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Q&A with Darryl Hood, Director for FX Risk Management, UK
Part Two

Don Curren November 2, 2018

Q. Would you say that comprehensive offering of products and the quality of service are the main distinguishing characteristics of Cambridge?

A. I would hope so. From a product point of view, we’re always looking to add to what we can offer. Beyond constant upgrades to the technology side for the enterprise and payments business, we also create and come up with different hedging solutions from a risk-management perspective. The market always evolves, and you’ve got to be at the forefront of that, otherwise you lose people to competitors. That’s the same in most industry’s and ours isn’t any different.

Q. How do you see Cambridge’s acquisition by FLEETCOR changing the company?

A. I think for us as individuals working here, there is no real impact. The real impact from the FC takeover is more about what we offer our clients that we couldn’t beforehand. We’re talking about investment in technology, and our product suite evolving.

One thing that has to support any relationship between a client and ourselves is the client’s trust and comfort in using Cambridge. Having the support of a NYSE-listed company with a market cap around US$19 billion provides that comfort – we’re not fly by night, and we’re not going to run off with your money. In addition, that balance sheet also allows us to offer improved credit facilities around hedging that at a minimum compete with, and often surpass what they can get somewhere else. As a result, we’re able to serve a new kind of client, really. Our pockets are deep enough, we have the counterparties in place and there isn’t anything, in theory, that we can’t do if it makes sense, both for our client and from a commercial perspective.

Q. What are the growth prospects that you see for Cambridge in the UK and in Europe?

A. From a generic growth perspective, the way the European market has evolved is that you tend to have payments providers and you have FX brokers. The goal is to be a genuine one-stop shop whereby you can cater for both, something we have already done successfully in North America. We can make people aware that we’re not just about foreign exchange; we’re also about the delivery of funds. If you strip the FX part out, we have the payments capability and the technology in place – we’re a payments provider as well as an FX house. That’s an opportunity in the UK.

In Europe, just expansion into Europe, full stop, provides opportunity. Europe is a far more underdeveloped market, so it’s a more immature market in that respect in that people tend to only use their bank, as a result of which, they haven’t got the same choice of products, they haven’t had the payments capability en masse that we offer. The ability to go into a new market and go in with all the pieces in place already, makes you someone who can have a big impact on the market rather than someone who is turning up and is playing catch up. We are all set for success.

Q. We’re in kind of a challenging environment right now for incumbents in financial services given the rise of fintech and the possibility of disruption. How would you characterize Cambridge in terms of its technology and its position in that environment?

A. I think the technology that we have allows us to do everything that we promise our clients, and I think that’s key. Going back to the trust and comfort issue, when you take on new business, what you can’t afford to do is let them down. From a payments point of view, you’re sending their money and it needs to be delivered on time, not having delays, and providing ease of use. Having that peace of mind is absolutely key and our technology allows us to do everything we say we can do.

Q. What do you like best about your job?

A. It’s twofold. Both talking to people – I like the guys I work with, I like the people I manage, the people I report to. At the same time, I like the time I spend with my clients. I like the diversity it brings, in terms of conversations you might be having in the course of the day. A lot of what we do when we talk to customers is about what’s going on in the world – it’s investigative and informative. From a business perspective, in order for me to help you properly, I need to fully understand your business, what it is you do and why you do what you do. We also need to be aware of concerns you may have and problems that need solving.

Getting into that process with someone, going on the journey from when somebody becomes a new client, to maintain the relationship, and tweaking what we offer going forward means that every call has something different to it, a nuance. It provides you with a challenge and there’s something that you’re trying to achieve. That stops it from being mundane. You’re not just going through the motions – it’s always interesting.

Missed Part One of our Q&A with Darryl? Click here to read more!

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