What a relief August is over--a jittery month since 2007, when extreme market volatility roused the usually sleepy dog days of summer to bark out a warning that the burgeoning subprime mortgage meltdown could be bad news. In 2008, plummeting U.S. home values, soaring oil prices and limp consumer spending propelled pins and needles of worry throughout the global economy, presaging a truly horrible September. Mixed signals--a flurry of merger activity and piles of corporate cash offset by high market volatility amid low volumes and investor trepidation--do little to dispel August anxiety over what will transpire in September when everyone gets back to business.
At Citigroup, Eric Aboaf has been nothing but busy transforming the bank's balance sheet since he stepped into the treasurer's role about 16 months ago, writes senior contributor Richard Gamble. Treasurers are looking at still more work as they sort out the effects of financial reform, especially how the repeal of Regulation Q--a move that flew under the radar and now allows banks to pay interest on business checking accounts--will disrupt cash management routines, Gamble reports.
Meanwhile, the growing use of ISO 20022 XML as the core interbank messaging standard for the Single Euro Payments Area is revving up practical XML applications and accelerating the next giant technology leap forward, Gamble writes. New technology has also made it easier for treasuries to set up their own trading desks, with big companies in such industries as pharmaceuticals, like Eli Lilly & Co., the most likely to execute trades in-house, reports T&R's new contributing editor, veteran financial writer John Hintze. More change is around the corner.