OzForex, an Australian online provider of foreign exchange services to corporates and individuals, will open a London office and concurrently launch a 24-hour global currency payments service in October. The move comes as OzForex reached a milestone A$1 billion (US$770 million) in FX transactions in June 2005.
The London business, to be known as UKForex, will be headed by Andrew Porter as general manager. It plans to target the 500,000 global expats living in the UK, as well as an estimated 60,000 import/export businesses.
OzForex earlier this year appointed Gary Lord as its managing director in Sydney, with responsibility for expanding into overseas markets as well as overseeing relationships with the group’s banking partners. Lord, a former Bankers Trust managing director and head of Asian FX, told Profit & Loss that the firm plans to have 10-15 people in the London operation by December 2006.
OzForex was founded in 1998 by Matthew Gilmour, a former senior vice president and head of FX sales at Bankers Trust Australia. The firm seeks to offer small-medium sized corporate customers lower cost FX transactional services than the major Australian banks.
It competes with Travelex and Western Union in the same business space. Corporate turnover represents about one-third of its business with the balance being individuals using the service for large asset purchases or for remittances by expats and travellers. It does not provide margin trading nor speculative trading facilities, according to Lord.
The firm uses a proprietary technology platform that was entirely designed in-house and employs 20 staff in Australia. It takes no trading risk as it clears all customer positions with its relationship banks as soon as practical.