With global lock downs occurring, we are all coming to terms with the reality of working from home. For some, this is great news. If you have a good working environment at your home and are used to a long commute, then you can make working from home work to your advantage. If you are easily distracted and not self motivated, then you may have a tough time coping with the reality.

What you will realise quickly is how important work is to our mental well-being. A good days work gives you the energy and confidence to attack all the other things in your life. Without it, life can be tough.

So here is some advice to follow so that you get the best out of working from home.

1. Stick to a routine: It could be tempting to use remote working as an excuse to do as you please, but routine is important for all of us. Even if you have a long commute that you now don't have to put up with, try getting up at the same time and make use of the time in the morning that you usually spend stuck on a train or bus. Go for a run, have a long breakfast, or watch the TV. Do something that makes you happy. In some cases you might choose sleep, which is not too bad - just make sure you still have time to do what you need to do before work starts. Which brings us onto...

2. Get showered and dressed: This is so crucial to your day. Feeling clean is imperative to being productive and having energy. A warm dressing gown might seem like a great idea, but you'll never be as energetic because you associate this item with sleep and comfort. No need to put the business suit on, but wear comfortable clothes that you'd be happy to go outside in. And don't just bounce out of bed and expect to be able to work immediately, it is not practical.

3. Have a designated work space: Just like at the office, make yourself a work station you can feel comfortable at and is in a place which allows you to concentrate. A chair and a desk is always better than a sofa or bed. So try to make that happen. If that means being in a communal room which might have other people passing through, try to agree set periods with them when you don't want to be disturbed.

4. Keep connected with your colleagues: Just because you don't see them face-to-face, doesn't mean you cannot chat and keep up with each other. If there are group chats or email chains, try to contribute to them even if normally you'd stay quiet. Whenever possible, try to keep a positive tone when communicating through email or chat as sarcasm or dry humour can sometimes be misinterpreted.

5. Have set hours and breaks: Try to stick to a schedule to give your day structure. If you start at 9am, then try to be prepared and ready at that time, not 15 minutes later. If you start craving a coffee, try to resist until your break time. Discipline is the backbone to a productive day.

6. Give yourself a perk: Working at home is not all about a battle to be productive, so make sure you take the positives from it. Some take advantage and keep on top of their washing, or general housework - not something they can usually do during a busy week at the office. Other perks might be a nice home-cooked lunch (as long as it doesn't take too long to prepare) listening to music whilst you work, or watching your favourite TV programme on your lunch break.

7. Do something to signal the end of the working day: We usually rely on leaving the office and getting on the train or bus to go home as the line in the sand that divides work and leisure. At home it is not as easy, but it is something that in the long term will keep you well mentally. So when you are ready to call it a night, try doing something that takes you out of work mode - like a shower or going for a run.

Whilst we are all in this situation and trying to keep positive, the one thing we should all have is the feeling of a good day's work. It will keep not just your boss happy, but you as well.

 

 

 

Universal Partners FX are delighted and proud to celebrate hitting a milestone on independent review website, Feefo. With 100 reviews received and all of them being 5-star ratings, we thank our staff for their hard work and all of our clients who reviewed us to help us reach this point.

The reviews come from our business and personal clients, all of whom gladly shared their positive experience in sending money overseas.

Our team is equally as attentive and hard working for repeat business customers - who need to pay their suppliers every month – and one-off transactions made by individuals.

 

 

To have an overall score of 5 out of 5 stars on Feefo is exceptional but comes down to hard work and the excellent relationships we have with our clients.

All Feefo reviews are verified, meaning accuracy and legitimacy is guaranteed, you can read them here.

Oliver Carson, Director of Universal Partners FX said: “From day one we train our staff to not only be experts in currency exchange, but also be attentive, respectful and extremely hard-working. It is very satisfying that this is paying off and we are being recognised by our clients, which is the most important thing”

“To get to 100 is a great result, but we hope this only strengthens as the company continues to grow.”

To get a quote for your foreign exchange, just click here

Incoterms is an abbreviation for International Commercial Terms, which are a set of predefined commercial terms drafted by the International Chambers of Commerce (ICC). First published in 1936, Incoterms rules provide internationally accepted definitions and rules of interpretation for most common commercial terms.

Incoterms are primarily a set of three-letter codes which define trade terms related to responsibilities of businesses involved in a shipping or sale relationship. Simply put, they exist as a guide to ‘who does what’ in a variety of scenarios such as in the case of fright and insurance under the terms of a shipping contract. They aim to help traders avoid costly misunderstandings by identifying the tasks, costs and risks involved with the delivery of goods from sellers to buyers. Incoterms are recognised by UNCITRAL as the global standard for the interpretation of the most common terms in foreign trade.

A full list of Incoterms can be found here.

Why use Incoterms in international trade?

Despite other clauses for global trade existing around the world, Incoterms are global in their reach. They do not include trade terms codified for national purposes such as the ‘less than truckload shipping’ (LTL) rule used within the United States. Instead, Incoterms are universal, providing clarity and predictability to businesses all across the world.

When a business decides to enter international trade, whether that is selling a product oversees or importing finished goods and raw materials, it will be faced with a number of barriers. The logistics of physically moving goods can sometimes call into question the decisions that have made to operate in overseas markets that have been made at board level. Once a trade has been agreed, the responsibilities and roles of the various parties must be agreed upon and clear to all.

The majority of the work falls to the exporter, as they must produce the goods to be shipped, deal with a freight forwarder, assign a shipment date and vessel with the customer and comply with the terms of both the sales and shipping contract. The importer will have to apply for a letter of credit from their bank, transfer the terms of the contract onto his application, get in touch with a native freight forwarder preferably in the port where the goods have been agreed to arrive and possibly arrange insurance if not set out in the terms of the shipping contract.

 

Types of Incoterms

 

The above shows the full list of Incoterms and the transfer of risk, as of January 2020. The three most popular Incoterms are; CIF (Cost Insurance and Freight) Incoterms, FOB (Free on Board) Incoterms and CFR (Cost and Freight) Incoterms.

  • CIF Incoterms – This is a wide-ranging package where the seller in solely responsible for the foods until they arrive at the destination port.
  • FOB Incoterms – These terms set out that the exporter pays all costs up the and including the loading of goods onto the vessel for shipment. The buyer is then responsible for the cost of shipment, insurance and all costs in the country where the shipment is being sent.
  • CFR Incoterms – If this Incoterm is used in the sales contract, the seller is responsible for paying all carriage costs up to and including arrival at the port of import. Importantly, the buyer remains in charge for the insurance of all goods.

For businesses that work and deal with international imports and exports, Incoterms are just one of the factors that need to be considered when completing deal. Another important factor to take into consideration are exchange rates. Here at Universal Partners FX, our team of financial specialists help to make your international transfers to pay for all export and import costs as smooth as possible at the best possible rates. We specialise in a range of foreign exchange services including imports and exports and freight and logistics. You can learn more about we can help below.

Importers & Exporters >                 Freight & Logistics >

For more information on how Universal Partners FX can help with your international currency transfers, do not hesitate to get in touch with a member of our team today.

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To mark International Women’s Day on 8th March, our latest article analyses the reasons why women continue to be under-represented in the finance world.

The current climate

Whilst in the past 20 years we have seen great improvements in gender inequality, according to the International Monetary Fund still only 2% of chief executive officers at financial institutions are women. It is tempting to assume that this issue starts at the top and runs right down to trading and broker positions and whilst this is partially true, there are other factors that have acted as barriers to women entering junior roles within finance for decades. These issues present a challenge today for companies to attract female talent.

Last year, the Governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney gave a speech stating that “Finance offers so much, but still doesn’t offer enough for women”, recognising that even with recent improvements in equality, there is still some way to go.

Looking at history

But why is this such a challenge? Surely today the growing consciousness of equality from employers and the willingness of women to work and have successful careers means that this issue should solve itself?

Unfortunately, finance - and particularly trading – has historically been so bad in terms of equality that the willingness of women to work in the sector is low. This issue goes back to the 1960’s and the famous case of Geraldine Weiss, who was unable to get a job in finance due to gender discrimination, so started her own investment newsletter and used to sign it “G. Weiss”. It was getting on for a decade later that she revealed her identity as a female and her newsletter is still used as a template for an existing publication today.

The point is that she felt she needed a 10-year track record before her content could be taken seriously, given the harsh barriers to women that existed at the time.

Whilst things have definitely moved on since then, the trading industry continued to repel women throughout the 80’s and 90’s.

Firstly, the aggressive and overly masculine trading floor environment has been an obvious barrier to women considering jobs as brokers or traders. This was particularly rife in the 1990’s, with many insiders revealing the sexist nature to traditional trading floors. The semi-glorification of this in the highly acclaimed film, The Wolf of Wall Street, further highlighted the toxic environment that existed at this time.

During this time there was undoubtedly high levels of gender inequality, an issue we may still be dealing with today but something which individuals like Mary Erdoes have helped address. However, for such a long time women simply did not want these types of roles, therefore today it is harder to find female candidates who have amassed 10-15 years of experience, meaning the senior trading roles invariably get filled by men. Combined, these two issues help explain how only 13% of individuals approved by the UK’s FCA for trading roles in 2019 were female.

But are women actually better suited to finance and trading than men?

Many studies have shown that by narrowing the gender gap would create greater stability in the banking system and enhance economic growth. In another study by Warwick Business School, women traders outperform men by 1.8% despite trading less than them.

The basis of both these studies focuses on the difference between the male and female ego. A female trader is more likely to recognise her own lack of knowledge and take the time to learn and research in order to improve. Men are less likely to acknowledge this and also more likely to act on impulse, due to an overconfidence in their knowledge and ability resulting in taking unnecessary risks.

Universal Partners FX welcomes women applicants

At the time of writing, around 40% of senior traders at Universal Partners FX are women. Having come through our intense training program, all female members of staff are equipped with the knowledge and expertise required to be a top foreign exchange trader.

Director Dhaval Patel adds “We work hard to create an environment that is inclusive of everyone. We are a long way from the old idea of a trading floor – we promote respect and professionalism.”

“However, with the number of women applicants to job adverts remaining low, Universal Partners FX want to actively open the door to females looking for a career in foreign exchange. Gender is irrelevant, all we ask is for a certain level of work-ethic and the openness to learn”.

View our open positions here