This Sydney fintech has a solution for anyone getting smashed by currency fluctuations

Brought to you by OFX, Global Money Transfer Experts.

As we kick off 2019 with all the pent up potential that comes with a new year, we can’t help but look back on the year that has been.

Global connectivity has reached dizzying new heights, and out of all this — booming startups, cross-border commerce and a plethora of tech innovations — has left many of us in Australia bedazzled at the sharp end of the year.

With few safeguards in place for currency values and international business, it is a time where certainty and stability will provide the ballast needed to regain confidence and protect businesses.

“In the context of our global customers, we see most Australian institutions draw their funding from overseas markets, typically in US dollars, exposing them to these market fluctuations,” said Adam Smith, COO of OFX, a leading international money exchange provider.

Business Insider sat down with OFX’s Smith at the Ivy in Sydney for the Devils and Details live podcast for a quick tour of the OFX operation.

He said global markets are hitting us like never before. And with these hits, comes frenetic currency movements.

“People in Australia tend to have heavy investment in housing and the share market. If you have an environment where the values of people’s properties are declining and their share portfolio declines in direct relation to its exposure — well, it compounds the negative sentiment people are feeling,” said Smith.

To insulate its customers against these bursts of volatility from global markets, Smith said OFX has focused tools that temper fluctuations and absorb the shocks that affect currency so forcefully.

“OFX’s currency risk management tools help businesses protect their bottom-line against currency volatility by providing pricing certainty,” said Smith.

This protection can be the difference between profit and loss for some businesses. Anyone beholden to, say import/export and international pricing, have to continuously factor in swinging values in shifting markets and, frankly, that’s where the tools that cushion the system can really gain traction.

Contracts for payments that in foreign currencies are exposing Australia’s outward looking businesses to currency fluctuations — often within a single day. Just look at how the Australian dollar performed after the US Federal Reserve released their policy statement.

AUD/USD 5-Minute Chart

As one of Australia’s original fintech start-ups OFX has spent two decades reimagining what a customer-focused service looks like. Their global customers enjoy a seamless tech platform and 24/7 knowledgeable local phone and email support.

Sydney’s first fintech

In 1998, near the beaches of Curl Curl in Sydney’s north, Matthew Gilmour and Gary Lord started what was one of Sydney’s first marriages of finance and tech. The aim was to inject knowledge, get out those early evolving fintech tools and try to give individuals and businesses their best chance at “a fair go.”

In 2018, they celebrated their 20-year anniversary.

OFX’s office are now located in London, San Francisco, Hong Kong, Singapore, Toronto, Auckland and of course still in Sydney – but now in a flash CBD office on Margaret Street.

OFX offers superior exchange rates, low or no fees, better 24/7 customer service and the products and guidance required to create stability in volatile global markets.

The journey for OFX has seen it evolve from an information only service wanting to “disrupt” the forex industry before disruption was the buzzword of last week, to a money transfer business serving over 1 million customers all around the globe.

Gilmour pretty quickly identified the opaque state of transparency in foreign exchange markets and built their business around the polar opposite – trust and certainty. And with over AU$125 billion in transfers in 55 currencies across 190 countries — clearly there was a need for it.