Q&A with Laurent Descout, CEO Founder at Neo

What Does Neo Do?

Neo offers a single platform for businesses’ international treasury needs. We’ve built a true financial one-stop-shop for FX corporate risk management, international collection and payments. Our platform enables treasurers to gather all currencies and access all their information in one location – from anywhere and on any device.

We then attach full transparency, low fees and a rapid setup process. Our multicurrency accounts can be available within days, so businesses can be up and running quickly whenever they have a new requirement.

Neo helps businesses to set up their own international account with a multi-currency IBAN (International Bank Account Number) in their organisation’s name.

Virtual wallets then ease the process for making same day payments. Businesses can use them to organise funds and store multiple currencies, ready for executing rapid payments or a currency exchange. Neo allows treasurers to send and receive payments in over 30 currencies from a single IBAN.

Added to this, we deliver a comprehensive analytics layer to keep treasurers informed of their FX exposure. We help them execute hedging strategies on the market and then monitor their performance.


What Made You Establish Neo?

Working with traditional banks typically involves complex and slow processes when opening accounts, managing multiple currencies and executing FX hedging strategies—all of which have a detrimental impact on businesses.

With treasurers having to place tight controls on cash management, they can’t afford to contend with high rates, added complexity and a lack of transparency. The answer is to reduce their reliance on traditional banks, and we wanted to offer an alternative approach.



How Have Payments Evolved?

Cross-border payments and treasury management have been ripe for reform. Opening an international bank account is a difficult, long and painful process – and the transactions themselves can add further days.

Businesses then need to collect monies from across the world in multiple currencies. Often, they end up having to manage different accounts for each country or currency, which becomes a complex task.

They are also losing out on cost. With cross-border payments, many banks don’t just charge the exchange rate and the FX margin, they also inflate the overall price. Brexit has added to the problem, with banks now having to charge under international cross-border tariffs, further driving up costs.

To help address Brexit’s impact on payments and allow cheaper transactions through SEPA, FinTech’s are enabling SMEs to set-up EU-based accounts. This means they can avoid having to move existing accounts back into the EU and face the complex, drawn-out process of creating an EU business account directly.

We’re seeing an appetite for an alternative to the traditional corporate banking model grow. As of March 2022, we’ve cleared $3 billion through our multi-currency accounts, saving clients an estimated $15 million in banking fees. This demonstrates real momentum in the market for an alternative model.

The reality is businesses have had to contend with high costs and a lack of speed and transparency for too long. We are offering a new approach – one that puts control back into the hands of the corporate treasury and is proving to deliver multi-million-dollar savings.


What is next for Neo?

In the current financial climate, businesses are having to consider various factors to protect their commercial gains. Rising inflation and the high volatility in currency exchange rates are taking their toll – and businesses which have previously overlooked FX hedging will likely feel the biggest impact.

While it is now critical for businesses to ‘lock in’ rates ahead of buying and selling goods and services, there needs to be a better understanding of the importance of FX hedging and managing currency risk. As volatility goes up, the necessity for business to become more ‘hedge’ savvy increases.

As FX hedging becomes a top concern amidst today’s market uncertainty, alternative approaches are enabling businesses to make that first crucial step beyond the traditional banking constraints. As a result, they can gain greater oversight of their treasury in real-time and utilise insights to drive faster, better decisions.