Executive Interview -- Shingo Hoshino

FX consulting director at Currency Online*

(formerly Elldridge Lynch Foreign Currency Services*)

Shingo Hoshino, FX consulting director at Currency Online.Shingo Hoshino

JAPAN INC: Could you give a brief overview of Currency Online?
Shingo Hoshino: Currency Online was established as Elldridge Lynch in New Zealand in 1986 and since then has offered businesses and individuals an easy and secure way to exchange currencies and arrange payment to accounts worldwide. We have a branch office in Tokyo to better serve individuals and companies in Japan who have a need for foreign currency.

JI: Why have you chosen now to enter the Japanese market?
SH: We have observed over the past few years how the expat community in Japan would send the money offshore. Surprisingly, a lot of individuals and companies would go through the banks where the exchange rates are higher.

Through our world-class technology and low overheads, we are able to offer competitive rates, and we understand how crucial it is in the expat community to minimize the cost of foreign exchange transactions, especially when repatriating funds.

We wanted to offer a service where every client has the ability to manage all their currency needs online, via the free, 24-hour Currency Online Website, which operates from 7.30 p.m. GMT, Sunday, through to noon GMT, Friday [excluding public holidays in Christchurch, New Zealand]

JI: You mentioned previously that the Transfer ‘TT’ fee is not the most important factor to save money by currency exchange. Can you explain why you believe that the rate is the most important factor?
SH: Many people focus on transfer fees involved in a foreign currency transaction, when actually, the most important area to focus on is the exchange rates you are offered. What this means is that the transfer fee difference between banks and Currency Online can easily be covered by the exchange rate difference between the banks and us.

For example [see figure 1], you can establish that although the transfer fee is greater for company B, the more favorable exchange rate offered is one that ensures that you receive more U.S. Dollars when the transaction is completed.

JI: Can you tell us a bit about Currency Online’s rates as well as its online and telephone money service?
SH: Investment in technology has brought down our operating costs and streamlined all of our processes. Having better back-end systems and relationships with international counterparties means we can bring highly competitive rates to our clients.

We also update our currency rates every few seconds so you can monitor changes while logged into your online account. This enables you to keep up to date with market movements and to make transactions when you feel the rate is favorable.

Our clients can transact business in one of two ways. If you prefer a more hands-on approach to buying or selling your foreign currency, our online transaction platform is the best option. It allows you complete control of your foreign currency needs, allowing you to transact business at the touch of a button. If you are unfamiliar with the Internet, help is only a toll-free call away. Our dealers will gladly answer any queries you might have.

JI: Tell us about Currency Online’s security features and the disaster recovery program.
SH: We maintain segregated client accounts for each currency we deal in. Furthermore, we only hold accounts with banks who have acknowledged in writing, that they hold no right to offset any of our clients’ balances. We also operate our business within prudential capital adequacy ratios and adhere to all current regulatory and legislative requirements. Furthermore, our servers are backed up daily, and we also have an offshore mirror server backup which enables us to recover if even one server is down for some reason.

For this reason we now have clients from all over the world. JI

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* Elldridge Lynch & Associates Ltd was acquired by HiFX, a market leader in foreign exchange with operations in Australasia, North America and Europe,which manages over 20 billion pounds (2.8 trillion yen) in foreign exchange annually.