Richard Berry talks about BerryFX, the online platform for converting currency and international money transfer provider.

BerryFX.com is an online platform for converting currency and international money transfer provider. This basically means that it gives fixed, transparent and better exchange rates than banks and sends money abroad for clients at no extra cost.

BerryFX.com offers a best rate guarantee and will beat or match any valid competitors rate. But discounted exchange rates are not the be all and end all as they can move quickly. The company adds value to the process because it's able to provide market timing advice if a customer is looking to lock in an exchange rate for a future purchase or a company wants to manage ongoing currency exposure. Founder, Richard Berry tells us more...

What was the inspiration for the site?

It’s a good time to be financial services as fintech in London is really taking off. I’ve worked for large and small companies in FX and have been waiting for the technology to catch up. Fintech enables payments to be made cheaper and faster than ever before so here we are.

When did you launch the site?

Berryfx.com launched in February 2015 and we started taking on new clients and converted and transferred £1m worth of currency relatively quickly.

What are your greatest challenges?

Getting new clients signed up. It’s a competitive industry with new players cropping up almost daily. Building a reputation for good pricing, service and advice takes time. Referrals are always good, but direct marketing is the main channel for new business. However, the lead time between when a customer makes contact and needs to trade can be a few months.

What's your background?

I’ve worked in financial services for around sixteen years and was previously a prime broker for a client who was one of the largest currency exchanges in the UK. We used to trade around £15-20m a time with two phones on the go, the client shouting in one ear and a dealer quoting in the other. Thankfully now transactions are mainly online. I’ve also run a few web based financial businesses that focus on market timing for private clients as well as wealth and fund managers.

Who do you admire in business?

I really like what Peter Hargraves did with Hargreaves Lansdown, the stockbroker and wealth management firm. The business was built on direct marketing, giving advice when clients ask for it (in other words not pitching for commission) and an obsessive focus on customer service. I think customer service is one of the most important aspects of business now. Technology pretty much levels the playing field for small businesses to compete on charges and commission. So, if there is no difference in what different providers cost, what will win new and ongoing business is client relationships and customer service.

Please recommend a website that helps you run your business

Peopleperhour.com remains one of my favourite resources for finding exceptional remote freelance talent for development, admin, marketing and design work. The central booking, messaging and payments platform is very smooth, I’ve been using it for around four years now and it is without a doubt essential for keeping costs down for ad hoc tasks.

What is the best piece of business advice you've been given?

Run your profits and cut your losses. It’s a fairly common phrase in finance but essentially it means if something is obviously working, stick with it. But, if it’s not, stop early and don’t chuck good time and money after bad.

What is your motto?

Stick to what you know. I’ve set up a myriad of web projects and the only ones that have seen any success are in the financial services industry. My first job was in finance, my professional network is in financial services and I do actually enjoy the uniqueness and characters of the industry. Whenever I try something elsewhere, I find I run out of puff pretty sharpish.

Where do you see the business going from here?

The concept of foreign exchange has not changed much so I don’t expect the way the business deals with customers to change dramatically. There are a few additional products I would like to add to enable clients to speculate and hedge more effectively. But for the next year or so, it’s all about getting new customers signed up to make use of the service.

Why do you like entering awards?

It’s a good chance to sit back and evaluate the current state of service and see what can be improved.

August 2016