Our “Behind the Scenes” series continues with the Institutional Investors Relations team and its manager Camille Debaille.
To start with, what is the role of the institutional team within October?
The main role of our team is to contribute to October’s mission: to improve the financing of companies, by creating a community of institutional investors committed to the platform for European SMEs. The institutional team supports investors throughout the life of our investment funds, from inception to liquidation. First and foremost, our team is responsible for managing existing investment funds, deploying them in line with the investment strategy set and in compliance with the regulatory and normative framework imposed by the regulatory authorities. In this respect, regular communication with our institutional investors is essential to guarantee their satisfaction and commitment. We provide them with detailed reports on fund performance, and listen carefully to their specific needs. Our team therefore plays a key role in acquiring and retaining our investor base. Secondly, our team is responsible for creating new investment funds. These funds enable us to make loans to European SMEs via our participatory finance platform, which operates in France, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Germany. Once the investment vehicle is up and running, the team promotes it to target investors. We also manage the entire underwriting process for new investors, as well as the negotiation of investment terms and conditions.
Who makes up your team, and what are your respective missions?
Today, my team is made up of three people:
- Orsola Zocchi
- Guillaume Rosen
- Audrey Petit
Orsola and Guillaume are associate associates, and their main responsibilities revolve around fund management, due diligence processes for new investors, and all reporting activities for our investors.
Alongside these tasks, Orsola is also responsible for Sustainable Development at October. She works on the development of October’s ESG approach and our funds, as well as managing the internal ESG taskforce responsible for its implementation. Orsola is also involved in the development of our new ESG rating tool and manages the associated regulatory procedures (documentation, reporting, etc.) to ensure that our OCTOBER SME V fund meets the criteria required by Article 8 of the SFDR (Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulations).
Guillaume is also in charge of automating our reporting and investor follow-up, as well as innovative solutions to make our internal tools even more efficient. Guillaume is also our expert in data and financial analysis, an essential skill for our business.
Orsola and Guillaume also support me in all matters relating to fund-raising and the search for new investors.
Audrey is in charge of Institutional Compliance. In short, she ensures that all our funds’ operations comply with current laws and regulations. Her role includes preparing regulatory reports, and drafting and updating internal control procedures. Audrey also validates the AML-FT risk mapping and ensures the soundness of KYC and AML procedures for our customers and partners. In addition, she constantly monitors regulatory developments, which is essential in an environment of ever-changing legislation and regulations.
Can you describe a typical day in the October team?
Our days are busy and intense, with new challenges every day!
My role is to supervise and manage the investments and operations of our funds within their limits. I’m a kind of conductor, in charge of directing and coordinating my team members to ensure that all our services come together harmoniously and efficiently to serve our investors.
I also work on structuring our next funds in line with market needs and our development strategy.
I also devote a great deal of my time to communicating with our various contacts, be they our current investors, potential investors, our consultancy firm for drafting documents, our partners or our various external advisors.
How does the fund-raising process work?
Raising funds means first and foremost meeting with “target” investors who are likely to be interested in our funds and in the type of products and returns we offer. So we work on setting up marketing strategies and investor presentations. It also involves presenting the company, its management and the track record of our previous funds. Above all, the aim is to convince investors of the reliability of the October model and our investment strategy.
Once the investor has confirmed his or her interest in our funds, the latter will proceed with due diligence, i.e. an in-depth audit of the company and its funds, a procedure which requires the involvement of our Institutional team as well as other October* teams*.
Next comes the “onboarding” phase, linked to the investor’s subscription. This corresponds to the receipt and verification of documents concerning the investor, a phase more commonly referred to as KYC and AML checks. Then comes the final phase, when the investor’s funds are called and registered with our custodian.
In other words, fund-raising cannot be summed up as a simple bank transfer.
There are many steps involved, some of which, like negotiating the investment terms and conditions, can take a long time.
An investor’s fund-raising process will take more or less time, depending on his or her profile, and may not even materialize until the next fund. It’s a long-term process, requiring a great deal of follow-up. Competition is tough!
Our funds have a subscription period of between 1 and 1.5 years and an investment period of 2 years, over a total fund life of between 8 and 10 years.
What are the instit team’s key figures to date?
On October, SME financing combines retail lenders and institutional investors.
- Total amount lent via our platform €994M! of which €700M has already been paid out to lenders.
- Total amount raised via our investment funds: €785M since 2015
- Total number of projects financed: 3,902 ! of which 2,560 via October funds
- Amount currently under management: €333M
- Amount raised on fund V to date: €130M raised with a target of €300M
- Average loan size: €140,000
- SME IV fund granularity: 1100 loans! And a target of over 3,000 loans on the SME V fund currently under investment.
- In contrast to traditional debt funds, our portfolio is 10x more diversified, thanks to our own scoring and analysis technology.
- View to statistics page
What do you enjoy most about your job?
It’s difficult to pick out one aspect in particular, as the job requires so many different skills (financial analysis, management, negotiation, strategic arbitrage, management, communication, etc.), each of which is very interesting.
The job is extremely stimulating once you’ve mastered it and established a relationship of trust with your investors.
The arrival of a new investor is always a moment of great success! However, you mustn’t neglect the managerial aspect of the job. I attach great importance to leading my team, motivating them, training them and guiding them to achieve their objectives. It’s a team job that demands great flexibility and the ability to adapt quickly to market changes.
Another exciting aspect of the job is that it enables us to finance companies that are the backbone of the European economy, and play a vital role in employment. What I really enjoy is the opportunity to see how our work can contribute to the success of the companies we invest in, and how these companies can in turn help stimulate the economy.