Pioneering Technology for the Future of Risk Management in Modern Finance
Rhisco Solutions is a technology and consulting firm that provides solutions and services on risk and capital management for banks, insurers and other financial institutions. In September, Rhisco’s CEO, Elizabeth Marvan, was recognised among the winners of CEO Monthly Magazine’s esteemed 2018 CEO of the Year programme with the title of Financial Technology CEO of the Year. On the back of this, we spoke to Elizabeth to see how she has utilised technology for their risk offering in this digital-first age.
Since its establishment in 2010, Rhisco has thrived in an industry that, while perhaps understated, plays a vital role on the global financial landscape. Comprehensive risk management strategies are no longer a luxury, but an essential tool for growth, and a weapon against an often-volatile economic market. Luckily, the rise of technological developments has offered an opportunity for companies to capitalise on a consumer demand for efficiency and a guiding hand through increasingly stringent regulatory concerns. In this, Rhisco have firmly established themselves as the go-to experts, harnessing cutting-edge technology to give their clients a head start on their competitors, and a robust platform for enduring success.
Elizabeth starts the interview by offering an overview of Rhisco’s operations and industry. “The company was created in 2010 in London and, since 2014, we established a subsidiary in Mexico City. This year, we are opening operations in Sao Paulo. From the start, we have been delivering projects in those regions, and also supporting North American and African clients who also do business in Europe. We operate in an international and yet niche market, serving mostly CROs, CFOs, Business Heads and CTOs from large and medium companies. The majority of our projects have come from our own professional network, or word of mouth and recommendations from the people that we have worked with. Our business grows organically: typically, once we do a project for a new client, the client wants to keep us, and we expand our services into resolving other related problems they have. Our typical first project with a new client is the integration of third-party risk or credit process technology, which may be accompanied with designing financial models and/or bespoke development to complement third-party or internal components. In some other projects we manage a whole regulatory transformation for our clients. More recently, we have engaged intensively into the technology innovation world: Early this year we have completed and launched TEGRAÒ, our data management, integration and aggregation platform for risk and capital management, that has been designed to address challenges like the ones derived from FRTB on large number of on-demand and historic simulations for multiple analyses. And we are also working with business partners in new solutions using graph analytics that we will be piloting with a client very soon.”
In her role as CEO, Elizabeth is responsible for driving global strategy, business development and sourcing new markets for the continued expansion of the firm. “My ultimate responsibility it to ensure that Rhisco continues growing and is consistently profitable, and that we continue attracting very smart people.”
“I am very hands-on, and I like to get involved in the services we provide to clients, as I like to guide through my actions. I do my best to be congruent with my values, which I reflect into the company, and I demonstrate commitment to our client service. I have a very forthcoming respectful approach when building relationships with my collaborators, our clients and our partners. I strongly vouch for transparency and respect, and with me you get what you see. I encourage my team to commit to realistic deliverables and to do their best to go beyond client expectations.”
“The path to become a CEO varies, but once you are there, you should not forget that your decisions not only impact your career, or the revenue and profitability of your company. Your decisions affect the lives of actual people: your employees and their families, your clients, your suppliers, etc”.
Elizabeth is a skilled economist at heart; as a graduate of the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México, she went on to hold key positions at Citigroup, Deutsche Bank and Scotiabank, speaking volumes about her experience and expertise in financial markets. “I started my career doing investigation for a book (the Economic History of Banco Nacional de Mexico during the Porfiriato, 1886-1910) and thereafter, moved into the Mexican Pension Funds Regulator (CONSAR), where I was fully focused on setting up the risk management area at a time when the Presidential project was the public pension funds’ reform.”
“Since then, my whole career has been in the Risk industry, as a regulator, consultant and auditor. I have over 20 years of risk related experience internationally. After the Pension Funds Regulator, I moved into risk consulting with Algorithmics/IBM, and thereafter into auditing risk in Citigroup (in Mexico and the UK). Finally, since 2013 I moved to Rhisco, joining originally as a partner, head of risk consulting practice, but thereafter also becoming the CEO.”
The conversation turns to a moment on Rhisco’s team dynamic and internal culture, which celebrates – above all else – a high degree of personal responsibility, as Elizabeth details. “We have a culture centred around “the individual”. We balance work/life flexibility with very high standards of work and a dedication to delivering client work on time. Everyone is treated as an adult and a professional, especially regarding their own time and each person is responsible for his/her own career with the guidance of a ‘board’ of mentors he/she selects. Equally, we ensure that quality and ethical standards have been established and communicated to all collaborators”.
“I am not a hand-holding person. I demand from myself as much or more than I ask from my team, and I try to expose them to multiple opportunities to learn and achieve. I am strong believer that you can only learn something until you have to do it. You learn the most when you fail and try again a second time. I am very harsh and candid when I provide feedback, but I think I am fair, and I tend to give two opportunities before making any drastic decisions.”
“Throughout my career, I have been able to interact with outstanding collaborators, mentors and friends, and have been able to identify the right opportunities and capitalise on them successfully.”
Finally, when it comes to the future of Rhisco, Elizabeth emphasises the metamorphoses that the company is currently undergoing, as it pivots from consulting services to more technology-focused solutions. “We are expanding our portfolio of products, and looking into new industries, making our offering more rounded and ambitious. This will make the company go into the next stage, which will bring new challenges. We have started new ventures with business partners to produce integrated solutions and are investing in new technology, producing more intellectual property.”
“I will continue walking the path of being a CEO, as I don’t believe one can say ‘you know it all’. Leading Rhisco will continue to be one of my most satisfactory achievements and I want to ensure I consistently make a positive difference in the company creating great opportunities for each member of the team.”
In her closing comments, Elizabeth shares her personal goals: “My personal (recurring) project is to ensure I have a balanced life, where I enjoy nature, culture and time with loved ones. Ultimately, this has proven to be the second most difficult thing I have faced as a CEO.”
Contact: Elizabeth Marvan
Company: Rhisco Solutions Limited, a company of Rhisco Group
Headquarters Address: Level 39, One Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London, E14 5AB, UK
Web Address: www.rhisco.com
Telephone: 0203 819 0146