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Alpha Group Review (AlphaFX)

By 
Russell Gous
Last Edited Jan 25, 2023

Should I use Corpay for money transfers?

Pros:

  • Professional Staff
  • Publicly Traded
  • Trading for over 10 years
  • All Clients Go Directly To Dealers (Client to Employee Ratio of 4:1)
  • Direct Member of SWIFT
  • Number of Institutional Clients
  • Recently Acquired Australian Licence

Cons:

  • Not Available to Private Clients
  • No Mobile App
  • Not Available in the US
  • Encountered Issues With a High Concentration of Revenue in a Small Number of Clients

Services Offered by Alpha Group

Transfer Money Abroad to a Bank Account  + 4

Official Website:

Alpha Group Review: Executive Summary

Alpha Group is a “high-tech, high-touch” financial services provider that specifically caters to corporate and institutional clients who operate internationally. The firm boasts a 4:1 client to staff ratio (with just over 900 clients and over 200 members of staff) and prides itself on blending its technological capabilities with a highly professional and experienced team, spread over five offices around the globe.
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Updated on Jan 25, 2023
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Not Top 10 Ranked

🏆 3 Industry Awards (2021 -2022)

Where is Corpay Available?

Alpha Group Alternatives

Alpha Group is a corporate and institutional-only currency broker that has been operating for just over 10 years. These three Alpha Group alternatives have been operating for multiple decades, are available to both private and corporate clients and have amassed thousands of positive client reviews:

moneycorp
  • Supported Currencies: 120.
  • Clients From: Globally with offices in UK, USA, France, Spain, Ireland, Australia, HK, UAE, Brazil, Gibraltar and Romania.
  • Authorised? Yes, by the FCA.
  • Guidance / Dedicated Dealer: Yes.
  • Online System: Yes, including an app.
  • Strong Point: Credibility, Reputation, Liquidity, Level of Service, Best Credit Rating among Peers.
  • Operating Since 1979 and Maintaining Excellent Reputation Since. An Industry Leader.
  • Rating:
    4.6 /5 on Feefo
    Editorial (Corporate): 99.4%
Currencies Direct Logo
  • Supported Currencies: 59.
  • Clients From: Globally , with the exception of certain U.S states. Offices in UK, EU, USA, Canada, China, South Africa and India.
  • Authorised? Yes, by the FCA.
  • Guidance / Dedicated Dealer: Yes.
  • Online System: Yes, including an app.
  • Strong Point: Superb Service, Experienced Dealers, Batch payments, Forward contracts, Multi-Currency Wallets and Rate Alerts.
  • One of the leading currency brokerages turning over £7.5bn annually.
  • Rating:
    4.8 / 5 on TrustPilot
    Editorial: 97.8%
worldfirst-200x55-box
  • Supported Currencies: 121.
  • Clients From: Only accepts corporate clients & does not accept U.S businesses.
  • Authorised? Yes, by the FCA.
  • Guidance / Dedicated Dealer: Yes.
  • Online System: Yes, including an app.
  • Strong Point: Exchange Rate Margins of 0.25%-0.15% for Large Turnovers.
  • Trading more than $7bn each year.
  • Rating:
    9.8 /10 on Feefo
    Editorial: 91.4%

Is Alpha Group Safe?

Company size:

Founded in 2009, Alpha Group is a publicly-traded, alternative financial services provider.

The firm boasts net assets in excess of £120m, over 200 staff and annual trading volumes of £20bn. Based on trading volume, this makes Alpha FX larger than 90% of its competitors, but still behind major players like moneycorp (£36bn) and Wise (£4bn per month).

The firm went public in 2017, starting with a placing price of 196 pence per share and a market cap of £64.2 million. As of January 2023, Alpha’s share price is 1,830 pence per share, with a market cap of £765.8 million, generating returns of over 700% for initial investors.

In recently published H1 2022 results, Alpha announced they expect full-year pre-tax profits to come in higher than previously predicted and that both their FX risk management and alternative banking divisions performed well. Alpha made £46.1 million in revenue and £17.8 million in pre-tax profits in the first six months of trading in 2022. Up 35% and 16%, respectively. If Alpha delivers on its forecasts for the full year, 2022 will mark thirteen consecutive years of revenue growth for Alpha Group.

However, things haven’t been all smooth sailing for Alpha, with the turbulence of the pandemic proving particularly challenging. At the beginning of 2020, the broker’s fortunes took a turn for the worse following revelations that over 200 clients had seen a “significant deviation” in the fair value of the forward contracts, which meant issuing margin calls that some clients couldn’t satisfy amidst tumbling markets.

Alpha FX stated that one client in particular – a Norway-based global exporter of food produce was unable to meet its obligations. It was mooted that Alpha FX’s largest client owed them £30.2 million, amounting to around 15% of the group’s forward book. The share price plummeted by over 50% from 1,380 pence in Jan 2020 to 630 pence in April 2020.

In a notice to the London Stock Exchange, CEO Morgan Tillbrook commented “Having learnt from the experience of having too much concentration to one client in March 2020, we have instituted limits on the value of our exposure to any client regardless of the strength of their credit standing… We also continue to provide investors and stakeholders with improved visibility and assurance, by publishing our top 20 client and currency exposures on our website, the largest of which currently represents 4.86%.”

In October 2022, the firm also hired ex-London Stock Exchange CFO Tim Powell to perform the same role at Alpha FX.

A continued improvement in financial performance, combined with a launch into new territories and new financial services, in addition to the reassurance provided by Alpha’s board with regards to their policies has driven the significant rebound in Alpha’s share price, taking it way above even its Jan 2020 peak. But some doubts may linger until we meet another uncertain period and see how Alpha performs.

In December 2022, Alpha changed its name from Alpha FX to Alpha Group. The new name is designed to reflect Alpha’s evolving ambitions as a firm to be seen as a genuine bank-alternative to a growing range of financial solutions, not only a leading provider in foreign exchange services.

Regulated By: 

Financial Conduct Authority to Provide Regulated Products (UK, FCA Registration Number: 770377)

Financial Conduct Authority as an Electronic Money Institution (UK, FCA Registration Number: 900849)

Alpha FX Europe Limited is authorised and regulated by the Malta Financial Services Authority to provide investment services in terms of the Investment Services Act and for the issuing of electronic money and provision of payment services under the Financial Institutions Act

FINTRAC in Canada (Registration number: M18265420).

Awards: 

Alpha Group has recently been awarded:

  • Best Foreign Exchange Solution – Private Equity Awards 2022
  • Foreign Exchange Services Award – The Drawdown 2022
  • Foreign Exchange Services Award – The Drawdown 2021

Conclusion: 

Alpha Group is a publicly traded and growing non-bank financial services provider that is now entering its strongest financial position since inception. The firm’s reliance on a small number of customers can be seen as twofold; on one side it’s a testament to the personal and professional service they provide to large corporations and institutional clients, but on the other it raises questions as to whether they would be heavily impacted if they were to lose a handful of key clients.

By appointing a respected CFO and being completely transparent with the proportion of revenue that their top 20 clients make up of their book, Alpha is making the correct moves to restore investor confidence. This is reflected in their surging share price and 2022 financial performance.

Alpha Group Reviews by Existing Customers

Research:

There are just two reviews of Alpha Group to be found on TrustPilot.  This is not wholly unsurprising given they work mainly with large corporate and institutional clients. Reviews are almost always left by personal customers.

It’s another reason why we recommend the likes of moneycorp who have thousands upon thousands of positive reviews accumulated over a period of 10+ years. Moneycorp serves individuals, businesses and financial institutions. A smaller number of moneycorp’s reviews are left by businesses.

Positive:

No positive reviews to be found online.

Negative:

Both of the TrustPilot reviews rate the service by Alpha Group as 1* – bad. Though little can be read into them as we can’t even make out if they were even clients.

One commented on the fact that Alpha FX were too pushy to get them to register and another felt Alpha FX were unprofessional for not allowing them to trade forward contracts.

Conclusion:

It’s understandable that a corporate-focused provider would have a smaller number of online reviews but with absolutely none to go off (or possibly two bad reviews from potential customers) we aren’t able to recommend Alpha Group based on client experiences. Understanding how happy the existing clients are is one of the most important factors to determine the quality of the offering provided and this certainly works against Alpha FX.

Alpha Group Exchange Rate & Fees

Fees: Not specified but being corporate-oriented, payment fees are likely agreed on a case-by-case basis depending on frequency and size of payments.

Exchange Rates: Alpha Group determines exchange rates in the same manner as the majority of currency brokers. Clients will receive better rates for higher-value payments or if they have high annual trading volumes. If you do have significant FX flows, the rate should be negotiable. Be sure to establish what foreign exchange margin is applied to your trades and compare with other brokers like Currencies Direct. Companies such as Wise apply a fixed, transparent margin on their transfer but their online-only and spot FX-only offering is not comparable to the service-led, advisory offering of Alpha Group.

Limits: N/A

Conclusion:

Little transparency with regards to either payment fees or FX rates. Given the service-led proposition and advisory services that Alpha Group offers, we wouldn’t expect them to offer the cheapest international money transfers. In fact, we’d anticipate they’re on the premium end. Given that they primarily work with large corporations, with higher trading requirements, the FX spreads applied by Alpha Group should naturally be lower. As a minimum, they should be cheaper than expensive international bank transfer fees.

Alpha Group Offices & Global Presence

Research:

  • Dedicated Dealer: Yes
  • Offices: 29, including; UK, Ireland , New Zealand, Hong Kong and Dubai.
  • Ways to approach: Online, phone, email
  • Translations: English only
  • Accepts clients: UK, Europe, Pacific (including Australia & NZ)
  • Currencies Handled: 130
  • Client reviews: None

Conclusion:

Fexco International Payments handles a huge number of both major and exotic currencies. The majority of its clients are in Ireland but its presence in the Pacific is definitely unique. One thing to look out for is that its international payment business in the Pacific is run in partnership with Western Union. It means the service can be offered in unique Pacific Islands like Vanuatu, Tonga and Samoa, however Western Union is notorious for high fees and wide exchange rate margins. Whether users approach Western Union directly or work with Fexco Pacific, we’d anticipate exchange rates and the level of service to be very similar.

Additional Functionalities

  • Rate alerts
  • Market updates
  • Limit orders
  • Forward contract
  • Options contract
  • Regular transfers
  • Multi-currency accounts
  • Mass Payments
  • Institutional FX hedging

Alpha Group App?

Alpha FX does not offer a money transfer app for the time being. See our guide to the top international money transfer apps.

Conclusion:

Market orders, forward contracts and market analysis are what we’d expect to see from a specialist currency broker. On top of this, Alpha Group is part of the small number of brokers (including Global Reach, Currencies Direct & Moneycorp ) who can provide options contracts too. The multi-currency account helps Alpha Group stand out from usual currency brokers (aside from Currencies Direct who also offers this) and is more akin to fintech providers such as Revolut and Wise. However, one sign that Alpha Group’s technology is lagging behind these fintechs is that they aim to open new currency accounts within 14 days of application. By contrast, fintech providers can open new accounts instantaneously, at the click of a button.

Alpha Group Review

Bottom Line

Headquartered in the UK, Alpha Group (formerly Alpha FX) has demonstrated its capabilities to provide execution-only and advisory services to large-sized corporate and institutional clients. The FX provider has enjoyed continual annual growth over the last 13 years and both their FX risk management (currency hedging) and alternative banking divisions (payments/multi currency accounts) are performing well. Alpha is arguably best suited to companies transferring large sums of money internationally.

Alpha Group is regulated in a wide number of jurisdictions and is regarded as a safe and credible option for international currency transfers. Recent events highlighted Alpha Group’s reliance on a small number of customers and may have spooked some investors or customers but it looks like the firm is taking the appropriate remedies and being transparent about the steps it’s taking to prevent similar issues from arising again. It would be good if Alpha Group had the same level of transparency about their exact product capabilities and pricing/rate structure as this information remains rather opaque for potential customers right now.

Alpha has recently launched an SME division from their Bristol office but Individuals and SMEs are better off exploring alternative providers – see the best international money transfer services to make a selection.