Is it safe to use a currency broker, and is my money safe?
Yes – but check that they are registered with the FSA as an Authorised Payment institution. The industry became regulated by the Financial Services Authority on the 1st November 2009.
Not all brokers are registered however. You will be able to check this on the FSA site to see if the companies you plan to deal with are on the FSA’s list. Foremost Currency Group was one of the first brokers to be granted authorisation as an Authorised Payment institution.
What does this mean?
This means that all Directors and key staff are fit and proper to continue trading. Client funds are held in nominated, segregated client transaction accounts thus safeguarding them, and we have ring fenced sufficient capital to comply with the new legislation.
We have been fully vetted and are expected to maintain strict standards relating to capital requirements, safeguarding of client funds and the fitness and propriety of senior staff.
With regards to security of funds, our principle bankers are Barclays. All accounts your funds are held in, both in Sterling and foreign currencies, are nominated segregated ‘client transaction accounts’ with Barclays bank. This means all client funds are kept completely separate to our business accounts as required by the FSA.
The main reason funds are safe however, is because we don’t speculate. Many companies make their profits by speculating on the market, which is nothing more than an educated gamble and inherently risky. We simply make our profits on the margins we buy and then sell the currency at, so at no time are any of your (or our!) funds at risk.
The directors and staff at The Foremost Currency Group are pleased to have been granted FSA authorisation and welcome the opportunity to demonstrate the standards and procedures we have in place to ensure the highest possible levels of service to our clients.
Questions to ask a broker before doing any business
“Are you registered / authorised / regulated by the FSA?” Not all firms have yet been granted authorisation, so check the list.
“Are my funds kept in segregated nominated client accounts?” Safeguarding client funds is a requirement of the new directive, and segregated funds mean that your money is not lumped in with the company’s own funds. This gives you peace of mind that your funds are secure.
“How long have you been trading, and how many clients do you have?” It’s important to use a reputable firm that has an established history, and one that you feel comfortable with. Obviously the longer they have been around, the better the sign. Having a large number of customers for a long time can also help to allay any fears. Ask for client testimonials and indeed case studies to negate any concerns.
The Foremost Currency Group Ltd is fully compliant with the Financial Services and Markets Payment Services Regulations and is registered with the FSA (Financial Services Authority) as an Authorised Payment Institution; our FSA Registration number is 503906.
The Foremost Currency Group Ltd is registered in England and Wales (registered no. 5544575). Registered Office: Sutton Court, Church Yard, Tring. Hertfordshire HP23 5BB.
The Foremost Currency Group Ltd is fully compliant with HMRC (HM Revenue & Customs) Anti Money Laundering Regulations; our Money Laundering Registration number is 12219945.
If you are looking for the best exchange rates, send us an enquiry, and have a free consultation on what’s happening in the currency markets.
A quick update on developments for the pound since this mornings post. Sterling yesterday hit the highest level against the Euro for many months, and topped out at 1.1864. Today however the rise was halted and rates have dropped back – currently rates are 1.1730.
Sterling rises on Inflation Data
The pound climbed to its highest level in 7/8 months yesterday after much better than expected inflation data.
The Consumer Price indec fell to 2.2% last month which is bigger than analysts’ forecasts for a fall to 2.0%. The news encouraged the belief that the defaltion risk for the UK economy is now very low indeed. It also followed a raft of UK data which has boosted belief that the economy is on the road to recovery.
So, this is what has caused contined gains for the pound, however this morning some of those gains have been paired back. News that US industrial production fell more than expected in May dampened optimism that the global economy is over the worst. Also, profit taking by traders has caused a slight fall this morning, probably also due to anticipation of the UK unemployment figures today (see below).
So far this month the pound has gained 3% over the Euro, leaving it on course for a quarterly gain of more than 8 percent -this would be the biggest quarterly gain against the single currency since its inception 10 years ago.
Although analysts are wary of drawing too many conclusions on the basis of one month’s data, the inflation figures mean that the Bank of England may not need to implement any additional quantitative easing (QE). It is this QE that has been causing the pound to fall earlier in the year, and it was thought that further funds would have to be made available. Now however this seem unlikely.
It’s now more likely we could see Interest rate increases for the UK later this year – this will boost the value of Sterling, so another reason for the gains is speculation that this will happen. When a country or zone increases interest rates, the yeild investors get for the currency is increased – this causes more buying of the currency thus increasing its value.
We have UK unemployment data – any increase in the claimant count will likely weaken the pound, althougth this is unlikely. Also watch for the Bank of England minutes for the most recent interest rate decision. This will show how they voted, and can also cause volatility in the pound.
After yesterdays UK inflation data, today we have inflation data for the US at 13:30pm. It is a measure of price movements by the comparison between the retail prices of a representative shopping basket of goods and services. The purchase power of USD is dragged down by inflation, so if you are buying or selling US Dollars, watch this closely.
Tourist Money / Holiday Cash
I recently wrote about the awful rates available to those of us in need of cash to travel abroad.
Well, at Foremost Currency Group we now have a solution! Our new Online trading platform allows you to purchase smaller amounts of currency (up to £10k).
Transfer funds to pay bills, mortgage payments, pension transfers, account top-ups and holiday money.
You do need to have a foreign bank account for us to send the funds to as we dont actually deliver the cash, but the process is pretty easy and Credit Agricole in France were very happy to give me a Visa card and send it to my London address allowing me to draw the cash as and when needed.
Click below to open a standard account. Just got a question? Click Here to Send me an Email
Let’s take a look at where currencies moved yesterday and the end of last week.
The Euro again fell to a 2009 low against Sterling, as a combination of internal member state stresses, banking sector fears and concerns that the Euro zone might lag the UK in recovery weighed on the single currency.
The latest economic data also suggested that the Euro zone recession could be more protracted than previously envisaged; industrial production plunged a record 21.6% in April from the same month a year earlier, in stark contrast with other economies where there have been encouraging signs that the worst of the recession might have passed.
The GBP/EUR rate closed today 3.5% higher than that of a week ago at 1.1837, from 1.1437 a week earlier, benefiting those converting Sterling into Euros.
The German ZEW think-tank’s survey of German economic conditions and Euro zone inflation data, both due to be released on Tuesday, will be the focus of attention this week. The Euro could lose further support if the inflation data suggest greater scope to lower Euro zone interest rates.
Paul Krugman the winner of the 2008 Nobel Prize for Economics has stated, “the UK’s economy is, the best in Europe at the moment” this news had capped off a week where sterling has risen to its highest value this year.
Professor Krugman went on to say, “If the government can hold off having an election until next year, Labour might well be able to run us, ‘we’re the people who brought Britain out of the slump’. This supportive announcement may help strengthen sterling value as it covers two key points of the currency compass, the economy and politics (the other being terrorism and acts of god).
Last week saw the GBP-USD rate hit lows of 1.5801 before climbing back above 1.66 briefly towards the end of the week.
We have since had US consumer confidence rise for a fourth straight month and have also heard comments from finance ministers in Russia and Japan which have supported the Dollars status as the worlds top reserve.
Russia’s finance minister, Kudrin, said that he has confidence in the US Dollar and that it is too early for an alternative to the USD as the global reserve currency. Both of these facts supported the Dollar and forced the rate back down to 1.63 today.
The Pound still looks to have the ability to advance further still against the Dollar with signs that the UK economy is recovering from the recession earlier than expected, and there are some expectations that we could see growth in 2010. house price figures released last week from the RICS showed that only 44.1% of their surveyors reported a further drop in prices in their area last month, better than the expected 52%, which is another indication that the UK housing market may have bottomed out. We also saw UK industry and manufacturing figures grow for the first time in over a year.
This week we should see both UK & US CPI increase slightly and the BoE minutes from their last meeting are released on Wednesday. Both of these will probably come out as expected and therefore we don’t expect to see quite as much volatility as last week and will most likely see Cable remain range bound between 1.6150 & 1.66.
Before we look at this weeks data, just to let regular readers know that Le Mans 2009 was excellent – would recommend it to anyone who has even the mildest interest in cars or motorsport!
This Weeks Data
Lots of data from the EU, US and UK this week. The most significant data is listed below, but the main events to watch for are:
UK There is a string of headline data releases from the UK this week, with both inflation measures being shown on Tuesday and the retail sales figures following on Thursday. These could underpin a wave of Sterling positive optimism amid reports that the UK may be the first of the major economies to break free of recession.
EZ Inflation figures out on the same day as the UK counterpart figures will give an insight to the ongoing issues in Euro Land. Problems in the French banking sector have been blamed for recent shifts in the GBP –EUR cross.
US On what is a busy day for inflationary data releases, the US follows suit releas9nf MoM and YoY figures for May, as well, crucially, as the new Housing Starts for May. Look to these for further signs of the ‘green shoot of recovery.’
United Kingdom Consumer Price Index (MoM) (May)
United Kingdom Consumer Price Index (YoY) (May)
United Kingdom Core Consumer Price Index (YoY) (May)
United Kingdom Retail Price Index (MoM) (May)
United Kingdom Retail Price Index (YoY) (May)
European Monetary Union Consumer Price Index – Core (YoY) (May)
European Monetary Union Consumer Price Index (MoM) (May)
European Monetary Union Consumer Price Index (YoY) (May)
United States Housing Starts (YoY) (May)
United States Producer Price Index (MoM) (May)
United States Producer Price Index ex Food & Energy (MoM) (May)
United States Producer Price Index ex Food & Energy (YoY) (May)
If you are looking to make a transfer abroad, and would like to find out more about Foremost Currency Group, then simply click on the link below to visit our main site.
Please quote ‘Blog’ when you call to recieve preferential exchange rates.
Just got a question? Click Here to Send me an Email
In trading Wednesday afternoon, rates for the Euro got close to 1.17, which is the highest level since November last year.