FX hedging brings people together

Hedging your FX exposure normally happens behind closed doors. But why not share your hedging FX exposure strategy with others? Nordea brought people together to do just that with some interesting results.

Sometimes you need to try something different to deliver a great customer experience. Every now and then we hear our customers saying something along the lines of: “I wish I could benchmark my own procedures against my peers. I wish I knew how others hedge their FX (foreign exchange) exposure”.

We listened, we heard – and acted upon their wishes with a somewhat unconventional and bold proposal. But it worked out. Here’s what happened:

In a recent customer meeting, representatives of Nordea were trying to understand how they could best help a customer. To cut a long story short, the customer in question was facing an FX risk but due to the errors made in the past, they were uncertain about acting on it. It felt as if there was an obstacle that couldn’t be overcome, when the CFO of the customer dropped the pen from his hand and sighed:

”It would be great to know what others in my position think and do when they are making these kinds of decisions.” After a short silence, the answer was given by one of the Nordea representatives: “Actually, we might be able to help you with that”.

In our work, experience and expertise are the two important tools we rely on. But sometimes what the customer needs is simply to talk to someone who has been in their shoes, with the same uncertainty and questions.

Nervous about the outcome

We decided to ask a long-time customer of ours – a company using a similar hedging model – if their CFO would take the time to help a CFO colleague out. After getting consent from both parties, we booked a Skype meeting with the customers. Naturally, we were nervous to see how the call would turn out and if we would end up with zero hedging customers instead of two.

But it turned out well. The discussion was honest, direct and sincere. It was great to see that the customer who was interviewed in the call had comprehended the idea of hedging and was able to argue very well for their action plan. After the call, the hesitant customer with all the questions stated that this was very useful for them as a reference.

Courage to think out of the box

Jussi Hahtela, Head of Markets FX/MM Sales Finland, sums up our key findings: “In the process, we have learned that we should have courage to think outside the box and try unconventional means. Maybe we give our customers too little credit and they are better ambassadors of our work than we realise.

“With these new types of meetings, we can effectively single out that our service differs from our competitors. There seems to be a wide interest among companies to hear how their peers are handling the foreign currency risk – and we are ready to deliver,” says Tuomo Jääskeläinen, chief sales manager and CBB Segment Lead, pointing to the next step in the process:

“Along with offering this concept to our customers, we will also perform a Nordic level Hedging Survey that will give them more insights into industry standards on foreign currency risk management.”

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