Fintech in COVID-19: CFO of Credify Maurizio Raffone

Interview CFO of Credify MAURIZIO RAFFONE

With over 20 years of experience in capital markets and international finance, Maurizio Raffone had worked in various leading roles at renowned banks and in different environments including corporates, academics, and start-ups. Thus, he has been witnessing the development of global finance through diverse lenses. 

Recognizing such potential of Fintech development, Maurizio Raffone has been taking a role as a Fintech consultant, and now, he is our Chief Financial Officer at Credify. In this interview, we had a discussion with him about the impacts of the pandemic on the global financial market and the opportunities for Fintech’s development in this period. In addition,  Maurizio Raffone also shares some lessons that we could learn from developed countries to revive emerging markets.

”..it is truly game-changing, putting the user firmly at the center of all innovation.”

How does the global financial market react under the impact of COVID-19?

Global financial markets have been incredibly resilient in the face of the pandemic. Stock markets are solidly up, there has not been any banking crisis and we have seen continued investments in privately-funded companies. This has been mainly thanks to an aggressive monetary policy and fiscal support by many of the leading world economies. 

What are the actions that the global financial market has been taking in order to overcome the COVID recession?

Leading central banks have been pumping money into their economies for years and as this was about to slow down, COVID hit and their loose monetary policies were extended. I think it is a bit more difficult for emerging economies to match the developed countries’ strategies, however, they indirectly benefit from them too, given developed markets are open for exports and corporates continue their global investments. 

In my opinion, emerging markets’ governments need to take this opportunity to support the rapid modernization of the regulatory, financial, and technology infrastructure of their countries, in order to implement leaner and more efficient means of economic growth. The key to successfully combating the COVID-induced difficulties is to make it easier to do business for people and companies.

Please share your opinions on the role of Fintech in recovering and developing developed countries’ financial market during and post COVID-19.

Fintech firms can play a crucial role in kick-starting the economy and ensuring less privileged people can also improve their economic situation. Access to credit, for example, is fundamental for people and businesses at a time of economic hardship: I believe fintech companies can help by being able to provide support when perhaps some of the traditional financial institutions aren’t willing or capable to. 

This is not because fintech companies necessarily take more risks than traditional lenders, but because they generally operate with a much lower cost base and are able to provide more customized services, meaning that their clients can be offered a financial service that they actually afford.

Furthermore, fintech firms have a strong track record in providing very clear solutions to specific problems their clients face and are able to turn an idea into a service fast. I see this characteristic of fintech companies as being particularly useful in this COVID climate as there is a lot of uncertainty over lockdowns, travel bans, and so forth.

In terms of developing countries, what internal and external factors do you think could support or hinder Fintech development?

Many emerging economies have not fully embraced fintech from a regulatory perspective, so some of the potential innovation and developments are either taking place in a bit of a grey zone or not at all. I think it is crucial for governments to create a framework where fintech innovation is promoted whilst protecting retail clients/users. 

For example, in some countries, generally in the more developed economies, financial regulators have launched fintech sandboxes, essentially allowing selected fintech firms to test their solutions and technology, collaborate with established financial institutions, and get limited access to clients. This way, they can evaluate the suitability of their services and the legal and regulatory approach that may be required. These sandboxes not only help the selected fintech firms understand better how to operate their business model but also help regulators learn about new technologies and come up with regulations that can help the introduction of new services and financial products to the market.

What is your advice for financial and non-financial firms from emerging countries to catch up with Fintech’s development in the future?

Financial and non-financial firms from emerging countries need to educate themselves with the latest technologies and business models and applications and experiment a little more. It is very natural to feel more defensive at a time of difficult market conditions such as now. However, that’s exactly the time to push on with innovation and bring better solutions to their clients.

About the CFO

Maurizio Raffone has more than 20 years of experience in capital markets and international finance with a track record of structuring, trading, originating and selling structured finance transactions.

He worked in leading positions at many large and prestigious banks, namely Deutsche Bank, Commerzbank AG, Bear Stearns & Co., and UniCredit.

Acknowledging the emergence of technology into the financial market and its developing trend in decentralization, Maurizio Raffone has made a major turn to the Fintech industry for the last couple of years. 

Maurizio obtained his master’s degree in Financial Economics from the University of Cambridge, and a first-class honors degree in Economics and Management from Royal Holloway College of the University of London.

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#TalkwithCredify’sLeaders is a series of 4 discussion articles in which our leaders will share their opinions and experiences on a compelling topic of their expertise. 

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