Capital markets at Carmoola - Who, what, and why?

In May we welcomed a fresh face to the Carmoola team. Frédéric de Benoist - aka Fred to you and me - joined us as our new (and first) director of capital markets. 

But who is Fred, what is/are capital markets, and how will a dedicated focus on this area make a difference to Carmoola and our customers? 

We sat down with Fred to answers these questions - and more... 

Hey Fred 👋 can you tell us a bit about your background and how you came to join Carmoola as the director of capital markets? 

I spent 22 years in investment banking, mostly at Deutsche Bank in London. I was part of the European Securitisation team where I financed all types of granular financial assets, like consumer loans, auto loans, credit cards, residential mortgages, SME loans, real estate assets. I set up and led the mortgage finance desk before joining Carmoola. 

I was looking for a new, very different challenge in smaller institutions with fintech high on my wish list. I truly enjoyed my interaction with Aidan and senior management and bought into the simple but highly transformative proposition that Carmoola offers. Empowering customers as they look to buy their next car through a super user-friendly application process and technology.  Simple, but nobody else does it the way we do it!

What does your role as the director of capital markets entail? 🤔

My role is to ensure the company always has enough financing to support the growth of the business and in particular to fund all the loans we provide to our customers. My aim is to optimise the capital that we raise from a cost, maturity, diversity and efficiency perspective. I also make sure we have adequate protection against interest rate volatility as it can materially affect companies’ profitability.

It’s an important role as firstly it is a full time job, secondly it is critical to the sustainability of the business and finally having a capital markets function brings credibility at this stage of the company’s development.  

How does a dedicated person, well-connected to the market, add credibility to Carmoola’s growth story? 📈

A capital markets function acts as the face of a company with key stakeholders: shareholders, banks, investors, rating agencies, auditors, lawyers.  The financial industry has codes, and specific ways of doing business, which you need to understand as you address requests, market the company, build relationships and ultimately raise the type of sustainable funding that’s needed. 

You recently represented Carmoola at the Global ABS conference in Barcelona 🌍 Can you share your experience from this event? 

I have been to the conference every year for the last 15 years as a banker. It was great to be back meeting former colleagues, clients, and competitors. It is a large conference with 5,000 participants over two to three days, and I had 18 very productive meetings in 36 hours! Frankly, it was amazing being on the other side, selling Carmoola instead of being the banker looking to lend to Carmoola! 

How did investors react to Carmoola’s journey and successes 🙌 during the conference?

It’s one of the things that has been very satisfying and comforted me in my choice to join Carmoola. You could see in people's eyes and body language that the Carmoola story is exciting and inspiring. People were very interested in this simple and transformative customer proposition in a time when trust in the traditional model is badly damaged. They were generally impressed with what we have achieved in just two years! 

What are your immediate goals 🎯 and priorities in your role?

We are broadening our product offering and I am working on securing the capital to do so. It is a critical milestone in our growth both from a brand outreach and a business volume perspective.

How do you see the capital markets function evolving at Carmoola in the next few years? 🔮

As Carmoola grows, we will also grow the team, to be able to address multiple financing deals and multiple projects at the same time.

What are you most excited 🤩 about in terms of Carmoola’s future growth and your role in it? 

I think our growth potential is huge. “Sky is the limit” is a bit of a silly expression but given our unique proposition, very robust and efficient infrastructure, and an unrivalled customer engagement, I think we can dream big and I am certainly keen to be part of that story. 

Is there anything else you’d like to share about your role or Carmoola’s journey? 🚗

While we don’t have a table tennis or a foosball table to go along with the fintech cliché, the atmosphere is great, there's no unnecessary red tape and undue bureaucracy (despite our head of compliance’s efforts 😉), and it feels like you can truly seize opportunities, be in control of your personal journey and add value quickly and constructively.    

What advice 💡 would you give to someone looking to pursue a career in capital markets? 

My main piece of advice, which is not capital markets-specific, is to be curious and positive in what you do. If you are not curious, or you feel miserable, then you won’t learn or progress and are probably not in the right seat. You should move to a place that you will enjoy and where you will thrive.

Thank you, Fred! 👍