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Why a global fintech set up a regional office in Newcastle

September 24, 2019

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We talk to Grant Murray, XE’s Business Solutions expert about their future and why a global Fintech business like XE chose Newcastle as a place to expand and grow their business.

So, who are XE and what exactly do they do?

We live currency. We provide a comprehensive range of currency services and products, including our Currency Converter, Market Analysis, Currency Data and Payment APIs, money transfers for individuals and businesses and FX Risk Management solutions. We leverage technology to deliver these services through our website, mobile app and over the telephone. Ultimately, we are supporting people to achieve something important and empowering international lives and global trade.

Whether you are an individual moving abroad, sending funds to friends or family or paying overseas expenses, our customers benefit from our competitive exchange rates, proactive support and easy to use systems.

Our Business Solutions teams supports companies whether they are making their first international payment to an overseas supplier or looking to protect their company bottom line from the impact of exchange rate volatility. XE is a brand you can trust. Last year we had over 300 million site visitors, reinforcing our position as the World’s Trusted Currency Authority. Our parent company, Euronet Worldwide, is a Nasdaq listed global electronic and transaction processing solutions with a market capitalization of $8 billion – meaning our customers money is in safe hands. With offices in the UK, Canada, Europe, APAC and North America XE has a truly global coverage.

What is your role here in the North East?

XE requires a strong, experienced, client focused and local presence in the region. Representing the region and XE as an advocate are the cornerstones of my role. A clear understanding of the business community, as well as financial markets and their implications on local firms and individuals is my USP.

XE is committed to recruiting local talent, are you confident we have what you need here?

We are absolutely supportive of Newcastle’s commitment to retaining local talent, most pertinently through its world leading universities. We are helping the local education community in as many ways we can, and are in close contact with senior influencers within the sector.

Why choose Newcastle for a regional hub?

Choosing Newcastle was the easiest decision to be honest. Newcastle is so well connected to both London and Edinburgh, the two mainland capital cities it was a no brainer. I am a Geordie so that helps, and have worked in the region off and on for the last 15 years.

Most of all we understood the need to give local business the expertise that XE offers in the Currency and Money transfer space. A more effective and more nimble alternative to the Banks, did not exist in the region until now.

Why TusPark?

Again this was such an easy decision. The location is perfect and so accessible. But its not until you enter the 1st floor you realise the vibrant, diverse and energetic business community that is thriving at TusPark. To have Chinese tech giants TusPark alongside Barclays and Eagle Labs, very much aligns with  our aspirations. Multi-cultural, international and diverse is our model.

How do you think the FinTech community has changed over the past ten years?

When people say Fintech, London generally springs to mind. Tech-City UK began in 2012, and now post Olympics this has exploded and taken the Financial part of Fintech along for the ride. When Tech North was launched in 2015, this gave a focus on the innovative companies springing up in Newcastle, Leeds and Manchester.

How does what XE do support Global Trade?

In today’s volatile foreign exchange markets, we work hard to protect our business clients from exchange rate fluctuations. Our solutions are designed to take the uncertainty out of global payments, so that our clients can stay focused on running their business. Our solutions, supported by the expertise of our team, can give businesses confidence in times of FX turbulence and empower them to make the right decisions.

How have Invest Newcastle supported you since you arrived in the region?

From the moment that we met Invest Newcastle there was a huge brand recognition of XE and what it stands for. The team has been extremely supportive in terms of PR and getting our message in the press. Recently the work done by the team to include XE in the delegation to the Smart City Expo in Barcelona has been gratefully received. The reach of Invest Newcastle is clearly influential.

What does it mean to the region having a global brand like XE here?

For the region it’s a big signal and validation that there are opportunities for growth. At XE we understand that every business is unique, and by having a currency expert on the ground in the region it will enable us to get under the bonnet of a businesses requirements and develop a solution that is aligned with their needs.

What do you think are some of the challenges of expanding a fintech company into the North East?

The challenge is actually the opportunity for Fintech in the North East. If there is a perception that there are challenges, then those who take them on will succeed more quickly. XE definitely see this as the case, we know from our own research that perceived geographical challenges and a small pool of Financial Markets, talent could be a viewed as challenge. But with the right talent, the right local intel and networks, then the opportunity is huge.

If you were going to give one piece of advice to a Fintech business looking to expand and grow what would it be?

Talk to Paul Lancaster Super Connector and attend his Newcastle Start Up/Scale Up week, you will meet so many people in the sector and you will never look back. No seriously, the message should be that fintech is alive and growing in the North East in particular. The likes of Atom Bank are a great example of starting and scaling a large fintech business. There are plenty more examples, from micro to macro business as examples. There are clusters and meet ups that are hugely supportive and inclusive. Go for it!

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