J.P. Morgan Payments

Beyond the Balance Sheet:  Nicola Bates

5 minute read


By combining the real and the digital worlds, the Siemens Group empowers their customers to transform their industries and markets. Siemens Capital provides a wide range of financial products and services to all entities of Siemens Group in the Americas. Nicola Bates is its President and CEO.  

In one sentence: What do you do? 

We strive to reimagine payments with a focus on the customer experience by integrating payment services into our product lineup, thereby strengthening our competitive edge in the market (and yes, I know this is a long sentence). 

What are you working on right now?

Just as Siemens creates virtual worlds to solve real-world problems, we in treasury are moving to a virtual banking infrastructure to address our real-world needs. We’re also moving towards smart contracts and programmable payments, harnessing advancements in blockchain.

In-office or WFH?

In the Americas region, we are a virtual team. It doesn’t matter where we sit; it matters what we do.

How many people are in the Americas team?

We have around 50 people in the organization in the Americas region.

What’s the innovation that’s most disrupting your world? 

24/7 real-time payments present both challenges and significant opportunities. Managing liquidity and dealing with the irrevocable nature of transactions are notable challenges. However, the advantages, including the ability to instantly settle and clear payments, surpass these obstacles, offering substantial benefits.

What’s the biggest question facing payments today?

Why are companies still using checks? After years of hard work, Siemens has succeeded in eliminating outgoing checks in the U.S., and we plan to stop accepting check payments by the end of this year. I hope other companies will do the same.

What’s the most important quality for being a leader?

Creating a team environment where innovation can thrive.

“We are a virtual team. It doesn’t matter where we sit; it matters what we do.”

…And what’s the trait that’s least helpful?

Resistance to change. Complacency is the killer of creative thinking.

Who is your industry mentor and what’s the most important thing they’ve taught you?

Siemens Group Treasurer—and 2023’s Adam Smith Corporate Treasurer of the Year—Peter Rathgeb. He encourages me every day to find simple solutions to the most complex problems.

You can have a fantasy power lunch with anyone in business. Who and why?

I know I’m cheating here, but I have two. Paul Polman, for proving at Unilever that if you put purpose first, profit will follow. And Jamie Dimon, because he’s not merely reacting to change, but investing heavily in developing products and solutions that will cannibalize their existing product base. The Steve Jobs of banking.

What’s the cast-iron “work tip” you’d like to share with us?

Great colleagues and tough challenges are the best way to attract and keep strong talent. Focus on developing amazing teams.

What is a mistake that taught you something useful?

During one of the first important meetings in my new role, I thought I was there to observe and learn, until I was called on mid-meeting to present. Lesson learned: Check the agenda before arriving at the meeting in case you’re on the speaker list!

What’s a secret that only people who do your job know?

That payments are the hottest area in treasury nowadays.

Make a fearless prediction: How will payments be different in 10 years’ time?

Payments will be invisible, becoming a feature of the product rather than a transaction unto itself.

If you weren’t working in payments, what would you be doing?

Pottery on an organic farm in Mallorca.

AI: Are you worried?

No, I’m excited. I expect AI to do the work that no one wants to do, leaving the fun stuff for us humans.