Vicente Lage is the chairman of Cumbria FSC and its chief executive. Cumbria, the company of which you are the founder, will be 10 years old this October. During its lifetime it has firmly established itself by listening to the financial sector, innovating, and meeting objectives, until becoming the leading independent consultant for financial institutions that it is today. Lage leads a team of over 150 people, managing customer relations and the company’s business strategy. With nearly 20 years’ experience in business consulting, Lage has held various senior positions in the banking/financial services sector in multinational consultancies such as Arthur Andersen and Cap Gemini… He is currently intent on the international expansion of Cumbria FSC, which now has offices in Mexico and Colombia. Lage is an economist, with a Master’s in Business Management and Administration of Financial Institutions, and another in Banking & Capital Markets.
What role does the brand have for a company like Cumbria?
The brand’s role is crucial, strategic and fundamental for Cumbria, since the brand is everything in our market when it comes to achieving a position and being able to compete with the major well-established brands on level terms and create a position for ourselves. Another thing is how to build up a brand. We have already accomplished this and will continue to do so based on innovation, talent and proposals for the future, these being factors that differentiate us from more established brands.
Cumbria recently celebrated 10 years in the market. What milestones would you like to mention during the brand trajectory?
There have been several milestones. In the first phase, it entailed making ourselves known to potential clients; the second phase involved putting together an offer with added value and consolidating this offer; and the third one, now that we have entered the phase of international expansion and integration in a global partnership, enables us to provide our clients with a range of services on a global scale. And with an enhanced value-added response.
What comparative advantages of doing business with Cumbria as opposed to its rivals would you like to mention?
The The advantage has to do with what we spoke of at the beginning: innovation, talent and future proposals. There are consulting firms that have been well-established for more than one hundred years and offer their services in a consistent fashion, but in the same way they have always done. Then there are consulting firms like Cumbria, which offer a completely novel vision. What we try to do is to improve on what used to be the traditional way of doing things so as to adapt to the needs of the client and respond to global issues, which basically involve digitalisation, adjusting to the client’s needs, integration of new technologies and new ways of doing business.
What are the main criteria for deciding whether to enter a new market? Which markets are proving most successful?
There are several criteria. The first one is the level of market maturity. The second one, capabilities and competitive position; and the third revolves around the possibilities of putting together a noticeably different product. To ensure success, we have established a kind of segmentation on a worldwide scale, in light of our own capacities and those afforded us by our global partner. We have taken care of the larger, more competitive and more mature markets with a global alliance that covers the rest of Europe, the United States and Asia, since for us these are distant markets, or harder to penetrate. And we have focused on international expansion supported by that of Spanish companies already well-established in countries in Latin America, with a larger population, greater capacity for growth, and economic, financial and political stability. With such criteria, we have managed to gain a presence in markets that enjoy long-term stability rather than markets that are opportunistic with constant comings and goings.
As for success, we are having more in Mexico and Colombia because our proposal is extremely innovative and very different, setting us apart from our competitors, and clearly hitting the mark, in much the same way as the competition we had with other entities specialising in financial services. Furthermore, we have hit the nail on the head as they are economies that have had a much more positive track record in recent years than the Spanish economy.
What are the challenges and opportunities facing the brand both in Spain and abroad?
Our main challenge, after ten years, is positioning ourselves on a global scale. In fact, right now we are going through a phase of registering our brand worldwide so that we can embark on a second phase of expansion. The challenge is to position Cumbria, not only on a local scale in the three countries where we already have a presence or in those where we have an indirect presence through a partner, but to position ourselves directly in the most important markets worldwide. But this is a work in progress.