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How great would it be? – Issue 3

Interview with Sebastián J. Olivera Martínez, Board Member, Communication and Public Affairs Director, Alianza Fintech IberoAmérica and Findexable Ambassador for Latin America, Spain and Portugal

What do you see as the gaps in fintech research for the Latin America region?

From the Fintech Alliance we recognize three major problems in the Latin American region: the verification and validation of identity, infrastructure and regulation. These three needs directly affect the collection and maintenance of consolidated databases, which, in real-time can present a precise state of the region in a consistent manner.

However, although there are detailed reports on the sector at the country level, and some annual reports made by organizations with tenure such as the IDB; there remains a huge need for digital tools that allow mapping, valuing and measuring the sector in the region in real time.

This will allow, among other advantages, greater access to investment for entrepreneurs in Latin America, with the subsequent impact on the generation of skilled jobs. Likewise, it will contribute to the work carried out daily by the different chambers of commerce of Latin America, in terms of collaboration with the regulatory sector.

Finally, considering the high exclusion rates of some of our countries, having digital management tools can facilitate and enhance the participation of fintech solutions, to help governments to effectively include a large critical mass of people – generating 360 degree value for the economy.

What are the needs of the fintech sector in this region?

Despite recognizing the existence of several areas for improvement, I would like to highlight the following needs based on the impact these have on the real economy:

–       Lack or non-existence of real-time consolidated information, often concentrated on some agents.

–       Infrastructure and resources – since fintech is still a new concept for many agents of the economy, there are other priorities for agencies and governments, which makes funding for regional research in the sector a challenge.

–       Awareness and impact. By generating real-time trustable and consolidated databases, fintech entrepreneurs would help not only their sector but also governments to foster financial inclusion – which enables at least 6 of the 17 sustainable development goals for 2030.

Where do you see research and content development going?

Latam is a greenfield for fintech investment, however any invest decision requires information in order to be accurate. We can identify three main areas of research and content:

a. customer behavior

b. market analysis and

c. regulation

Since fintech is showing high development when legacy banks have friction with the customer, knowledge about how people behave becomes the most relevant aspect to understand what is important to them. Moreover, it enhances fintech to reach the unreached with global customized value propositions.

Regarding market analysis and mapping, since fintech activity is become bigger and more sophisticated, governments and international bodies have started to recognize the need for trustworthy information which could allow them to measure the impact on employment, financial systems, tax collection and promote their countries upwards to “capture” as much venture capital as possible.

Considering that innovation is only possible when regulation is accurate, to be able to compare among regional frameworks allows and help policymakers to better understand what is the “best regulation” to foster entrepreneurship in their countries. Especially to avoid and combat regional regulatory asymmetry.

The Global Fintech Index by Findexable launches worldwide on 4 December 2019
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