2021 was an another crazy, exciting and remarkably successful year for TreasurySpring.
As I sat down to write this, I realised that I had almost blocked from memory the fact that we spent the first 12 weeks of the year in total lockdown! Against that backdrop, it is impossible not be humbled and more than a little bit inspired by the resilience, ingenuity and adaptability shown both by our society as a whole and, from a personal perspective, by our amazing team.
The last 12 months saw us almost triple AUM, double the size of our team and raise $10m of new equity into our business from two of Europe’s premier venture capital funds. We launched more than 50 new products, passed through $20B of total issuance of our Fixed-Term Funds (an asset class that didn’t exist three short years ago), entered three new markets, onboarded our first FTSE 100 clients and completed more than 1600% growth in assets since the start of the pandemic. And every bit as important, was that we had a lot of fun along the way!
One of the things that I enjoy the most about building this business is the constant change, development and learning. Every day brings new challenges and opportunities and whilst we certainly haven’t always got everything right, two positive lessons really stick in my mind from last year.
The first is that even the biggest goals can be broken down into bite-size pieces. Creating a new business, entering a new market, delivering a new product or even implementing a new process can seem daunting when you look at the end goal. But, if you just focus on the next building block and make sure that you keep building, day after day, brick by brick, you can achieve extraordinary things, even when the world around you is on fire!
The second is that people can astound you with their ability if you challenge and empower them. We have a brilliant young group that continues to surprise and excite me by taking on responsibility far beyond their experience levels. In 2022, I want to make sure that we stretch and challenge our team even further by pushing them to deliver projects and goals that are right at the edge, or even slightly beyond their comfort zone.
Throughout the pandemic I have become acutely aware that those of us that work in finance and financial technology are immensely privileged. Our businesses are somewhat protected from the guillotine of lockdowns, the disruptions to supply chains and the need to physically attend a particular place of work, so I am always interested in how we can use that privilege as a force for good. As a big fan of Ray Dalio, the founder of Bridgewater Associates, I always read his updates with interest, so when I saw that his Christmas gifts to his clients this year was to be sending them vouchers to donate to a charity of their choice, I was inspired to see if a similar programme existed in the UK. I was delighted to find Charity Vouchers and even more delighted to receive countless messages from our clients expressing their gratitude for the ability to choose from hundreds of charities and donate to causes that in many cases held great personal significance.
Partnering with our clients to deliver them value and, at the most basic level to make them smile, is what makes us smile, so our new Christmas initiative was a really satisfying way to end an exceptional year. Huge thanks to our team, our clients, our investors, issuers, strategic partners and friends for all of their invaluable dedication and support in 2021.
We have many ambitious goals for 2022, both in terms of dramatically growing our core business and also in developing several exciting new initiatives. We want Fixed-Term Funds to become ubiquitous in corporate treasury; we want every VC-backed company raising a significant funding round to look to our platform as the default option; and we will enter multiple new markets both in terms of sectors and geographies. Slightly further afield, we are building a unique global treasury community for peer networking and learning; we plan on launching the best genuinely sustainable cash investment products in the market; and we want to make sure that we are at the forefront of the inevitable crossover between digital assets and traditional treasury.
In the face of these exceptional growth targets, the most important and challenging objective for me personally is making sure that we don’t compromise the values, or team spirit that has enabled us to build from nothing to where we are today. Allied to that is ensuring that we adhere to the deliberate and rigorous hiring process that has helped us to create an extraordinary team, committed to our long-term aspirations. If we can continue to get these things right, I have every confidence that all of the success that we and our investors demand will naturally follow.
Having worked in fixed income for almost 20 years, I have learned (sometimes painfully) that the status quo should never be taken for granted. We have seen unprecedented central bank support over the last 18 months, engaging in a financial experiment on a scale that has never before been tried. It is very difficult to know exactly when or how the effects of that enormous stimulus will come to pass but you can be sure that it will bring unintended consequences. The most obvious possibility is runaway inflation in an over-indebted world that is ill-prepared to stomach the interest rate rises that would conventionally be used to combat price increases. But there are many other possibilities including an “everything bubble”, a proliferation of zombie companies, sovereign debt defaults, continued political and social unrest as the wealth gap regrettably widens further – suffice to say that I fear that whatever stability we might find as we hopefully consign the pandemic to the rear-view mirrors is unlikely to persist for too long.
In addition to delivering access to the best available risk-adjusted returns on cash holdings across all currencies and products; a core tenet of our platform is to offer an escape route to safe-haven investments in case markets offer up unwelcome surprises. So, whether 2022 is a year to maximise yield and enjoy the rare fruits of a rising interest rate environment, or if it turns out that we all need to strap in to ride out more unpleasant volatility, we have great products to cater for every need.
Whatever the world might throw at us over the next 12 months, I am hugely optimistic for the growth of our business, the very welcome continued acceleration of ESG demands on companies and fund managers and our ability to contribute to the development of robust foundations for a post-pandemic equilibrium.
Wishing you all the very best for a happy and healthy year ahead!