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High end finish, and margin to match.

Our client is a sole trading interior designer.

Much of her time is spent developing her own properties in both London and South Africa, for which Prime Cap is her broker, but, on occasion, she will take on commissions from private clients.

Her customer will ask her to execute every transaction associated with procurement for the scheme, whether that means arranging deliveries, commissioning bespoke pieces or even sourcing items and elements from supplier in the UK and abroad. This is actually somewhat uncommon because most interior design practices will request that the client pay a supplier direct and then take a cut of the supplier’s mark up by way of a referral fee - it is commonly done.

Putting that to one side though, it recently interested us to note that our client, the designer, marks up the rates of exchange we quote her when she invoices her customer.

Say, for instance, a cobalt blue ostrich skin Hermes sofa sold solely through their Italian concession costs €64,000. My client asks me for a rate of exchange. May be we quote 1.5 (for argument’s sake) which equates to a cost of £42666.67.

Knowing that our rate is undercutting that which her customer would be offered, our client adds on a margin to my rate of exchange. She calculates the GBP cost using a rate of 1.45 (because she knows, having consulted with us, that her customer’s bank will give him 1.40). Our client then invoices her customer to the tune of £44,137.93. By virtue of her ‘connections’ and using her broker from whom she gets preferential commercial rates, the interior designer has saved her customer £1576.36. She has also pocketed for herself £1471.26.

With the same interior design client we also used a forward contract to fix the cost of her then customer’s kitchen. It was an expensive item coming in at nearly €215,000. In a similar fashion to the sofa transaction, my client (the designer) negotiated not only a preferential rate for her customer, but also enable her customer to fix the sterling price of the kitchen. She, the designer, did not have to concern herself with a changing rate of exchange and her customer knew precisely where he stood come final payment for his kitchen.

It must be conceded that Interiors ‘firms’ use foreign currencies in a number of different ways. Some of them just settle invoices from foreign suppliers which is totally fair enough, but, when dealing with a retail customer there is always scope to bolster one’s profit margin through comprehension of the foreign exchange side of things.

It is this type of hands-on guidance that you cannot get from an online foreign currency system.

It was someone high up at Lloyd Bank who confirmed that there will always be a market for individual brokers because hearing the confidence in someone’s voice and knowing you can rely on their perhaps greater understanding of the subject matter is now and will always be worth paying for.

If you are interested in this sort of service then give us a call on 02031728193

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