The Colombian Securities Exchange deploys an innovation strategy

By: Juan Pablo Córdoba, Chief Executive Officer, Colombian Securities Exchange (bvc) Nov 2019

The Colombian Securities Exchange (bvc) is working with full steam on projects focused on technology and innovation. bvc is taking advantage of the benefits of working in a collaborative environment with the FinTech industry in order to generate greater market accessibility and create solutions that adapt to customer needs and positively impact the business and the development of the capital market in the country.

Four years ago, bvc acquired the majority stake of the main core banking solutions provider in the country, Sophos Solutions, who lead the Applied Innovation Program in partnership with the Colombian Securities Exchange. The program identifies new business opportunities and operational improvements tailored to the needs of bvc and its technology company.

This project goes in line with one of the strategic pillars of bvc, which is to be a profitable, sustainable, diversified and innovative corporation. This strategic pillar is recognised through the development of internal capabilities that foster the business development through new technological solutions.

bvc and Sophos Solutions, working together with NXTP, will launch a regional open call for over 250 tech-based startups. This initiative that will last until April 2020, in which executives of the Colombian Securities Exchange, the technology company and its ally, will select up to six startups to explore opportunities for joint collaboration.

This strategic partnership with NXTP is intended to connect with solutions from the Fintech industry and more than 5,000 Startups in Latin America, giving them a more accurate idea regarding the needs of bvc and Sophos and the joint work opportunities with them. So far, NXTP has been part of the acceleration process of more than 400 companies, assisting them in strengthening their innovation strategies, allowing access to the latest technologies in the region, and promoting cultural change in the organisations involved.

On this subject, Juan Pablo Cordoba, CEO of bvc stated the following: “We fostered and pursued this partnership with Sophos and NXTP to accelerate our business transformation. The selected startups will be our allies to develop a more attractive, simple and competitive market infrastructure.”

Other projects

In line with the strategy of the Colombian Securities Exchange to propose innovative alternatives and to bring solutions that fit the needs of the people in the 21st century, seeking synergies, the exchange of knowledge and ideas, the company became a new member of the Colombian Association of Digital Entrepreneurship, Colombia Fintech. Through this membership, bvc will be able provide knowledge of the Exchange in terms of what is required to strengthen the capitals market, and adapt to new technologies and collaborative ecosystems.

This is how the company seeks strategic allies that can propose solutions to make the capitals market more accessible for all Colombians and businesses, through the technology and financial innovation industry in Colombia.

There are over two million SMEs in Colombia, representing more than 90% of the country’s businesses. Unfortunately, around 45% of these companies have limited access to finance, especially in the medium and long-term. This is a crucial obstacle for their long-term survival.

Moreover, even when they do obtain bank financing, they face additional difficulties such as very short terms, long and complex procedures, expensive fees and installments that are not compatible with their payment capacity.

Accordingly, bvc is working to become a strategic ally to SMEs in their growth processes, offering innovative alternatives for this segment.

Hence, bvc was given the task of developing a collaborative securities financing platform, a2censo, without intermediaries, in real time, transparent and available twenty-four hours a day. This platform will be managed by bvc and its launch is estimated for November 2019. Through a2censo it is sought that in an agile way, SMEs can be connected with investors who from small amounts can invest in these projects, with a differential profitability.

To develop this project, bvc has been collaborating with the Inter-American Development Bank, INNpulsa Colombia – the governmental entity in charge of promoting entrepreneurship and innovation of Colombia’s Government, attached to the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, (MINCIT) – and the Andean Development Corporation (CAF). They are active partners and contributors to the project.

Pursuing this dream, the regulation on collaborative funding mechanisms was approved in Colombia, which is framed within the decree issued by the Financial Regulation Unit of the Ministry of Finance on July 31, 2018. This regulation sets the bases for this activity to takeoff in a secure manner, by defining a straightforward structure in terms of duties of the parties involved, authorization and ongoing compliance requirements for platforms, among others. This decree provides a clear and transparent regulatory framework, under the supervision of the Financial Supervisor of Colombia.

Finally, bvc has promoted entrepreneurship by collaborating with a group of young college students who have been developing the country’s first mobile trading app targeted at small retail investors. The app will be available to the public before year-end. This project fits within bvc’s objective of simplifying clients’ access to the market and it seeks to cater a currently unattended market segment.

These are some of the initiatives of the Colombian Securities Exchange in order to be a more inclusive and closer company to all Colombians, creating solutions that bring the capital market close to the people's and the companies’ needs, as well as supporting the growth and competitiveness of the country.