Centtrip's first SVP of FX Strategic Sales reaches for growing US opportunity
We caught up with Ross Hammond, the latest addition to Centtrip’s US team, to learn about his background and ambitions for his new role.
Hi Ross, welcome to Centtrip. You seem to have the perfect background for your role. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I’m originally from Scotland and I’ve loved music all my life. I play guitar, piano and, of course, bagpipes. In fact, I try to learn as many different instruments as I can. I also enjoy a wide range of music from country singer-songwriters to Aerosmith, one of my all-time favourites.
In my career so far, I’ve been on a journey to combine my passions for music and economics. I studied for a joint honours MA in Economics and Music with the intention of pursuing a career in the music business, and I also have a Master’s in International Management. Early in my career I worked in the industry, in sync and managing content for streaming platforms, but then I was drawn into the world of foreign exchange. I became a CFA charterholder (Chartered Financial Analyst) and now I specialise in FX strategic outlook, macro-economic forecasting and markets.
And, what attracted you to Centtrip?
I was pretty excited when I heard about the role, because I knew Centtrip by its reputation for FX in the music industry. As I learned more about its wider clientele and its other services, I realised that it stands out from other fintechs. From the aesthetics of the Centtrip design through to its service offering, Centtrip understands its markets and its strengths. It doesn’t try to be all things to all people. It provides a specific set of solutions to the specific needs of its target market – organisations with internationally mobile teams and assets.
The team’s very ambitious and has a very good eye for how to interact with its clients. That’s such a strong foundation to build on, so I’m really excited about the opportunity to merge my passion for music with my finance experience and help build the business in America.
What do you believe you bring to your role as SVP of foreign exchange strategic sales?
I think there’s a huge opportunity to bridge the capability gap between traditional US banks and more agile fintechs. For most US banks, foreign exchange is a small and under-developed part of their business, simply because approximately 80% of US firms only trade domestically. That means businesses like Centtrip’s core sectors – business managers in music and entertainment, yacht management companies, film producers and others dealing with their own ultra-high-net-worth clients – are under-served. The way banks operate can be very slow and cumbersome, and not very service-friendly. By contrast, dynamic and agile fintechs in the US often don’t have the FX expertise these clients need.
So, I’m looking forward to bridging that gap, bringing the knowledge and experience I gained advising clients in a tier 1 bank environment, and applying it to Centtrip’s faster-paced, more dynamic offering. Agile, simple and cost-effective foreign exchange could be our superpower offering.
What differences do you see in the way foreign exchange works in the US compared to the UK and Europe?
Foreign exchange is an area that’s much more developed in Europe and the UK than in America. And that’s because FX is typically such a small percentage of US banks’ business. In Europe and the UK, the market has driven much faster, more efficient ways of working, due to the inherently greater exposure to international transactions. It’s also driven margins down. A US business will typically use their business bank to transact foreign exchange if they have any, but they don’t realise the enormous potential for savings.
There is a huge opportunity for Centtrip to provide clients with a sophisticated, agile service that smooths the banking process at a considerably lower price than they currently incur. Centtrip works in harmony with major banks to provide the services their high-net-worth clients require, but which are largely under-served at the moment.
Naturally, breaking into a new geography, especially the US comes with its challenges, but it’s a challenge I’m excited to take on and I have every confidence we’ll drive a successful expansion.
Helping to build Centtrip’s US business is a big job. What do you do to unwind?
Well, I love music, of course, and I love to be active. I grew up in the Scottish countryside, so I like the outdoors. In fact, I recently completed an Ironman 70.3. Once visas are sorted and I move across to America, I’m looking forward to seeing plenty of live music, and maybe hiking in the US mountain ranges.”
That sounds fantastic, Ross. If people want to contact you, what’s the best way?
The best way contact me is to email Ross.Hammond@centtrip.com. People can also connect on my LinkedIn account, here.
Thanks Ross. Thank you for your time and welcome to the team. We look forward to working with you.