Global Reach Partners, a foreign exchange firm based in the City of London announced yesterday that it had completed the purchase of city neighbours FC Exchange who are based nearby in Finsbury Circus.
GRP, who say they transact more than £3.5bn of foreign currency annually, providing payments and hedging services to businesses and private individuals, believe the acquisition will increase transaction volumes to more than £5.5bn.
The company will also add 70 FC Exchange staff to its 100 strong team of “expert traders and support staff” the majority of whom will be based in London.
GRP, who describe themselves as having shown “solid growth” in the last few years, say the acquisition will give them “immediate scale, further reach and added capabilities.”
Says co-founder and CEO of GRP Mark Smith-Halvorsen; “FCE’s business is a perfect complement to our own. We each excel in our respective segments – they have a predominantly private client base compared to our mainly corporate client revenue stream. The goal of this transaction is to create a leading FX payments company.”
FCE co-founder Nick Fullerton added “we have experienced over 50% year-on-year growth and I’m very excited about the future journey with GRP and Inflexion behind us. We will be stronger together.”
Inflexion refers to the private equity firm who completed a management buyout of GRP in March, but backed the existing management team to “grow market share and execute a buy-and-build consolidation strategy in the UK FX sector.”
“This acquisition is that strategy in action”, commented John Harper, a Partner at Inflexion. IMAS Corporate Finance acted as the exclusive financial advisor to FC Exchange for the deal.
Global Reach also recently announced a 2-year sponsorship deal with Crystal Palace FC which will see them become the Premier League club’s new foreign exchange partner – which could prove a lucrative venture if Palace continue to lavish 7 figure sums on top global footballing talent and need some help converting their pounds to Euros or Nigerian Naira.
GRP’s turnover in 2015 was over £20m and the firm says they have more than 12,000 clients. The firm is supervised by the FCA and are also a registered Money Services Business (MSB), regulated by HMRC and therefore compliant with UK money laundering legislation.
FC Exchange was co-founded by entrepreneurs Martin Steenkamp and Nick Fullerton in 2005. Although headquartered in London the company has offices around the world and has achieved year-on-year profit growth in every year of the company’s existence.
FCE has a network of more than 3,000 affiliates and the firm says they have helped more than 25,000 individuals and business move more than £5 billion in international money transfers.
As well as offering a range of bespoke services for corporates or individuals, GBR also pays commission to deal introducers on a revenue share basis, and offers Partner relationships on a more mutual basis as well as affiliate schemes where fees are paid on a CPL or CPA basis.
As well as Crystal Palace, the company has a proud history of supporting young sports professionals. They are also a partner of GBmoto Racing, supported by Kawasaki, and of Annabel Dimmock, one of the rising stars of the female golf circuit. A former amateur no. 1 in Great Britain and Ireland, Dimmock joined the European Ladies Tour in 2015.
FC Exchange, who are FCA Authorised, offer services ranging from one-off purchases including property transactions, to “structured, long-term currency exchange solutions that facilitate vast international trade.” The company also promises to give every customer a single point of contact.
Mergers and acquisitions are never simple or straightforward, but this one certainly seems to tick the right boxes. FX exchange is a highly fragmented market, but also one in which consolidation and more holistic service may well help build relationships of trust with clients.