A Three-in-one Solution: Banking, Cash Management and Risk Management at Tristyle

Development of a dynamic treasury at a mid-sized company
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Company and starting point

The Tristyle Group is among the market leaders in European fashion distance selling. With its three independently managed mail order and e-commerce companies, Peter Hahn, MADELEINE and Long Tall Sally, it has a stable, wide-ranging portfolio that is strategically monitored and steered by the holding company. The holding company also operates Tristyle Sourcing Ltd., which provides purchasing support for the group on the global procurement markets.

In 2016, Tristyle established an independent treasury department based in Munich. The team’s work centered on Excel spreadsheets, which were painstakingly obtained by email and manually collated. The manual processes were extremely time-consuming, could be prone to error and lacked sufficient transparency. As a mid-sized company, Tristyle was looking for a solution that could be administered with minimal human resources and quickly rolled out across the group.

Company and treasury profile

  • Number of employees: 1,668
  • Number of employees in the central treasury department: 2
  • Number of tm5 users: 56
  • Global use of tm5 for
    • Payments
    • Cash and FX management
    • Risk management
    • Liquidity planning
  • Sales activities in 15 countries – core market in Europe
  • Locations in more than 10 countries
  • Group-wide use of BELLIN’s treasury and banking system, tm5

The Challenge: to digitize and standardize processes

Before BELLIN’s tm5 was implemented, each subsidiary conducted its payments independently and was connected with numerous identifiers to various banks via different banking solutions.
The different processes carried security risks and were often manual, paper-based and error-prone. This meant central treasury had to expend huge time and effort collating and consolidating data for group-wide cash, liquidity and FX management. In 2017, the company came to the conclusion that treasury operations needed radical restructuring with system support.

A treasury and banking solution was needed to help achieve the following aims:

  • Group-wide standardization of payment and cash management processes
  • Group-wide integration of basic security standards
  • Complete digitization and elimination of paper-based processes
  • Centralized control of payments with decentralized processing
  • Increased efficiency, visibility and transparency in cash, liquidity and FX management

The Solution: achieve visibility, efficiency and collaborative working using BELLIN’s system

Head of Group Treasury Stefania Venudo opted for BELLIN’s system because it meets all of the company’s requirements, can be implemented quickly and can also be used group-wide for bank communication and payments. “We were able to roll out BELLIN’s tm5 right across the group in just six months. Everyone is delighted,” says Venudo.

 

Payments with the system’s integrated multi-bank platform

Implementation and rollout

Tristyle began implementation of BELLIN’s system by introducing payments first. Starting with head office, the treasury team gradually rolled out the system to the main subsidiaries.

The existing account structure was connected first, with improvements to the structure made in only a few cases. However, the introduction of a corporate seal alone reduced the number of identifiers the Tristyle Group has with commercial banks from 15 to just one, which immediately gave Tristyle more clarity and saved on fees.

Deploying BELLIN’s treasury and banking system enabled Tristyle to ditch all legacy e-banking systems and around 80% of its local banking systems.

 

Bank connectivity with EBICS and host-to-host

Tristyle has connected eight countries directly in tm5. Austria, Belgium, Germany, Finland, France, Britain and the Netherlands are connected via the EBICS channel and Switzerland via a host-to-host connection. The system processes around EUR 1.2 billion annually, of which around EUR 560 million corresponds to individual payments in ten currencies and around EUR 570 million to bulk payments in EUR, CHF, GBP and USD.

 

Central cash and FX management with real-time data

Leveraging cash pools by linking settlement and cash flow data

Being able to process payments in the same system and automatically obtain and reconcile account statements affords central treasury full visibility over group-wide cash flows. Linking cash flow data to payment settlement makes FX administration substantially easier. Before the BELLIN system was introduced, it was not easy to forecast where funds would be needed. Now the group’s financial status can be viewed at the click of a button and managed accordingly. What’s more, this cash positioning process can be carried out in precisely the currency required.

The Tristyle Group uses a central cash pooling structure covering four group divisions, ten countries and four currencies. FX deals amount to around CHF 33 million, GBP 22 million and USD 76 million – equivalent to EUR 116 million in total.

Improved risk management

Financial instruments and market data in the system

Head of Treasury Venudo’s daily work includes hedging the exposure behind FX volumes. The integration in the system of market data from external partners is extremely useful in this regard. The group has access within BELLIN’s system to an overview of current exchange rates and how rates have changed over time, allowing the company to make better forecasts for the future.

The process improvements resulting from carrying out FX and risk management in tm5 are clearly noticeable when it comes to the group’s many FX forwards. Before using BELLIN’s tm5, every single settlement payment had to be entered manually and, given the plethora of deals, payment could be missed at the due date. An average of 20 such cases occurred every year. Now all deals are captured using a dual approval process and deal records generate associated cash flow data: once the deal has been entered and approved, the payment is automatically reflected in the cash flow data and can be initiated at the click of a button when due.

 

Automatic group-wide audit trail of cash-related processes

Head of Treasury Venudo is also delighted that all data is captured and recorded when deals are processed: “We have a complete audit trail for every cash-related process. This makes life easier for us from treasury right through to financial controlling and accounting. tm5 has transformed our group into a team, bringing everyone together across countries and departments.”

 

The project in a nutshell

Using BELLIN’s tm5 has enabled Tristyle to standardize global payment processes across the group and to restructure its communication with banks. Linking payments with cash flows allows central treasury to oversee payments processed at local level and take care of cash and FX management for the group. Digitization of all cash-related processes has given the company a complete audit trail to support the work of its financial controlling and accounting departments.

 

Results:

  • Group-wide standardization of payment and cash management processes
  • Group-wide integration of basic security standards
  • Complete digitization and elimination of all paper-based processes
  • Centralized control of payments with decentralized processing
  • Increased efficiency, visibility and transparency in cash and FX management
  • Process improvements in the area of risk management
  • Efficient use of financial instruments

Success at a glance

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Key Facts
Industry
Fashion
Founded, Headquarters
2015 Munich | DE
Employees
1.668
Annual turnover
EUR 583.3 million (2018/19)
Visit Tristyle Group

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