Intel Corp. won its award for splitting transaction processing off from its core treasury function. Similar to a shared service center, but in this case entirely run by a special team in treasury, the new Treasury Operations group–based in Bangalore, India–does nothing but process transactions and develop ways to automate that processing so that 90% of trades will settle via straight through processing.

The new back office supports transaction activity in China, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and the United Kingdom. Five members of the staff were hired locally, and three members of the corporate treasury staff in Santa Clara were assigned exclusively to support the center. By offloading transactions that were spread out among corporate treasury staff, Intel managed to free up more than 400 hours a month that the front office could use to pursue value-added activities like repatriating $5 billion in 2005 and floating a $1.3 billion convertible debt offering that same year. The new back office also handles all of Intel's U.S. bank account management, trade confirmation, trade settlement and operational reconciliation tasks.

A big factor in the productivity gain was the development of a system that linked trading and settlement across all Intel entities, trade types, currencies and counterparties, and populated the settlement systems automatically with details needed to settle cash and securities transactions. With several hundred legal entities, 400-plus bank accounts and transactions in dozens of currencies, "achieving straight through processing was a challenge," says David Francl, Intel's director of treasury operations. "But we were able to build links so data flowed automatically between our treasury system and our SAP GL, our legal entity database, our bank account database and settlement systems." Linking the systems was a cooperative effort between the Indian team and Intel's treasury systems staff, he adds.

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