Course Description:

The foreign exchange (FX) market is the largest and most liquid sector of the global economy because it serves as the primary mechanism for making payments across borders (international payments), transferring funds and determining exchange rates between different national currencies. The foreign exchange market is therefore closely bound with international payments and as such the two can be seen as well as approached as a seamless operation with the core terms often being used interchangeably.

International Payments are a major component of the Foreign Exchange market, which operates 24 hours a day. According to the Bank for International Settlements, daily turnover averages $1.9 trillion in the foreign exchange market, including $1.3 trillion in the over-the-counter foreign exchange derivatives market.

The liquidity of the market gives businesses access to international markets for goods and services by providing the foreign currency needed to make transactions worldwide. It serves commercial and investment banks, foreign exchange dealers and brokerage companies, corporations, money managers (including pension, mutual fund, and commodity pool managers), commodity trading advisors, insurance companies, governments, and central banks.

There are a number of factors which are critical to the smooth functioning of International Payments within this context including:

  1. The adoption of good practices within the market,
  2. Promoting improvements in risk management in the FX and International Payments market through the use of sound recommendations and guidelines, and
  3. The development of supporting actions that facilitate greater contractual certainties for all parties active in international payments and foreign exchange.

The increased complexity of the market plus the higher trade volumes have necessitated constant changes in trading procedures, trade capture systems, operational procedures, and risk management tools.

This course seeks to provide a solid foundation to all parties involved in international payments and foreign exchange activities whether at executive, marketing or operational levels into how the actual trading processes work, what the risks are and how these can be mitigated by using clearly defined Standards of Best Practice.

Developments like these make it vital that operations, operational technology, and settlement risk management keep pace with the changing foreign exchange market.

This course has been designed as advanced training for bank staff, especially those in the areas of international payments operations to provide them with a comprehensive understanding as to the how the international payments (and by implication the foreign exchange) processes work as well as the risks inherent in such procedures and how these can best be mitigated.

This course is a practical one aimed at bringing advanced knowledge of procedures in an international payments and foreign exchange environment to bank staff.

Teaching Method:

This is a highly interactive course comprised of presentations, case studies, multidirectional discussions and comprehensive exercises.

Most importantly it will offer participants, opportunities to plan such work within small working groups, providing practice in the application of the techniques and tools generating active participation.

Learning Objectives:

By the end of the training, participants will:

  • Clearly understand each of the seven stages of international payments/foreign exchange trade and settlement, and fully comprehend how each phase is related to the larger process flow.
  • Gain knowledge of the varied processes involved in each of the seven stages.
  • Have a clear understanding of operational risk in the context of international payments/foreign exchange operations and how to use this knowledge to manage their own foreign exchange activities more effectively.
  • Obtain a clear insight into practices that may mitigate some of the operational risks that are specific to the international payments/foreign exchange industry.
  • Understand how acceptance and use of these practices may help reduce operational costs.
  • Understand the key best practices that are used in the international payments/foreign exchange industry.
  • Gain insight into the principles behind and the operation of shared settlement services such as CLS (Continuous Linked Settlement) and the role that these play in the mitigation of risk.
  • Understand current developments in international payments/foreign exchange activities and practices and obtain a clear insight into future trends and directions.

Who will Benefit:

Operations and business staff who are beyond the basic level involved in any aspect of international payments/foreign exchange. This will include staff from:

  • Commercial banks
  • Investment banks
  • Foreign exchange dealers and brokerage companies
  • Multinational corporations
  • Money managers
  • Commodity trading advisors
  • Insurance companies
  • Governments
  • Central banks
  • Pension and hedge funds
  • Investment companies
  • Brokers/dealers, and other participants in the interdealer market

Seminar Fee Includes:

AM-PM Tea/Coffee
Seminar Material
Attendance Certificate
$100 Gift Cert for next seminar

Day One (8:30 AM – 4:30 PM) Day Two (8:30 AM – 5:00 PM)

Registration Process: 8:30 AM – 9:00 AM

Session Start Time: 9:00 AM

Session 1

Setting The Scene

  • A short refresher into some basic principles which serves as an introduction to the advanced aspects of the course. In this introduction we deal with issues such as;

The Marketplace

A short review of the nature and extent of the international payments/ foreign exchange market.

  • The size of the market
  • Who the participants are (both key players and occasional users).
  • How the market is developing and its past growth

Basic Foreign Exchange Principles

  • How foreign exchange operates.
  • FX transactions, how they are processed and how they are settled.
  • Foreign exchange settlements – Correspondent banking and Continuous Linked Settlement (CLS).

Session 2

Operational Risk and International Payments

In this session we restate some key risk principles.

  • What is risk?
  • What are the different types of risks that effect international payments/ foreign exchange operations?
  • Why operational risk is 'special'
  • How these risks effect the bank

Session 3

Best Practice

  • What are best practices for international payments and foreign exchange?
  • We explore how using these practices may also help to reduce the level of risk in the international payments arena and how these practices can help reduce operational costs?

Future Trends

  • What are the major trends in the international payments and foreign exchange market Management's role in effective risk mitigation.
  • Why operational risk is 'special'

Session 4

The International Payments/ Foreign Exchange Process Flow

In this session we the generic view of the foreign exchange process flow, from pre-trade preparation, trade capture, confirmation, netting, settlement, nostro reconciliation, and the accounting & financial control processes. This lays the foundation for a detailed examination of each of these processes, the activities that they entail and the risks and their mitigation.

Examples are given for each of the processes involved to give the delegate a clear understanding of the key operating and risk issues involved.

Sessions 1, 2, 3 & 4

Using Best Practice

The remainder of the course offers a comprehensive range of practices that are designed to optimize day-to-day international payments and processes that are specific to the foreign exchange industry.

We examine the seven standard international payments/ foreign exchange processes in detail. The processes dealt with include; pre-trade preparation, trade capture, confirmation, netting, settlement, nostro reconciliation, and the accounting & financial control processes.

Our approach embodies the following;

  • We examine the individual process, what it is meant to achieve and now it operates
  • We assess the potential risks In each process.
  • We set forth the best practices that should be used for the process concerned in a way that ensures optimum efficiency and minimum risk.

For each process we show below some of the mitigation factors that will be covered in detail during the workshop.

Pre-trade preparation

Know your customer, Documentation requirements, Master netting agreements, Agreement on trading and operational practices.

Trade capture

Entering trades, Using Straight-Through-Processing, Use of real-time credit monitoring, Standing settlement instructions.


Special requirements for confirming by non-secure means (structured or nonstandard trades, confirming by telephone), Controls electronic trading platforms, Verify expected settlement instructions, Netted transactions, Internal transactions - Block trades and split allocations, Third-party advices, Confirmation matching process, Exception processing and escalation procedures.


Online settlement netting systems, Bilateral net amounts, Cut-offs for netting, Consistent operational practices and documentation.


Real-time nostro balance projections, Electronic messages for expected receipts, Cancellation and amendment facilities, Payment failures, Thee settlement process and settlement exposure, Crisis situations outside your organization.

Nostro reconciliation

Nostro account reconciliation, Identify non-receipt of payments, Operational standards for nostro account users.

Accounting & financial control processes

General Ledger reconciliation, Daily position and Profit & Loss reconciliation, Daily position valuation, Trade prices for Off-Market Rates.

General Best Practices for Managing Foreign Exchange Operations Risk

Segregation of duties, Business and operational roles, Understand operational risks, Procedures for introducing new products, new customer types, or new trading strategies, Control system access, Audit/risk control groups, Operational performance measures, Outsourcing & industry standards and best practices, Record keeping, Contingency plans.

Meet Your Instructor

Richard Barr
Banking, Payments, Operational Risk & Back Office Specialist and Bank Trainer

Richard Barr , holds a B.S. in International Business Administration from San Jose State University in California. His professional experience spans over 23 years, 5 of which were spent with Wells Fargo Bank. Another 5 were spent honing his global banking skills, when Richard was intimately involved with International Trade Finance, Real Time Gross Settlement and Cross Border Banking. The past 14 years have been in the private and high-tech sectors providing high-level consulting services, business analysis, project management and training to a wide range of banking clientele across the globe.

Richard has also filled the role of advisor to central banks on payment systems and technical payments issues. Furthermore, key staff members from the Bank of England, South African Reserve Bank, Central Bank of Ireland, Bank Indonesia, European Central Bank and Bank of Portugal have attended training sessions presented by Richard.

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