Foreign Exchange Officer


What does a person in this occupation do?

The Foreign Exchange Officer facilitates a personal service allowing businesses and individuals to convert one currency to another at the set currency exchange rates. Foreign exchange consultants assist clients in understanding and capitalising on foreign currency markets by giving their clients information on exchange rates and insights into global markets. They make forecasts, provide in-depth analysis of markets and make trade recommendations based on their findings. Some of their tasks are:

  • Maintaining a record of the bank’s funds on deposit (position) in foreign banks
  • Monitoring outstanding (future) purchase and sales contracts
  • Listing cash totals in the holdover register, posting net balances to daily position reports and determining the revised position for the bank
  • Reviewing records to determine when balances need replenishing
  • Comparing current and previous balance sheets to eliminate double-posting to transactions and verification of limits
  • Assisting trading personnel with monthly revaluation of foreign currency accounts
  • Answering enquiries regarding foreign exchange trading regulations
  • Quoting current conversion rates for bank branch staff and customers
  • Building enduring relationships internally and externally
  • Ensuring compliance with all statutory and regulatory requirements
  • Ensuring that all suspicious transactions are reported to Branch Management
  • Assisting clients with foreign exchange transactions
  • Advising on the timing and extent of foreign exchange transactions
  • Providing insights into the fluctuations and forward trends of the currency market
  • Helping clients optimise their foreign exchange dealings
  • Managing the internal foreign exchange department and personnel
  • Advising clients and ensuring compliance with all regulatory requirements and the South African Reserve Bank stipulations


Occupation Regulation

South Africa Exchange Control regulations ‘control’ the flow of money both in and out of South Africa. They effect every transaction, no matter what amount of rand gets transferred and who the sender or recipient of the money is.

The South African Reserve Bank (SARB) supervises the system of exchange controls, as well as all capital in and out flows. The SARB delegates some authority to local authorised dealers (usually the large commercial banks) who supervise transactions on their behalf. To see more about Authorised Dealers in foreign exchange, click here.


Personality Traits

  • A friendly disposition and manner with the customers
  • In-depth knowledge of foreign exchange and relevant legislation
  • Ability to work under pressure, often for long hours, on weekends and even during public holidays
  • A positive demeanour and ability to remain calm and focused with unhappy or frustrated customers
  • Good with numbers and ability to calculate and respond quickly
  • Honesty and integrity is paramount as well as the utmost confidentiality
  • Intelligent, alert, diligent and thorough


Learning Pathway

  • Matric
  • Many positions require at least a Bachelor’s degree in business, finance or a related field
  • Excellent written and oral communications skills are highly valued in this field
  • Sales and marketing skills are also valued for the purpose of obtaining new clients and maintaining current clients
  • Knowledge of foreign accounting practices and foreign economies is essential to the job
  • Previous experience in financial markets can prove valuable to job seekers

Like most jobs in the financial services industry, the path to becoming a Foreign Exchange Consultant can vary, although a university degree is advantageous


Employment Avenues

  • Banks
  • Large firms that specialise in foreign markets