Insights | 2020-05-19

What more is there to say about AI in the world of financial crime? Plenty.

A lot’s been written about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on Anti-Money Laundering (AML), sanctions, and other efforts to combat financial crime. The conclusion is always the same: things are far worse now, and will be for the foreseeable future. Vulnerable populations are more at risk of exploitation due to the economic side effects of lockdown, there is more criminal activity, and, worse,  new kinds of criminal activity. Financial Institutions are struggling to maintain their old processes from scattered remote locations while facing a surge in suspicious activity. And the criminals aren’t waiting for the banks to catch up – they’re busy taking advantage of the chaos and taking the opportunity to slip their money through the banks unnoticed.  Regulators expect banks to keep up, criminals hope they don’t.  In sum, it’s not a pretty picture.

Keeping up is hard enough for big banks. Some are fortunate to have machine learning and other sophisticated technologies already embedded in their processes. However, that’s generally not the case for all financial institutions, many of whom have until now been able to mitigate their regulatory risk with a mix of some technology and a lot of manpower. 

The question they must face now is whether they can keep up with what used to be “good enough”.

They have two options. First, they could make no changes, but does this create an overwhelming backlog of alerts and additional, unknown risk? The second, and superior, option is to make use of existing resources by supporting them better. That’s where AI can help. 

Incorporating AI doesn’t mean replacing the analysts with robots. AI supports analysts by allowing them to focus on critical aspects of the compliance function. It’s human judgment augmented by sophisticated, fast, accurate and self-documenting processes. An AI-based KYC solution can quickly review account information against the parameters that indicate a likely match. Embedded algorithms then take it a step further, looking for deliberate or incidental variations in relevant fields that might otherwise throw off the analysis. The staff is then presented with a solution (true match, false positive, or escalate). The system also provides the evidence supporting the resolution, identifying the relevant fields and how well they match the target. 

With AI, the work has already been done, allowing the analyst team to focus on either checking the solved alert or moving to more complex financial crime matters.

Better still, the AI learns from the actions taken by the analyst, adjusting its parameters to reflect the analyst’s final determination in the rare case that it differs from the AI.

Two questions still stand out for institutions considering an AI-supported screening solution: first, will it be ready in time? Since the problem is immediate, solutions that won’t be online for months won’t be of much help. Secondly, will I be forced into a years-long contract? If it’s a typical arrangement, the bank could find itself locked into a multi-year contract long after the crisis has abated. 

The leadership at Silent Eight recognized this dilemma and have stepped in to address it.  On May 5th, the company announced that it will provide access to its cloud-based name and entity alert adjudication solution on an on-demand basis. The solution can be deployed in as little as two weeks, does not require any annual commitment, and clients only pay for the fully resolved alerts (for as little as $10 per alert). The solution is fully configurable and supports any type of alert, including Money Laundering, PEPS, sanctions, and internal lists, regardless of the geography covered. 

At a time when financial crime teams face a tidal wave of work with constrained resources, Silent Eight creates a new ‘star performer’ that allows you to resolve every alert quickly, accurately and with documented justification. For more information, contact amber.sutherland@silenteight.com

About Amber Sutherland
Amber is SVP,  EMEA Sales, at Silent Eight. She previously held leadership roles at HSBC Bank Canada where she was active in mitigating financial crime risk and acquiring new business. She served as a board member for the Association of Women in Finance from 2015-2017. In 2018, she left HSBC to help Global Relay develop and execute their go-to-market strategy in London, where she was the Regional Business Development Manager, EMEA. Follow Amber on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/amber-sutherland/.

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