In November, 2019, Standard Chartered Bank announced that it had joined forces with Quantexa to boost further their approach to fighting financial crime. In this conversation with SCB’s Head of Financial Crime Strategy & Innovation, Praveen Jain, and Quantexa’s CEO Vishal Marria, Financial Crime News probes deeper into the “why”, the “what” and the “how” to provide insights into an “industry first” and why it’s important.
FCN: What was the problem and what was the solution?
PJ: SCB was looking for a best in class solution to support its more than a thousand investigators in its hubs as well as in its Global Financial Intelligence Unit conducting complex financial investigations generated from processing over a billion transactions a year. We had built a strong investigative programme but we wanted to further help our analysts see more of the trees from the forest, and Quantexa stood out as the best solution that was able to both take in data, from internal and external sources and enrich that information and present it to our investigators in a way that really boosted our programme.
For me, responsible for providing the tools and technologies, our investigators rely on, the solution gives SCB the ability to analyse several years of information, amounting to billions of rows of data in real time, utilising a network analysis approach which allows investigators to identify hidden links and understand payment flows generating higher quality insights for the Bank and ultimately for law enforcement. At the same time, Quantexa’s visualisation techniques, through easy to process dashboards, make our investigators much more efficient as they are able to focus more of their time on the key parts of an investigation and less time on tasks such as information gathering.
VM: The solution deployed, uses Quantexa technology, but is tailored in partnership with Standard Chartered to reflect what they were looking for and is really an industry first. As Praveen says it enables investigators to better see through the mass of data, both internal and external, and bring needed clarity to that data so that investigators feel more confident in their work, in many cases simplifying the analysis leading to greater insights and even better decision making. Quantexa’s ‘Transaction Explorer’ capability allows investigators to query transactions from multiple vantage points, and make connections to provide context to determine how to conclude the investigation. Being able to link internal and external data, transaction and KYC type information such as business records and transactions has long been the holy grail for investigators, providing a much richer picture to make judgements than ever before.
FCN: How does Quantexa fit into the Standard Chartered fighting financial crime partnerships as you have numerous relationships with leading Reg-tech providers, just looking across the surveillance and investigations space?
PJ: Quantexa is one of the key central solutions that helps automate tasks for AML investigations. SCB always likes to work with Regtech providers where we can co-create a solution based on SCB knowledge and the partners technology expertise. The collaboration with Quantexa has led to solutions like Transaction Explorer.
FCN: How does Standard Chartered assess from an enabling technology perspective the current tools you are deploying with those say for example when you joined Stan Chart?
PJ: SCB has gone through a significant transformation in the past 5 years since I joined. The first few years were spent in replacing legacy solutions and laying a good foundation for data, solutions and controls. This has enabled us to now work with new technology solutions that augment our core screening and monitoring solutions. The work done in improving our data and our controls has also put SCB in good shape to react quickly to new surveillance opportunities.
FCN: And are there other ways that Quantexa can help beyond the current solution for Investigations?
PJ: The changes we have made continues to improve our capabilities. This includes exploring new ways to leverage the Quantexa solution to help mitigate other risks like Fraud and exploring detection capabilities. We also continue exploring new technologies to further identify risks and also build additional surveillance capability for new payment solutions.
FCN: What was different about the introduction into and partnership with SCB?
VM: Standard Chartered Bank’s desire to be one of the leaders in fighting against financial crime globally is striking and it is actively looking at innovative ways to achieve these goals. Standard Chartered’s broad customer and geography base provided a great platform for us to partner and develop this new solution and deploy it into production. In addition, the bank has a number of leading subject matter experts who truly collaborated with our technology experts to develop enhanced technology solutions which have now been operationalised across the Bank.
FCN: is Quantexa replacing or complementary to existing systems?
VM: Our overall aim is to complement existing technologies and investments. We believe in an ecosystem approach and one of our core product values is an open architecture that can be seamlessly integrated with and into existing IT and data estates. By working in partnership with global clients like Standard Chartered who are dealing with complex challenges around process, technology, people and regulatory drivers, we discovered an innovative way of working with large and complex data sets to provide contextual intelligence.
However, for this particular deployment at the bank the aim was to replace the incumbent investigations platform globally and provide a unique approach to investigate Financial Crime using AI, pattern analysis and Contextual Intelligence
FCN: Who else would benefit from using Quantexa’s product suite?
VM: Quantexa’s technology is making an impact at many Financial Institutions, whether helping to deal with high levels of complexity, disparate data sources and / or where they are experiencing high inaccuracy and inefficiency rates in their financial crime programmes. Organisations looking to automate labor intensive, manual intelligence gathering is a good fit for Quantexa technology, for example, we enable analysts with more time to focus on finding true risk, as well as improved consistency in the investigations process. Another good fit is for FI’s that are looking to improve the knowledge about their customers, connecting the data on customers and bringing that information together with transaction data into one place. This enables the FI to visualise the relevant relationships and behaviors to provide context for better risk decisions, greater customer focus and even the discovery of new business opportunities.
Even if a Financial Institution has invested into other technology vendors, the unique open architectural approach that Quantexa has taken, allows our platform to leverage these investments and still provide significant value using our Contextual Intelligence Platform.
FCN: What’s new at Quantexa? What can we expect in the future?
VM: We’re experiencing a great period of business growth and are expanding our operations across London, UK, Europe, North America, Asia Pacific and Australia to better support our clients. We also continue to innovate our technology platform adding new data exploration modules and capabilities such as ‘Transaction Explorer’. Our market strategy is all about supporting an increasingly connected world, so we are investing in cloud-based products, an area of increasing focus and expanding our partnerships with ecosystem providers such as Dunn and Bradstreet which was recently announced. In addition, we will be launching several new products in 2020 as well as further partnerships with FI’s.
This is an exciting time for Quantexa, but also for fighting financial crime. It is clear that their are new ways of working that can improve both the effectiveness and the efficiency of FI Financial Crime Programmes, and we are delighted to be increasing our capabilities and being trusted to help FI’s to do just that. At the same time we have found our solutions are taking off in other areas and even presenting FI businesses with new opportunities.
Praveen Jain, Head FCC Controls, Strategy and Innovation, Standard Chartered Bank
Vishal Marria, CEO Quantexa