Founded in 1998, BELLIN creates efficient and forward-thinking treasury solutions. With over 135 employees BELLIN is defined by the treasurers and treasury experts that make up its team and takes pride in a pragmatic approach to solving treasury problems. The firm’s success is based on an ability to leverage its core strength: a knowledge of treasury to build solutions that work locally and can be applied globally.
BELLIN’s solutions are designed to be easy to use by treasurers and non-treasurers alike, and permit as many users as the treasury has need of, at no extra cost. This increases involvement of subsidiaries with the treasury, automates global data collection, enforces group-wide rules and compliance and enhances transparency.
The European caught up with company founder and CEO Martin Bellin to find out how it all began and what makes the service so special.
How has your professional background helped facilitate the development of BELLIN?
Martin Bellin: I’m the CEO of a business active in treasury and this is also where I started my professional career – as a treasurer. I first worked for a major German corporate group in what would nowadays be called a treasury department. In this position I could witness first hand that the market lacked an adequate treasury management system for group-wide data management. It quickly emerged that this simply didn’t exist and I realised that if I wanted such a system, I would have to develop it myself. After all, I had the treasury experience and an IT background from university days.
I eventually developed my own tool, gave up my day job and it all took off from there. One by one, slowly but surely, I convinced businesses to buy my system. The rest is history: today, we inspire more than 15,000 companies with over 25,000 users in more than 150 countries and counting.
BELLIN has grown exponentially. How has your team of treasurers and treasury experts contributed to this?
MB: When I first set up in business, I was a one-man band. However, if you want to make it up there with the best it goes without saying that you cannot do this on your own. Which is why our team of treasury experts has grown nearly as rapidly as the business – always keeping pace and always making sure that we have the manpower and the expertise to not just sustain our efforts but to go above and beyond what our clients expect of us.
On one hand, our experts use their know-how to support and advise our customers. On the other, they act as internal and external thought-leaders. The combined treasury knowledge of over 135 BELLIN experts drives innovation in the industry and ensures the continuous development of our products and services.
Please highlight the services and solutions you offer to your clients.
MB: At BELLIN, we stand for innovative treasury solutions that provide both the technological backbone of a successful treasury and the services to underpin it. We offer solutions rooted in the experience of hundreds of treasury experts in our teams, from our partners and certainly from our user base. This practical know-how translates to the technical implementation of the web-based software tm5, which covers all treasury functions and supports corporate treasuries in their daily business. But we don’t stop there: we provide extensive consulting as well as advice and guidance for the establishment of organisational structures enabling efficient treasury. Moreover, BELLIN has pioneered an integrated connection to the SWIFT Network and together with SWIFT made it significantly easier and cheaper for corporates to get their company connected.
Electronic trade confirmation is also targeted, as well as our integrated BELLIN Matching Service. These services enable users to enter and directly transmit transaction data to their bank and receive the corresponding bank-side confirmation. This is just the beginning of a more intensive and convenient way to arrange the financial business between corporates and banks. Our offering is now complemented by Treasury as a Service (TaaS), which allows corporates to outsource entire treasury processes to BELLIN and allows SMEs to also profit from the value provided by a professional treasury department.
Tell us about ‘Load Balanced Treasury’.
MB: One of the core principles of BELLIN’s philosophy is that the workload of treasury should be shared across the organisation. We call this concept ‘Load Balanced Treasury’. All group companies have access to one central, fully web-based treasury application that is available to everyone from everywhere from any device. Treasury relies on accurate data, and by giving everyone access not just to record data but to support treasury-related processes locally, tm5 automatically serves as a data collection engine. Therefore treasurers all around the world have the full picture and can manage their treasury accordingly. The tm5 software offers a high level of integration and cooperation that ensures that everyone benefits to the same degree – local units as much as central treasury. This is truly unique.
Over the past 15 years BELLIN has been consistently recognised for the success of its services. Outline the key factors behind this.
MB: BELLIN champions innovation and always tries to meet and exceed a client’s expectations – sometimes even before they know they have them. We always look for a better way to run treasury operations even before others might think this possible.
A long list of firsts is proof: first to offer a 100% web-based treasury management system (2004), first to offer a SaaS-based treasury solution (2005), first to offer fully integrated payments functionality (2006), first to offer embedded direct SWIFT connectivity and Matching Service (2014), first to offer embedded full-service EMIR reporting (2014), first to offer fully integrated trade finance solution (2014), and last but not least first to offer TaaS (2015). All this has also been recognised widely in the industry, including at the 2015 FinTech Innovation Awards.
How does the experience and technical expertise of your consultants ensure the treasury is efficient and connected?
MB: The experience and technical expertise of our consultants is one key factor underpinning the excellent service we offer. They all know our TMS tm5 like the back of their hand and provide guidance and support during, and even after, the implementation project. Our consultants have worked with businesses of various sizes and backgrounds and bring this experience and know-how to the table in every new project. The implementation requires more than just the provision of some kind of SaaS application. It requires thorough analysis and understanding of the corporates business, and that is what our consultants can provide. This not only makes for efficient treasury implementations, it also ensures a sound review of all processes and workflows, making sure companies have the best possible setup. That way they have a web-based, fully integrated and thus very efficient system and the treasury organisational structures to go with it.
Our system is fully integrated and our Load Balanced Treasury approach makes sure everyone is connected. How to best harness the power of the system and this approach in each specific organisation, this is where our consulting team comes in.