What is your view of the financial sector in Mexico and current trends?
GUSTAVO MÉNDEZ The pandemic had a significant initial impact given that there was no resilience plan prepared to deal with it, especially in terms of operations; still, on the plus side, the coping mechanisms put in place by the regulator helped banks maintain solid liquidity and strength. Banks managed to avert financial problems as a direct result of the pandemic. However, in the operational area, closing branch offices made client access to services extremely complicated. There was a gap between banks with digital capability and those that did not. Today, we are able to appreciate the importance of investment in digital areas, reaching more of the population, starting from onboarding and making easer and simpler the interaction. Banks continue to be strong, though in terms of profitability, growth, and economy launching, they are still trailing behind. The major issue, especially talking about the credit, is understanding the risk. Latin America comprises countries with a huge informal economy, and the main challenge is reaching this informal population. Currently, fintechs are starting to become part of the system. They began with payments, and some are expanding toward the credit sector. New available data and technology are allowing to expand services. Another new player are retail companies, which are trying to establish their own finance agencies aiming to spread their products. The competitive financial ecosystem is expanding as well as competition in areas where there was none before. In addition, we are seeing significant investment funds reaching Latin America and supporting innovation.
What is your vision as the new country senior partner in Mexico?
ANA PAULA JIMÉNEZ At a global level, the company has reorganized its operational model, under a strategy called The New Equation. This is a new strategy in terms of operations, and as a result of that, we have regrouped our capabilities to offer our clients integrated and sustainable solutions to bring them a comprehensive offering. We also want to provide more sustainable business. In our reorganization, we continue to offer our plethora of consultancy services, but we reorganized them in two large segments: trust solutions and consulting solutions. Trust solutions combines the practices that previously were known as audit services and tax compliance services. Meanwhile, the consulting solutions segment includes traditional consulting services for businesses and tax advisory services. With this structure, we want to help our clients inform their stakeholders how their data is being protected and used only under ethical standards and, at the same time, offer them holistic and sustained solutions. Our main challenge is to change the mindset from an industry that historically has functioned in a lines of services system to focus on specific problems. This will help us bring better value to our clients. We have extremely profound values at the firm: integrity, honesty, and transparency. I am doing my best to support our team to meet these goals. I also want to continue fostering inclusiveness in our company. There is a great number of talented and innovative people at PwC. The company is less hierarchical and more inclusive.
What are your main priorities moving forward?
GM One of our customers' main priorities are focused on the digitalization and the implicit change in the organization from front to back, where digital interaction with the customer is needed, and a transformation needs to occur in the bank in order to provide a service that is faster, simpler, and safe. We want to create efficiency via automation to replace low-value work and, at the same time, provide digital augmentation to the workforce and where people are more value. The user experience needs to be improved and become more personalized, comfortable, and easy to use.
APJ Our clients are concerned about the many changes taking place, and we must assist them on that matter. Our goals are to help them adapt to these changes to attract capital and talent. The priority is to generate confidence and trust during these complex times. We are in a unique position to help our clients. It is also important to develop our people and support local communities as well. The firm is investing USD300 million to create PwC Trust Institute. This institute seeks to generate new jobs. These are extremely ambitious goals.