Services

Connected Areas

Matterwise

These are areas where we are not experts, but we do have enough understanding to inform the areas in which we do have deep expertise when there is interconnection.
This avoids proposals made from the point of view of one department which will fail as soon as another relevant department examines them, but progress for a long time before that happens, so wasting resources.
Or worse that they are implemented, and only afterwards do the risks or costs elsewhere become apparent to the project/organisation as a whole.

  Programming If you outsource all your IT then we are willing to write and maintain code for you.
But usually our clients do have an IT department; it is more appropriate for them to own the code going forward, so it is more appropriate for them to do the coding.
That often means we provide working protypes to be coded in your environment, as well as reaching across the communication gap from the business to IT.
Sometimes the biggest gain in that role is eliminating unnecessary complexity - designing what is simple for progamming (and future updates), which can be different from what might be simple to teach a new employee to do manually.
We also test thoroughly - looking for exceptions to stress test any system rather than the "let's just prove it works once" approach that is practiced by some of the large consultancies.
The fact that we can write code (SQL, Perl, Pascal, VBA, HTML) means that we can test at a volume that is impossible without such capability.

And comments that "The system is very complicated - you may not be able to understand it" we translate as "The system is poorly understood/designed - it may be frustrating to find what is wanted."

 
 
Contract Structures

We are familiar with most types of derivatives, and understand how to break risks apart into separate contracts.
We understand how different types of master agreements fit together with confirmations, but we do not advise on law.
We understand what INCO terms are and why they matter, although we claim no expertise in whichever changes may have been made in the latest revision.

 
 
Legal Structures

The "industrial" accountant tends to see a business as having one or more legal entities, and consolidation being adding together the different legal entities.
The "banking"/"trading" mindset is that the group is a set of businesses, and that legal entities are "buckets" to be used as appropriate given tax, credit, regulatory considerations - Consolidation is showing the whole.
Businesses in legal structures are sometimes genuinely unchangeable without enormous disruption, particularly regarding capital gains tax.
Other times they are something that most people designing processes tend to consider fixed when they may not be.
Or if the legal structure must remain the same, it may be advantageous to put part of a business in a different legal structure.
Gains can come from removing duplicate reporting requirements, or capital requirements.
We are familiar with the pros and cons of concentrating hedging instruments in particular entities.

 
 
Company Secretarial

We have supervised company secretarial departments, in particular setting up processes so that Anti-Money-Landering procedures by banks can be dealt with swiftly in one shot.

 
 
Corporate Income Tax

We have supervised tax departments, but are not experts in any particular tax in any particular country.
We do have a particular mathematical understanding of the effect on corporation tax of running a business (usually USD) in an entity which has a different statutory currency, and how to hedge the effect.
If we see any impact on tax from what we are working on, then we will draw it to your attention, and can effectively and efficiently communicate with your internal/external tax advisers.

 
 
VAT

We are certainly not experts on E.g. the detailed requirements for triangulation, but we do understand the main principles and mechanics of VAT.
Including why having a VAT registration in a foreign country v having invoices in a foreign currency in home country, give different currency exposures.

 
 
Large Project Management

We have several ideas on how to reduce risks and costs on large systems implementations, but would generally not take on the role of managing a very large project.
We certainly manage small projects.

 
 
Algebra

We cannot claim to remember integration from school, but we have set up and solved equations to create general formulae for clients to use to calculate required hedges.

 
 
IFRS

When IFRS was a small book, with lots of optional approaches, we knew it.<br>
Now it is a huge corpus which despite its claim to be a set of principles is often treated more as a set of sacred texts.
We do not advise on IFRS, but:
a) if there is an IFRS non-sensical treatment we may be able to suggest restructuring the contracts/entities (see second and third sections above) to avoid it.
b) if you have an auditor being particularly obtuse in proposing a non-common-sense conclusion we can provide you with arguments and examples that may help to get agreement to common-sense.

 
 
Credit Risk

We have no expertise in setting credit limits, but we do have sharp experience of what happens when an entity or a whole group of entities defaults.
We understand how all those negotiations with banks about mechanics are motivated by optimising their position in the event of default; as are the accounting rules mandating grossing-up.

We also understand how credit exposure arising from continously-delivered commodities varies over time in ways that are very different to pure financial, or bulk-delivery commodities - see article.

 
Trade Finance

A notoriously technical area in terms of law and procedures.
Definitely not something on which we would advise, but we do understand what the client and bank are trying to achieve, so can understand the details a trade finance specialist gives us to define a process.

 
Capital Adequacy

We understand the principles of calculations involved in calculating capital ratios.
Actually, let's give a definition of notional decidedly more general and succinct than those we have seen online: (which seem to have been written either by an equity specialist or a swap specialist)
"The notional amount is the gross current value of the asset or liability that would be involved assuming that the position was created with simple instruments rather than anyderivatives."
For which particular numbers are required in a particular form, and what offset ratios or other parameters are allowed, we defer to specialists.


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