Avia Collinder, Business Reporter
GraceKennedy's cambio subsidiary FX Trader has added a new service which allows local traders to make payments in any of 135 currencies abroad.
It targets a market segment, which does about US$25 million of trades daily, according to Group CEO of GraceKennedy Limited Don Wehby, who says he plans to compete directly with the commercial banks for business.
The food and financial-services conglomerate itself owns one of the seven commercial banks in Jamaica.
Wehby said Wednesday that FX will be the first cambio to offer the service that to now was confined to the banks.
"We understand that the market is currently trading over US$25 million per day. There is no doubt in our minds that there is a need for FX Trader Business Solutions," said Wehby.
"Countries like Venezuela, Trinidad, Mexico, Brazil and China are ranked at the top of the table for countries from which Jamaica imports. FX Trader Business Solutions has access to settle in these foreign currencies and many more."
GK and Western Union are partners and joint investors in the initiative.
"The partnership between ourselves and Western Union Business Solutions gives us access to over 135 currencies," Wehby said. "It is a value-added cambio service offering designed to convert money from Jamaican dollars directly to more than 135 currencies of the world. This allows our customers to pay their suppliers overseas," he said.
FX Trader Business Solutions is an international foreign-currency trading option, and an extension of the company's current service of buying and selling foreign currency. The company also offers wires, drafts, foreign cheques and funds reservation.
FX Trader has added new members to the team, and deployed resources to offices in central and western Jamaica. Its network encompasses 40 locations, but Wehby said all queries on the service are being handled from the head office in Kingston.
He stressed that FX Trader Business Solutions is not a money-transfer service, and that its users will be able to use Jamaican dollars to purchase foreign currencies to settle their overseas invoices in the designated currency.
"We are not aware of any other cambios offering this innovative solution. Competitors in the market would be commercial banks and cambios, however, cambios would not have access to as many currencies as we currently do," said the GraceKennedy CEO.
The partnership with Western Union, he added, will deliver "real-time international quotes" on rates and funds reservations that allow for trading and settlement of invoices.
Wehby did not disclose revenue projections for the service, but said business has been "robust" and is expected to increase.
FX Traders is 16 years old. The company claims pole position among local cambios.