Ask the Graduate: Global Treasury Analyst and Trader

RO Central Team - Thursday, May 30, 2019
Posted 20 days ago

June 2019

Hello, my name is Scott Harrison and I studied Physics at Newcastle University. I now work for Procter & Gamble (P&G) as a Treasury Analyst and Trader.

This article is intended to give you a flavour of what a typical day is like working in treasury at a multi-national company. Before I begin explaining who P&G is (although I’m hoping you will know us by our brands if not our name) and what a typical day looks like for me let’s start with an a-typical day and what’s happening right now! I’m currently writing this article in Amsterdam airport waiting for my connection back to Newcastle. I’ve been fortunate enough to spend the week in New York, meeting with an IT provider on a project to upgrade one of our key treasury IT systems.

Working for a large multi-national company that has its head office based in Cincinnati, Ohio and a presence in most countries across the globe does, on occasion, enable me to travel for work. Travel is usually for projects, training and meetings with external service providers such as our banking partners. I’ve been fortunate enough this year to travel to Singapore, Cincinnati and New York.

For my A-levels I studied Physics, Maths and Computing and chose to do Physics at university because it was my favourite subject throughout school and college. I never considered what I would like to do for a career until my last year of university, which – if I’m honest - is probably not great advice to follow. The skills that you develop in a science or mathematics degree lend themselves to a career in the world of finance though as apart from the obvious ‘being good with numbers’ you also develop an inquisitive nature to learn how things work along with strong analytical and problem-solving skills. I use all of these skills in my current role.

After uni I started working for a mutual building society in Newcastle before joining P&G in 2008. Since joining P&G I have worked in the area of Finance and Accounting for the past eleven years in various roles before joining the treasury team three years ago. During this time, I’ve also studied through P&G for a professional qualification becoming a member of the Association for Certified Chart Accountants (ACCA).

Who is Procter & Gamble (P&G)? P&G is ‘the largest consumer goods company in the world’. Our brands such as Pampers, Gillette, Ariel, Fairy, Olay, Oral B and Braun to name but a few, are trusted in millions of homes worldwide. Our global sales were 67 Billion USD last year and our net operating profit was 14 Billion USD.

What is a treasury analyst and trader? P&G operates its own in-house bank allowing it to do most of the tasks you would associate with a business bank: e.g. take deposits, invest externally, lend cash between P&G businesses, carry out foreign exchange (FX) transactions and make payments for goods and services between the different divisions of P&G. On a day to day basis I manage the cash and risk for this in-house bank ensuring each of the P&G businesses who are members of this bank have the right amount of cash in the right currency in the right place at the right time.

My working day starts shortly before 9am – this is great as I have time to drop my children off at school before my commute to work. We are based in a large, modern open plan office on a business park outside of Newcastle so I don’t have a lengthy or busy commute (I can also park at work).

There are five of us in the team that manage the bulk of P&G’s cash (which is in the tens of billions of dollars!!!) We spend a lot of time together as a team due to the nature of work we do and the fact our roles and responsibilities are so intertwined. It’s very important that we work effectively as a team and get on well with each other to ensure everyone is on the same page. We eat lunch together most days and socialise fairly often outside of work.

I start my day like 99% of people who work in an office type environment – catching up on emails.

I then plan my day looking at any project activity or deadlines that are needed along with specific areas of our in-house bank that are under my responsibility such as managing loans and forecasts. I also spend a bit of time in the morning reading articles and commentary on what’s happening in the world politically and in the financial markets. Having an interest in these two topics is a must in my role as you need to understand what is happening in the world and how this may impact what is going on in a particular financial market that day.

The rest of my morning before 11am may be spent in team meetings making sure we are sharing critical information on projects, investment plans, forecasts or big FX trades coming up.

If I’m responsible for managing our trading desk then I will start to trade around 11am. Like any bank we have core hours that we are open to allow our members to invest or withdraw cash. After this point we prevent further withdrawals or deposits before beginning to trade and invest those positions.

If I’m trading I will be buying and selling FX, making investments or raising short term debt. If I am working the FX desk I am trading either via the telephone or over an FX trading platform with one of our banking partners. We have relationships with most of the major financial institutions that you would find in New York or London. I’m usually converting any excess foreign currency into USD (as we’re an American owned company). The USD received is then invested by the other trading desk. The numbers we trade aren’t small – usually in the tens of millions of USD so there’s a bit of pressure to the job to ensure you are getting the right deal for the company in line with our trading protocols.If I’m on the investment or debt management desk I would be phoning brokers to raise debt for the company in the US debt markets or invest in securities and other corporate and government debt. Again, it’s all about understanding the market you are in and where P&G sits within this market from a credit rating perspective to get the right deal for the company.

My working day normally finishes between 5 & 6pm and I rarely work weekends unless I am travelling. Occasionally, I may have project calls in the evening with our treasury team in Cincinnati who we report in to and who manage our longer-term financing and risk management strategies.

As part of the role I also get the opportunity to attend dinner meetings with our corporate banking partners to discuss trade execution results and new financial products and services as maintaining strong working relationships with our banks is key to ensuring we are up-to-date with the latest market information and products and services available.

I hope you enjoyed reading a bit about my job – please do ask me any questions you have by 17 June.


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