As we have often commented, foreign exchange services and their true value remain somewhat niche.
This is for a number of reasons chief among which is a realisation that any outward looking business or individual with an overseas agenda (whatever that means) can reasonably make use of a specialist currency broker.
This means we have an enormous market place in which to operate, but, it also means it is incredibly difficult to define one's self to broad enough appeal to entice that whole market.
Most brokers chose to focus on cold calling and network marketing.
By network marketing we mean engendering sufficient goodwill amongst our client base to induce them to refer work to us.
Please remember, we are competing with vast global financial institutions.
These institutions have the greatest market share largely because they align their international payment offering with the every day banking services they already apply.
A bank competing for your business is not just hoping to provide you with savings, investments and borrowing services, they are also selling you their international payment services too, but, the former tend to mean that the latter proposition is implicitly taken care of.
Just by Googling anything terms to do with sending money abroad you will find a vast array of 'specialist' non bank providers of currency services.
Most of these services cater for remittance based activity. A remittance is quite simply the transmission of money in one currency to an account abroad.
The customer is not necessarily expressly engaging in a currency exchange, they simply want to send what they have earned 'here' to someone or somewhere else and, usually, this means workers in the UK sending some of their earnings 'back home' or to family.
In the same way that an independent coffee shop might struggle to achieve broad high street penetration because of the buying power of larger chains, independent brokers like Prime Cap cannot reasonably hope to compete with publicly listed multi-national transfer businesses.
We cannot reasonably afford to compete through the most main stream channels...online. Our budgets simply don't stretch to out pricing larger companies.
On a like for like basis we would expect to beat any larger institution, for a number of reasons, but, when it comes to catching your eye and dominating marketing channels, we have to think and operate differently.
Prime Cap chooses to focus on engaging advisers to our target client.
A solicitor is unlikely to look online for a currency solution for their customer, but, if we meet them in person we stand a good chance of personalising our service to such an extent that we are more memorable or compelling that just a website or a print media advertisement.
On the basis that a company like Prime Cap is not trying to compete for online traffic, we can look a little more closely at how we differentiate ourselves from amongst the plethora of independent brokers that have similar aims to us.
One such way is through our pledge to give more to our clients give back to our partners.
As a boutique we are confident that we know our clients in a more personal and intimate way than many of our peers might.
For one thing, the larger the organisation the more of an essential priority the transaction becomes.
Bigger businesses need more commercial calories to sustain them.
Whilst wouldn't turn down the opportunity to grow our operation, such is the structure we have created that we do not have superfluous non-client facing staff.
Every one within our organisation needs to be able to understand our offering and services as expertly as their colleagues.
As a small team we have to be able to rely on the fact that any one of our staff picking up the telephone can and will counsel our clients with the same tact, dexterity and manner.
This is part of the intense pursuit of value at every angle that we are proud of.
On principle we want to work with as few referring partners as we can.
This obviously sounds counter intuitive because the more referral partners we have the more business we get. But, we don't necessarily see it like that.
If our referral partner has consistent traffic for personal and business foreign exchange needs then we want to focus our energy on making sure that every single one of those clients gets the optimal service.
Referral partners of Prime Cap are not referral partners of the individual broker within our organisation. They are a referral partner of the firm.
Spreading oneself too thinly not only means gaps or cracks appear in the process, but, the enthusiasm and diligence with which one approaches engagements with myriad of partners lessens the more of them there are.
One way to truly cement a relationship is to refer a client to someone.
This is true of those who want to generate business from Prime Cap in much the same way as it is true of our activities in pursuit of generating business from our referral partners.
Putting to one side the industry you're in, wouldn't you rather get a client than a commission?
Wouldn't you rather apply yourself and your expertise in a stand alone matter rather than just receive a referral fee from a third party?
If the answer is yes then your compass is aligned with ours.
Foreign exchange services being as niche as they are, relatively, and Prime Cap being as boutique as it is, relatively, we relish the opportunity to connect our clients with third party businesses, clients and contacts that we know are valuable to them.
Personal payments are just that, personal.
We occupy a truly privileged position and deal with sensitive matters. This makes us privy to certain signals that might allow us to act in the interest of our client and allow us to suggest and recommend third parties who cater for a need we have been able to identify.
When we started out we conceived of a channel through which we might engage with our clients on behalf of our partners.
Our registered corporate clients receive an email detailing our curated list of service and sector partners that we think could be useful in the long run to the client. This is called the 'Corporate Client Collection'.
For private clients we do the same, but, more than that we tailor the presentation of those contacts to mimic the typical concerns that our client, depending on what they are doing, may face.
This might mean referencing a specialist in property development finance. It might mean including a brief snap shot about an interior design business who we consider excellent for the clients objectives. In the case of family relocation we are connected with a number of tutoring platforms and advisers on school applications.
Tier 1 investor visa applicants may find it useful to be connected with purveyors of compliant investable vehicles, and those looking to add to their global mobility capabilities may like to take up our invitation to speak with one of our tax or citizenship by investment advisers.
Prime Cap takes no remuneration from businesses whose services and skills are engaged by referred clients. Moralistic as it may sound, we connect you because we have identified a need from our discussions with you.
We want our partners to refer back to us and we find one of the very best ways to 'break the ice' and truly enhance the relationship we share is to introduce.
Ask yourself whether you genuinely think a company with over 100,000 customers can effectively and delicately introduce you to their client base.
A business of that size will be speaking with numerous contacts like you. Yes, you want your client to receive the best service and, because we can outperform far bigger companies on a like for like basis, this is something we can offer and do offer as a standard facet of each engagement, but, wouldn't it be nice to feel like the entity to which you refer your client is minded and motivated to return the compliment?
This is how Prime Cap distinguishes itself from the pack.
Whether it is specialists in the valuation of country or rural estates, firms proficient or market leading in leasehold enfranchisement, accountants and book keepers who do more than just sift through your receipts or property agents with a track record of exceeding ceilings on distressed residential property sales, these are businesses and contacts we know and deal with regularly and access to them is part of what we offer you...as a client and as a partner.