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Even multinationals with sophisticated strategies for managing financial risk have to think outside the box when they approach emerging or restricted-currency markets. And the box they need to think outside of is often the standardized process of the developed-markets corporate treasury group.

For eBay Inc., managing exposures to the restricted Korean won created significant challenges. The company had developed a hedging strategy that proved effective in many geographies, but it was not an option in Korea. That is why the U.S.-based eBay treasury team worked closely with the management team of eBay Korea to develop a unique and effective process for mitigating won risk—a process that won eBay a 2020 Gold Alexander Hamilton Award.

“We are all one eBay, but there are specific rules, specific thought processes, that the local team may be aware of that we at headquarters might miss,” says Shan Anwar, director of investments and payment integration for eBay Inc. “Sometimes it’s easy for the treasury function in a large multinational to lose sight of the fact that treasury activities can be very different in different countries. A centralized treasury may gloss over the importance of engaging with the local team, and may look at treasury processes as one-size-fits-all. That is a mistake. The way we engaged with the local team in Korea was the number-one driver of this initiative’s success.”

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