Thank you for taking the time to have a look at our blog posts. This article is a little different from our normal content and takes a look at one of the questions we get asked quite often here at Currency Assist.
“Why should I consider using Currency Assist when I have Private Banking and everything else is with my bank of choice?”Every Private Banking Client Ever
It’s actually a great question and one we’ll try to answer as simply as possible below. While we know we can deliver significant savings to you in your international money transfers, it’s surely not all about the money. There’s trust and a long-term relationship involved as well – at least that’s our perspective. Let’s start by setting the scene…
As a registered FSP with a focus on foreign exchange Treasury services, Currency Assist has been one of the pioneering players in the industry. In just over a decade we’ve grown to manage about R20billion annually in foreign exchange trades and have recently collaborated with our “competition” to launch a new governing body for our industry (more on that in a later post).
The benefit for our clients is simply this – if you approach the bank as a retail customer, you get retail service. That means private banking teams, big offices, expenses that need to be paid. You pay extra fees to cover those layers of costs whenever you trade. So, instead of operating with our banking partners at a retail level, we work with them at a Treasury level – as partners. We take on the legal requirements of FICA and handle all of the client liaison, while they give us access to their trading systems and foreign exchange treasury operations.
In effect, we manage the risk and relationship with you - and the bank gets our combined book to add to their daily volumes of trades.
As a result, we can buy foreign currency almost at the bank’s cost price. Then, instead of putting on the industry-standard high retail margin, we can control the mark-up that our clients are exposed to. This means that our rates are nearly* always cheaper – even when dealing with your private banker for foreign exchange. We operate as a lean and agile business with trusted individuals and limited overheads to ensure we’re able to deliver exceptional service at fair rates.
We also have relationships with three different banks, Investec Treasury, Mercantile (now owned by Capitec) and Bidvest Bank. These three each have their own strengths and weaknesses – but by having all three at our disposal we are able to deliver the widest range of currencies and solutions to our clients.
As we mentioned earlier – it’s not just about the money. We’ve all heard the phrase “Jack of all trades… master of none.” Our strength lies in our boutique service and specialist focus. We know the BOP Codes and limits available to our clients. We’ve dealt with your problem before, or know someone else who has. We’re experts in Exchange Control and have some of the country’s best Tax Attorneys and Chartered Accountants on speed dial. We have the flexibility to deliver exceptional service and go to bat on our client’s behalf with the banks to find innovative solutions to the many challenges presented on a day to day basis. Our team is carefully selected with a focus on Value Adding attitude and customer service. As a whole, we’re driven by delivering success for each and every client.
Let’s take a look at two quick examples of this in action:
- On payday, we receive deposits from hundreds of offshore workers (oil-riggers, miners, yachties) who support their families here at home. In most of these cases, we have a standing arrangement to trade these funds and settle to the client’s local account ASAP. Unlike our “competition”, we don’t change our margin just because you didn’t ask the right question and so our “Salary run” clients can relax as their spouse or dependants in South Africa can pay the bills and carry on knowing they’ve received a fair exchange for their foreign currency.
- Another example is a local couple whose mom is in Italy. On hearing about the impending arrival of the first grandchild, mom decided to loan the married couple some funds to buy a larger home. While it’s easy to bring funds in through any means – by using Currency Assist we were able to identify the source of funds as a repayable loan – and then notify the clients of the need to Regularize the loan with the SA Reserve Bank. That small step ensures that the couple will actually be allowed to send funds back to mom when they’re ready to without impacting their allowances or being blocked from exporting currency. It’s a small admin process that we do when clearing the funds on the way in – with a fee charged by the bank. Doing this correctly is more work for our team – but it saves our client a lot of time and trouble down the line. It’s the right way to do it.
So you see that your Private Banker is a great asset when he/she is helping with everyday transactional banking – but the foreign exchange world is a unique niche where there are many opportunities to save or cost money and time. Dealing with an expert team, at rates better than the Private Banker can deliver – really is a no-brainer. What do you think?
If you’re already a Currency Assist client – thank you for trusting us. If you’re researching Foreign Exchange or would like to talk to someone – complete the form below and we’ll connect with you – or visit www.currencyassist.co.za/get-the-free-guide to get our Guide to International Money Transfers.
*I had to say “nearly” otherwise this may be too outlandish a claim. In our tests we almost always are cheaper – if not on every trade, our consistent pricing means our clients win in the end, time and again…