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Currencies Direct

Currencies Direct

Invested:
November 2015

Sector:
Financial Services

Headquarters:
London, United Kingdom

Region:
Global

Business:
International payments provider

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Business at time of investment

Currencies Direct was a leading specialist foreign exchange (“FX”) and payment solutions provider. The company enables its customers to perform FX transactions and transfers at highly competitive rates through its proprietary online platform, via email or by phone. Currencies Direct focuses on high value private retail customers and SMEs. The company had a multichannel online and offline customer acquisition capability including an extensive proprietary network of affiliates who refer customers. The company had a client base of over 150,000 customers in Europe, the US, Australasia, and South Africa and enjoys very high rates of repeat business. 

Investment rationale

The specialist segment of the foreign exchange services industry is expected to grow two to three times as fast as the overall industry, as retail and SME customers continue to shift away from banks due to the superior service and pricing offered by the specialists. The market is consolidating around larger FX specialists with the scale to absorb increased regulatory, marketing and technology costs.

Value creation

  • Recruited chairman: Appointed Antony Jenkins, former CEO of Barclays Bank, as Chairman.
  • Expanded the affiliate channel: Continued to drive affiliate revenues, increasing active clients whilst maintaining strong margins.
  • Launched next generation technology platform: Made a significant investment in digital initiatives launching a new platform which uses API and Machine Learning capabilities and enables full transactional and bankside straight-through processing. Its multi-tenant architecture allows the Company to seamlessly pursue its global, multi-brand strategy and M&A programme.
  • M&A: Completed three value-accretive acquisitions.