Diana Paredes co-founded Suade Labs in 2014, following a successful career in investment banking at Barclays and Merrill Lynch. After the 2008 financial crisis, a new wave of regulations prompted the need for sound technology and access to data to the forefront of financial institutions’ agendas. The innovative Paredes sought to help financial institutions gain a better understanding of their regulatory requirements through future-proof, next-generation RegTech solutions, using data standards and modern technology. For the last eight years, Suade has steadily, sustainably, and responsibly maintained its culture, and continues to provide clients with world-class solutions and unrivalled support.
With a diverse background in finance and banking, how have these past experiences prepared you for your current role?
Having a number of different interests ranging from fintech to social enterprise — with a [bachelor’s and master’s degree] in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Imperial College — and a career in banking has provided me with a solid foundation to grow from.
With my background in environmental engineering, I understood how technology can make the world a better place, not only from an environmental perspective, but also from a social and governance vantage point. I am passionate about enhancing the next generation’s way of living and contributing positively to society, with technology playing a critical role. As the CEO for a tech company and innovator in the space, I believe I have a responsibility to make sure technology is built and used responsibly, and I ensure these values are carried out across Suade.
I am passionate about long-term, sustainable change, and believe that together we can achieve this through technology, education, and innovative mindsets.
What do you feel are some misconceptions around the fintech industry, and how have you navigated its unique challenges?
The concept of inclusion and diversity is a popular topic within the industry. You can really sense [when] a company that has [inclusive] perspectives — and being able to exchange that in a way that is open-minded — is really valuable. It improves communication, helps in design, and makes a better product.
Even though fintech has a reputation of being diverse, as a female founder and CEO, I am still surprised by the low number of female co-founders and female CEOs. It’s disappointing to see the gender barriers around critical funding and career development that continue to hinder women’s progression in the workplace.
You have said previously that you believe in a data-driven approach to regulation to help prevent the next financial crisis. Can you tell me more about this?
Data plays a critical role in any business, particularly in the financial sector, where regulators are asking for greater transparency and granularity in an increasingly more complex financial system. The only route forwards for the industry is to adopt data standards that enable the use of modern technology and automation as we move towards real-time supervision.
The real challenge comes when the regulator needs to interrogate and understand the data points quickly and easily, as each of these have thousands or even millions of inputs themselves. This level of analysis isn’t possible without automation, and accurate and standardised data. Suade’s goal is to ensure that financial institutions can trust their data and processes, benefit from greater data insights, future-proof their system against ongoing regulatory change, and automate regulatory reporting.
Stephanie Hawkins | Contributing Writer