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AML AND IDENTITY CHECKS: LESSONS LEARNED FROM THE NATWEST CASE

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Experts share advice to implement watertight AML systems

 

NatWest’s landmark money-laundering case has dealt a huge blow to consumer trust in online banking; an industry that more than three quarters (76%) of UK consumers already admit they don’t fully trust, according to research from anti-money laundering specialists, SmartSearch1.

The ongoing lawsuit being faced by the high street bank has put others on high alert to the threats and scale of money laundering in the UK, but experts warn this case is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to financial crime in the UK.

So, what can businesses learn from NatWest to avoid the same costly pitfalls? John Dobson, CEO at SmartSearch, shares his expert insight:

 

Customer trust is shaken

Among the high street banks there really are no two ways about it, your customers must trust that their money is safe with you. Never has this been more prevalent either, with the pandemic forcing many into online banking after the closure of more than 200 branches around the country last year2.

With NatWest now facing criminal prosecutionafter the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) accused them of failing to appropriately scrutinise numerous suspicious cash payments, this scandal has not only damaged the bank’s reputation but has also impacted consumer trust across the industry.

We know from our research that trust is paramount, so it’s more important now than ever that businesses do everything possible to instil trust among their customer base.

 

Better electronic identity verification

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen a case of this scale in recent years. Australia’s Commonwealth Bank fell into similar difficulties in 2018 and ended up paying £400 million in fines as a result of failing to adhere to the strict AML regulations4.

Even in pre-pandemic times, AML procedures and regulations would frequently change and update to ensure they were as robust as possible, which unfortunately makes way for human error. Over the past year, the use of electronic verification has accelerated, as has the need for more rigorous online security checks.

Developing the right procedure before implementing it is key. By adopting a watertight, multi-layered identity check process, you will eliminate the chances of fraud and ensure any suspicious activity is flagged.

 

Combine the right technology with robust training

Utilising this kind of system whilst ensuring all staff are kept up to speed on AML law and policy will go a long way to preventing any shortfalls in the process, which will ultimately safeguard against failings.

At SmartSearch we have developed an innovative TripleCheck system, requiring all customers to complete a three stage ID check, including documentation checks, facial recognition and digital fraud and data referencing checks. This approach makes it easy for businesses to identify and eliminate fraudulent activity, helping them to stay AML compliant at all times to avoid sanctions.

To support businesses which are thinking of strengthening their current AML framework with electronic identity verification, John shares the key steps to take:

1. Given how easy it is to create forged copies of hard documents, it’s vital to implement a framework that requires no more than a name, address and date of birth to carry out a full, global search to verify the customer’s ID.

2. When looking at online solutions, a single platform with multiple database searches is more streamlined and effective than having to check with multiple platforms, such as Equifax, Experian, then another separately.

3. Check how the business stores customer details. Not all solutions automatically update the database when changes occur, such there are updated PEP lists and so implementing a system that is aligned to make these changes makes the process more fool proof.

4. You don’t necessarily have to invest huge amounts in new IT infrastructure to submit and receive data. The quickest and simplest access for users is through the browser on your company laptops and desktops, which are safeguarded by heightened security and protection.

5. It’s vital to check how easy it is for anybody in the company to use. The most advanced technology should be easily accessible for people who need to use it day-in day-out, and not the just IT dept, to avoid any confusion or mistakes when handling personal information.

6. Ensure the ID verification system you implement includes FCA compliant data records automatically. If your business is required to provide an audit, having a system designed to incorporate detailed records which are fully compliant will save you time.

7. Using technology such as facial recognition will further enhance the level of certainty when checking an ID. If integrated with global database searches and document verification you can be sure you have a watertight system that meets all regulations.

 

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SALESFORCE EXPANDS ITS FINANCIAL SERVICES OFFERINGS WITH NEW PRODUCTS FOR CORPORATE AND INVESTMENT BANKING

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Tailored tools integrated into Financial Services Cloud support the industry’s transition to digital-first, helping deals get done from anywhere
New technology provides bankers with stronger productivity, collaboration and compliance capabilities
AI-based research assistant allows bankers to uncover key client and prospect relationships

Salesforce (NYSE: CRM), the global leader in CRM, today announced Corporate and Investment Banking for Financial Services Cloud, new technology to help bankers and deal teams deepen their relationships with clients, manage deal interactions on one platform and compliantly collaborate and share sensitive information relevant to a deal.

As the pandemic made clear, industries need to innovate fast to stay relevant. Financial services is no exception; investment bankers need digital tools to drive efficiency, build and deepen relationships with customers, and win more deals. They also require a single view of large amounts of client data, integrated in one platform, to help avoid mismanagement.

In addition, compliance officers are working in a banking landscape wrought with regulatory complexities, including managing sensitive information like material nonpublic information and assessing potential conflicts of interest. Banks can suffer reputation damage, business disruption, regulatory fines and revenue loss if sensitive information is mismanaged, conflicts of interest are not caught in time, or compliance is not securely maintained.

“Bankers are looking for new ways to deepen relationships with clients, facilitate warm introductions, and develop new business through data-driven client insights,” said Jujhar Singh, EVP and GM of Salesforce Industries. “With Corporate and Investment Banking for Financial Services Cloud, we’re providing bankers with new ways to build and deepen relationships with customers and manage key accounts by leveraging artificial intelligence. With these new innovations from Salesforce, bankers can spend their time as trusted advisors for their clients by accelerating deal pipelines and better managing sensitive information to ensure they remain compliant through every step of the deal.”

 

Introducing Corporate and Investment Banking for Financial Services Cloud

Corporate and Investment Banking for Financial Services Cloud is designed to deliver a complete experience across the client journey, and supports new integrations with Tableau CRM and Einstein Relationship Insights (ERI) to provide bankers with purpose-built technology. This includes:

  • Maximizing banker efficiency and productivity. Investment bankers can manage the entire deal lifecycle while tracking deal activities and client interactions on one platform from anywhere. Using Salesforce low code tools, they can automate deal execution processes related to M&A, capital raising and corporate restructuring. With the power of Tableau CRM for Financial Services, bankers can use deal analytics to optimize their deal pipeline and client engagement with access to historical client data, previous pitches and meeting notes all in one place — and from the device of their choice.
  • Uncovering relationships with an AI-based research assistant. Einstein Relationship Insights (ERI) is a new relationship discovery tool integrated with Financial Services Cloud. It understands a banker’s context across Salesforce records such as accounts and contacts, and searches the web to find mentions of the relationships, often discovering unanticipated relationships between key people and companies. For example, if a banker wants an introduction to a prospective client, ERI is able to search unstructured data and text on the web, such as a new board member announcement, uncovering that the prospect sits on the same non-profit board of advisors as one of the banker’s connections, providing the opportunity for a warm introduction.
  • Ensuring compliance for client engagement. Investment banks can maintain compliance by ensuring sensitive client or deal data is only shared with relevant stakeholders. For example, if a banker is working on a sensitive M&A deal, she can ensure her colleagues trading related stocks do not have a view into the prospective M&A deal under consideration. Also, a banker can initiate the client onboarding process from Salesforce, and track the progress with partner solutions.
  • Leveraging data as a strategic advantage. Bankers often need to log into seven or eight systems to access relevant information to their deal. Now, bankers can integrate internal data on deal mandates with external market data from partners — such as S&P Global — for a full view of their clients. Bankers can access company valuation from S&P Global while viewing information such as revenue, employee salaries, and other potential risks all within Salesforce, avoiding the need to switch between multiple applications.

 

Major banking institutions are already leveraging Salesforce to engage more deeply with their clients:

  • Evercore, a leading global independent investment banking advisory firm, recognized the value a robust technology platform could bring to their business. Evercore selected the Salesforce platform to create a secure, centralized solution designed to provide bankers with access to relevant client information. As a customer, Evercore will benefit from the innovation delivered through Corporate and Investment Banking for Financial Services Cloud focusing on client relationship mapping, internal collaboration and other functionalities specifically designed to deliver a more personalized experience for investment bankers.
  • TD is one of the largest banks in North America. As part of its strategic technology roadmap, TD is building a unified banking experience including leveraging the Salesforce platform across their businesses. Within TD Securities, a comprehensive Salesforce driven CRM solution is being implemented to help bring leading products and trusted advice to their clients.
  • Moelis & Co. is a global independent investment bank that provides financial advisory services to corporations, governments, and financial sponsors. With Salesforce, Moelis & Co. is able to better streamline banker processes. The mobile-first application keeps bankers and deal teams updated on recent client activity and using passively collected data, they are creating more efficient ways to gather suggested relationships for bankers to rate. With this technology, bankers have more visibility into who has the strongest relationships and who has had the last touchpoint with the client, enabling Moelis bankers to better collaborate and maintain a well-coordinated presence with their clients.

 

Extending corporate and investment banking through the Salesforce Partner Ecosystem

Salesforce has an extensive partner ecosystem that provides unique expertise and solutions for financial institutions globally. ISV partners such as S&P Global Market Intelligence and Fenergo extend and complement the value of Financial Services Cloud. Additionally, consulting partners Silverline and VASS are experts in corporate and investment banking and are equipped to implement financial services solutions tailored for individual customers.

 

Comments on the News

  • “We work in a highly competitive and dynamic industry, requiring that our bankers have relevant information at their fingertips,” said Tim LaLonde, Chief Operating Officer at Investment Banking, Evercore. “We are designing and implementing our Salesforce CRM to function as a central nervous system for our advisory business, enabling us to provide critical and timely advice to our clients.”

“Investment bankers today spend an inordinate amount of time trying to gather information to prepare pitch decks, capture call reports, manage deal lifecycles, and track compliance processes,” said Spencer Mindlin, Capital Markets Industry Analyst, Aite Group. “To address this, banks must employ automation and AI to improve processes associated with prospect management, information collection, deal management, and legal operations. These innovations free up bankers to spend more time with clients and are key to staying competitive.”

 

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CROWN AGENTS BANK ACCELERATES INNOVATION AND GROWTH PLANS WITH THE APPOINTMENT OF HEAD OF FINTECH AND CHIEF COMMERCIAL OFFICER

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  • Industry leaders David Mountain and Joe Hurley appointed to Crown Agents Bank’s Executive Committee
  • The new hires will drive forward further innovation in the bank’s technology      portfolio to support payments and foreign exchange (FX) in emerging and frontier markets
  • Bank has seen a transformational period with 65% YoY growth

 

Crown Agents Bank has today announced two significant hires to its Executive Committee. David Mountain joins as Executive Vice President (EVP) and, in a newly created role, Head of Fintech. The leadership team is further strengthened by Joe Hurley joining as Chief Commercial Officer (CCO). The appointments come following a transformational 18-month period for the bank, with the launch of new digital financial services and a continued 65% year on year growth in the business.

David Mountain will be responsible for M&A and strategy, as well as the use of strategic technology. David brings over two decades of experience to the role, having been a successful entrepreneur building Accucard, an online credit card business that was sold to Lloyds TSB and, most recently, as a board member of US-based fintech ProducePay, which was voted the top start-up in Los Angeles in 2020.

Joe Hurley joins Crown Agents Bank as CCO, building the bank’s strategic client coverage and business development. Joe was previously Senior Vice President and member of the Management Committee at Discover Financial Services, working on innovative M&As such as the acquisition of the Pulse Debit business, Diners Club International and investment in fintech companies, including Marqeta. Joe also spearheaded putting together Discover Financial’s Net to Net partnerships, which included ELO, RuPay, JCB and UnionPay.

 

CEO of Crown Agents Bank, Bhairav Trivedi, comments on the new hires: “My vision for the bank very much involves being a first-mover on developing and offering our clients cutting edge technologies that give them an advantage over their competitors. David’s and Joe’s expertise in the finance sector and their impressive network, built up over years of being at the forefront of the fintech scene, place them in the perfect roles for driving forward Crown Agents Bank’s technology-first strategy.  Particularly in emerging and frontier markets, digital services are a priority, and through David’s and Joe’s leadership, we will continue to achieve – and accelerate – our growth in delivering tech-driven, market-relevant solutions to these often-underserved regions.”

 

On his role at Crown Agents Bank, David Mountain, EVP and Head of Fintech, comments: “Crown Agents Bank has a phenomenal global network in markets where it is traditionally difficult to build strong relationships. This, coupled with the bank’s technology capabilities, places it in a unique position to best serve these hard-to-reach markets. My job now is to continue to build on these solid foundations. I’m excited by the innovation in financial services that have emerged over the last 12-18 months and look forward to working with the Crown Agents Bank product teams to develop and add even more new services to our portfolio.”

 

Joe Hurley, EVP and Chief Commercial Officer, added, “I am driven by being part of the dynamic growth at Crown Agents Bank. It’s hugely exciting to be joining at a time when Crown Agents Bank is looking at how new innovations can be applied to deliver traditional banking services more efficiently, as well as expand its technology services to offer completely new services that meet the needs of those who have struggled to access financial services. Our team will be laser-focused, with a clear product roadmap to target the best-of-breed partners, and I look forward to leading the charge on continuing to drive this forward.”

As well as the appointment of David Mountain and Joe Hurley, Steven Marshall moves from Chief Commercial Officer to undertake a newly created strategic role of Chief Product and Network Officer. Steven and his team will be focused on creating and building new products to support market growth as part of Crown Agents Bank’s global expansion plans.

 

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