First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID19 times?
Martin M. Zorn: There are much worse places to be quarantined than on Maui, although I miss interacting with our staff in Honolulu and not visiting clients and prospects around the world.
Tell us about you, your career, how you joined Kamakura Corporation
Martin M. Zorn: I was with Wachovia Bank for 21 years and then CFO of community bank turnaround. During the 2007-2008 credit crisis, we had securities in our portfolio that stopped trading. Having known Kamakura for years, I immediately reached out to them and became a client. Using Kamakura Risk Manager and KRIS, I was able to “mark to model” these securities even as I could not do so with my existing software at the time. Following the credit crisis, I decided it was time to change careers, and I appreciated the risk management capabilities of Kamakura so much I joined the company.
How does Kamakura Corporation innovate?
Martin M. Zorn: Our innovation is based on two tenets – listen to the market and follow the science. With respect to the latter comment first, Dr. van Deventer and Professor Jarrow have been right on the issues related to risk management for many years and consistently years ahead of the market with respect to best practice. Combining technology with transparency and rigorous testing, we have been one of the most innovative risk management providers. As it applies to the first comment, our clients – the world’s leading banks, insurers, fund managers, and central banks share with us their concerns, and we propose innovative ways for them to measure, manage and control risk.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Martin M. Zorn: We develop deep and personal relationships with our clients. Not being able to visit with them has been the primary downside. “Zoom” calls do not replace the personal interaction that we are used to.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Martin M. Zorn: With travel cut off, we have seen on-site consulting work has been reduced. We had the flexibility to retain all of our staff, and our business is not one where we can staff up or down to ensure the support of our global clients.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety? How do you project yourself and Kamakura Corporation in the future?
Martin M. Zorn: We specialize in financial modeling. We may not have had a stress test that was specific to “COVID,” but our software allows users to examine “tail risk” or do a reverse stress test so they know the macroeconomic or financial factors that would cause a default or cause capital to fall to uncomfortably low levels.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Martin M. Zorn: We compete with some of the world’s most sophisticated financial and risk management firms.