MARÍA ARIZA

Mexico 2020 | FINANCE | INTERVIEW

BIVA seeks to provide access to efficient financing for upcoming and growing companies and offer an authentic opportunity for growth in Mexico.

María Ariza
BIOGRAPHY

María Ariza is CEO of BIVA. She was previously CEO of the Mexican Private Equity Association (AMEXCAP), worked on the investment team of NAFTA Fund of Mexico, LP, was director of the project office at Grupo Impulso, and was strategic planning manager at the APEC Organizing Committee. Additionally, she is founding partner of Facial Design S.A. de C.V.; partner and board member of Grupo Salus S.A. de C.V.; partner and board member of Crediauto Financial; partner and board member of Muventa SAPI de CV; partner and board member of Matterscale; partner and board member of KL Studios; and partner of Cervecería Colima SAPI de CV. She also participates on the boards of several academic institutions. She has a master's degree in management from Harvard University and is an industrial engineer from Universidad Iberoamericana.

How has your professional experience prepared you for your role as CEO of BIVA?
My professional experience has always been connected to private equity, and I have worked for many years at private equity funds, including my role as director of the guild for five years. This experience has led me to understand further the conflicts companies have when they need access to those resources required to continue growing; a company starts with investments from a private party and aspires to some investment from the public sector. My background pushed me to get involved with the stock exchange, specifically with BIVA's proposal. I am committed to what we do and what an amazing opportunity this stock exchange represents. We see many opportunities in the market, particularly in private capital funds and Mexican companies that are in the process of becoming institutionalized. We also believe that there are many opportunities to increase the number of individual investors in Mexico and increase the participation of institutional investors in equity markets and corporate debt.

BIVA has faced challenges throughout its history. How have you adapted to these challenging scenarios?
BIVA was bound to face challenges; the idea of having a second stock market was controversial for some. We had to research why, in a country like Mexico, the stock market was not taking off as it should and how a second option could be the solution. Perhaps one of the most important challenges was convincing the stock exchange guild to invest in a new infrastructure, one that was necessary to become the new stock exchange in Mexico. All of this happened under a government that was about to leave office. When the new government took office, it came with a different vision of markets, trade, and economic policy. We had to recreate our work plan and adjust it to the new administration; it was quite challenging. Additionally, we were competing against the BMV, which had over 100 years of activity. We began working in the midst of all this, but we stayed true to our convictions and had faith in our business model. We want to guarantee access to efficient financing for upcoming and growing companies, not just to those companies that are already well-established and sophisticated. In the last two years, we have been under a cloud of political uncertainty that drives away long-term investments and are now facing a global pandemic that is shaking markets to their core. It has been a challenging but incredible experience. We are proud to be part of a major change in the Mexican economy through its stock market infrastructure.

Taking into account the cloud of uncertainty in markets due to the pandemic, what strategies will you employ to continue to attract investors?
We have developed a scheme to attract more participants, in terms of both supply and demand. Our intention, as a stock exchange, is to offer an authentic opportunity for growth in Mexico, available to companies and investors. We want to accompany the investor right from the start; one of our missions is for Mexicans to get acquainted with the stock exchange, in terms of its role, goals, products, and advantages. There are many myths around the stock exchange. We want Mexican businesspeople to participate as investors in the stock exchange, along with Mexican companies, of course. We are convinced that regular people should invest in the stock exchange. Even in a crisis, the stock market will eventually result in profit, so it is a way for citizens to save efficiently. It is about smart and efficient investments. This is the way for Mexican companies to grow and a way to distribute wealth in our society. As companies generate wealth, investing is a way for everyone to get involved and progress.