and all All of that and experience is going to be influenced by some of these technologies. Just I think about something like one of the moonshot concepts is six g, I think we’ve all heard about 4g, and now 5g, but six g, which is really the next generation of mobile technology. So think about, you know, Royston’s, and customers or maybe Royston and even as a treasurer, being able to access all of the different types of data that his company is generating, being able to employ and apply six G mobile technology to be able to make sense of that data, even faster, be able to take advantage of things like AI and machine learning algorithms to actually, you know, maximize that that data for His purpose. I think that’s just you know, one example, there’s, you know, a couple other ones in there that we could talk about, I know Royce didn’t already mentioned, digital twins sitting with my other half. Besides product strategy ESG. I think a lot about carbon capture and storage technology, when you look at companies, their net zero commitments that many of them have made with pretty aggressive targets starting in 2040, or 2050. A lot of that is going to be dependent, not just on, you know, changing their energy consumption or their operations, but this actual new technology at scale for taking carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and storing it in a safe and secure place. And you know, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention, one of my other passions, I should say, are one of my other favorite topics of technology, the metaverse and digital assets or digital currency. I think that’s always a fun one, which again, seems very futuristic. And you might think, what does this mean for my real life? Like, how does this actually translate back into my daily functions, but we’re already applying the metaverse and digital asset technology at the bank. When it comes to to training, we just, you know, we just hired a whole new analyst class, a big chunk of their training was actually delivered via Oculus in the metaverse so that they could actually interact with some of our senior executives who happen to be all over the world. But they were able to do that sitting in New York in our auditorium,
Craig Jeffery 12:12
The glass screen in front of their eyes, they’re meeting and seeing things in more than 3d. Yeah. One of the underlying questions, I’m not going to ask out loud for you guys to answer but I want to make sure we’re, we’re covering this as you know, how is how is this technology currently being used? And will it be used in the future? What is the interest and treasures to do more than just sit back and watch it occur on the individual side? Can you really stay unengaged in an end? So I’ll just say a couple things. I won’t say it from a skeptical standpoint, but it’s easy to commit to net zero carbon in 2050, when we think that’s 28 years away, because individually, you may not want, you’re probably no longer working at the company. But the institution is making a commitment. And so it’s, that will take a while. And that can’t be done for most of these companies. Soon. It’s it’ll take decades and what new technologies to make that happen.
Royston Da Costa 13:09
They start off by saying the pandemic, I know it’s probably kind of been coming off as a cliche now, but frankly, if there’s one lesson that should have taught us all, apart from anything else that we’ve all seen, is that time stands still for no one. A lot of companies are caught short by the pandemic and in many other ways, but to be on the technology front, when they looked at a cloud based solution pre pandemic, there were still people there are saving treasures, that we’re not willing to engage or even consider or commit to looking at it that technology or type of technology and globally hold today. I’d seen us I think it’s very odd, it was certainly very unusual for those same companies to sort of dismiss that technology. That side, you look at all the other technologies they’ve been mentioned, particularly the ones that Tiffany is referred to early on. These are happening, whether we like to admit it or not. So if you’re a treasurer, or CFO or even a CEO of a company, can you afford to turn a blind eye to what’s happening on your high street in a virtual sense? I mean, so many companies have gone to the wall, we can think of them off the top of my head, I’m sure I am, unfortunately, Blockbuster springs to mind, of where good examples of ignoring what’s happening in front of you in terms of evolution, atoms, technology, and then paying the price. So having said that, again, when you look at all these other technologies with Blockchain augmented reality, Metaverse, cryptocurrency digital twins, quantum computing is another area which I can talk about and ESG. And there’s probably a lot more that’s going on. But in terms of Treasury, these are all impacting us today, and there are companies and you look at the largest companies that Microsoft Amazon, are driving their own agenda. In these areas, so they’re not waiting for anyone else. They’re just steaming ahead. So the question here we all have to answer, I think is, are we willing to take the risk? And now it’s interestingly, the risk is in a reverse sense. Before the risk would be. Oh, do you want to try this new technology? No, the risk now is I prepared not to try out this new technology.
Tiffany Wan 15:23
I agree completely Royston. I think about it. My training my master’s is in economics. So I always think about as opportunity costs, like, what are you giving up by not taking an action? And, you know, Craig, you brought up a really good point about some of these longer term goals. But I would say they set these longer term goals. And you’re right, that the CFO who sets them may not be around 28 years from now. But I think when it comes to something like ESG, and even honestly, some of these other moonshot technologies, whether you’re talking about, there’s a whole section on immortality, which we could spend hours on which we won’t in this podcast, but that is one of the technologies that’s out there, but they really do highlight almost an existential moment. And so even if you think about right, like a company like Fergusun, or some of the other clients that we have a Bank of America, right, yes, 2015 might seem far off. But they’re making these commitments. Because today, it’s impacting things, whether it’s their workforce, right, that’s the s part of the ESG, or perhaps their supply chain, and supplier diversity, which is both the E and the s. So I think they’re making these commitments. But there are some, you know, when you walk it back some very tangible, real things that they’re doing today, in order to hit that commitment, that really actually makes their operations a lot smoother and a lot more efficient.
Royston Da Costa 16:40
It’s quite interesting. It’s a bit of light hearted, but it’s definitely sushi. It’s real. Immortality, I looked into this, because Bank of America on moon shots, I’ll tell you what, by the end of this decade, it’s already happening, by the way, they are developing technology, I say technology, it’s really bioscience if you like. So apparently, we all have something called telomeres, which are part of our DNA structure. And basic principle, this is a very simplistic approach, my view is that these telomeres as you age, they get shorter. Now certain organisms are saying this world, I think they’re sort of like worms or something like that have the ability to live longer, because these telomeres don’t reduce as quickly as they do in human beings. So they’re trying to learn from these organisms to extend that these telomeres within human beings, so that we could potentially live longer. Now, there are companies out there that are already testing this and trialing this. So they think by the end of this decade, there’ll be more widely available, you could say, Well, this has nothing to do Treasury virus, right? You’ve got this happening in the background, it kind of ties in to the concept of ESG is become the number one topic in my view in Treasury today, frankly, and it’s because it’s not just about what we traditionally think of ESG about this a real challenge that waits as it’s happening as we speak in terms of global demographics, we’ve got an aging population, fact, globally, this generation are not reproducing by the same pace or the same scale on same scale that we our generations did. So when you look at the year 2050, you’re going to see a swing in the percentage of the population globally that are much older than the ones that are kind of, let’s say, below 40 years old. So you can see why some of this technology is going to play a part in some of these developers that say, in how Treasury is going to be impacted. Because we haven’t got enough people coming in this generation to replace those people that should be all Well, suppose they would retire, you might end up having people working bit longer. And they’re in a position to work longer, because you know, signs that people are more healthier, and so on so far, and perhaps in may need to have because who knows, you know, the way the economies are going, but the point being is that there’s so much change is happening around those. We cannot afford to just kind of think, Oh, can’t kick that can down the road. And we’ll come to cryptocurrency by the way in a second. But because time is not going to wait for us.
Craig Jeffery 19:21
Yeah, I think you guys are bringing up a number of number of good points. You know, the idea that we only focus on the next three months can be very short sighted and like you said, you can kick the can down the road and say, Hey, there’s a trajectory or trend here that doesn’t give us a problem for 50 100 years. It could and should be addressed in in some way. We talked a little bit about ESG we touched on digital twins. We talked about digital assets and cryptocurrency and I think for the purposes of the treasure update podcast. Many people have heard me say there’s certain things about cryptocurrency that the non non tracked digital currency that’s not central bank digital currency, it’s completely anonymous, it’s used for a lot of crime. I’ve long mentioned that I don’t think that I see that growing particularly well, where other ones that can be tracked that aren’t designed to escape taxation, for example, has likely more merit in my mind, largely due to terrorism and funding and what what central banks and central government and governments are doing. But there’s a lot on digital assets that goes beyond that. So I’m just you know, for the listeners who are like, hey, you know, Bitcoin is no good or Dogecoin, or some of these items are, are not real. Maybe we could talk about what matters on digital assets and digital cryptocurrency. That seems to be an area that’s making transformation in society and that treasures need to be concerned about especially digital assets and crypto.
Tiffany Wan 20:51
I agree with you, Craig, I think digital assets and crypto sometimes gets a little bit of a bad rap just because some of the big headlines that we’ve seen, and I do think the price volatility of some of these cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin can distract from the actual usefulness of the digital asset technology itself. So just a couple of examples of things that you know, at the bank, we’re we’re looking at and that we’ve, you know, talked with some clients, and I think there’s some, they’re looking at maybe on their side. So the first one would be NFTs or non fungible tokens, which is a type of digital asset. Again, probably right now, most people associate NF T’s with Tom Brady signed digital cards that are circulating the internet for, you know, many, many 1000s of dollars. But really, the interesting part of this technology is the ability to represent something in the real world digitally, and something unique, right? So think about how many types of unique pieces of data are unique documents, a treasure exchanges every day, or maybe a bank exchanges every day, you know, for example, KYC documentation that’s unique to an entity or a client in Royston world, a purchase order, right, that’s unique to that specific transaction. These are all things that are heavily paper based today are often quite manual. And wouldn’t it be really great if there was a way to represent all of this digitally. And oh, by the way, to link that to the ability to automate some decisioning off the back end of it. So again, something like NFTs might seem like, Okay, this is, you know, part of the meme culture and are driving up crazy costs related to something that doesn’t really necessarily have intrinsic value, but then you take it back to the underlying technology. And there’s a lot of different use cases, it’s sort of like when Royston pointed out with the start of the internet, you know, I think when the internet started, nobody would have thought about all of the disruption that caused all of the different use cases and all the new industries that have popped up as a result. And I think that’s sort of where we are, in many ways with digital assets. And NFTs by the way, we’re not even talking about moving money or clearing and settlement. I’m just purely talking about, you know, making processes and documentation a lot smoother and easier for all of the different counterparties involved. But there’s a number of other use cases we could talk about, but I’m sure Royston has his views as well, about you know, where he sees digital assets coming into into play in his daily life.
Royston Da Costa 23:23
Certainly, from my perspective, I perhaps don’t have as wide a spectrum of choice that you would have in the bank because you see all types of customers. But I think we do have to recognize that with cryptocurrency. When I first came across the underlying technology blockchain, which is almost seven years ago, very few people in Treasury were willing to even think about blockchain being like cloud based solutions. That’s the irony of it all. But I definitely thought the blockchain and it still does, I think has a huge potential and it’s already beginning to back Treasury for sure. But cryptic guys are recognized in terms of like Bitcoin and all these other cryptocurrencies the volatility in the price is definitely not something that Treasury certainly main large corporates like folks would consider for for good reason. But it’s interesting, literally in the last three to four months, my view has changed significantly to the degree that I will now look at cryptocurrency from the perspective that if it’s regulated, like stable coin, and also if you look at the solutions that are available out there, companies are offering corporates the ability to pay and receive cryptocurrency, but then to convert it into a fiat currency almost instantly. So it takes out a whole kind of volatility flight, but clearly if you do have to use cryptocurrency, I do believe a lot of large retail companies like I guess Nike I am, for my understanding, it’s the consumers. And no surprise this generation Gen Z’s that are driving the corporates to accept cryptocurrency. See, because they’re willing to pay significant amounts of money for these NFT non fungible tokens, like I said, digital assets as well. So from a corporate perspective definitely cryptocurrencies high on the agenda for for I think for us and certainly for companies, I would say we haven’t had any customers as yet. Request to base and cryptocurrency our banks are beginning to I think shortly you as well, looking at sort of a solution for cryptocurrency, particularly if it’s pegged to, like a fiat currency or backed by bank deposits.
Craig Jeffery 25:31
That’s an awesome, awesome story. You know, I liked how your views had changed on it. And I think, you know, I’m gonna give you an example where I had a negative view on a particular type of technology. And it changed and this is old, when we would go and do consulting, we do whiteboarding, some of the cool rooms had this whole printer setup, you could print it, and it cost a fortune. And I always thought that’s way too much. That’s like using the laser to slice a tomato. But we would draw on whiteboards. And then we need to take a picture. And so we had the small digital cameras we had, they gave a very high resolution, but it was another device and below. So why don’t you use your phone, it’s like, we can’t read all of the detailed writing on there. Well, phones rapidly matched what you could do work or came close enough that it didn’t matter. You didn’t need to carry a separate device. So we no longer use these separate small digital cameras. And so the looking down on cameras on phones certainly became replaced because the tech got there was easier to send it was less steps, less devices to carry your point, rice about things change, like maybe the ideas as we look at some of these new moonshot technologies, not all of them will succeed. We shouldn’t just dismiss them. Because we find here’s a particular use case. That doesn’t make sense. Therefore, we can look at the whole category and shut it down. And I think that’s one of the key things for the discussion today. It’s like as we talk about it, we’re looking at, you know, hey, what about digital assets and digital currency, what the pandemic brought, what with signing, like so many places wanted wet signatures on contracts, which is a bit a bit odd, right? And then everybody accepted him whether using right signature DocuSign, all of a sudden, that became digital, but how might this have an impact in the future? And maybe we’ll look at the bank side. So let me let me just talk about one type of situation with let’s say, We’re passing payment files. And let’s say we still pass payment files in the future. It’s not streaming or anything like that. Right now, the security tends to be if there’s a host to host connection, you know, we pass a digital certificate so that it’s encrypted. But the signing, there’s there might not necessarily be any signing on the on the file. It is ID password and an encrypted file. Will this type of technology mean that the whole file is a digital asset? It’s completely signed? It’s locked, it’s got everything else will that impact something like payments or some other types of trade transactions? Where would you see that impacting business transactions? Maybe I’ll start with you, Tiffany, if that’s if that’s not too far of a way of a question.
Tiffany Wan 28:06
I don’t think it’s actually as far off as it might seem like, I actually don’t think that this is it’s almost not even. I mean, it’s the future is, and it’s not happening at scale today. But it is happening to an extent, I mean, first, I think even if you look at a digital asset, whether you’re talking about an NFT, or a stable coin, you being used for a transaction, I think one of the most the most interesting things from a payment perspective, is that the signature or the identity, the clearing message itself, and the settlement all happen in one simultaneous movement. And in one token, even today, if you think about real time payments, right, which is probably our our newest, I would say of our newest payment rail, the clearing or the message itself. And the money movement, though it happens in in near real time, there’s still two different pieces, right. So I think one of the most interesting and valuable parts of digital assets is that that all happens simultaneously. So again, I think one of the examples that you brought up would be, you know, think about even sending an invoice and doing the payment on that. But then also, at the same time, verifying that the supplier that you’re paying is actually the right supplier for that invoice, you could actually embed that data within the token itself. And the token could also be the vehicle for moving the money. So I think there’s a lot of really awesome use cases that this could open up. I think the trick though, with this technology, is that by definition, I mean, Royston brought it up to it’s all based on distributed ledger technology, which is inherently a network technology. So Craig, if you and I agree that this is the technology we’re going to use in order to move money and exchange data. That’s great. But Craig, you might also need to move money and exchange data with Royston and if he doesn’t agree. How efficient would it be for you as a treasurer for example, to stay send up a one off unique process that only works for Tiffany but doesn’t work for Royston. So one of the challenges I think is going to be in driving that adoption and that network effect. And that’s going to be the piece that takes longer, not the technology itself, it’s going to be driving the adoption. And, look, there’s things that happen that serve as catalysts for adopting technology faster. I think Royston already mentioned it. And I know it’s become a little bit of something that people lean on. But I just think about the transformation we’ve seen with some of our clients within their back office and Treasury that happened as a result of COVID. I mean, if you can’t get into the office to open envelopes that have checks in them, or if you don’t have access to your, you know, your remote deposit capture tool, because it’s sitting in the office, you are going to make the switch to ACH or another different electronic payment rail. Or if you’re you know, working from home and you don’t have access to your treasury station directly. Or maybe you don’t have access to your your work network, you know, via computer, you might become more comfortable doing everything on mobile or tablet. And we’ve seen those numbers reflected in our clients adoption. I mean, I just think about our cash pro mobile app, pre pandemic, the activity on there was, was pretty nascent. And now I look at the the payment value that’s approved on that app every single day. And, you know, we used to count billion dollar days, and you know, we had a handful of them each year. Now, it’s every day is over a billion dollars of value. And we’re looking at the next benchmark, the 5 billion the $10 billion Day, which just shows right in two years, how much behavior can change. So I think when people realize and come to better understand some of the applications and values of things like cryptocurrency or digital assets, and all the things that unlocks, I do think you’re gonna start seeing that shift in that adoption. And what’s even more fun about this technology is you might not even realize that you’re using digital asset technology, you just might think of this as this is just another way to move information and move money.
Royston Da Costa 32:07
Absolutely. I totally agree. A couple of things. I want to add to that in terms of what you say about cryptocurrency technology generally, first of all, the time before, you know, going back quite a bit, obviously, 2030 years, maybe treasures were always naturally conservative and cautious before trying anything new, particularly when it came to technology, the way the game. Also the landscape works today, my view is you don’t have that level of concern so much, mainly because most platforms, most solutions, have a sandbox, a Digital Sandbox, so you can test and play around in. And the cost until the time or any other financial cost you might want think of behind doing that is negligible, literally. So you don’t lose anything by doing that for a start. So that should take away most of that sort of concern. Then very quickly moving across to new technologies, API’s application programming interfaces, again, something I didn’t really think of very highly frankly, until very recently, because I couldn’t see a value behind I get the concept. But I couldn’t see where the value was. And I saw solution recently that said, You know what, we will be a one stop shop, we will connect to whatever bank whatever solution you might want to connect with. And we will be your gateway, which sunny light bulb moment thought to myself, there’s the value. That is a true value to a corporate treasurer, because I don’t want necessarily to be connected to each individual vendor or bank. I just want to be able to do once and then the person in the middle or the service provider does all the heavy lifting for me. So that’s again, another evolution in terms of how technology has gone in the right direction. As far as I’m concerned. Going back to what Tiffany said about cryptocurrency, I think it’s absolutely right, right. This is an area that’s evolving, and it’s evolving. In my view, the right direction, is specifically around stable coin, those premises. And the point in the analogy she used is actually pretty good actually. Because when you think of where cryptocurrency works, where there’s a non limited when it was first design, but interesting love banks and certain vendors that are developing the solution where it’s a closed group to a degree. It’s giving you all the benefits of what cryptocurrencies still gives you, but they’re trying to do it or at least they’re doing in a way that was palatable, because it’s known risk and it also complies with a lot of regulation globally splits, especially OFAC in the US where they monitor any cryptocurrency accounts, particularly ransomware. And those sort of areas. So I’ll stop there because there’s so much more to say, but I’m thinking of time as well.
Craig Jeffery 34:48
I think you and Tiffany brought up a lot of good points and we haven’t even touched on six g really or quantum computing. We only mentioned the metaverse and described digital have twins. And we’ve gotten quite a bit of good things out of the discussion. And I think if both of you are up for it, I want to make sure we do a a second. Second, maybe a third one on this. Yeah, we could do a Potsie. I like that. Part Two part three. Absolutely. But but maybe just to, as we draw this particular session to a close, maybe maybe what I could ask you, Tiffany, and then Royston, what particular items should corporate treasurers, Treasury people be on the lookout for at least learning about on these moonshot technologies or these changes? To make sure they’re aware of what’s going on? How that may impact treasury? What What should the mindset be? And where might they look?
Tiffany Wan 35:42
Well, of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t suggest that they go check out business to have B of a.com and read Haim Israel or head of thematic investing the moonshots report, I think there’s a version of it out there that’s quite digestible. It’s only a few pages with the some brief descriptions of these moon shots. So I think that’s probably the best place to start. But look, there’s there’s more besides even the ones highlighted right, in this in this research report. And I think there’s a variety of terrific resources out there. But I think the key piece is that, you know, I think it’s very easy for all of us to get stuck in our day to day just executing. And like you said, Craig, I think at the outset of this, just focusing on that long term horizon, which might just be getting to the next quarter. And I think it’s important to almost go back to that intellectual curiosity and foster it, that thirst that maybe we even had when we were younger. And when we were in school, just being open to these new ideas. I mean, I have a group of analysts and Associates, so folks right out of college, that I bring together pretty regularly with the head of our business, because they’re often the best resource for some of this stuff, because they are playing with this technology every day. So I think that’s another resource that you know, treasures, and some of your listeners can also think about tapping. So it goes back to being that that almost like self motivation, that curiosity to drive that. But then also, I think, leaning on some of our, our younger colleagues or colleagues, maybe newer to our employment places, or to Treasury, because they’re going to ask those questions. Why have you always done it this way? Why are we doing it this way? Why don’t we think about doing it another way, that they’re gonna get us out of some of those habits and out of the day to day?
Craig Jeffery 37:29
That’s excellent. Tiffany, if and if you include the send me the link, we’ll make sure we include it in the show notes so that the listeners can pull that down. Great. Thank you so much, and Royston.
Royston Da Costa 37:40
One thing, I would always say in terms of from a treasury perspective, don’t look to solve a problem that you don’t have for sure. I mean, there’s so many good solutions out there. And when I’m not suggesting that it’s actually Tiffany not suggesting that, but one thing I would say is that we can’t ignore that this generation that’s coming into the workplace that’s in society, they are ruthless when it comes to attention span, as we probably are, as well, to some degree, and what I mean by that is that speed is of the essence in most things that they interact with. Therefore, when you look at what we have tools that we use in the workplace, typically, if it’s not got the right level of technology, it’s not going to lend the speed that they used to answer, they’re going to want to look for solutions that offer that, you know, sort of that automation, that sort of efficiency, be inquisitive. I’m not suggesting you should go to social networks, but that’s what the younger generation is doing. They’re on Twitter, the Instagram, this is where they pick up a lot of the information they do. I are not those necessarily. But LinkedIn is a good source for me. And obviously, these podcasts are great source, as are your banks, moonshots, and you know, some of the other journals that I subscribe to. So the information is out there. It’s just you have to have the curiosity and the enthusiasm to some degree and zeal to pursue that. But definitely bear in mind, there are technologies out there that can certainly improve the efficiencies and the value that your treasury function can add to your company and you don’t don’t want to really be in the in the dark, especially when so for example cryptocurrency it’s already happening, mentioned quantum computing and digital twins. These are technologies that are out there now today that you can engage with.
Craig Jeffery 39:32
Royston and Tiffany, thank you so much for joining me in today’s discussion on the Treasury Update Podcast.
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In this survey, we are exploring opportunities to embed banking products in ERP and TMS solutions to solve for traditional treasury pain points. We will identify process inefficiencies to explore areas where bank integrations and embedded bank products can create a better user experience for the organization.
On this episode of the 2022 Outlook series, Host Craig Jeffery joins Royston Da Costa, Assistant Group Treasurer at Ferguson plc, to discuss the outlook of quantum computing. They explore this developing technology, discuss how it’s relevant to finance and treasury, reveal which companies are using it now and its impact on cybersecurity.