Sterling was under pressure after Friday’s British retail sales figures showed that sales fell in March, despite an increase in consumer goods, particularly alcohol.

This was the biggest fall since 1996 when the Office for National Statistics (ONS) began recording the figures. As Rhian Murphy, ONS head of retail sales said, “Retail sales saw their biggest monthly fall since records began over 30 years ago with large declines in clothing and fuel, only partially offset by strong food sales. The “retail armageddon” as was described by Ayush Ansal, chief investment officer at hedge fund Crimson Black Capital, was a reflection of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The pound has been sensitive to gloomy economic figures but also coronavirus updates, as the foreign exchange market is watching to see how the country deals with the lockdown and how fast it recovers.

UK retail sales: Economists predict further fall in April

Thomas Pugh of Capital Economics noted that the record fall in UK retail sales last month demonstrates that consumption has fallen during the lockdown:

“At one end, there were clear signs the pandemic was keeping consumers away from the high street, non-food sales excluding petrol and online sales were down by 19.4% m/m, with an especially sharp 34.8% m/m fall in clothing sales. And petrol sales declined by 18.9% m/m. Department store sales did rise by 2.8% m/m, but appears to be due to purchases of food and other items online. On the other hand, food & drink sales were up 10.4% m/m (within that alcohol 31.4%!) and online sales (non-department store) rose by 5.9% m/m, as consumers were locked down at home.”

But the fall in March is only the beginning, as economists believe that April will post a bigger fall. Alan Custis, head of UK equities at Lazard Asset Management, says that “the real story will be seen in April’s figures when the lock-down will be fully felt by retailers. Here we expect to see dire numbers, but it must be balanced up by very strong online sales, which we expect will be showing growth in excess of 50% year on year. There have been clear winners and losers and we think this will only become more apparent the longer the crisis continues.”

Consumer confidence at its lowest

Further disappointing stats did nothing to support the pound. On Friday, data from the research company GfK showed that British consumer confidence was at its lowest in April.

The balance of consumers who were considering making major purchases dropped to minus 52 in April, while, the net balance of those expecting their financial situation to improve dropped to minus 14. Howard Archer, chief economic adviser at the consultancy EY Item Club said: “The near-term fundamentals for consumer spending have clearly taken a very substantial downturn as a result of coronavirus. Many people have already lost their jobs, despite the supportive government measures while others will be worried that they may still end up losing their job once the furlough scheme ends.”

Transferring funds?

With the pound struggling due to weak economic data, it is logical that you might be concerned about your personal finances, volatile exchange rates and high fees when transferring your funds. Universal Partners FX can help boost your currency purchasing power by providing in-depth market insight, competitive rates and unparalleled customer service. You can find out more by getting in touch with their dedicated currency specialists or you can request a free quote.

A weakening global investor sentiment and a collapse in oil prices has hurt the pound, but the British currency gained slightly on Wednesday despite news that UK inflation fell in March.

Oil

Brent crude oil lost a further 10% in value and WTI crude 5% on Wednesday. The slump in global oil prices demonstrates the massive drop in activity which hasn’t yet been priced by markets. Later on Wednesday, there was a jump in the price of oil, partly the result of a tweet in which President Donald Trump said  that he had “instructed the United States Navy to shoot down and destroy any and all Iranian gunboats if they harass our ships at sea.”

Inflation

After the government’s Covid-19 lockdown measures which hit demand for some goods, inflation figures on Wednesday painted a negative image of things to come, as the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported a 0.2% drop. While this was expected, as consumers spent less on clothing and fuel due to the lockdown, there are concerns that there will be further drops if restrictions continue. The pound could fall further if dire economic data continues, the oil market is further weakened, and investors’ mood drops.

According to the ONS, consumer prices rose by 1.5% per year last month, down from 1.7% in February, which was the lowest since December, as cheaper clothing and fuel pushed inflation down. The ONS explained: “Falls in the price of motor fuels and clothing resulted in the largest downward contributions to the change in the CPIH 12-month inflation rate between February and March 2020. Rises in air fares produced the largest, partially offsetting, upward contribution to change.”

The ONS believes that people avoided shops or stockpiled essential items due to the coronavirus. While the lockdown was officially introduced on 23 March and prices were collected around 17 March, social distancing seems to have shaped consumer behaviours and retailers’ expectations, with less browsing in shops and more time spent indoors.

The inflation report also showed that due to the virus pandemic and failure of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC+) to agree to cut supply in early March 2020, petrol prices fell by 5.1 pence per litre between February and March 2020.

What did economists say?

The drop in inflation in March is just the beginning and demand will continue to wane. Equals Group chief economist Jeremy Thomson-Cook said: “UK inflation stayed steady at 1.5% in March but the wider picture around prices shows that we will not be talking about high inflation for some time. A recession like the UK is currently enduring – we will wait on the data to confirm – naturally will see lower inflation through the destruction of a demand side to the economy whilst movements in oil markets of late show just what can happen to prices when demand dries up. You cannot have inflation without demand and if we are correct that demand rebounds slower than it fell – a Nike tick-shaped rebound – then the impulse into inflation should be low although a weak pound does remain a risk.”

Laura Suter, personal finance analyst at investment platform AJ Bell, says that the drop in oil prices and the change in shoppers’ attitudes will affect inflation: “Even before the recent capitulation, the price of oil was on the slide in March and this dragged inflation down slightly from February’s 1.7% to 1.5%. Oil prices have a massive impact on the UK’s inflation rate and with prices at the pump and home energy costs getting cheaper we’d expect this trend to continue for the next couple of months….What’s more, with retailers having to shut their doors we’re seeing more and more offer discounts to shoppers to move their buying online.”

UPFX

Naturally, the coronavirus has disrupted both individual and businesses’ financial plans. If you are concerned about your foreign exchange transfers and the impact on the pound as we navigate these difficult times, get in touch with Universal Partners FX and their currency specialists. Their in-depth knowledge of markets and expertise in transferring your hard-earned money fast and securely can give you peace of mind and protect your finances from unpredictable rate fluctuations. Get in touch with them today and find out how much you can save when transferring your funds abroad.

 

With the coronavirus continuing to affect the UK economy and the issue of securing a Brexit trade deal persisting, the British Pound is forecast to struggle, with investors’ growing increasingly anxious.

While worries about the coronavirus pandemic overshadowed Brexit temporarily, political concerns return as the government has highlighted its reluctance for a Brexit extension.

Brexit: No extension

With the transition period due to end on 31 December and with only three rounds of trade talks remaining, the UK would need to negotiate a trade deal by December 2020, especially when the government says that an extension would only "prolong the delay and uncertainty" around Brexit.

David Frost, the UK's chief negotiator and Michel Barnier, the European Commission's chief negotiator, after their Wednesday meeting via video conference, agreed on three weeks of talks beginning on 20 April, 11 May and 1 June. In a joint statement, they recognised that their work has helped to "identify all major areas of divergence and convergence", but further negotiations were needed "to make real, tangible progress in the negotiations by June."

But the UK government has clarified that no extension would be asked from the EU, despite recent calls by International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva to extend the period for negotiations and not "add to uncertainty" as a result of the coronavirus.

However, the prime minister's official spokesman said: “We will not ask to extend the transition period, and if the EU asks we will say 'no.' Extending the transition would simply prolong the negotiations, prolong business uncertainty and delay the moment of control of our borders. It would also keep us bound by EU legislation at a point when we need legislative and economic flexibility to manage the U.K. response to the coronavirus pandemic.”

David Frost has also similarly clarified the government’s intentions: “Extending would simply prolong negotiations, create even more uncertainty, leave us liable to pay more to the EU in future, and keep us bound by evolving EU laws at a time when we need to control our own affairs. In short, it is not in the UK's interest to extend."

The Prime Minister’s confidence in striking a satisfactory trade deal by the end of the year has been criticised by the opposition, with Liberal Democrat Sir Ed Davey saying that the refusal to extend the transition was "deeply irresponsible."

Concerns have also been voiced by the financial world. Economists and strategists have warned about the risks for the pound and have noted that uncertainty typically has driven investors to sell the pound against every other currency. Analyst at Thomson Reuters Richard Pace noted: “GBP dealers should fear July 1, when it will be too late to extend the Brexit transition past Dec. 31, 2020, and GBP would rightly suffer. The UK government has been vehement about not asking for an extension, and the UK parliament won't be able to force one this time, since Prime Minister Boris Johnson's huge Conservative majority will back his decision."

“Tough Times” for UK economy

It is not only the current uncertainty with Brexit, but also the coronavirus’ effects that will deeply hurt the pound and the economy. Chancellor Rishi Sunak has said that the coronavirus will have "serious implications" for the UK economy, as the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) is expecting that the virus will shrink the economy by 35% by June. Sunak said that the government needed to be honest and that the OBR’s figures suggest that the UK is facing “tough times, and there will be more to come.”

While the government is "not just going to stand by" and will try to protect “millions of jobs, businesses, self-employed people, charities, and households," the effects of the lockdown cannot be minimised.

Robert Chote, the chairman of the OBR, said that a three-month lockdown followed by another three months of partial restrictions would see the economy declining sharply, a drop that would be the biggest "in living memory."

The International Monetary Fund has also warned that the virus would cause the UK economy to shrink by 6.5% in 2020, and the global economy to contract by 3%.

If you are concerned about the status of your finances in these difficult times and are considering transferring your funds abroad, get in touch with Universal Partners FX. UPFX’s expert foreign exchange specialists will help maximise your purchasing power by offering competitive exchange rates and in-depth knowledge of the markets. Find out how much they can save you, by getting a free quote today.

Buying property overseas can be a stressful experience especially after the spread of the coronavirus and European countries’ lockdowns. However, you might not need to postpone your dream of buying a house abroad, as agents, notaries and lawyers have found new ways to respond to the situation.

Viewing a property

While you cannot be present materially to view your dream home, as countries such as Spain and France are on a state of emergency, many agencies continue to serve their clients through virtual tours and other online materials as an article in the Financial Times has pointed out. French agency Leggett Immobilier  state on their website that are open for business but can’t offer property visits. What they do offer, though, for the moment, is “a mix of videos, virtual tours, floor plans and additional photos.” They say that their agents are available to speak with clients through the telephone or video conference, and vendors willing “to do facetime or skype visits with you online.”

Proof of ID

While many viewings might have been postponed due to travel bans, agents and notaries are completing most paperwork online with the use of digital signatures, scanning and emailing documents or customers giving power of attorney (POA) to their lawyers. As the French agency says, their clients can give a “power of attorney” so they “don’t need to be physically present at either exchange or completion” when they purchase a property. While individual notaries might “have different interpretations of what is currently acceptable,” they note that clients’ agents will be able to clarify the current status of any purchase they have made.

According to Leggett, purchases continue with notaries accepting proof of ID by e-sign software such as web portals DocuSign and Yousign, without needing certification by a notary in the UK. The use of video conference and video links can also be used so that the notary can see the clients in real time signing the documents.

It is believed that the use of electronic signature in signing contracts remotely will continue and become more widespread over the coming weeks, especially when clients have already viewed the property and have already agreed on a price prior to the lockdown.

Flexible Dates

If you have already found your home and are in the middle of completing the purchase, then using a flexible completion date can ensure that the sale still progresses smoothly for both parties. Solicitor at My Lawyer in Spain Alex Radford says that they are suggesting a future completion date of at least two months which should be included when signing the documents. “There needs to be a clause inserted that states ‘completion will be by ‘x’ date or earlier by agreement or later if the parties or their legal representatives cannot attend completion due to Covid-19 crisis,’” he says. Radford clarifies that only documents of an urgent nature are signed, while other legal work is postponed, according to the notary’s criteria.

Agreeing on a flexible date is important, as this will guarantee securing your funds and progressing with the purchase. The FT article notes that having a “‘safety-net’ clause that allows buyers to pull out if they cannot secure a mortgage,” or extending target days will protect buyers as well as sellers who fear that their property might be devalued after the coronavirus.

If you are in the process of buying your dream home, there is no reason to panic. Jacqui Reddin, Head of Sales Development at Beaux Villages, says that staying in touch with your agent and remaining informed is the best way to move forward. She clarifies that they “are still actively dealing with ongoing sales and even have new ones since lockdown. The buying process is bound to take a bit longer, but if we all stay connected things will start to flow more smoothly.”

In regards to financial concerns over transferring your money abroad or currency exchange, keeping in touch with your currency specialist such as Universal Partners FX can give you peace of mind and help you navigate the unexpected volatility of currency markets. If you want to schedule ahead and safeguard your funds, talk to one of their foreign exchange experts today.

Sterling has risen against both the euro and the dollar benefitting from a drop in the euro and market risk.

Despite news of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s being admitted to hospital for coronavirus symptoms, which initially hurt the pound, the British currency is now on the increase as the PM is recovering but also as risk appetite is on the surge.

The increase in risk appetite results from the slowing of the spread of the coronavirus in European countries, something that has impacted on the greenback which on Tuesday fell, while riskier currencies rose.

Boris Johnson’s Recovery

Yesterday, Chancellor Rishi Sunak had said that after two nights in intensive care, Prime Minister Boris Johnson was "improving" and "engaging positively" with medical staff at St Thomas' Hospital in London. The PM was taken to St Thomas' Hospital on Sunday after he tested positive for the virus and was moved to intensive care on Monday.

In the meantime, Sunak will be holding a Cobra meeting on Thursday to review the government’s approach to lockdown measures. Due to the coronavirus lockdown restrictions, the meeting will be held online via a conference call and will be attended by ministers and other top government officials.

Cobra stands for Cabinet Office Briefing Rooms and is usually held during national emergencies. In the past, Cobra meetings were held after 9/11 and 7/7 terror attacks, Lee Rigby's murder, 2001's foot and mouth outbreak and 2018’s Novichok attacks in Salisbury.

Today’s review will look at the need for restrictions, which were announced by Mr Johnson on 23 March. According to Sunak, “the review would happen ‘around’ the three-weeks point, which would be based on evidence that will ‘only be available next week’.” He added: "I think rather than speculate about the future, I think we should focus very seriously on the here and now and the present.”

Weak Euro

Sterling’s rise comes as a result of a weak euro after the Eurozone’s failure to agree on a common approach to the economic impact of the coronavirus. It is understood that a joined fiscal response will effectively stop the collapse of the Eurozone’s economy. This is why, many European nations such as France and Italy have requested a “coronabond” in order to secure funding to help those European countries whose economies have been hit the hardest by the coronavirus epidemic.

 The disagreement among European nations is intricately connected to the idea that a coronabond would mean managing the risk of all Eurozone states and would demand richer states such as Germany, Netherlands and Austria to fund it, an idea that they highly oppose to. It is this lack of agreement on how to support member states affected by the virus that is currently testing the strength of the euro.

As Pound Sterling Live reported, “The ability of global governments and monetary authorities to provide fiscal and monetary assistance to their respective economies at this time will ultimately limit the damage inflicted by the virus outbreak, as well as determine how quickly they recover. For markets, this will become a key differentiator between various currencies, with those underpinned by credible policy initiatives likely to outperform.”

Emergency Funding

To combat the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, today (9 April), the Bank of England has agreed to temporarily lend billions of pounds from its emergency overdraft to support businesses and workers.

The so-called “ways and means facility” will enable the government to access a large amount of funds in a short period of time to support the economy and pay for its stimulus programme, while minimising financial distraction.

In a joint statement, the Treasury and Bank said: "The government will continue to use the markets as its primary source of financing, and its response to Covid-19 will be fully funded by additional borrowing through normal debt management operations."

If you are concerned about your personal finances or your business is transferring large funds across Europe and the world, contact expert currency brokers Universal Partners FX. Their foreign exchange specialists will offer assistance when transferring your hard-earned money overseas and protect your funds from current market volatility.

Our Directors - Oliver Carson & Dhaval Patel - address the company performance and annual accounts, the team and company culture, our relationships with clients, and giving something back at a difficult time.

 

Company performance

With our financial year just ending there is much to be proud of. All involved with Universal Partners FX have worked phenomenally hard to achieve fantastic financial results for the past 12 months.

Since March 2018, our revenue has grown by over 500% - and profits by 200%. The magnitude of these results is enormous and the achievement of generating revenue of £2.8 million and just over £2 million in gross profit at this stage of our growth cycle cannot be overstated.

We are delighted to announce that we have grown our client base by an astounding 55% at a time when significant reinvestment has gone into expanding the team, improving systems and creating new departments. This is a great reflection of the hard work put in by each and every member of staff.

You can find the full report here.

 

The team and our unbeatable culture

These results highlight the hard work from our amazing team, who are striving to be better each and every day.  From the beginning we have made it a priority to create a culture of hard-work, trust and honesty. By investing heavily in our employees and putting them at the heart of everything we do, we know that this helps create a culture that breeds success. Ultimately, all of this is done so that our clients will reap the benefits and our fantastic reviews show we are delivering on that.  Our long term goal is to be the biggest foreign exchange company in the UK, so we know that the bottom line is providing value to our clients, and we will never lose sight of that.

 

Thank you to our clients

In the end, nothing is possible without the unwavering trust of those who use our services. In the past 6 months we have welcomed record numbers of new clients and we'd like to take this opportunity to thank all of you for being part of our fantastic rise in the foreign exchange industry.

We are very proud to work with some incredible firms in some exciting industries. The financial results we achieved came down to large volumes being traded though us, so working with large multinationals and companies that are listed on the stock exchange provides us with the best opportunity to showcase the value we can bring.

Providing value to our clients and in some cases hearing the stories behind your FX is what we get up in the morning for. We look forward to much more of this in the future.

 

The road ahead

It is difficult to start making projections at this moment in time, but growth is definitely on our agenda for the year ahead. We want to continue to add top quality people to our team and anticipate that our dealing floor will expand by 50% in the coming year. This growth will be backed up by doubling the back office team, which we are investing in to support future growth of core divisions. It is truly an exciting time for the company and every one has a part to play.

 

Giving something back during these difficult times

Given the extreme circumstances at the moment, we appreciate that for many there is massive uncertainty. This includes businesses, but also individuals who are unwell or worried for the safety of loved ones. In these difficult times it is important that we stick together because collectively we can beat this.

With that in mind, we have guaranteed that all our staff will keep their job and measures have been taken to protect salaries.

To extend our help outside the company, we have also pledged care packages to an NHS hospital local to us, giving essential supplies to the great NHS staff who are battling day in day out to help treat people.

A small gesture, but hoping it offers some respite to those in greater need. More information on this will follow.

Once this is all behind us, we hope that Universal Partners FX continues to grow, but also that businesses, individuals and the nation as a whole can bounce back and enjoy success in the coming years.

Keep safe everyone.

 

Oliver Carson & Dhaval Patel

Universal Partners FX Directors

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.

Click here to see our current vacancies

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