SME Finance Partners: working with Godi to help businesses get smart about FX
SME Finance Partners is a team of Finance Directors who work with small & medium-sized businesses, or indeed larger businesses, on a part time or project basis. Many of their clients are importers, predominantly dealing in US dollars, so the effects of currency fluctuations can be dramatic.
FACING FACTS ABOUT FX EXPOSURE
Business people are often reluctant to talk about risk, but SME Finance Partners co-founder Darren Edwards’ job is to ‘de-risk’ businesses by ensuring they think strategically rather than approaching the future blindly. He knows that unless they are well-informed about the foreign exchange (FX) market, their 12 or 18-month strategic business forecasts will be missing a vital part of the picture.
One of the first things Darren does with a new client is to look at their FX exposure, and moving FX business to Godi is often a ‘quick win’ in terms of reducing costs fast.
DIFFERENT NEEDS, THE SAME GREAT SERVICE
Some of SME Finance Partners clients derive significant proportions of their income from importing and distributing goods from overseas, so he ensured that when the pound dropped steeply after the unexpected Brexit vote, they were well protected, having planned appropriately. Other clients are exporters, who are exposed to risks because of the time lag between taking orders from abroad and shipping the goods. Currency fluctuations in that time can have a serious impact.
SME Finance Partners have the knowledge to pro-actively manage the currency risk that their clients face, and by working closely with Godi, they ensure the right products and strategies are put in place to effectively manage risk, reduce uncertainty and minimise costs.
One major client raises most of its income in euros, but has a cost base in British pounds. Darren approached Godi, then trading as OSTCFX, who were able to offer a much better rate than the client’s existing provider, saving the business half a million pounds over 12 months. He values the fact that Godi were competitive from the get-go, and decided it was in the client’s best interests to stick with the people who lead the way in FX, the experts at Godi.
WHAT MAKES GODI STAND OUT FROM THE CROWD?
Darren has found that other FX brokers start with a competitive rate ‘to hook you in’, but then start increasing their margins. “They’re not so transparent,” he says, “and transparency is what I appreciate about Godi. That and their expertise”. Indeed, other brokers sound good on the phone, but “beneath the surface, they don’t actually know what they’re doing! They are salesmen rather than genuine experts in FX. “
He also appreciates the fact that Godi’s managing director Paul Langley has been known to call him at 7.30am to let him know that the market is changing, so he can think strategically about his clients’ needs and put the appropriate plans in place: “You don’t get that kind of service from everyone!”
Darren is a financial expert in his own right, but he feels he benefits from working with Godi because they have made him aware of alternative strategies. He enjoys Godi’s daily market updates, which are never over-complicated, but instead relevant, to the point and often humorous.
Ultimately, he values Godi because they are not only expert and experienced, but also approachable and down to earth. He has found that other providers tend to be very bureaucratic and slow moving. They are set up to provide a 40-page presentation, when all he wants is a quick chat. Godi are much more dynamic, flexible and willing to tailor their service to Darren’s clients’ needs. That’s why, as an independent Finance Director, he frequently finds himself picking up the phone to Godi.
From their Welsh base, SME Finance Partners are now opening a second office in Yorkshire as a pilot for further expansion. Like Godi, then, they in the process of moving to the next level.
“We help SME Finance Partners add value to what they offer their clients, and the same is often true vice versa, because although we’re completely independent, we share the same philosophy and trust one another to provide the best possible service. We both believe in transparency and in educating our clients about finance and FX. And our clients appreciate being part of an ‘ecosystem’ of dynamic and forward-looking businesses.” – Paul Langley, managing director, Godi