A visitor to the betterFX website recently commented that having a blog with no recent posts was no way to carry out a social media strategy (or words to that effect)
He is absolutely right of course, but in this case, it's mostly for the right reasons. We are just too busy helping clients with their forex and related challenges to indulge in the delights of blogging...and we don't yet have the luxury of a dedicated resource for such things.
Funnily enough my last post was just after the shock Brexit referendum result, so in a way its fitting that this next post comes hot on the heels of another political earthquake and another Conservative PM's shocking miscalculation. TM could have had another 4 years with a moderate but workable majority, but now look!
More volatility on FX markets will follow, and as Brexit looms, more companies will be looking to trade with new markets. All good reasons to make sure your house is in order, where FX is concerned.
I said we had been a bit busy these last 12 months. We're helping an exciting new challenger bank in France to launch (www.ditto.com) They plan to be a specialist FX bank for retail and also business customers. It's a great product and I am sure it will be a winning business model. They will launch this autumn in France and intend to follow with other countries soon after. I am pushing for them to do the UK as soon as possible as we need a decent FX bank over here!
I am also working on some exciting projects on the latest distributed ledger technology (aka Blockchains) for R3, the world largest consortium of banks in this space. And we have just started work with a company in the Middle East to help them build a new FX trading division.
So busy times for betterFX, and that, in a very long winded way, is my excuse for ignoring this blog!!
Tuesday 28 June 2016
Brexit – a cause for optimism or despair?
I was pretty neutral about the remain or leave question, seeing many benefits and risk of both paths.
After the leave vote won the day, I think many people thought more deeply about the future than before the vote. I certainly did.
It seems that for many this was about sticking with what we know and taking a leap into the unknown. Despite all the passionate arguments, no one can truly be sure if we will end up stronger out of the EU, whether some or all of us will be better off, and if it is only some of us, which some of us it will be.
Politicians and other commentators have of course stated their cases as if they did know for sure what the impacts would be, which has damaged them all in a sense.
The choice it seems was very much between the devil and the deep blue sea. Either sticking with an ever more power hungry EU central government with its bureaucracies, costs, and its stated intent of ever closer fiscal and political union and its limp growth but with a generally stable and largely predictable future, or to set sail on the open seas and explore the future and the unknown with greater freedom and to be able to steer our own course.
As a nation very much founded on our history of exploration and sailing into the unknown on voyages of discovery, despite very real risks and dangers, it seems somehow fitting that the country has chosen this path, and I hope as time passes we will all be able to look back and say it was the right thing to do.
Saturday 4 June 2016
betterFX is delighted to have been selected as a winner in the 2016 Wealth and Finance International Consultancy Elite Awards!
The unique approach of betterFX of only getting income from saving clients money on their foreign exchange transactions, clearly impressed the judges!
betterFX will be at PayExpo 2016 in London's ExCel exhibition centre and we are looking forward to meeting lots of fellow industry professionals, potential clients and partners from the cutting edge of payments and foreign exchange. We hope to see you there!
Wednesday 10 February 2016
Wednesday 27 January 2016
Sunday 6 December 2015
Money Transfer companies - the huge prize no one has yet grabbed (and why the banks have nothing to fear)
The world of money transfer companies and foreign currency payment firms is getting ever more crowded as various exciting sounding firms join the throng with yet more promises to revolutionise the market, disrupt the banks, change the world .
The fact is none of them (unless there is a firm deliberately keeping it secret) has managed to deliver a complete solution. The first firm that does this, has ridiculously huge potential to genuinely disrupt the market and make eye watering amounts of money in the process.
I work as an intermediary between both sides of the market, matching companies and individuals with the non-bank or bank provider that best meets their needs. So my work would be very easy (and totally pointless!) if such a firm existed
Here is just a sample of the gaps I come across on a daily basis working with the leading FX payment firms (money transfer companies and banks alike)
Can't do that currency
Can do outbound payments but not inbound
Can't do same currency payments
Poor rates on some or all currencies
High payment fees
Won't do small deals
Won't do large deals
Can't give credit
Need to ask for collateral
Will serve corporate clients but not individuals
Can do high value payments ( SWIFT) but not low value ( ACH)
Don't want small clients
Don't want large client
Can't set the client up quickly enough
And that really is just a sample, the full list is MUCH longer
Having been closely involved with the design build and delivery of FX/payments systems for two very large banks and one non-bank, I know how hard it is to cover all the possible scenarios that a client may look for....but I also know that it can be done.
So will the likes of , , , Revolut, VFX, , Currencies Direct, MoneyGram, Cambridge FX, , , Travelex, Western Union, , , Ria, , , , , ever get there?
I doubt it and this is why.
It is far too easy to make a decent amount of money just by offering the easy stuff, and to skip past anything a bit more difficult.
In addition, the crumbs falling from the table of the big banks are enough to feed them all well enough and in any case the cake gets bigger every year as more and more people and businesses do more and more international transactions and trade.
So that's the first point covered
The second point can be covered more quickly;
Why the banks don’t really have anything to fear.
Despite the claims that many of these self styled firms are developing FX and payment systems that don't need banks - it just isn't true. Let's look a very quick look at Revolut, one of the more ground-breaking firms in my opinion; Client funds are held with Barclays, the currency card is issued by Mastercard, you have to fund the card from a bank or debit card, many payments will go by SWIFT, you withdraw the cash from ATM machines...see what I mean?
Show me a single one of them that could function without any bank accounts, without using the payment systems and other infrastructure that the banks own, without the finance and credit their banks given them and I will show you a Pig flying at 30,000 feet.
If the banks do get properly annoyed with them, they will just withdraw their facilities - and that will be that. They will not be able to function at all.
(oh, and by the way, some have done that already)