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AFP Survey: Safety is Still Finance Pros’ Top Priority

  • By Staff Writers
  • Published: 7/8/2015
Treasury and finance professionals continue to value safety of principal above all when investing corporate cash, but the number fell 3 percent in 2015, according to new research by AFP.

The 2015 AFP Liquidity Survey, underwritten by State Street Global Advisors (SSGA), revealed a continued stance on preservation of principal in finance professionals’ safety-first investing attitude—a sign that companies may not be willing to accept more risk in order to earn more yield on corporate investments just yet. Additionally, 31 percent cite liquidity as the primary investment objective—the highest since AFP began tracking the importance of organizations’ cash investment policies in 2008.

One possible factor in finance pros’ downplaying safety could be Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) rule changes to money market funds (MMFs). The new rules do not take effect until October 2016, but a majority of organizations are planning to make changes in how they invest in prime MMFs.

A full 56 percent of all corporate cash holdings are maintained in banks—the largest percentage reported since AFP began its Liquidity Survey series in 2006.

“As interest rates continue to stay at historic lows, and regulatory uncertainty looms larger, treasury and finance professionals must be more strategic than ever in their corporate investments,” said Jim Kaitz, president and CEO of AFP. “Companies are relying heavily on treasury and finance professionals to chart their investments through unprecedented times.”

Barry F.X. Smith, global head of SSGA’s cash management business, added: “The results of this liquidity survey confirm that the changing cash landscape is top of mind for our treasury clients. Money market reform makes this landscape more challenging to navigate and investors need new insights to help them succeed in this period of uncertainty and change.”

More than 900 finance professionals took part in the 2015 AFP Liquidity Survey.

Download the full survey here.

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