Indigo FX CEO Kirpal Ubhoo discusses the future of money transfers and how businesses and individuals benefit from working with a dedicated FX specialist.
Read on for the full interview.
- Where did the idea for your business come from?
I have always been passionate about the financial industry and business in general. After I cut my teeth as a Foreign Exchange sales executive upon graduation from City, University of London, I knew FX was the sector in which I wanted to establish myself. I felt that there was a niche for a FX broker that went the extra mile in terms of client service – in other words doing more than just offering bank-beating rates. So, I struck out on my own and founded Indigo FX in 2012.
- How did you know there was a market for it?
The FX market is a highly competitive and dynamic sector within the financial industry but I have always felt that the existing players did not do enough in terms of client service. In addition, I knew that there was a great opportunity in the space because banks still charge their customers a very wide FX spread on their overseas transactions. A lot of what we do is educating our clients – both private and corporate – so they can save money by using Indigo FX. Whether it is sending money to a sibling overseas, buying a property abroad or simply allowing one of their own customers to pay for services in their own currency, the process should be affordable, transparent and simple.
- Have you always wanted to run your own business?
Yes. My siblings are all very enterprising, and possess a strong drive to create that what we inherited from our parents. My father used to run a clothes stall at various markets in London and would work 7 days a week growing his own business in the retail space. I vividly remember going with him to help whenever I could as a young boy. This sowed a strong work ethos and entrepreneurial seed in my mind from a young age.
- Describe your business model?
The model is very simple. Since we transact a large amount of FX – several billion pounds worth since we started – we are able to pass on the savings we get from our wholesale liquidity providers to our clients. In addition to great rates, we provide our clients with simple and transparent onward payment solutions as well as clear analysis of how Global events impact the foreign exchange market.
- FX brokerage is a competitive market: what sets you apart from your competitors?
At Indigo, we work extremely hard to build a relationship with our clients. We like to really understand their business from the bottom up and often we also work with their suppliers and repeat customers as well. This helps us to add value to their business model, rather than simply just offering good FX rates. We are always looking to innovate too: we have a great online platform and offer currency accounts, which our clients love.
- What are currency accounts?
Currency accounts are a very exciting new development for us. We offer our customers currency accounts in up to 25 different currencies that they can use to pay suppliers or make payments abroad at no extra cost. They essentially act exactly like a banking account (issued by our banking partners – a major Global bank) in their own name, which avoids them having to send their money to third parties to make the currency transaction – which is great from an accounting perspective because their funds do not leave their balance sheet. Then when it comes to make their payments, they can make them in their own name, rather than telling their beneficiaries to look out for a payment from a third party. Our clients also particularly like the flexibility of being able to offer their own overseas customers the ability to pay in their local currency.
- What challenges have you faced so far?
The regulatory environment is constantly changing, and in general, FX is coming under more and more scrutiny. Keeping up with this change has been a challenge but we pride ourselves on being ahead of the curve and have invested heavily in excellent compliance systems and people. Next, the markets themselves are constantly changing – be it the Brexit referendum, Trump becoming president or Eurozone elections – creating volatile conditions that even professional traders struggle with. We work hard to provide our clients with the information and analysis they need to navigate these times.
- What was your first breakthrough?
My first breakthrough was with a large corporate client that had traditionally used its house bank for its currency requirements. The client thought that it would be far too complicated to send currency to a broker to carry out the transaction. I persuaded him to do it and the process went smoothly, showing his company substantial savings. He was delighted with it all and told me so. That really gave me the confidence to go through the gears at Indigo FX. Clients can be reluctant to change, especially when it comes to trusting others with their money. I particularly like that we can show them that change can be a very positive thing, saving them a lot of money in the process!
- Fin Tech has revolutionised the money transfer industry, how is Indigo FX innovating to have the most impact in the industry?
I have watched some of the Fin Tech companies flourish from one-man bands to multi-billion companies and it is very inspiring. While FX can be quite traditional, there are many ways that advances on the Fin Tech side are filtering through. Online payment platforms are now the norm and we are very proud of ours. Phone apps are also appearing, which we are currently working on. Put together, the technology allows our clients to transact at times that suit them, and not just when their brokers are at their trading desks. FX markets are 24 hours – and so are we!
- Where do you want to be in five years’ time?
We are expanding rapidly and recently opened an office in Dubai. We would like to continue this trend by expanding into Asia and potentially Australasia too. My goal is for Indigo FX to become a household name in foreign exchange – one of the biggest players in the money transfer space.
- Finally, what is your advice to anyone trying to start their own business?
In my view, it is important for anyone starting a business to be clear from the beginning on what product or service they want to deliver to what type of customer. They effectively have to decide exactly what their niche is and what their competitive advantage is within that space. After that, it is a combination of hard work, resilience and self-belief to get to the point of delivering this product or service to that customer-base in the most consistent, repeatable and economical way possible.
Want to know more? Call us today on 020 7856 2467 or head to our website!