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Harnessing Automation to Fight FinCrime Throughout the Financial Lifecycle

Roland Alston, Appian
August 11, 2023

In 2022, financial services firms faced over $8 billion of fines for anti-money laundering (AML) process failures. And for many, things aren’t getting better—false positives keep rising right along with client expectations. Regulations continually increase in number and complexity and criminals are getting ever more sophisticated in their tactics and techniques.

Financial services organizations can’t afford to be slowed down by siloed data sources, fragmented processes, or brittle, inflexible legacy systems. How can they stay ahead of regulatory change and fraudsters while managing their costs?

“Technology can help organizations overcome some of these limitations and constraints,” said Guy Mettrick, Industry Vice President of Financial Services at Appian, in his Appian World 2023 session: Automating the Financial Crime Lifecycle

Optimize onboarding.

“Think about the data you collect in the initial Know Your Customer (KYC) process,” said Mettrick. “It’s all from different systems and sources. Now think of each of the work processes attached to this data. All of this information needs to be reviewed, enriched, changed, and updated.”

If you present that data to your investigators in a clear way that’s consistent and makes sense to them, you facilitate their ability to do the value-added elements of their job without making them waste time trying to figure out where all the data resides. This is where automation comes in, eliminating manual tasks for busy employees and bringing all the data together. It saves time, keeps important details from slipping through the cracks, and makes everyone happy, from customers to regulators.

Mettrick cited real-world results from State Street Global Advisors, which used Appian to decrease its onboarding time by 20% while improving the customer experience. The company was also able to improve operational efficiency and manage its risk much more effectively.

[ Learn how to implement a process that helps you quickly and effectively assess customer risk in the whitepaper: How Successful Banking Institutions Automate the Financial Crime Lifecycle ]

Accelerate screening and alerts.

As a financial institution, when should you stop a payment, offboard a customer, or file a report with a crime agency? As these critical questions increase in volume and complexity, financial services firms have less time to make a decision. 

Mettrick said that organizations must accelerate their screening processes to keep pace as the world moves to real-time payments. Technology—specifically automation coupled with applied AI—can help here as well, accelerating initial triage, mapping connections across individuals and entities, and improving matching rates in areas like sanction and PEP screenings.

The end result: fewer false positives and faster issue identification and resolution.

Evaluating solutions and getting started.

The right automation solution boosts productivity and efficiency at every stage of the financial lifecycle, from showing internal auditors and regulators that your risk controls are effective to better managing your processes.

“Companies know where they are in that process,” said Mettrick. “They understand the things that are being done. They don't get multiple requests for KYC documentation because the system is managing and controlling all of that.”

Look for an automation solution that delivers a centralized view. “Data fabric—the ability to integrate data from many disparate systems and bring that into a single pane of glass—is absolutely key,” said Mettrick. “Also look for process mining capabilities, the ability to do real-time analytics, and the ability to engage users to interact effectively with the system.”

Mettrick’s final words of advice? Just get started. “You don’t have to do all of this, and you don’t have to do it all at the same time,” he assured the Appian World audience. “Often, what we are seeing is that, if you have the right technology, then you can start to do this in a very iterative way.” 

Mettrick called it a “digital revolution by evolution,” with a few highly focused projects that deliver value in a short amount of time, with minimal disruption. 

Discover how to harness technology to manage the evolution of fraud, fight FinCrime, and automate the financial lifecycle. Watch the entire Appian World 2023 session by clicking the link below.

[ Get insights on using technology to manage the lifecycle of fraud and financial crime. Watch the webinar: Automating Across the Financial Crime Lifecycle. ]