If you are heading the country's largest ratings agency, you have a good understanding of the pulse of the economy. Ashu Suyash, MD & CEO of CRISIL Ltd, an assignment she got three years ago, doesn't shy away from expressing her views on risks the Indian economy faces as well as its growth prospects. The 51-year-old professional, who honed her skills at the fund management and banking industry, expects the economy to grow 7.3-7.5 per cent in the current year, but is worried about the geo-political situation.
For the ex-Citibanker who previously headed asset management businesses at L&T and Fidelity in India, the transition has been smooth. Her mandate three years ago was to stabilise operations after the sudden exit of the CEO and identify new areas of opportunity and growth. She started focusing on two-three areas to take the franchise to the next level. First, she led growth into risk analytics and intelligence space. CRISIL added good quantitative analysts and created a slew of services such as stress testing, model validation and market risk. Today, it serves more than 90 per cent of the banking industry by assets. In fact, for CRISIL, consultancies became competitors. She also focused on emerging markets to leverage the strengths of Indian and US operations. "We extended two of our offerings, infrastructure advisory and risk solutions, to onboard clients from emerging markets," she says.
Under Suyash, the 30-year-old CRISIL, majority owned by global ratings agency S&P, has also stepped up its technological capabilities. "It is time for us to make CRISIL future ready keeping in mind the next 30 years," she says. While risk was one area, she realised that analytics is the common thread that powers CRISIL's business. "Towards this, there are three major foundation capabilities - agility, strengthening the technological base and unlocking the value of data," she says. In January this year, CRISIL bought data analytics company, Pragmatix. This company is an analytics and solutions player in the risk and business intelligence space. "The company has been completely integrated. It links very well with our vision of becoming a global analytics player," she says. CRISIL has also launched Quantix, a cross-sector data analytics platform with information about 25,000-plus companies.
As an outsider, Suyash has brought in a client-side view at CRISIL. "Success is all about knowing your customers. It is even better if you can anticipate their needs," she says. And this is working well both for Suyash and CRISIL.