The human side of the Fintech
The humans side of a Fintech Credit Rating Agency
Powerful computers, advanced software, future trend analyses, complex datamining.
In short: numbers, data and information.
More or less this is the perception that we have when we think of big data, well at least in a Fintech.
And was the one that I had, before having talked to Eva.
Eva is young, Triestina (means: a lady from Trieste), loves to climb "even though now I do not have much time." Of course, given those climbs every day on a very high amount of data: has been senior analyst for 4 years of the first rating agency Fintech in Europe, modeFinance.
During the talk with her, I often think of a maxim that my grandmother used to tell me "Don't learn to walk following the rules. But by trying and falling." In fact, we find in her words the competence and determination, even when she underlines with pride that those may be a weakness for someone, but in reality they are power: "emotions".
"Think, for example, last month, me, a woman, young. I take the plane and go to Naples to explain to tens of employees in the sector how to do rating!"
I start with a question that I am curios for: do you have a software which gives you the rating?
"Yes, but the real software is us."
Let's start from the beginning: in 2012 when I did the interview to be hired, I had no smartphone. The next few days, I did not even leave the house to check my emails on the PC: I knew that would be the job for me. Why? The taste of the challenge: here the people had a very clear idea. How to give it up? "
Well, we can say that it all went well!
"Yes, it was an academic spinoff in 2009, now has become an official rating agency registered by ESMA. We are not a Fintech startup but a Fintech rating agency: we work on a par with major European multinationals, but we have built a model that allows to calculate the rating more cheaply, quickly, independently, but at the same time reliable."
But you're like Standard & Poor's?
"My friends always ask me the same thing and I say 'Yes, but we evaluate companies, not States'. And in some ways it is a greater responsibility: from the credit rating comes out a picture of an organization on its reliability, in short, the credit risk rate. It is not trivial".
The first rating is never forgotten, right?
"I still remember the party we did in the company when we became rating agency. But immediately after we had to decide who would have the responsibility of first credit rating: Barilla. For me it was an emotion when everyone, not only the owners, have proposed my name. Here we are like this: the people have been chosen not only for their skills, but also for their capacity to work truly as a team.
What impressed you about Barilla?
"I knew it was a multinational, but I did not think it to be so big. I was very surprised in particular about its expansion abroad: I thought it was big especially in Italy, and instead ... "
How do you compete with larger agencies?
"I explain it with an example: in the world of translation, you find both the agencies that give a low price but use almost exclusively automated software and those that create a customized translation but with a higher cost. Behold, we are able to have the advantages of both: flexibility, low price, quality and attention to the details in the credit rating.
But how do you achieve it?
"We use big data software which analyze all the data and bring us the quantitative situation. But there is an intervention of us -the analysts-, therefore human beings ... The secret? It is the algorithm that we have built which is able to integrate the big data analysis and the experience and the expertise of our analysts. For me, it is amazing.
Finance, technology, people. In short: more than Fintech!"