Today at the FTT Embedded Finance & Super Apps conference, FX technology company Assure Hedge announces the launch of OpenHedge, its integrated hedging platform.
Assure Hedge is on a mission to bring hedging to everyone, working with a wide range of distribution partners to bridge the huge currency protection gap that exists today. Research shows* that while 80% of large companies with currency risks hedge their currency exposure, 80% of SMEs do not – let alone individuals. As a result, millions of people face unmitigated risks to their businesses and livelihoods; a risk estimated at more than 100 billion dollars per year**.
This currency protection gap results from complexity, access and cost. First, few institutions offer hedging products, due to cost and regulation. Second, hedging services are usually presented in highly technical language. And, third, costs can make it prohibitive for SMEs and individuals to hedge their exposure.
To bridge the currency protection gap, Assure Hedge launched OpenHedge, its integrated hedging platform. Integrated coverage solves the access problem because coverage is proactively offered through a distribution partner that the customer already uses, such as when making a purchase. Integrated coverage also solves the problem of complexity, as a simple solution is offered to a simple challenge, like guaranteeing how much a business will pay for a service three months from now. And, finally, the integrated coverage solves the cost problem. Since the service is fully digitized, all analogue administrative costs and distribution costs are eliminated, reducing the cost to the end customer.
OpenHedge is an API-based platform that allows hedging services to be integrated into any partner application or user experience. Open Hedge is based on 3 pillars:
Hedging-as-a-service: simplified, context-specific, self-service hedging on the right channel at the right time
Built-in credit: point-of-need credit, meaning end customers don’t need to advance funds
Banking-as-a-service: wallets, payments, and cards that enable partner brands to expand their integrated financing offering to address more complex use cases
Barry McCarthy, Founder and Head of Integrated Hedging at Assure Hedge, said of the launch:
“Integrating hedging into day-to-day operations is key to closing the currency protection gap. The reason for this is that we need to reach the people who are not hedging today and we need to present a simplified solution to their currency exposure at the time that exposure occurs. Without this, hedging will remain the privilege of only very large companies with treasury teams and investment bankers.
OpenHedge is already in pilot phase for a number of use cases. The company has entered into innovation partnerships with cloud accounting firms as well as B2B marketplaces, and believes the solution is also highly applicable to international payroll companies, universities and freelancer platforms, whose users are subject to long-term currency risks.
Tony Connelly, CEO and Founder of Accounts IQ, a cloud accounting software company that entered into an innovation partnership with Assure Hedge, said:
“At AccountsIQ, we are committed to using integrated fintech to help our clients save time and money. AccountsIQ users have operations in over 80 countries, so they constantly process transactions in multiple currencies and are exposed to currency fluctuations. By integrating OpenHedge, we can enable our clients to dynamically hedge their currency risks based on actual transactions in AccountsIQ – at the best possible rates. Using OpenHedge hedged rates during the financial year , CFOs gain certainty by locking in their budgeted rates for the year so that they can focus on the trading results of their businesses rather than the gains/losses generated by currency fluctuations in the markets in which they trade.
*East & Partners, March 2021