Wayne Johnson, Co-Founder and CEO, and Roger Carson, Co-Founder and Global Financial Sales Director, encompass corporation
The cost of global financial crime is estimated to be around $3trillion – a sum that could fund the UK’s National Health Service for 24 years.
This stark comparison emphasises the fact that it is now more important than ever that banks and financial institutions use the resources at their disposal to obtain the full picture on potential customers.
Key to stopping criminals in their tracks – many of whom are using increasingly sophisticated methods to go unnoticed – is using the latest technology in order to truly understand a customer, both prior to onboarding and throughout that relationship.
Using intelligent process automation and artificial intelligence, encompass gathers and analyses a wealth of information to build a picture of a company or individual in minutes, transforming the Know Your Customer (KYC) process.
Discussing the current landscape, encompass Co-Founder Roger Carson said: “It’s a significant problem and there are significant sums of money involved.
“Unless people have their guard up or have ways of being able to look at these companies in more detail, then they do seem legitimate, hence the amount of money that is able to go around the black economy.
“But not everyone is laundering money, so if we can identify legitimate companies from the data we can allow a bank to focus on organisations that may not be as clean as they should be. The only way you can do that on a consistent basis is to apply technology.”
There is no denying that manually completing KYC processes that are both extensive and meet compliance regulations during customer onboarding can prove time-consuming and costly, largely due to experienced analysts being burdened with low-skilled, manual tasks.
However, automation has been shown to reduce the time taken to carry out these duties – and, in turn, increase productivity and ultimately profitability – by 80 per cent.
This type of analysis, which looks across all sources and gives a more extensive background report of a customer, also establishes patterns to find new ways in which criminals are using the financial system.
The efficiency this brings not only reduces risk but also improves customer experience, making attracting and maintaining clients more likely.
Wayne Johnson, CEO & Co-Founder of encompass, explained: “This is about helping to ensure that the institution deeply understands the customer.
“They [institutions] need to search and acquire information from many different sources around the world, so gathering information is time-consuming, analysis is time-consuming and then they have to draw a conclusion. That is where automation and AI can really play a big role in reducing that cost.
“We have developed a platform which combines that automated gathering of information with the AI analysis, to empower the analyst to effectively make decisions in a fraction of the [usual] time.”
Looking to the future, Mr Johnson commented that, with financial crime becoming more complex and criminals more resourceful, technology will remain the only answer.
He added: “Criminals are very innovative and will continue to find new ways to use the system. Without the use of technology to counter that, banks are always going to be on the back foot. They have to find ways to implement new methods to lower the costs, get a better result and manage the customer at the same time – that’s what our platform does.”