Advice for traditional FX professionals wanting to move into an FX related tech firm

I wanted to share a trend that I’ve noticed within the Payments market, particularly the FX vertical.

From speaking with countless sales professionals within a traditional FX capacity, the most consistent phrase I’m told is “it’s a race to the bottom”. Now whilst I don’t have huge exposure to these businesses, nor proclaim any level of FX expertise, the feedback has been too consistent to ignore.

I don’t think it’s a secret that this industry is slowly dying.

Like so many other areas within financial services – everything’s being automated, everything is going Cloud, API, SaaS, everything is going tech.

Many people I’ve spoken to have had the intuition to take a deeper look into this side of the industry, and for good reason: the money is great, work-life balance is taken seriously rather then a buzzword for job ads and there are career opportunities in abundance.

There is one fundamental issue I’ve noticed for people moving over from a traditional FX house to an FX related technology firm, and that is sales approach.

Traditional FX tends to be very transactional. There’s a heavy focus on high volume of phone calls per day with deals being closed on an hour’s call.

Technology firms on the other hand, class their approach as consultative. 1 or 2 well placed, well researched calls a day outweighs 100. Finding the pain points of a client and tailoring your pitch becomes essential. Average deal cycles can last between 6 months to a year.

My clients tend to be very hesitant to interview or entertain profiles with a traditional FX background despite their knowledge of the industry, purely for this reason.

My advice?

Anyone looking to move over to this industry needs to get themselves as much exposure to the tech world as possible. Expand your CV!

If your firm has a technology arm, a platform or solution, get involved if you can and put it at the top of your CV. Get exposure to longer deal cycles, and again, put this in big bold writing at the top of your CV. Take a course on API’s, learn coding, be one of the few people who can actually explain what the cloud is (you’d be surprised). Make it blindingly obvious to your future employer that you are adaptable to this industry and you're committed to making a success of it.

It might take some time and self-investment, but if you are driven it will be worth it.

Now of course this shouldn’t be taken as a blanket statement and not all businesses will have this viewpoint, but it is a regular trend I’m seeing that I thought would be worth sharing.

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