The cost of international funds transfers so appalled Benjamin Wong that he came up with a cheaper solution, and has been developing fintech solutions ever since.
What’s your story?
The idea behind TranSwap first came to me during the Asian Financial Crisis back in 1997 when I had a US$ currency exposure, and I wanted to hedge it with an FX forward contract. However, the premium quoted was too expensive, and the spread for the spot rate was huge. Fortunately, I had a friend overseas who had US$ and required his S$. We then agreed to swap our respective currencies at an agreed mid-market rate. This simple FX swapping exercise eventually gave birth to the idea of FX swapping, making cross-border payments more affordable.
What excites you most about your industry?
There is a lot of room to grow as people are starting to be more receptive towards going online because of COVID-19. Things are also fast paced and move very quickly, so players in our space have to think ahead and really understand our consumers to look beyond simply what they need right now.
What drives you in business to push beyond what other people consider normal?
Our aim has always been to help businesses grow and go global. We are constantly coming up with new products to help businesses go global and transcend business banking, and have even set up an R&D Centre at the Bayes Centre in the University of Edinburgh to drive innovation.
What have been the most useful skills you have learnt and applied in your journey?
Listen, learn and adapt. It is important to be able to laugh at yourself and still continue to carry on. My mantra is to be resolute, resourceful and resilient.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
I’ve received a lot of good advice. But among all this advice, one particular bit of wisdom kept coming up again and again – Rest if you must but don’t give up.
Who inspires you?
It’s definitely my wife. She is the foundation of my strength.
What have you learnt recently that blew you away?
Uncertainty and volatility. The pandemic has taught us that nothing is certain.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
In hindsight, I could have done many things differently. But the mistakes I’ve made are an important part of my value and growth. And that to me, is priceless.
How do you unwind?
Spending quality time with family, especially with my 10 year old daughter.
What is a major mindset change, belief shift or ‘ah ha’ moment that you’ve experienced in relation to your business?
The journey to your destination changes accordingly but your vision remains intact as we navigate to achieve it.
Everyone in business should read this book:
I like to read autobiographies, especially about people who have gone through tough times and made it. My personal favourite is Lee Kuan Yew’s.
Shameless plug for your business:
TranSwap offers award-winning fintech solutions, customisable to business needs. Through innovative technologies, TranSwap has developed a suite of solutions including Global Account, Global FX & Payments, Fintech as a Service and Corporate Debit Cards to empower businesses and enterprises to scale existing markets and reach new global markets.
TranSwap’s Fintech as a Service solution includes API integration and white-labelled services that transform businesses into Fintechs and create new business opportunities and revenue streams.
How can people connect with you?
Social Media Links?
This interview is part of the CallumConnects series.