When Dealing with Foreign Exchange, Don’t Forget About Compliance

Regulatory delay can have a major impact on your supply chain, cash flow, and relationships with suppliers and customers.

Xe Corporate

July 30, 2020 4 min read

Two businesspeople having a discussion

What’s the most common problem in foreign exchange? It may not be glamorous, but one of the most common problems is regulatory delay—and it can have a major impact on your supply chain, cash flow, and relationships with suppliers and customers.

In the previous installments of our blog series on foreign exchange risk management, we’ve discussed several of the most common (and costly) mistakes that businesses make when making international payments and dealing with foreign currencies. Today, we want to take a closer look at regulatory compliance: what it is, what you need to do to be compliant, and what can happen to your business if you don’t take the necessary steps.

What do you need to know?

Financial institutions and other FX providers must comply with strict regulations while conducting foreign exchange transactions on behalf of their customers. Under know-your-customer (KYC) and anti-money laundering (AML) rules, they are required to verify the identities of all the parties they deal with, including the foreign parties with which your business may have contact.

Additionally, there are overseas banking details to consider. While bank identifiers in the UK, for example, are standardised around account numbers and sort codes, the equivalents vary from country to country internationally. Depending on where you’re doing business, you may need to deal with data such as international bank account numbers (IBANs) and bank identifier codes (BICs).

The bottom line: your foreign exchange providers will legally require certain information so that they can transact on your behalf, and your business will need robust processes in place to generate said information and ensure that there aren’t any delays in business.

What happens if you don’t have the right policies in place?

Regulatory delay is one of the most common (and expensive) FX problems for businesses. If your business doesn’t know what it needs to do to be compliant and have policies and procedures in place to ensure that all business is up to regulatory standards, then you could see consequences.

What’s the most likely outcome? Your payments won’t go through on time. Consider how that could impact your business, your cash flow, your supply chain, and your relationships.

What can an FX provider do?

If you’re not well-versed in everything you have to do to remain compliant while conducting business as usual, a specialist FX provider is the way to go. An FX provider can help you handle the various regulatory requirements and remain compliant in every country that you do business with. 

For example, do you have online systems in place to automate data entry and quickly identify mistakes or missing information that may get in the way of your payments being made on time? Does your provider offer simple, easy-to-understand advice on the information you require from foreign counterparties and where to find it? Can you store payment details so you don’t have to keep re-entering them each time a transaction is due (and potentially leave room for human error)?

You don’t need to be an expert on regulatory compliance. However, if your business engages in any degree of foreign exchange, then you will need to pay special attention to regulatory compliance. If you don’t currently have the knowledge or resources to take care of compliance on your own, an FX provider is the way to go to ensure that your business won’t be disrupted by regulatory delay.

At Xe, we have the knowledge, products, and services to help businesses all around the world with their currency and foreign exchange needs. Ready to learn more about our business solutions? Visit our Business page for more information about our offerings and to take the first steps in enhancing your organization’s FX risk management.