Having attended the opening reception of Exchange Direct, a British company to join the growing ranks of foreign businesses in Marbella, we were rather intrigued as to why would a currency exchange company want to start business in an area already saturated with currency dealers. The interview was granted by John R. Burns the Director in Spain and we were glad of it, because, not only is the service quite unique, but it also has the advantage of Internet usage by clients.
Q. - Exchange Direct Plc is a British Company. Where is it based?
A. - In Regent Street, London.
Q. - You say that you provide a foreign exchange service, what exactly do you do that warrants your opening on the Costa?
A. - We are Europes largest, privately held, commercial foreign exchange company. Our service provides competitive rates, faster and more efficiently than any other foreign exchange institution. Our high level of investment in the state of the art I.T. communication enables all our transfers to be electronically, almost immediate and at a cheaper rate than charged by other institutions.
Q. - I see! I can understand wanting to expand in Spain, but why here on the Costa and not Madrid or Barcelona?
A. - You have to understand that the Costa del Sol is just the beginning of a network throughout the country, at the same time the area presents a large number of expatriates who will benefit from our service, both in the private and commercial sector. There is a large volume of private assets being purchased in this area, houses.... luxury goods. Take the example of a UK person wanting to transfer his UK money, we do not only offer a competitive service, we also ensure that the funds will be available on the day they are required.
Q. - I looked at your web site, but, apart from the general information area, I was not allowed in without giving my code and password.
A. - All you need is your first and second name. No other detail is required.
Q. - Does this mean that one can order over the Internet?
A. - Yes, of course. You can do so by telephone or over the Internet, but first you need to open an account with us. This is done without any obligation to trade. It is a necessary requirement in order to comply with the current legislation (F.S.A.), designed for the investors protection. It is a simple matter that can even be done by fax. When a client first opens an account with us, he is given an identification number and allocated a personal trader who will be responsible for advising him on a one to one basis every time he wishes to use the facility. The relationship between the client and the company means that the client has direct access to information about currency movements and the right to make his exchanges. The wealth of information being researched every moment by our professional money market managers is available to all our clients whenever they wish to ask a question or make a trade.
Q. - How secure is all this?
A. -All clients funds are held independently in trust by Nat West and no one can touch them in adverse situations, not even creditors of the client.
Q. - As a matter of interest, what do you charge for this service?
A. - The joy of using us in preference to some some other institutions is that we are not weighed down by Third World debts or by a large network of High Street branches. When a client uses our services, he pays a single charge of 24 pounds for each trade, no matter its size. This charge includes the cost of the electronic transfer. However, we cannot be responsible for charges levied by the clients own bank charges. The charges levied by the receiving bank are beyond the scope of our control and we advice all clients to negotiate this at the time of transfer.
Q. - Why a receiving bank? Cant one just collect from you?
A. - All clients require their funds to be sent to their own bank or other bank designated by them. Such banks may be anywhere in the world. It would be impractical for clients all over the world to collect their funds from our offices.
Q. - You said that youd like to think that you look after the individual clients interests. Can you amplify on this?
A. - We have geared our company to provide a personal, one to one service and our clients always have direct access to a named personal professional money marketeer. Unlike other institutions, we provide clients with current information on currency movements. Our investment in state-of.the.art information on currency systems allows us instant access at all times of the day to real time prices. In addition, we have a fixed charge for each trade. These factors allow our clients to benefit from lower costs and a faster, risk free service.
Q. - Are there any other benefits??
A. - Our clients may either purchase their currencies from us at the Spot rates, ie for immediate delivery or they may purchase forward, ie for delivery at some future date. By using our Stop Loss and Limit procedures, clients can be assured of the rate at which they will buy their currency in advance. For example, a person building a house on the Costa may require to pay his builder 4 stage payments over 1 year. The client budgets his payments at the high rate of exchange now enjoyed. Should the peseta become stronger, the client would have to find more funds to complete the building. With our facility the rate is fixed in advance.
Q. - Do you have offices anywhere else?
A. - Yes, we do. In London, Dusseldorf and Kiev, others are on the Horizon.
Mr. Burns, thank you for your time.