Article
Written by Mark Andrew
Posted on 13/07/2020

Foreign Exchange: Three ways digitisation can give you the edge

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In a market where everyone looks the same, how can you differentiate yourself?

In my previous article, I described the motivations behind each of the teams involved in the compliance and onboarding process for a foreign exchange firm. In this final article of the trilogy, my focus is automation and digitisation. I want to show you how it can really give you an edge over your competitors.

Speed
I’ve already spoken about needing to get clients onboard as quickly as possible. Particularly for SME clients looking to use FX as a way to boost their bottom line. 

Digitising your client onboarding processes using a single case management system enables you to automate the easy decisions, and refer borderline and difficult cases to your team, taking decisions from days to minutes. You can process a higher quantity, with peace of mind, and clients can start trading.

Fines
In case you ever needed a reason why you shouldn’t rush your onboarding and KYC checks, just look at the example of BNP Paribas. In 2014, the French bank received an astronomical fine of nearly $9 billion – yes, $9,000,000,000!

Its mistake? Failing to adhere to US sanctions banning the processing of funds from Sudanese, Iranian and Cuban entities in the US financial system.

The statement from the US Department of Justice (DOJ) accused BNP of providing “rogue nations, and Sudan in particular, with vital access to the global financial system” and helping the country’s government persecute its own people.

An automated system could have flagged that these entities resided in countries with regimes on US and FATF sanctions lists.

It was a similar case with Deutsche Bank this week: they were fined for allowing payments to be made by Jeffrey Epstein to others implicated in the criminal investigation, high-risk individuals who should have been monitored.     

Reputation and competitive advantage
The best financial services businesses are already using automation as part of their onboarding, just think of challenger banks like Monzo, Starling or Tide. 

Their key USP beyond being digital-first, is easy, quick acceptance and onboarding via apps using IDV and face recognition software, not face-to-face appointments with a bank manager, like it’s 1990!
If you make the acceptance process a positive experience, this can be a real differentiator.

If you can take advantage of these three factors, it will set your business apart from the competition, as you’ll boost your reputation through increased customer satisfaction. On top of that, you’ve widened your margins, and ensured you’re operating in compliance with regulations. 

It’s a win-win.

I hope you enjoyed this series of articles. If you are in the foreign exchange sector and want some help, have any questions or want to know more about onboarding for commercial FX companies, you can get in touch with me directly, by emailing mark.andrew@graydon.co.uk.