Nine years ago, Charles Lesia joined Investec to help support professionals and entrepreneurs with their foreign currency exposure in an increasingly complex macro-economic environment. From manning the FX desk 24-hours a day throughout Brexit to monitoring the impact of global conflict, he and his team continue to build relationships with clients of Investec private bank to help them navigate risk and make trades at opportune times.

In a year of at least 64 global elections, Charles explains why now is the right time to connect with a foreign exchange dealer, and what else he’s learned along the way, in a personal Q&A.

1. Why should individuals work with a foreign exchange dealer?

Many of our clients have ongoing foreign exchange requirements that arise from various income streams and this means the cumulative impact of rates and margins on their balance is significant. Therefore, we encourage individuals to look at their requirements from a strategic perspective. The planning, execution and continuous monitoring of a foreign exchange strategy is materially important and can help you make trades at opportune times and appropriate level.

   

Charles Lesia – Head of Private Client foreign exchange at Investec
Charles Lesia, Head of Private Client Foreign Exchange, Investec

Many of our clients have ongoing foreign exchange requirements that arise from various income streams and this means the cumulative impact of rates and margins on their balance is significant.

  

2. You’ve worked for Investec for nine years. What makes our FX service distinctive in your opinion?

We build personal relationships with clients directly. Our team of Foreign Exchange dealers work with clients and their relationship managers to provide tailor-made solutions, both at short notice and in advance. We believe that ongoing communication is essential to achieve clients’ desired outcomes.

3. When appropriate – such as during the Brexit vote – the Investec FX desk remains open 24 hours a day. Can you describe what it’s like to tackle market volatility at such pivotal moments?

The Brexit vote was one of my most memorable days on the desk. Both our corporate and private client FX teams understood the significance of the event and the potential impact it would have on our clients. To that end, we decided to make ourselves available to the clients to cover the event and we ran a 24-hour dealing desk. The energy and approach of the team was magical. We were speaking to clients throughout the night, as they went to dinner and in the early morning at breakfast, as results emerged throughout the day. This enabled clients with exposure to foreign currency to hedge risk and seize opportunities.

4. Life is hectic. How much time does it take to work with an FX dealer?

We acknowledge the various priorities our clients juggle including family, work, business and philanthropy and we strive to find a balance to help them apply the same rigour to their financial lives. It is possible to set up long-term strategies in advance and we can work at speed when we have an existing understanding of our clients’ needs.

   

Interested in discussing your foreign exchange needs? Please get in touch with Charles today.