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Launch of Flagship Report: Alternative Data Transforming SME Finance

12 June 2017
Time :
10 : 00
11 : 30
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Launch of Flagship Report: Alternative Data Transforming SME Finance

The Finance and Markets Global Practice and the SME Finance Forum invite you to the launch of a flagship report: Alternative Data Transforming SME Finance. SME Finance Forum members can attend the in-person launch event or join the WebEx. Please contact mchataing@ifc.org for more information.  


John Owens, Senior Digital Financial Services Advisor
Rohit Acharya, Chief Data Scientist and Co-Founder, First Access Market
Traci Mach, Principal Economist, Federal Reserve System (US)


Sebastian-A Molineus, Director, Finance and Markets Practice, World Bank Group


Ghada Teima, Lead Financial Sector Specialist, Finance and Markets Practice, World Bank Group


Digital finance, using alternative data, offers an extraordinary opportunity for expanding access to finance for small businesses. Every time small businesses and their customers use cloud-based services, conduct banking transactions, make or accept digital payments, browse the internet, use their mobile phones, engage in social media, buy or sell electronically, ship packages, or manage their receivables, payables, and recordkeeping online, they create digital footprints. This real-time, and verified data can be mined to determine both capacity and willingness to repay loans. A rapidly growing crop of technology-focused SME lenders are putting the use of SME digital data, customer needs, and advanced analytics at the center of their business models, setting forth new blueprints for disrupting the SME lending status quo.

Alternative Data Transforming SME Finance is a flagship report that considers the opportunities alternative data presents to narrow the financing gap for SMEs. It takes stock of the range of data, and the range of institutions using the data to provide financial services to SMEs. It also notes the new issues and potential risks raised by this massive increase and diversification of data supply to financial sector stability, and to consumer protection; and offers some considerations for policy makers.

About the speakers:

Rohit Acharya leads the First Access research team, including management of data, processing, modeling, and helping clients adjust First Access models to their preferences. Mr. Acharya also travels on behalf of First Access to meet directly with clients and to speak on risk management at conferences around the world. Mr. Acharya holds a B.A. in Applied Mathematics and Economics from Harvard University and is a Chartered Financial Analyst.

Traci Mach is a Principal Economist in the Financial Structure Section of the Division of Research and Statistics at the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. Dr. Mach joined the Board staff in 2003. While at the Board, Dr. Mach has been involved in conducting economic analysis of issues relating to the household and small business finance, working extensively with the Surveys of Small Business Finances and the Survey of Consumer Finances. Dr. Mach received a Bachelor’s degree from Cornell College and a PhD in Economics from the Ohio State University. Prior to joining the staff of the Federal Reserve Board, Dr. Mach served on the faculty of the Economics Department at SUNY Albany. 

Sebastian-A Molineus is currently a Practice Director for the World Bank Group’s (WBG) Finance & Markets Global Practice. In this role, he is responsible for delivering the Practice’s financial, advisory and knowledge, and convening services across the Africa, East Asia and Pacific, and South Asia regions, in addition to the global agenda on Financial Inclusion and Access. Sebastian joined the WBG’s International Finance Corporation (IFC) in 2002, where he was a Project Manager for the Russia Corporate Governance Project, based in Moscow. He later worked in the IFC’s Middle East & North Africa Department, where he led a region-wide Corporate Governance Program, based in Cairo. In 2008, he joined the Financial and Private Sector Development Vice-Presidency (FPD) as a Sr. Operations Officer in the Capital Markets Department, and between 2010 and 2012 he co-led the change management initiative to implement Global Practices across FPD. From 2012-2014, Sebastian was the Practice Manager of the Capital Markets Practice, where he was responsible for strategic, knowledge, resource, portfolio, and talent management. Prior to joining the WBG, Sebastian worked at the OECD in the Financial, Fiscal, and Enterprise Affairs Division, where he focused on corporate governance and financial reporting reforms. Sebastian holds an MBA from the HEC School of Management in France, and a Masters in European and International Law from the University of Passau’s School of Law in Germany.

John Owens is an attorney and senior advisor who has worked with regulators and policy makers as well as microfinance institutions, banks, credit cooperatives, and financial technology firms across Asia and the Pacific, Africa, China, Eastern Europe, Russia, the Middle East, Latin America and the Caribbean on digital financial services and financial inclusion strategies and policies. He is co-author of the paper “Alternative Data Transforming SME Finance” and was previously the Senior Digital Financial Services Policy Advisor for the Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI). Under AFI, he provided direct support to the Digital Financial Services Working Group, the African Mobile Phone Financial Services Policy Initiative, and represented AFI on the G20 Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion (GPFI) subgroup on Markets and Payments Systems. He has worked and lectured in all emerging market regions of the world. His areas of expertise include a deep understanding of the role of regulation and policies to support digital financial services and financial inclusion. He also has extensive international project management experience planning, designing & implementing inclusive financial services (credit, savings, insurance, remittances and payment products) both on the policy/regulatory side as well as directly with banks and non-bank financial institutions. He has managed several international projects and has written and lectured on various aspects of digital financial services, payments and financial inclusion. He holds a Juris Doctor in Law from Notre Dame Law School and Bachelor of Art degrees in Accounting and Philosophy from Gustavus Adolphus College.

Ghada Teima is a Lead Financial Sector Specialist at the World Bank Group. Ms. Teima has over 20 years of financial sector development and corporate finance consulting experience. Ms. Teima has been working with the World Bank Group for 12 years, in different capacities. Ms. Teima focuses on digital inclusion and small and medium enterprise finance. Previously, she has managed Access to Finance advisory operations in Latin America and the Caribbean and has previously worked in the Middle East and North Africa region on related topics. Ms. Teima has led IFC Small and Medium Enterprise Finance A2F Advisory Practice globally. She has been leading on behalf of the IFC/ World Bank the G20 SME Finance Working Group, which has supported the G20 Financial Inclusion agenda under the Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion (GPFI) since 2010. Prior to joining IFC, Ms. Teima held several positions in the private sector in the areas of corporate finance and management consulting at the national and regional levels with the former Andersen Consulting and Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu International. She holds an MBA in Management from Imperial College, with a specialization in Venture Capital and a Diploma in management, from the University of London, United Kingdom.

The report was undertaken for the GPFI by the SME Finance Forum and World Bank Group, with support from GIZ, the Silicon Valley Foundation, and the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO).  

The in-person launch event and WebEx are open to SME Finance Forum members. Please contact mchataing@ifc.org for more information.