Ricardo’s professional roots come from finance and managing control. After developing over 25 years of experience as an Account Officer and Chief Accountant, first from 2002 as a Chief Financial Officer, and from 2018 to 2020 as both Managing Director and Chief Financial Officer in charge of an Italian SME working on order in EU and ME markets.
In 2020, after a long experience as a Corporate Executive, he opened a new chapter as Management Consultant & Advisor to support projects for enterprises, their boards, middle management towards improving business processes, spreading innovation, embedding digital transformation in supply chain and finance by using e.g. fintech’s ecosystem platforms or BI DSS in financial planning.
After 25 years, it was a long professional journey embarked since 2014, which firstly brought me back to study a Master degree in Administration, Finance and Management Control at Carlo Cattaneo University. Then becoming part of a C-level community as an AITI Italian Association of Corporate Treasurers (part of EACT), even as s member of it’s Fintech Committee, ANDAF Italian Association of CFO (part of IAFEI) and Supply Chain Finance Observatory at Politecnico Milano School of Management to gain professional certifications as a Treasurer and Innovation Manager.
CFTE: What motivated you to learn about topics such as Open Banking, Platforms, AI in Finance or Fintech?
Ricardo: I strongly believe that all four areas are part of the epoch-making change called digital transformation. Began in the early 2000s and becoming increasingly pervasive in business and society since the 2008 financial crisis.Having always worked in the area of finance and general management, particularly on supply chain, and supporting the combination of knowledge and technology, I had a natural pulse and curiosity to investigate the potentials and benefits for companies by integrating, for example; a credit risk management platform to link finance areas with procurement areas.
Talking many times within companies or AITI FinTech Committee, I do believe the introduction of PSD2 has been a detonator for the entire fintech ecosystem and financial services, opening up to greater competition on payments side by sharing of bank account information, rather than allowing Insurtech to offer additional or alternative services to improve customer experience. Exponentially increasing due to API’s potential of collaborative platforms for risk management, integrating both in financial planning and management control BI DSS based on AI and advanced analytics.Considering all this is linked to technologies such as Cloud, IoT, Big Data, Mobile Connectivity, it’s easy to think of the innovative boost for business models.
CFTE: How has CFTE supported your professional development? Have you been able to use any of the skills and knowledge in your role as CFO and management consultant?
Ironically I can say that CFTE found me!
In 2019 as speaker for an Italian financial forum, I illustrated the importance of FinTech solutions in Supply Chain Finance. Their pervasivity for organizational change by breaking down silos and introducing a collaborative mindset between board, procurement, production, logistics, compliance, HR, finance and IT.
In addition to this, increasingly stringent rules and practices in terms of reporting, disclosure and compliance towards the banking world have come. As of 2021, EBA guidelines have been added, making it necessary first of all the integration in business processes of risk management platforms, predictive analysis of scenarios through data analytics and AI.
In 2020, I crossed my path with CFTE community and lecturers as I needed to know in an organic and structured way on how much the FinTech 2.0 ecosystem model had become a service for SMEs as well as corporations and consumers, a tool for the optimization of working capital, how blockchain itself was contributing to change the face of business and finance. Currently, as a management consultant, I’m noticing how FinTech enables and accelerates a proactive awareness of the company’s business model, and how it can be redesigned and improved.
CFTE: Which lessons have stuck with you since finishing the courses?
The Fintech Foundation Course was my first training experience and inevitably the topics covered were the roots of the knowledge path in the FinTech ecosystem. In this regard, it was essential to learn about the growth of “Credit Karma” from Huy Nguyen Trieu, the concept of “Tipping Points” from Ronit Ghose, the disruptive impact story of blockchain and bitcoin on finance and in terms of innovation on payments from Eric Heresnyi of Streamdata.IO on how much PSD2 has contributed to the growth of APIs, the simplicity with which Adrei Kirilenko addressed a technical and complex topic like blockchain and lastly, the transition from challenger banks to ICOs by Janos Barberis.
Perhaps the most fascinating journey was the one with Daniel Liebau on the topics of Venture Capital, Finance 2.0 and startups, probably because they gave me a lot of food for thought on the dimension that business models can take. I would like to give a special mention to the course on platforms in financial services by Huy and Stephan Murer, which perfectly traces the birth and evolution of open banking, PSD2, APIs and Digital Ecosystem.
CFTE: What did you enjoy the most about your learning experience?
Ricardo: First of all, the opportunity to come into contact with high-level experiences and cases, in areas where the FinTech ecosystem is at the center of the transformation of economic models, financed by governments (e.g. Singapore but also the UK or France). This broadened my vision and facilitated the comparison with Italy, where FinTech is facing a season of great ferment and evolution which is transforming incumbents, opening stock market to innovative startups, bringing finance on agendas of policy makers, pushing towards a strong integration between finance, supply chain, AI, blockchain and waiting for adequate government fundings to support this effort.
CFTE: Lastly, if you had to describe yourself in 3 words, what would they be?
Ricardo: Emphatic, Dreamer and Heretic innovator.