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Monday, 27th March 2017
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A Day in the Life: AIB Treasury Board member Tom Hall    
Tom Hall, head of AIB Customer Treasury Services, is based in the bank's London office and travels regularly to Dublin. Hall, also a member of the AIB Treasury Management Board, says the bank's €500 million unsecured debt issuance in March is a vote of confidence from international investors in the bank and despite market volatility the credit spreads remain close to issuance levels. Hall's role also sees him driving the technology agenda with the bank launching its new eFX platform for its treasury clients in phases throughout 2015.
5.45am: The all too familiar and painful ring tone of an iphone snaps me into consciousness. I resist the snooze button and start to get ready for my flight to Dublin where our Head Office and main Dealing Room are located. Very quickly I’m joined by one of my kids wandering around, eyes still half closed, asking ‘Are you in London or Dublin today?’. Today I’m off to Dublin. As Head of Customer Treasury Services and Country Head of AIB’s London Branch this is a regular trip. And while I try not to wake up the whole house at dawn, by 6.00am the place is alive with the chatter of homework being done (or not as the case may be), matches, training and school trips. Whilst they are all very chirpy now, the early start means they’ll be pretty grumpy by bedtime - when I’m in Dublin.


6.45am: I arrive at Heathrow airport. I’m lucky to live close to Heathrow so the commute is quick and pain free. I take the opportunity while waiting for my flight to respond to some emails, and glance through the weekly reports from our offices in Dublin, Belfast, London and New York. It’s always interesting to see how our volumes respond to general trends in export activity and market volatility.

9.15am: When I arrive in our Dublin office, my first port of call is always an informal conversation with the heads of our customer facing teams. We discuss the previous day’s activity and how markets have been behaving. This week has been no different from recent trends as volatile markets continue to deliver challenges for our customers. We also discuss the absolute level of interest rates and the relative cost to customers of taking out interest rate protection.

11.00am: I have an informal meeting with Mick Concannon who heads up our Cash Management team. We have a dedicated support team for large corporates who process high volumes of payments on a daily basis throughout Europe and worldwide. Technology for processing these payments by file upload is evolving rapidly, so we regularly talk about how we can improve our own technology and service to make this as seamless as possible for our clients. Today we talk about further developments in SEPA requirements that will come into force next year. SEPA brings many benefits, but it has also presented many challenges for companies requiring significant development of their own systems and procedures. We discuss a recent government tender process and the new customer pipeline.

12:00pm: Time for lunch. I like to take the time to have lunch with some colleagues when I’m in Dublin as this is the best way to have an informal catch-up with what’s going on.

12:50pm: Back to my desk with an apple to check my emails and see what I need to deal with today. I have a request from one of our customers to make an introduction to one of our Private Banking colleagues. The needs of our customers are generally quite sophisticated, and we cater for large institutions and corporates as well as small business owners, so this is quite a regular occurrence between various parts of the business. I make some calls and set up a meeting.

1:30pm: I get a call from Brian Kelleher, who heads up our Customer Treasury team in New York. We discuss my upcoming trip and clients I’m going to visit. We move on to talk through the growth projections in our US leverage loan portfolio, the forecast funding requirement and the options to expand our US liabilities through deposit gathering and our updated CP programme.

2:15pm: I drop in to see Chris Curley, Co-Head of AIB Term Funding and we discuss the performance of AIB’s most recent long term public funding transaction. In March we issued €500m of senior unsecured debt which attracted great demand from a diverse range of international investors. Final pricing had an all in yield of 1.381% and the order book was in excess of 2 times over-subscribed. 88% of the final allocations were made to international investors, underlining the endorsement of the AIB credit story by overseas investors. This was the second debt issue of the year following a €750m covered bond issue in January. Despite recent market volatility our credit spreads remain near the issuance level.

3:00pm: I meet with my Treasury Product Manager who’s working on a number of enhancements to our digital capabilities including our new updated website which is due to be launched in the coming weeks. This is where I like to focus a lot of my energy, as we need to respond to and evolve with the needs of our customers.
Almost everything is done online these days so we need to provide people with the tools to do it. We’re particularly excited about our new eFX platform which we’re delivering to the market in phases this year. Change is not always as straightforward as we would like so our discussion today is about the latest technical hurdle we must overcome to enable progress.

4:30pm: I prepare for my Introduction to our “Supporting your International Trade” early morning seminar being held in Galway the following day. This is part of a series of seminars that my sales teams are running across the country to provide businesses with some bite size training on what tools are available to help them deal with Foreign Exchange Risk, Trade Finance requirements and the implications of SEPA. We’re covering other topics in the coming weeks, and as we’ve had nearly 500 attendees at these seminars so far, I decide we should run more later in the year to cater for the obvious level of interest.

5:00pm: I have a catch up with our Treasurer Donal Galvin. Donal is an advocate of the customer and takes a keen interest in all elements of our customer activity, proposition and the development of our digital channels. I run him through a few significant in-flight transactions, projects and our plans for customer engagement following the UK election result.

6:30pm: I’ve arranged to go for a bite to eat with the Treasurer of one of our UK Corporate customers while we’re both in Dublin. We discuss the upcoming Association of Corporate Treasurers conference in Manchester, which we’ll both attend, and our plans for summer holidays. The impact of BEPS and IFRS changes can wait for another day!

8:00pm: I break away to Facetime the (now grumpy) kids before they go to bed. I hear all about the events of the day, junk modelling and ‘times table’ tests, through to progress by our eldest towards her first significant exams. All’s well but I don’t envy their mum Niamh the next thirty minutes until bedtime.

10:00pm: I go through my emails for some bedtime reading. One is from the manager of our Customer Proposition and Engagement team with a run through of her plans for the Autumn agenda of customer events. She’s also updating me on progress as we iron out the final tweaks to our new website and some improvements we’re making to our customer documentation.

10:30pm: End of day catch up with the real star of the household, Niamh. We discuss the upcoming weekend’s taxi service to ensure the kids are in the right place at the right time. We also agree on a venue for dinner with my fellow junior football coaches and their wives to celebrate the end of the season.

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