Over the past few years, we have observed FX sales teams working portfolios of customers managing multiple currency hedging instances across each one. What rapidly became evident was there were a large number of missed opportunities – simply because those in charge couldn’t see them. A client dashboard seemed to be the obvious answer but no one was asking the question.
This doesn’t cast a bad light on the salesperson, account manager or the tools they were using – in fact, many were using a white-labelled version of our software. But it did give rise to a number of unique challenges banks and brokers have in managing FX hedging risk across a range of client portfolios. And why, if they can’t see the opportunities they’re missing – they don’t know to ask to see them.
1. Client dashboard with real-time view
Data is only valuable if it is up-to-date – and at the speed markets and customers move these days – that means in ‘real time’. If your dashboard is to have any value whatsoever it needs to display data you can act on with confidence.
Ideally, you and your client are accessing the same treasury management tools so any update on either side is shared as it happens. Equally the data feeds on FX currency movements need to be accurate and updated as change occurs.
It also means you need some real flexibility in how you can cut and slice that data to make sense of it. While you will use some views all the time – you also need to react to those once in a lifetime occurrences that will happen.
2. Surfacing deals for FX sales teams
Managing currency hedging portfolios is complex. There are literally hundreds of variables to be considered – not just tracking FX movements but interest rates and other derivatives also come into play.
And across your client hedging portfolios, there are even more variations in terms of when a hedge was made, when it closes, the customer’s risk tolerances and dozens more factors, not the least being the various currencies and derivatives each and every client is hedging.
Through all of this, you need to be able to surface which customers are at risk at any point in time – and which ones are positioned to do a deal that will be to their advantage (and obviously, yours). Being able to instantly identify this is quite literally, gold and will earn you super-hero status.
3. Understand hedging positions
While any good dashboard will give you a high-level ‘view’ – what your FX sales teams really need is fast access to the deep data and analytics that should sit behind it. Identifying a hedging opportunity is one thing. Rapidly understanding what the right options are and framing those in easy-to-understand terms for a customer – is yet another.
With markets moving rapidly you need to be able to respond accordingly – often running several deals at the same time. That is pretty much impossible to do off a spreadsheet and is the reason why so many potential deal opportunities are missed.
Keeping a watchful eye on your top two or three customers is relatively doable. Managing the next layer down is impossible without some powerful software to do the heavy lifting.
While there seems to be some comfort in deal size from smaller customers not warranting time and attention – the data tells a different story. We can only speak for those using our software but we see a 20% increase in deal size, backed by a 20%+ increase in average client use of forward contracts and a 15% increase in vanilla options.
There is a lot of value buried in your database and you need that client dashboard view to surface it and act on it.
4. Right product, right time, right client
This leads to the next point. You can’t afford to take a one-size-fits-all approach. You should be able to set standard filters to surface the obvious opportunities across your portfolio – quickly. Equally, you need to be able to respond to an opportunity you are starting to see unfold in the market and identify those clients who will uniquely benefit (or be adversely impacted) by it.
That enables you to deliver the right product, at the right time to the right client – which is a lot harder than it sounds. Layered into this is matching the time to close the deal with the size of the opportunity. Your time is valuable too so being able to surface and transact small, very obvious deals, quickly makes a lot of sense.
Our customers typically see a 50% reduction in time spent on hedging strategies, which frees up a lot more time for deals. And if you can automate a lot of the administration around transactions then your deal flow just keeps increasing.
5. Lift lifetime value
While a lift in deal flow is good for business – it is also good for your customers. You have their back in a way you never have been able to before. You are able to be more proactive and have conversations earlier. This enables you to coach them and build their hedging confidence – as understanding grows, so does the opportunity size and frequency.
This investment also builds lasting relationships. Some churn is inevitable but we see an across the board 80% client retention where both parties are using Hedgebook. This has considerable impact on the Lifetime Value of the Customer and your value to the business.
Now the really sticky question for FX sales teams
You have probably guessed by now, that Hedgebook has a Client Dashboard tool. We launched it with some really valuable functionality and it is continuing to evolve and get even more useful based on user feedback.
It comes as part of our standard offering to banks, brokers and advisors who have FX sales teams managing portfolios of customers with hedging risk. You can use it as is or we white-label it for those looking to engage more directly with clients. We know it makes a material difference to someone in FX sales or account management – whether you sit in a bank, an FX broker house or a consultancy. We are more than happy to give you a demo of what it can do – just ask.