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Survey: Risk, Cybersecurity Are Main Fears at AFP Annual Conference

Cybersecurity and risk dominate the agenda for treasury and financial professionals, according to a survey performed Monday morning at the AFP Annual Conference.

Denver, Co. – The survey, which drew 259 responses, asked attendees how the level of risk at their company has changed over the last six months. Nearly two-thirds responded that their firm was exposed to somewhat more risk or significantly more risk. Fully 45 percent said their firm was exposed to somewhat more risk, and 17 percent said their organization was exposed to “significantly more” risk.

Asked which area of risk has had the greatest impact over the last six months on their organization’s level of risk, attendees cited cyberfraud and cyberterorrism as the leading area at a combined 22 percent. Regulatory uncertainty was the next highest area of risk at 20 percent, followed by foreign exchange (12 percent) and interest rates (11 percent).

Among geographic areas of risk, China topped attendee concerns at 8 percent, followed by other emerging markets (5 percent) and the Eurozone (4 percent). Only 1 percent cited Greece.

Cash deployment on hold
Turning to cash holdings, the AFP On-Site Survey asked attendees if they anticipate their firm will deploy cash within the next 3-6 months. Attendees indicated they would not open their bank accounts, as fully one-third said they will likely maintain current cash holdings, while 22 percent said they “will certainly” deploy some cash. Eighteen percent replied that they were unsure what to do with their cash holdings.

Attendees said the most likely trigger for their company to deploy cash holdings was improvement in customer demand (26 percent), followed by a stronger domestic economy (18 percent) and definitive action by the Federal Reserve on interest rates (14 percent).

Lastly, the AFP On-Site Survey asked attendees if their company were to increase its deployment of cash holdings how did they expect to use that cash. Capital expenditure was the leading response with 28 percent, followed by M&A (20 percent) and launching new operations (15 percent).

Headquartered outside Washington, D.C., the Association for Financial Professionals (AFP) is the professional society that represents finance executives globally. AFP established and administers the Certified Treasury Professional and Certified Corporate FP&A Professional credentials, which set standards of excellence in finance. The quarterly AFP Corporate Cash Indicators serve as a bellwether of economic growth. The AFP Annual Conference is the largest networking event for corporate finance professionals in the world.

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