Digital micro-lender Oakam has extended its senior leadership team with the appointment of Helena Cartwright as head of operations and Florian Brousson as head of strategic planning. As the firm focuses on accelerating growth in 2018, these additions will support opportunities for product and market expansion and for continued scaling via digital channels, with the goal of opening up financial access to the two billion unbanked adults worldwide.
“2017 was a momentous year for Oakam, marked by significant business growth through digital and product innovation, a 300 per cent increase in loan application levels, a capital raise and the expansion of our talented, diverse team,” said Alida Cesani, head of human resources at Oakam. “In 2018 our ambition grows as we focus on scaling the business internationally to support financial inclusion globally. Helena and Florian’s expertise in driving business and operational success will have a significant impact on our strategic scale-up in 2018.”
Ms. Cartwright joins Oakam after almost a decade at leading global online trading firm IG Group. During her tenure overseeing operations the firm expanded internationally, shifting from a predominant UK domestic player to a global operation with offices in 14 countries – including Bangalore, Singapore and Poland- and 152,000 clients worldwide in 156 markets. Ms. Cartwright worked in several business functions across the company, giving her an end-to-end view of the full customer lifecycle. In her last role at IG, Helena transitioned the fragmented, online account opening operation to a centralized, 24/7 function whilst reducing customer waiting time from 24 hours to 1 hour contributing to a significant uplift in group application conversion and customer satisfaction.
Working with the leadership team, Mr. Brousson will be focused on accelerating Oakam’s demand through product and market expansion, alongside strengthening relationships in the investor community. His last role was head of FP&A & services at Kelway Ltd. then CDW, the largest IT value-added reseller in the world with turnover of more than $14 billion. Whilst at the firm, Mr. Brousson played a pivotal role in tripling EBITDA in less than three years, at the same time as leading M&A activities from the exit of a minority shareholder to the full sale of Kelway ltd to CDW and finally to fully integrating the company to US standard. Prior to this he has held several financial roles at firms including The Carphone Warehouse and The Walt Disney Company.
It is estimated around two billion people are unbanked worldwide. A recent WEF White Paper showed that in emerging markets, high exclusion and financial informality require alternative ways to drive inclusion. In addition to plans to accelerate its UK lending activity by 180 percent year on year, Oakam is focused on applying its digital-first approach and success in alternative methods of underwriting to begin expanding credit access to consumers in developing economies.