Interview: Hugo Chamberlain, smartKYC

clock • 3 min read

Automation is vital in the modern financial services world, simplifying regulatory compliance and handling enormous amounts of data

AI is widely accepted as part of modern life today, especially in corporate environments. It's proven its value many times over, especially in situations where it can take over time-consuming manual tasks so that humans can focus their efforts on important and interesting work and decision making. 

The modern world as a whole relies on technology and data, making AI-powered automation essential. 

"In our opinion, AI is most effectively used to cut out the noise and then to find meaning and definition in data," says Hugo Chamberlain, COO of smartKYC. 

The financial services sector, in particular, handles enormous amounts of digital information, as well as compliance and regulatory requirements.  

"Regulators in all jurisdictions are now asking financial institutions to provide a level of regulatory compliance that is so extensive we believe it is only realistically achievable with AI technology and products like smartKYC." 

Specialising in all three of these areas, smartKYC won Best Use of Automation at this year's AI & Machine Learning Awards.  

"It is always exciting to win, but in this circumstance that excitement was magnified by the fact that the win was awarded for a proven solution rather than a concept or potential development. 

"This award win was related to a product specific to our industry: smartKYC developed the industry's first robo-onboarding solution for high net-worth clients of its kind. We were immensely proud when it went live with a large wealth manager - and that pride has now grown further by the fact that the solution has been recognised as being ‘award-winning'... 

"I was careful when drafting our submission to give a detailed, play-by-play case study of how the automation was achieved. This meant that the submission was detailed, focused and most importantly, it was a reality and not a theory." 

The win has been a real boost for the smartKYC team, cementing the fact that they are on the right path in terms of development and future planning. It's recognised outside the business, too. 

"Particularly in the wealth management segment, managers servicing clients with high net worth know the importance of continuously validating and confirming sources of wealth, as well as the narrative to wealth. With this award win, our clients can feel confident that smartKYC has an industry-leading approach to this. 

"In the retail, private banking and corporate investment banking sectors, or firms dealing with high volumes of new clients, robo-onboarding is now the new normal, and it is essential in a post-Covid world. To be able to say that we have an award-winning product that automates the client onboarding process strengthens our position in the market." 

Even with the win secured and recognition achieved, smartKYC is certainly not resting easy. So, what does the future hold? 

"Over the next 12 months, smartKYC will be constantly developing semantic languages in their natural language and respective alphabet and scripts, to ensure risk is searchable in any foreign jurisdiction or frontier market. 

"There is no ‘stop' when it comes to developing natural language algorithms, and we are striving to maintain our position as the most advanced multi-natural language processing adverse media screening solution in the world."

Other areas of focus include building more connectors to other data sources - structured and unstructured - and continuing to develop and launch both new and existing products. For example, smartKYC expects Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) risk screening to be a significant area of focus over the coming year, as organisations scrutinise their supply chains and environmental risk.

Chamberlain says the appetite for automated technologies among smartKYC's customers has risen "exponentially" in the last 18 months, and the future looks even brighter. "We can only see this interest increasing in a post-Covid tech-enabled world," he concludes. 

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