Reaping Real-Time Treasury Rewards: Q&A With Global Head Of Digital And Data For Citi Treasury And Trade Solutions Naveed Anwar

Naveed Anwar, global head of Digital and Data for Citi Treasury and Trade Solutions, shares how the bank enables growth in a real-time world.

Global Finance: What can cloud-based flexible microservices deliver that legacy treasury management systems cannot?

Naveed Anwar: At Citi, we are client-focused and invested in our infrastructures to help support customer growth and ambitions. However, to operate at the speed that meets the needs of our clients, we are increasingly shifting to a cloud-based model. And as cloud-based flexible microservices enable institutions, including those with extensive global operations like Citi, we partner closely with a cloud provider to ensure we have robust infrastructures. This, in turn, provides the ability to scale on demand at the pace of our clients, and spend more time focusing on their needs and roadmaps. 

Cloud-based flexible microservices also provide greater flexibility and customization due to their modular rather than monolithic development model. This type of infrastructure is also faster to deploy, more resilient and more available, with 24/7 availability. And it has a quicker development cycle, meaning customer needs and marketplace realities can be adapted to at an accelerated pace. 

GF: How are you helping clients harness the power of their data?

Anwar: Treasury leaders face numerous data issues today. As companies move toward more digital solutions, the sheer volume of internal data they must deal with tends to increase. And if those companies don’t have a strong data management foundation, that increase in data volumes often equals an increase in data quality issues. Even in larger firms, we often see relatively smaller treasury teams that are resource constrained and don’t have the tools they need to help them make sense of all of this data so that they can leverage it for smarter business decisions.

At Citi, we work with clients to leverage new strategies to ensure their data can be mined for key insights to inform critical treasury decisions. For example, we recently expanded our relationship with Treasury Intelligence Solutions [TIS], an innovative platform with rich data analytics. As a result of the expansion, Citi clients can now benefit from streamlined and direct access to the TIS platform—and use the insights provided by TIS through Citi to optimize liquidity more effectively and improve treasury funding and investing activities.

GF: How do banks and their clients reap AI benefits without compromising compliance and data governance?

Anwar: Artificial intelligence has great potential, with impressive use cases for the treasury function, like analyzing historical data to provide real-time cash flow forecasts. However, our position at Citi is that while innovative technologies like generative AI can serve as a strong complement to human intelligence, they should not be seen as a replacement for human intellect. This is particularly important when it comes to data governance and compliance. Humans will remain pivotal in ensuring that banks’ data remains secure. 

That said, it is essential to note that AI can help companies stay compliant. We have seen that through analyzing trade transactions and identifying potential compliance exceptions. Citi is using AI to help our employees and clients ensure they are compliant with trade regulations and reporting requirements.

GF: How are you helping corporate treasurers function in a real-time-everything world?

Anwar: We know that our clients are looking for access to always-on payments capabilities, particularly as entire industries shift to 24/7 business models, and we are committed to empowering corporate finance leaders to operate in a real-time world. Since the launch of 24/7 USD Clearing in Q4 2022, 50 of our financial institution clients have benefitted from this solution—a significant milestone on a journey to always-on payments. Our clients are now processing hundreds of transactions per week through Citi’s 24/7/365 network, delivering superior cross-border payments experiences.

In June of this year, we also announced our relationship with a major next-gen banking company, whereby Citi is leveraging its technology platform to help strengthen our corporate demand deposit accounts [DDA] to clients worldwide. This relationship empowers finance leaders working to keep pace with a real-time world by helping to deliver high-volume, 24×7 processing and real-time data availability.