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I had a read through the Revenue's guidelines, and it looks to me as if he would be exempt from VAT, because it's just FX:

  A supplier of an exempt intermediary service is a person who:
    - brings together a person seeking a financial service with a person who provides a financial service
    - stands between the parties to a contract and acts in an intermediary capacity, and
    - undertakes work preparatory to the completion of a contract for the provision of financial services, whether or not it is completed.
all three of those apply (but IANATaxAdvisor)

Yes, if you only mediate between buyer and seller then you don't need to pay vat. However if he was to do the trading himself (buy from one person, sell to another), then that provision does not apply.

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