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The leading knowledge platform for the financial technology industry

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KYC Focus: Top Tech Tips for 2020 with WorldWatch Plus

The financial markets are a tricky place to be these days, buffeted by winds of change coming from multiple directions. With social, economic, and political pressures piling on top of an already onerous regulatory burden, firms might be forgiven for feeling a little overwhelmed. The good news is that technology is keeping pace, providing new solutions to help meet the ever-evolving challenges. With KYC and AML two of the biggest touch points for 2020, we sit down with WorldWatch Plus CEO and Co-Founder Chuck Papageorgiou to figure out the hottest future trends for the RegTech space.

A KYC and global risk screening service offered by compliance and due diligence specialist International Screening Solutions (ISS), the firm raised £1.5 million earlier this year from a round of US tech investors in order to develop the service further, including the addition of an AI virtual adjudication agent to its risk screening platform, with plans to double revenue in 2019. And it sees big possibilities in the AI space going forwards.

“Technologists are getting more adept at leveraging AI to deliver Intelligence Augmentation to analysts and other decision makers,” notes Papageorgiou. “We are continuing to enhance the fuzzy logic, heuristic analysis, Natural Language Processing, and Cognitive AI engines behind the platform while focusing on masking the complexities and delivering a simple UI/UX.”

But it’s not just AI that is driving forward technological advancements. “As KYC/AML requirements expand, more of our clients are demanding a seamless, visible, and common interface between their internal systems and KYC/AML platforms,” explains Papageorgiou. “That aligns with the basic architecture we developed behind our GRIX (Global Risk Information eXchange) platform and we are continuing to enhance our API and other workflow capabilities to accommodate this trend.”

There are icebergs looming ahead in the form of potential economic and political pressures, not to mention regulatory updates, that must be considered when evaluating a KYC strategy. The most obvious of these is of course the anticipated Sixth Anti-Money Laundering Directive, which proposes stringent new provisions – including harmonised sanctions against non-compliance – which are likely to increase the demand for effective KYC/AML solutions.

“The focus on holding companies liable for the acts of individual employees with “leading positions”, etc. and the further clarification/expansion of the definition AML to include/expand to “intentional conversion or transfer of property derived from criminal activity, concealment or disguise of the true nature of property derived from criminal activity; and acquisition or use of property derived from criminal activity” will extend the need for KYC/AML solution deployment to multiple industries,” explains Papageorgiou. “We are already experiencing that with new customers such as REIT (Real Estate Investment Trusts) who want to assess who buys/sells property.”

With a growing digital customer population, it is urgent for companies to improve their process efficiency as best they can – but, warns Papageorgiou, that might be easier said than done, given the current regulatory environment.

“There are so many divergent views on how to best regulate industries for KYC/AML that it’s nearly impossible to develop a strategy that extends more than a couple of years in the future,” he states. “However, we have a general direction that regulations will increase, rather than decrease.”

Hear Chuck Papageorgiou speak in person at our upcoming panel on ‘How to digitize the customer experience with KYC and AML Innovation’ at A-Team Group’s RegTech Summit New York on November 14. Book your place here.

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