Why Regus located operations to Manila _ The Corporate Treasurer _ May 2015_
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Why Regus located treasury operations to
May 27, 2015 | By Daniel Bland | People & Strategy
Regus International’s head of global treasury support, tells CT why Manila was the perfect
location for its treasury centre.
Governments across Asia-Pacific are
competing to offer incentives for corporate
treasury establishment, but a location less on
the radar, Manila, has won over at least one
“We’ve proved pretty quickly that Manila is a
powerful cash force,” Raphaël Darbellay, head
of global treasury (global service centre), for
Regus, a FTSE 250 listed office space service
provider, told CT.
When Darbellay joined the company’s
headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland, in October
2011 it was decided Regus’ treasury operations were too UK-centric for a company, born in
1989, that was expanding. Regus’ treasury manages group policies and procedures for more
than 2,500 entities across 120 countries.
Assisting the newly hired group treasurer, Darbellay was tasked with assessing the company’s
existing treasury functions. A key aspect for growth facilitation was to make the right use of the
newly created in-house entity. Darbellay worked with group treasurer to create key policies for
intercompany loan management, lease support optimisation and treasury management system
It was in Nyon that Darbellay identified Manila as an optimal location to build a global treasury,
and he raised his hand to relocate the unit there. Manila was ideal for several reasons: the
company had formerly set its regional Asia-Pacific shared service centre in Manila and had
recently relocated its US/Canada company accounting operations there in 2012 (the remaining
treasury accounting operations is in Texas).
Finding the North American move workable, the company then shifted its remaining regional
service centres such as Belfast, Prague, UK, France and more recently Mexico to Manila.
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Worldwide global IT support for the company’s 2,500 business centres was also relocated to the
Manila-based tasks include: account payables and receivables, cash application, intercompany
billing, settlement and netting, regional and global accounting, customers’ billing, project
management, compliance, IT and treasury.
The company found the location’s office prices, staffing costs, expertise, and time zone position
all made Manila an ideal business operating centre.
Particularly important, was Manila’s high level pool of applicants with solid accounting
qualifications and experience that could translate well to treasury. “You can ask every day and
receive 10-20 new CVs if you want!” Darbellay said referring to more junior positions.
“Unfortunately, it does not apply to managerial roles wherein corporate treasury leadership is yet
to be recognised as a must have,” Darbellay added.
Regus’ group treasurer, pricing negotiations, and global strategy is all still located in Nyon, but
global support is now fully based in the Philippines. “Building in global support in Manila [allows
for better] efficiency in decision-making processes such as foreign exchange exposure
[management] as well as visibility in corporate financing capacity,” Darbellay said.
Since the company relocated treasury responsibilities to the Philippines, it now looks after:
• Cash Management optimisation and integration
• Operational coordination
• Rental support management and optimisation
• Operational intercompany funding and loan management
• Blocked cash
• HQ operational transactions and in-house bank account reconciliation, including
cash pool reconciliation and in-house netting support
As well as treasury compliance functions for:
• Bank platforms and treasury management system administration
• Intercompany loan documentation
• Global bank accounts rationalisation and bank charges control
• Compliance control for global bank guarantees and letter of credit
“We’re a hybrid treasury team,” Darbellay said, “In London global bank relationship we arrange
our pricing rates and do our structure management, then our regional bank specialists, say, in
Hong Kong, offer country level strategies for cash flow and best solutions.”
“In Manila, we run all the treasury support and daily management functions. The hosted
department is segregated into three main divisions: ‘’Headquarters Support’’, ‘’Regional Support’’
and ‘’Global Support’’ all in one with a strong interdependency to the other global service centre
recipients based in Manila.”
In addition to operations support, Darbellay said Manila plays a key role in high level global
projects, not just local or regional initiatives in Asia.
“Across the region, in the last year and a half, we’ve been able to accomplish a lot by sitting in
Asia. Monitoring and reporting from systems are better, and I’ve been able to identify hidden cash
and get better usage of it in the region,” Darbellay concluded.
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