A global symbol of excellence, the Certified Treasury Professional (CTP) designation sets the standard in the treasury profession. Earning the CTP signifies that you have demonstrated the knowledge and skills required to effectively execute critical functions related to corporate liquidity, capital and risk management.
AFP recently caught up with Delvin Chen, CTP, treasury director at General Electric in Singapore, to discuss his decision to earn the CTP, and how it has affected his life and career journey.
AFP: How did you get your start in treasury?
Delvin: I am part of a big multinational company where the culture allows people to experience different roles once every few years to promote talent development. Given my decade-long background in capital business and extensive experiences in the finance and accounting area, I was reached out to by the hiring manager of my current treasury role. He thought I would be a good fit because of my previous treasury funding management experience, and the role requires good stakeholder management skills between corporate treasury and various business unit finance leaders across the region.
AFP: What are two or three core aspects of your day-to-day job?
Delvin: One of the key aspects of my job is to help our business unit win in the market and optimize working capital needs. This touches multiple facets of the cash conversion cycle, which includes risk identification (FX, country, customer and financial institutions). I review and approve the right trade financing instrument (i.e., LC, bank guarantees) and provide advice on the best path to ensure on-time collection for the deals. In addition, I work closely with our global team around supply chain financing and point of sale monetization for deals.
The second key aspect of my job is to oversee internal funding for all entities in the region as front office. Typical forms of deal would include equity contribution and distribution, debt funding, entity restructuring and others. This requires an extensive cooperation with tax, transfer pricing, legal, risk, FX and cash management teams. Given the complexity of regulatory environment in the APAC region, it brings a lot of challenge and fun!
The last aspect of my job is to manage the external credit facility in the region when needed. This part would usually involve a good understanding of both short-term and long-term funding needs from our consolidated/non-consolidated subsidiaries and negotiate with banks on the credit facilities.
AFP: What is something that you would like to do in the future in treasury?
Delvin: While I still feel there is a lot to learn in my current role, whenever the opportunity presents, I am happy to explore cash management or FX management in more details or take up a role that can work with external credit rating agencies. Any of these options would be a very rewarding experience.
AFP: Are there certain skills or training that help you in what you do now?
Delvin: Active listening and good communication help me in my role now. Understanding customer needs is the first step before providing options for solutions or alternatives. The role requires communication with both internal and external teams on a regular basis, and often involves the senior leadership team. Succinct communication, especially when things get complicated, is half of the job.
The other aspect that helps me with my job is to not only focus on core treasury training but also other accounting and finance knowledge that helps others along the way. For example, I can explain to people the balance sheet treatment for a new lease accounting requirement when they think about alternative funding, or how to manage scenario planning in cash forecast when they wanted to improve forecast accuracy. The CTP program training covered all those aspects.
AFP: What skills are most important to you to add over the next couple of years?
Delvin: I want to continue to develop skills for risk identification. Each project or deal is different, and the relevant laws and regulations that guide banking products are different. Accurately identifying risk, regardless how remote or “contingent” it maybe, can help companies derive the best path forward. This skill is a journey with no definitive “end-state,” and I can only get better at it through experiencing more products and structures.
AFP: What is the most critical treasury issue you are facing today?
Delvin: The most critical issue in treasury today is adapting to constant changes. There are lot of new ideas, themes, products and processes being introduced to treasury in recent years. Just to name a few:
- My company decided to upgrade a decade-old TMS earlier this year, which brought a lot of process change and new ways of doing things.
- ESG has been a big global topic not only within financial institutions but also corporates. However, we have not fully understood the impact of ESG to our operations yet.
- LIBOR will cease to exist in the near future. How do we ensure a smooth transition?
For a multinational company that operates in 130 countries, these certainly add complexity to our treasury operations and bring new challenges.
AFP: Can you share your approach to this issue?
Delvin: Embrace the change and adapt to survive. For example, using the challenges above:
- Continue working with different owners to design or finetune the newly established process due to TMS change. Aim to address teething issues in processes brought about by system changes.
- Keep closed dialogue with different banks on the ESG front. More importantly, understand the criteria or reporting obligations that fits the “green financing regime” to execute our deals in most cost-effective way by using different banking products, especially in renewable energy sectors.
- Work closely with your legal team on any new updates on FSA to ensure a smooth LIBOR transition, and ensure the fallback language on alternative rates is reflected in all legal contracts.
AFP: Why did you decide to earn the CTP?
Delvin: Few of my colleagues and my leader recommended the CTP to me, which is regarded as a well-recognized professional certificate for my career progression. I took time to review the course and syllabus before my application, and I found it was a well-rounded and practical course for anyone wanted to further advance their career in treasury. Furthermore, I found it well-connected with all my previous learning and experiences with accounting and finance subjects, so it became a natural extension of my knowledge base.
Take the next step in your career with the CTP Certification. Watch the webinar here, Everything You Need to Know about the CTP Exam.
AFP: How has the CTP credential impacted your life/career?
Delvin: In daily practice, most people would only have the chance to work on one or few treasury subjects. They would then gradually progress to a subject matter expert with years of experience, which is perfectly acceptable. However, with the CTP credential, especially after learning the landscape view of treasury functions, I had a different aspect to the current job. Instead of just knowing “how,” I now understand “why,” which allows me to see through the procedure and focus on how the outcome can contribute to the overall company’s goals and objectives.
AFP: Would you recommend the CTP to others? Why?
Delvin: Absolutely. The CTP provides an excellent foundation for both fresh graduates and experienced professionals looking for a career change in corporate treasury. It also provides a good framework of knowledge related to FinTech disruption, such as digital payments, FX management and dynamic discounting.
Learn more about the Certified Treasury Professional (CTP) designation.