Jaime González Aguade is a successful financial consultant based out of Mexico City. Having worked in both the public and private sectors, he is committed to providing his clients with top-quality service. Valuing higher education, Jaime obtained his economics degree from The Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM) before attending Yale University, where he received a master’s in public and private management with a specialization in finance.
After returning home to Mexico, he served as the CEO of a development bank and was later appointed Undersecretary of Electricity at the Ministry of Energy. He was also named President and Chairman of the National Banking Securities Commission. Through this role, he helped Mexico gain a competitive edge in the marketplace and helped establish a law in support of Fintech development.
Where did the idea for your career come from?
After working for twenty-five years in public sector, I knew it was time to make a change. Since we passed thirty-four laws through Congress that ultimately helped change the financial sector, I knew it was time to take my expertise both as a bank manager and regulator to help bring value to clients.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I like to exercise so I try to do that four to five days a week. Physical activity gives me the energy to be productive during the day.
I also try to keep up with the news, especially finance and financial technology. Fintech for example, is one of the fastest growing sectors. As you know, technology moves faster than regulation. It always stays one step ahead of everyone that is in the mainstream financial markets, so you have to keep up to understand what is happening and to be productive with whatever you are doing for your clients.
How do you bring ideas to life?
That has been a challenge. It is very different doing it in the public sector than the private sector. In the public sector, you have to follow what is in front of you. In the private sector, I must stay focused on what my clients need.
Since I have knowledge of the financial sector, ideas will often come to me. It is easier to bring them to life when you have the knowledge to transform an idea into something more concrete. Collaboration with my group is helpful. Some of my partners here have worked together for over twenty years, and we come from different backgrounds with different skill sets. We get together a few times a week to talk about ideas and see what’s happening and bring an idea not only to life but to have something concrete to implement for our clients.
What’s one trend that excites you?
Mexico was one of the first countries to have a fintech law, which we wrote and saw passed by Congress. I am excited by how fintech is changing the financial sector, not only in Mexico but around the world. Some of the things that were established by the huge players in the financial market are now being challenged by smaller players that bring innovation, that bring disruption, that bring new ideas and a new way to serve their clients to the market. I think that trend is only beginning and that it is going to change how we approach finance and technology and how we interact with the financial sector in our everyday life.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Working in the government, I had to put in a lot of hours, roughly sixteen to eighteen hours a day. I am used to pressure and responsibility. I am used to meeting goals. Even though things are different between public and private work sectors, those traits that I acquired over more than twenty-five years of working in the public sector continue to make me productive.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would say to look more into how I can bring new ideas into the market. In Mexico, we lack a lot of innovation. That is something that the government and regulators do not promote, and I think that is something that our economy as a whole lacks. As you know, innovation is the centerpiece of economic growth and that is something I would try to promote to my younger self.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Although bureaucracy is not well regarded around the world, and there is certainly a lot of bad press in Mexico, the people I know within the public sector work a lot and are very responsible. There are many well educated, responsible people that work in this arena because they have a conviction to help others. Public service is one way for them to help society.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
You have to be true to why you are doing this. If you start something just to be rich, then you are not going to get anywhere. You have to have your convictions that you are bringing value to your clients and then other things will come, but if you don’t keep those principles in mind, then it will be very difficult to be successful.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Do not being afraid to go into other markets. With some opportunities, we were not sure if it was what we wanted to do in the beginning, but if opportunity knocks you must be prepared to take it.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Some of the partners in my firm previously worked for me as employees, so it is different now that we are partners and we must become a more integrated group. Part of it is understanding where they are coming from, their expectations, and how they want to communicate and achieve things in this partnership. To overcome those difficulties, we had to understand what each of us wants to take from the firm and find a way to grow together as a team.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I would encourage them to take advantage of the fintech opportunities that are in the financial sector in Mexico. Mexico has a very concentrated banking sector. The law gives opportunities for entrepreneurs to enter this market. Payment systems, crowdfunding, those sorts of initiatives are very good to start right now with the new law and the possibilities that the Mexican market provides.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
In twenty-five years of working in finance I have never subscribed to any financial newspapers or magazines. To be able to keep up with whatever is happening in the sector now, I bought a few subscriptions to some newspapers and magazines. I can wake up and look at my cellphone and have all that information first thing in the morning. It was money well spent.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
I need to keep in touch with my clients and with people in the financial sector, so Outlook really helps me. I work on my own without an assistant, so I have learned to take advantage of some of the features that I was not aware of before. I am using Zoom for meetings. Mexico City is a very difficult place to get around, so those kinds of things are very helpful.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
One I just read that I really like is by Stephen Hawking called The Grand Design. During the pandemic I was also taking a course called The Big History, which is the history of everything going back to the creation of the universe.
What is your favorite quote?
I like a quote by the astronomer Carl Sagan. He said, “For extraordinary claims, you need extraordinary evidence.”
• I am proud of serving in the public sector for over twenty-five years and having implemented laws to encourage fintech development and innovation within Mexico.
• I now use my accumulated public sector experiences to provide value to my clients in the financial and energy sector
• Always keep learning and looking for ways to innovate
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.