Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Transaction Services (GTS) today began its participation in the Shanghai Free Trade Zone (FTZ) USD cash management pilot program with U.S.-based TRW Automotive (TRW) mandating the firm for a comprehensive treasury management solution.
At a ceremony today in Shanghai, BofA Merrill and TRW were joined by senior officials from the Shanghai FTZ, the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) and the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) to sign a memorandum of understanding signifying participation in the pilot program and to enter a Foreign Currency Cross-Border Cash Management Services agreement to facilitate the implementation of USD cross-border sweeping structures.
As a participant in the Shanghai FTZ USD cross-border sweeping pilot program, BofA Merrill can help address the working capital requirements of companies in China in need of USD payments and collections centralization and netting arrangements. Regulations also stipulate that companies that participate in the program must be profitable, demonstrate a sound internal control procedure and accounting system, and have had zero FX violation records in the past three years.
“The Shanghai FTZ has rapidly evolved in scope and sophistication and will continue to influence the treasury management decisions at leading corporations with a China presence. By participating in the USD cross-border sweeping program, our solution flexibility, client consultancy and demonstrated track record of execution position us at a competitive advantage to service the treasury needs of TRW and other entities operating in the Shanghai FTZ,” said Cathy Dou, head of Global Transaction Services, China at BofA Merrill.
“In addition to the USD cross-border sweeping program, we have deep experience at the forefront of China’s regulatory liberalization, facilitating client participation in numerous RMB cross border schemes, including the latest RMB opportunities in the FTZ and arranging significant cross-border RMB activity as clients re-denominate their capital, funding and trade transactions,” added Dou.
Based in Michigan, TRW is one of the world’s largest automotive suppliers, based, with an established presence in China. For TRW, BofA Merrill will provide a tailored cross-border USD cash management solution that allows two-way sweeping of surplus funds between the header account in the FTZ and other entities globally and streamlined processes for settlement and FX. The solution also provides TRW payments and collection centralization advantages to improve efficiency and save on costs.
Benefits to TRW include enhanced funding management efficiency by utilizing onshore surplus cash outside China, improved FX exposures onshore and offshore and a reduction in treasury processing costs. The solution is supported by BofA Merrill’s Global Liquidity Platform, which provides TRW global and consistent operational support for their liquidity structures in the Shanghai FTZ.
“The Shanghai FTZ opens up broad opportunities for TRW to further maximize its working capital management and risk management. The new platform will provide synergies for TRW regionally and globally,” said Jane Hua, Asia Pacific treasurer for TRW. “We’re proud to partner with Bank of America Merrill Lynch on this key initiative within the landmark Shanghai FTZ project and appreciate their guidance and support for our treasury initiatives.”
Bank of America Merrill Lynch has invested heavily in its GTS platform in China in recent years. In 2013, the firm announced an alliance with China UnionPay (CUP) through which clients can access a unique collection solution of nationwide cross-bank direct debit services capable of improving account receivables management. The bank was also the first in China to accept electronic FCY payments and supporting documents, thereby improving processing efficiency for clients. Furthermore, the firm continues to build out its market-leading liquidity management solutions through its Global Liquidity Platform, which is also complemented by the CashPro Accelerate solution ®, the bank’s cash forecasting tool, in China.
The firm has been active in China since 1972, and the GTS platform provides clients in this strategic market with an evolving suite of working capital solutions, including liquidity management, payments and receipts, trade and supply chain finance, and foreign exchange serving corporations, financial institution and public sector entities.