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Empowering Business Decision-Making in Emerging Markets

Maria Molano - ISI Emerging Markets Group
Regional Director Latam


Fernando Mares By Fernando Mares | Journalist and Industry Analyst - Mon, 05/08/2023 - 10:17

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Q: What sets ISI Emerging Markets apart from other analysts and information platforms?
A: ISI Emerging Markets is a UK multinational company that has been operating for about 30 years. One of its main differentiators is that it does not only collect information on emerging economies but it also operates inside these economies. It now has operations in 20 countries, of which 18 are emerging economies. Half of those are in Asia and the other half are in Eastern Europe and Latin America. This is a big advantage because the company gains knowledge straight from the sources of information that exist in every country. 

The second differentiator is that ISI Emerging Markets was born as a technology company that provides information, which allows us to adapt to any technological change at any given moment in time. This puts us one step ahead of any other company. For us, technology is a natural part of our existence. We consider ourselves experts in emerging markets and in technology. 

Q: What kind of data does ISI collect and how is the collected information translated into actionable information? 
A: ISI Emerging Markets uses three platforms globally to collect three types of information. The first platform is EMIS, which collects sectorial and industrial information used for business intelligence, investment analysis, credit analysis and to establish strategies in new (or current) markets /sectors. The second platform is CEIC, a macroeconomic tool that gathers information from every country in the world, specializing in Asian countries like China and India but also with a strong focus on Latin America, mainly in Brazil. This tool helps economic researchers or strategic economic planners complete economic analyses and develop macroeconomic strategies. Our information analysis tools make it simple to get data and build an analysis within seconds or minutes. 

The third platform is REDD, which compiles information of markets with debts. This tool allows those in the financial sector who invest in debt capital markets to obtain information about the reputational risk of the companies they plan to invest in or already invested in. This information allows them to make timely investment decisions. 

Q: How does the company collect information from emerging markets where access to data is limited or that have a limited pool of information?
A: This was a challenge that we turned into an opportunity. The company was born 30 years ago in Eastern Europe to address the difficulty of collecting information from countries like Russia, which has historically been a hermetic country. At the time, the only choice to get this information was to fly into the country to make connections with people in the government. One of our founders came up with a business model that would place people and technology (artificial intelligence, machine learning, APIs among others) where the information is being produced, which is why we operate in emerging markets. This is the reason we can say that we understand how each different economy produces information and operates. 

Q: What are the most frequent issues clients have in emerging markets and what is ISI’s role in helping them address them? 
A: Generally, our clients have problems using information efficiently. Years ago, it was said that only a king had all the information. This is not the case anymore because every human being with a cell phone has access to information. The challenge is not getting information but getting credible, correct, reliable and organized information, alongside analytical tools that allow to use that info in an easy and efficient way. ISI Emerging Markets provides its clients with the information they need to develop market strategies and many other ventures. 

Q: As an emerging market, how important is Mexico to ISI Emerging Markets?
A: Mexico is the second-largest economy in Latin America, which is why it is an interesting market for ISI Emerging Markets. Mexico’s industrial and financial markets are a clear opportunity for us. Getting info in Mexico is not an easy task, but we do have the experience, knowledge and appropriate team to find and assure that we are able to provide everything companies in every sector need to operate, design strategies, study sectors, competence, clients, providers and so on. We are focusing on supporting all companies that need information to make decisions. 

Q: How can ISI Emerging Markets help companies that want to start operations in Mexico? 
A: We are working with the most important sources local and internationally such as government entities, research houses, commercial banks, brokerage houses, media, multilateral organizations and academia in every country we operate in to produce the research our clients will need. For example, if they want to research in the automotive sector, we already have the sources and thousands of data and info to provide it. 

Q: What will be the main challenges to fully enter the Mexican market?
A: The Mexican market is very large, the main challenge we have is to make ourselves known in the market, however through different fronts and activities we are working on it, already having clients in the main Mexican sectors such as financial, academia and large corporation. When that companies begin to use our platforms and can measure the results and optimizations of resources, costs and time that they achieve with our platforms, the voice-to-voice increases systematically the number of entities looking for our solutions.

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