From the time Nikunj N. Sinha, CTP, entered the finance sector, banking has been his calling. It was while completing his B-school studies as a finance major that Nikunj first became interested in derivatives and FX markets. One of the leading private-sector banks offered him a treasury profile (i.e., internship), and his 17-year career in financial markets began.
“What intrigues and attracts me, even today, is the maxim of, ‘Every day is a new day in financial markets,’” said Nikunj. “We start fresh 365 days a year!”
Over the course of his career thus far, Nikunj has climbed the ladder from Treasury Manager grade all the way up to his current position as Senior Vice President at a leading Indian Private Bank, located in Bangalore. As Senior Vice President, he is responsible for a number of tasks dealing with foreign exchange. This includes managing foreign exchange for the bank’s corporate clients (FX remittances), FX risk management solutioning through hedge instruments and strategies, and FX desk position management. The latter involves MTM tracking for clients and assisting with capital account transactions, such as foreign equity infusion and external commercial borrowings. Clients also depend on Nikunj to deploy liquidity solutions, such as investment in bonds, treasury bills and fixed deposits.
The training and skills that help him accomplish all this? “I would say financial modeling, and the digitization of international trade and foreign exchange business of corporates has been of the most use to me in my current position,” said Nikunj.
There are different issues and challenges that keep treasurers up at night, depending on where they are in the world. For Nikunj, it’s the lack of uniformity among treasury practices due to different geographical locations and differing foreign exchange and governing laws. “It becomes very difficult for the treasury function to comply with all such laws and central bank guidelines across regions,” he said. “This lack of a uniform set of practices imposes unfair regulatory arbitrage on certain counterparties in certain countries or regions.”
The future is cybercrime
The other issue that weighs heavily on Nikunj’s mind is cybercrime. “Cybercrime is a substantial threat in light of the rapid digitization of trade and FX dealings,” he said.
With this issue in mind, Nikunj seeks to learn how cybercrime and cyber laws apply to online/digital international trade and business. He also wants to dive into new age technology, such as blockchain and mobile-based cross-border payment systems, for FX and international trade business.
Other plans for the future include technology upgrades, including digitizing the treasury function at his present organization. Nikunj also seeks to develop credit-rating led treasury pricing models and the integration of multiple treasury functions on a single platform for corporates.
Upskilling to aspects of corporate treasury
While Nikunj was well-versed in treasury functions such as FX risk, hedging and the cash management aspects of Asian markets, especially on the Indian subcontinent, he felt his knowledge of certain aspects of corporate treasury was lacking. “There were a number of topics I wanted to know more about,” said Nikunj. “The CTP program seemed like the best route for gaining knowledge about liquidity management, fundraising, credit risk and financial ratio analysis, and optimizing corporate capital structure — and it was.”
Nikunj feels that he now has a solid understanding of treasury best practices that are prevalent in the U.S., whereas before his exposure was limited to India. He is also enthusiastic about having access to the global treasury fraternity network that is CTP graduates.
Earning the CTP credential has already led to deeper and broader-based conversations with his clients. And Nikunj now feels a greater ability to provide treasury solutioning across multiple treasury functions, rather than simply being relegated to those dealing with FX.
“I recommend the CTP to all treasury professionals as a way to add credibility to their existing treasury expertise, as well as a way to upskill their competence with contemporary treasury skills such as treasury tech solutions and treasury management systems,” said Nikunj.
Advance your knowledge and gain further credibility for your treasury expertise with AFP’s Certified Treasury Professional (CTP) program.