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My RICS: Pascale Weber, start-upper

My RICS: Pascale Weber, start-upper

After working in the banking sector managing and developing investment portfolios for years, Pascale Weber MRICS has entered the field of sustainable finance and started her own company - ME FIN.

Pascale has considerable expertise as a university professor in France where she is responsible for master courses in economic and financial analysis, bank-enterprise relationships, and alternative financing at Université Paris-Est Marne-la-Vallée, IAE Bordeaux school of management, and Bordeaux University.

Hi Pascale, you are an entrepreneur in FinTech. How did you get there?

My company - ME FIN - is a tech company developing the first open social network dedicated to investment and financing; basically, we enable matches between people and companies who have mutual business interests. Our solution is based on two key ideas: freedom of individuals and developing interaction opportunities within a strong community.

Saying that we belong to the FinTech sector really depends on how you define the sector itself. If you think of a FinTech company as a digitisation accelerator for financial institutions, then we're not.

If you define a FinTech company as a disruptive player instead, I'd say yes, we are FinTech because we bring innovation to change the financial ecosystem and unlock opportunities for all.

I spent more than 20 years, most of my career, working for three different banks as the person responsible for investment and financing departments focusing on corporate finance, private equity, and real estate. A recurring problem for clients was an initial difficulty developing their business or even starting new ones because the traditional business models restricted them to very stringent economic conditions. The financing system they had to liaise with was not very sustainable.

Think about the vineyard sector for example. French companies are global leaders, but access to financing is a still complex process, while American competitors have many options and can even benefit from the equivalent of a REIT! There's a paradox here; on the one hand, there's a lack of money because all sectors have become more and more capital intensive; on the other hand, the liquidity is higher than before since quantitative easing programmes have been widely used following the 2008 financial crisis.

Our world is becoming more and more globalised, therefore we need to look at models that successfully finances ideas and new companies, as happens in China and the United States, both of which in fact have a leading role in our economy.

This is why I decided to become an entrepreneur with my business partner and develop a more sustainable financial model, where value is fairly distributed to shareholders and stakeholders.

Pascale Weber
Pascale Weber MRICS, ME FIN

When did you become RICS qualified and what motivated you?

I became qualified in 2015; I was motivated by the RICS' commitment to a high ethical approach and their continuous efforts to improve best practices for the public interest.

It's an international organisation which welcomes diversity in our profession and sees the different expertise of their members as an opportunity to improve the built environment sector. I'm convinced that all professionals have a lot to learn by exchanging ideas and practices with colleagues from other countries.

To be efficient we all need to have a global mindset complemented with a local approach, and that's exactly what RICS does. It's wonderful to be able to meet or contact a member almost everywhere, and we should all be proud to promote our organisation.

At ME FIN, your company, you use a holistic approach to finance. What does it mean in practice?

I think that finance should have the status of a tool; a tool which is the 'friend' of business development, a way of relaxing the financial constraints that weigh on many projects.

People like to play a part in this process and not be controlled remotely, which is why our company values are freedom, independence, and neutrality.

We don't want to enforce decisions on people; our algorithm will just suggest the best matching mutual interests. Then parties can decide to meet in person and better explore potential business opportunities outside of our platform.

Because we're user-centric and understand that individuals are unique, we have a holistic approach that doesn't rely on standardisation or strict segments but ensures universal and affordable access to financing opportunities.

Pascale Weber speaking2
Pascale Weber MRICS, speaking at an RICS event in London

To be efficient we all need to have a global mindset complemented with a local approach, and that's exactly what RICS does.

Pascale Weber MRICS

Finance is notorious for being a very "aggressive" sector. How do you make sure your ethical commitment is clear when you engage with your clients?

As mentioned above, we are user-centric, that's our DNA.

Our model is transparent and democratic, our promise is simple and basically moves the focus of finance from business to people. We give everybody the opportunity to become an active participant in their asset's allocation or research.

The world is changing, and finance should evolve accordingly.

Would you encourage others to follow their professional dreams as you have done?

Trying to realise a project I believe in has been very exciting and inspiring for me. I always encourage women and men who feel the need to follow their professional dreams not to hesitate.

Everybody should be free to seek happiness and welfare for themselves and our society. In the end, only if we try to improve our world, will our life be a good life.

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