François Masquelier (ATEL) : The thankless role of an association treasurer, advocacy

If there is a thankless role above all else, it is that of an association’s lobbyist. However, it is a vital and critical role, especially after a wave of various crises, always a good time for new and stricter regulations, meant to correct or improve what could not be corrected. Regulations are a kind of Foucault’s pendulum that, after a left turn, swings to the right. Let’s not forget to bring it back to the center. This is the unknown, unsuspected, hidden, and unvalued role of an association that protects its members. This is the role that EACT has taken on and is fulfilling wonderfully. Let’s discover what it covers.  


Advocacy, a key role to prevent inadequate financial regulations 

Advocacy is one of EACT’s many roles. It is often overlooked by our members who only see the impact of regulations after the fact or when they are imposed on them. However, without the vigilance of a few and of the EACT, helped by its FRAG group and by its advisors, i.e., Fleishman-Hillard, nothing would guarantee the serenity of treasurers, especially at the end of crises, while the legislator seeks to correct past errors and excesses by means of directives. The EACT must be a kind of prophet in his own country and watch over the grain before the regulations are even applied. EACT acts well upstream and that is why its role is underestimated and misunderstood. Who cares about a regulation when it will only be applicable in 24 or 36 months, I ask you? This is where the difficulty lies in demonstrating our crucial role and results when many have not even realized the danger we have avoided. We are shadow workers, fund miners, guardians of the temple… 



Lobby in Brussels 

Brussels is one of the two cities in the world where the word lobbying applies. The mysteries are complex. You must master them to be able to act and try to influence the legislator or the supervisor. Never forget that there are people looking out for your interests when you are focused on your job as treasurer. Who would want to read 50 to 100 pages of a recital, discussion paper, directive, bylaw, draft bylaw, minutes of a public meeting, etc.? No one unless you are hyperactive and anticipate the future of the profession. I think all treasurers should recognize the work done by their associations and EACT. They should be grateful to be advocated for by their peers. They should appreciate the time that others spend advocating for them without asking for anything in return except their satisfaction. They should understand that some must measure, calculate, appreciate, and underestimate the impact that a measure or an article can have on their business. I have been aware for 21 years that EACT works simply efficiently and with conviction to defend us and I would like to thank them today because we forget a measure or a flawed idea when it has been prevented by the intervention of a pro-active, curious, and protective peer. Lobbying is a profession, one of the pillars of our association and one of the foundations of what made us. Believe me, there are many measures which, as you read these lines, are or will be put aside by our intervention e.g., EMIR and the end of the reporting exemption for inter-company OTC derivatives transactions, the new overweighting foreseen by Basel 3 on bank guarantees which would modify the cost of them or even on instant payments and the IBAN check name. 



Working in the shadow to defend corporate treasurer’s best interests 

There are a thousand reasons to thank our national associations and EACT. So, I wanted to pay tribute to them and to thank those who look after our interests, without boasting, without publicity, without any compensation and without asking for the slightest thanks, however deserved. The federation of corporate treasury associations, across Europe, monitor financial regulations and follow any EU initiative that could impact the day-to-day operations of their members. Let’s salute the enormous work done by the EACT and the results obtained for more than 20 years. Bravo to you all and thank you!  



François Masquelier, Chair of ATEL 


Disclaimer: This article was prepared by François Masquelier in his personal capacity. The opinion expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the view of the European Association of Corporate Treasurers (i.e., EACT)