Behind the Idea: NorthRow | The Fintech Times

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Many banks are still stuck in the dark ages when it comes to digital transformation. Their operations have long been defined by their disjointed technology strategies and whether through fear or cost many have been reluctant to engage constructively with RegTech. This needs to change, and quickly. If we are to realize the associated benefits – such as reducing the costs of compliance and de-risking of operations – as well as feel the wider economic impact of this burgeoning business sector, then more and more targeted support from both is needed to accelerate the adoption of RegTech. If the financial sector is unwilling to embrace RegTech of its own accord, then our regulatory authorities need to step in and mandate it.

At NorthRow, we have welcomed the recent publication of the City of London report and the subsequent conversations it has generated. There is a real opportunity for the RegTech industry to influence and steer regulated organizations away from the current challenges and business pain, suffered from overly manual and burdensome processes. Using RegTech, and having access to actionable insight, will in turn deliver proactive compliance with better business decisions.

Adam Holden, CEO, Northrow

Adam holden, CEO, NorthRow, is a successful senior executive within the RegTech industry with experience of building teams and accelerating growth strategies.

What has been the traditional company response to financial technology innovations nationally ?:

We know from the report that regulated businesses have been slow to digitally transform to adopt technology to deliver regulatory compliance. However, we at NorthRow know that it is technology innovation that drives the development of the financial industry. There has been innovation in the past with internet banking, and more recently startup banks that have focussed on the front-end for customer experience, but the infrastructure behind the scenes is severely dated and lacking in functionality.

Banks in particular have the wealth and resources to implement digital compliance and still have the time before their industry faces business disruption that goes beyond their existing fears of legacy systems and lack of internal resources.

How has this changed over the past few years ?:

In 2018, there were reportedly just 60 worldwide digital challenger banks, the so-called Neobanks, that had launched up to that date. In just three years the number has increased by more than four times to at least 256 live Neobanks.

The Global pandemic has obviously driven the need by customers for mobile banking and payments and when we track the data over the last 2 years we can see that there was a Neobank launched every five days somewhere in the world.

As we see the rise in these Neobanks, driven by customer demand, there will also be a need for ongoing compliance monitoring solutions and potentially, if not handled efficiently, larger remediation projects. The team at NorthRow has focussed specifically on addressing the pain points of compliance and have developed solutions to deal directly with making compliance as efficient and insightful as possible. Simply Knowing Your Customer (KYC) is no longer sufficient. You need to be able to understand your customer throughout their lifecycle in order to safeguard the business from risk exposure.

Is there anything that has created a culture of change inside the company ?:

As a technology-led business we have a common goal of delivering transformational change for regulated organizations, our motto is simple: Making Compliance Work. Our culture is one of collaboration with open communication between teams.

The importance of the right combination of talent and culture has helped us deliver effective technology to meet the growing needs in the world of FinTech and RegTech. In managing both of these elements we have been able to attract talent, which in turn sparks innovation and creates impact on the solutions we deliver.

What fintech ideas have been implemented ?:

Our latest product roadmap delivery is our NorthRow Insights tool. Clear insight into data enables a business to drive efficiencies. By integrating Insights into the NorthRow platform, organizations have access to a powerful tool that delivers against day-to-day tasks as well as provide intelligence on trends and future compliance demands.

On our recent webinar, 63% of the attendees told us that they did not know how many Amber cases they have within their compliance tasks. These are the cases that are neither approved / declined. And yet we know that 90% of the compliance costs sit within these ambiguous types of cases.

We have a saying within NorthRow – “if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it”. And that is why we have delivered NorthRow Insights, to enable compliance teams to identify, measure and manage all of their compliance tasks.

What benefits have these brought ?:

One of the biggest challenges risk professionals face is that they do not have clear visibility across their compliance operations. Much of the data is disparate across different platforms and sources. Understanding that business pain, NorthRow integrated Insights into its existing Workstation platform. Here are some of the benefits that can be achieved: –

  • One single data source to unlock insight into compliance data from onboarding through to ongoing monitoring
  • Continued Due Diligence through truly understanding every customer
  • Access to real-time data via an intuitive cloud-based application for management and business reporting
  • Ongoing KYC monitoring to reduce the risk of large KYC remediation in the future
  • Reduced manual referrals which increases operational efficiency
  • Dashboard alerts for ease of use across the entire compliance team

Do you see any other industry challenges on the horizon?

As referenced in the City of London report we all have a part to play in the digital transformation of compliance. At NorthRow we can articulate how our solutions relieve clients’ pain now, and design and build solutions that meet the challenges and continue to do so extremely well but we recognize there are other challenges to overcome.

Key reasons firms have not deployed RegTech solutions include lack of investment or budget, lack of in-house skill sets, data protection concerns as well as poor IT infrastructure.

In a marketplace that is still maturing, the question is whether corporate governance and the culture of financial services firms can keep up to speed with new tech as they deal with the above challenges as well as keeping up with regulatory change.

However, it will be the willingness of the Banks to adopt this technology. The regulators also have a part to play in this, but it’s within our to get over the barrier to adoption and simply drive companies to understand what is possible and the advantages is affords them.

Can these challenges be aided by fintech?

For the regulated industry to be able to achieve success, and survive on a competitive level, the adoption of a FinTech culture that brings the power of technology into their landscape to tackle regulatory issues is essential.

The two industries of RegTech and FinTech sit side by side. There are efficiencies to be had as both play an important role in streamlining the processes whilst meeting compliance regulations.

Digital transformation, using a single-point API cloud-based applications, provide key advantages in terms of scalability, cost-effectiveness, flexibility as well as security.

  • Polly Jean Harrison

    Polly is a journalist, content creator and general opinion holder from North Wales. She has written for a number of publications, usually hovering around the topics of fintech, tech, lifestyle and body positivity.



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