TBY talks to Gene Towle, Director General, Softec, on the sector.

Gene Towle

How is your business divided between providing raw data and project consultancy?

About 85% is specific consultancy projects and actually interpreting the data, and 15% is selling the data. We do some basic editing of the data, but the main users of the raw data are mostly banks, who use it to do risk analysis for credit, construction lending, and mortgage lending. This is how we got to where we are; along the way Softec has also served as an incubator for different types of businesses.

How has your client profile changed over the years?

Our initial focus was mortgage design. When we started working in the late 1980s, Mexico was going through a bout of hyperinflation so in order to have functional mortgages in a hyperinflation environment you have to develop mathematically complex financial structures. Banks started asking us for information on projects they were investing in, and we started shifting to analyzing housing projects, which at the time were the only type of real estate investments. Moreover, as funding for non-housing products has evolved, people have asked us for an analysis of more complex mixed-use projects. In 2007, when we started, 90% of investment in real estate was residential, while in 2016, it was 60%.