October 27, 2021

Pasquale Zaccarella: "The future scenario? Banks and Fintech will come together through mergers and acquisitions"

Pasquale Zaccarella, graduate in Finance, continued his education at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). After an initial experience in Intesa Sanpaolo, he moved to Banca d'Italia and in the last year he joined the European Central Bank, where he held the role of Inspector.

What is your background?

I studied first Economics and then Finance. In the working world I started as a financial profile and then I approached IT, statistics, and Data Science topics.

Last year you became an IAG business angel. Why this choice and what do you appreciate most about the association's services?

Transforming an idea first into a start-up and then into a company is the engine of the economy. If today, we pay by smartphone it's no accident; in California they had the intuition and turned it into a business. However, implementing an idea or making it concrete is anything but trivial. Thanks to joining IAG, I'm seeing with my own eyes what it means to do business. I believe that the distinctive character of IAG is the figure of the Champion. There are few associations that accompany the founder in the path of entrepreneurial growth.

Passionate about start-ups and innovation, you have supported the establishment and development of some realities in different sectors, and in IAG you are part of the Fintech
community. What do you think is the added value for founders to have a
competent support figure at their side?

Prevention is better than cure. The real added value is to have a person with industry expertise to support the founder and avoid mistakes already made by other players in the market. This competence is fundamental, especially when the funding round has been successfully concluded and the founders have financial resources to spend.

For several years you worked in the Bank of Italy and more recently you joined the European Central Bank. Is the banking industry sufficiently prepared to meet the challenges of digital transformation?

You can never feel too prepared. I believe our economy is only at the beginning of a digital transformation phase. In the long run, the winning skill is to adapt to any change while maintaining its own identity vs. consumers and savers.

Initially, fintech players were perceived as a potential threat by financial institutions. What is the current situation and, in your opinion, how will this relationship evolve?     

Fintech investments account for just under 25% of total Banking sector investments. More than half is for the implementation of APIs while about 16% is in the Big Data arena. The most common form of collaboration between Banks, intermediaries and Start-ups is usually a partnership in collaboration with incubators and accelerators. The future scenario? I have a very clear opinion on this topic: growth through M&A! Banks and Fintech will come together through mergers and acquisitions.