Q&A with FlashFX Co-founder Nicolas Steiger

Q&A with FlashFX Co-founder Nicolas Steiger

Recruit 2 Advice - NS

I'm always interested to learn about new initiatives in the Financial Planning space. So when we recently came across FlashFX and the service they provide to Advisers, I sought out one of the Co-Founders to ask what was behind his idea and why the Advice industry.

Having been slugged recently with an international transfer via my bank there was also some personal interest !!

What made you think of tailoring a foreign exchange service to the Financial Adviser market?

  • We had customer demands from the industry to provide them with a better service model, where they can service their clients in a better way.
  • In my previous role at Westpac Financial Markets, I was responsible for building the premium and HNWI FM market for the Westpac group, and previously doing similar roles at UBS in Zurich, New York, Sydney and Hong Kong.

 

If you gave only 1 reason to an Adviser to use the service, what would it be?

  • Service model (easy of use, joint representation to client, increase trusted advisor status, creating win-win for client, advisor and FlashFX) – note: in most cases in the case price was secondary -> trust and relationship is bigger in this space

 

Why did you decide to develop FlashFX, and where did the idea come from?

  • There has not been much development in the payment space and most Australian bank and FI look at technology as an necessary evil. Being Swiss, where efficiency, speed, technology is key I wanted to build a business where everything we do is technology driven. 60-70% of staff are now developers at FlashFX. We have no operational team.

 

Do you have a background in Foreign Exchange?

  • Yes, as per above. I started my banking career at UBS in Private Banking with relevant education before joining Financial Markets at UBS. They sent me to NY to open the US business, I asked to be move to Sydney in 2006, then they asked me to move to HK in 2008, I left UBS 2010 and started with Westpac and stayed for 5 long years.

 

How does a digital AFSL differ from a standard AFSL?

  • It’s the same. We were the only company in the space that got the AFSL back in 2016. Ripple was part of our AFSL application back then (Dilip Rao ie our advisors now), we were asked to see people from ASIC that usually you will never see as part of an application. They wanted to understand how we were using Ripple in 2016 for money transfers etc. Bit of a marketing spiel I guess.

 

Why do Banks charge so much to transfer money overseas?

  • Old antiquated swift system. Every bank wants to make money from handling money so they all have to share transaction fees. Some take more than others for the privilege.

 

What’s the typical turnaround time for an Adviser to setup an account for a client, and transact?

  • A matter of hours or usually less than a day. If we have all the documents to do KYC and AML its done in no time.

 

The online platform is intuitive and easy to use, what if an Adviser wants to speak to a real person?

  • Yes in Australia, right now they have myself as the contact person to engage. In future they will have others join the execution team, but the system is very efficient so its not that I'm too busy to handle their questions, cases, executions.

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