Ask CFO

Marcos Azeredo
November 18, 2021

Marcos Azeredo joined us as CFO back in August, so it’s time to get to know him. We asked him a few questions and here’s what he had to say.


Career-wise:

Many would say that Finance can be a boring area. What fascinated you about it and made you pursue a career in this field?

When I was a kid (like 7yo), being a bank teller was the first real job I wanted to have. What fascinated me was not how money works but how complex the leaflets they had there were. I had just learned how to read, and my teacher told me I was good at it, but man, those leaflets were another level.

During my high school years, I had two passions, Magic: The Gathering and economics. Since there isn’t still proper advanced education for the former, choosing a bachelor degree was easy. Economics it is!

Most romantic teenage movies follow the same structure. There’s always one girl that doesn’t get much attention but surprises everyone on prom night. Finance was like this for me in college. It was never my favourite class. I was too entertained by macroeconomics and political science. Still, after glimpsing behavioural finance, I was immediately captured by it. The combination of math with decision making is something that I have been attracted to ever since.

I am fascinated by how people make decisions. It amazes me how the combination of those decisions results in a messy world that somehow works quite well. Like a machine that works wonderfully well, but no one exactly knows how (pretty much like our platform at advertio — mic drop). I don’t know anything about it, and it amazes me every day.

Why did you decide to join Advertio?

The short version is that João asked me to and it is really hard to say “no” to João Aroso. The long one is that I worked in corporate venture capital, and my role was to invest in start-ups. In the process, I had the chance to work with a few founders and liked it a lot.

Still, having operational experience is super valuable as an investor and something I was missing in these interactions. People don’t value your opinion as much when you haven’t worked at a start-up. It was the same feeling I got as an adult still living with my parents. Somehow, I didn’t get the same credibility.

So, coming to Advertio was a bit like deciding to live by myself.

What are the main challenges you face working in a start-up compared to the previous companies where you worked?

I am loving every bit of the experience (maybe you are asking too early). I like the autonomy that comes with it, the ability to think the processes from scratch, and the multiple challenges on different fronts.

A thing I sometimes miss is the support services at larger firms. Your back is always covered because it is someone’s job to do that. At start-ups, you are more exposed. Still, the trade-off is worth it.

If you weren’t in Finance, what would you be doing?

I would have to work for real. No, seriously, I have no idea! I wanted to be a bike rider when I was younger.


The future of finance:

Which area of investments do you think is growing the most or will “explode” (get more people interested) in the future?

First, it is essential to distinguish between industries that will register strong consumer adoption from those that will experience increasing valuations. We are in one of the longest bull markets we have ever seen, and there are many industries where expectations are high, but valuations are already through the roof. These will most certainly drive a lot of consumer adoption (they already are), but I believe it will be harder to beat the market from investing in these industries.

For example, EV, streaming, gaming, cloud technologies and cybersecurity are trends that have been and are expected to keep driving significant adoption from end consumers and enterprises. However, valuations in some of the leading companies in the field are so high that most of the upside they will experience is already priced in. Therefore, investment returns will be lower.

Having said this, finding a winner in these industries will likely drive a lot of compound returns over the coming decade and yield significant returns to long-term investors.

Like John Snow, I know nothing, but I am pretty excited about things happening in healthcare and genetic treatments, new foods and ingredients, industrial-specific AI applications and blockchain technologies.

How important do you think it is for people to be financially literate? How does it impact us, change the way we see things and look at our government?

When it comes to personal finances, I think it is crucial to be able to manage a budget responsibly and invest wisely. The earlier you start, the better.

For more complex topics like how money works or the role of government, having an idea of how things work and the impact of policies being put into place is important, but since most of us are not policymakers, I don’t see the point of being more than an informed consumer. Money should work to our advantage without us having to think much about how the underlying system works. For this, it is important to trust the institutions governing the system.

Do you think that to protect their future, a person only has to save money or, to be able to increase their quality of life, must necessarily invest their money to protect it?

Having a well-diversified portfolio is essential. I would include this in basic financial literacy. I don’t mean that everyone should be investing in individual stocks or crypto, but it is important to invest wisely. By wisely, I mean heavily diversified through low-cost vehicles like ETFs.

At the beginning of your career, saving up will be the most critical component of your wealth creation process. Still, as you grow older, you can benefit a lot from your portfolio returns, and the earlier you start, the larger the compounding effect will be (i.e. returns on returns) for your future wealth.

What do you think about the future of fiat money? Does it have everything to keep on depreciating? How important do you think it is that now, more than ever, we protect our money from the ever-increasing devaluation of money as we know it?

Devaluation of money, i.e. inflation, is as old as fiat money. When kept under control, inflation is healthy (or at least not harmful) for an economy. Given the recent massive increase in circulating currency, I think it is more important to keep diversifying and investing to remain protected against inflationary pressures, particularly when major central banks are starting to relax their inflationary goals.

We have been living in a low inflationary environment for two decades in most major economies. Our society has been working under these assumptions for so long that our expectations are very sticky. Salaries and prices are updated slightly every year, but that’s it. If our expectations shift and we adjust to a high inflationary environment by increasing wages and prices more regularly, it will be much harder to decelerate this trend.

I believe it was a necessary evil given the unprecedented times we are going through, but I am not optimistic about the consequences. Nevertheless, I hope I am wrong.

Are you familiar with the concept of decentralized finances (DeFi)? If so, do you think it’s part of the future of finance, or just momentary hype?

I am betting it will play an important role in the future of finance.

Our trust in institutions is very low. The misbehaviour of major financial service players has been well documented. The amount of moral hazard in the system grows with the size of these institutions and the costs of regulation.

DeFi addresses these challenges by first being more inclusive, reaching a larger share of the global population.

Secondly, trust is a system feature that brings down the costs of regulation. Self-governing protocols are easier to trust because regulation is embodied into the system, not something to be finetuned following a crisis and then deregulated through intense lobbying.

Its unit economics are also more favourable given its mostly digital-based and P2P. It can eat away margins from incumbents (like banks) that currently hold a lot of power from heavy barriers to entry, benefiting consumers.

Having said this, the ecosystem is still young, and as any, it will go through some hardships before it reaches a decent maturity level that enables it to reach mass adoption. Still, I believe the end result is better than our starting point.

For fun:

What’s the first trip you want to do post-Covid?

  • I was fortunate to have the opportunity to travel during Covid. Zanzibar and Sardinia are the places I have visited and recommend.

Which book do you think everyone should read at least once?

  • Brave new world, particularly the debate between the main characters towards the end of the book, which includes an incredible perspective on happiness.

What’s your favourite ice cream flavour?

  • Stracciatella

Start growing your business now

Get started Book a demo

Check out our blog posts