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IBM进军管理科技 看好合规性产业未来

11月收购合规性咨询公司Promontory Financial Group后,IBM成功打入管理科技市场。两家公司共同开发了认知计算平台Watson,以解决复杂法律问题为着眼点,帮助银行应对监管要求。

GTR拜访了IBM 公司Watson金融服务解决策略(Watson Financial Services Solutions)副总裁Marc Andrews,就新型管理技术的潜力以及IBM进军管理合规性的原因进行了探讨。

GTR:IBM收购Promontory、进入管理科技领域背后的理念是什么?

Andrews:Watson的第一次商品化从医疗保健领域开始。我们与医疗保健借贷机构密切合作,基本教会Watson了解这一领域。

然后我们想要把这些功能扩展到其他领域,而我们认为利益最大的就是金融服务领域。因为目前银行在合规性事务方面面临巨大压力,但是却没有其他方式或者新近竞争者帮助他们缓解这份压力。换句话说,银行处理这种事务不是因为它能给银行带来多少额外利润,而是不得已而为之。

GTR:管理科技中你最关注哪一领域?

Andrews:我们选择了四大领域。其中两个领域早已做出了解决方案,但一到两个月内其他两个领域也会给出解决方案。

第一个领域围绕监管改变经营。Watson能够读取法规及其他监管条文(说明、指导、演讲、法律案例),预先处理法规,识别金融服务公司的潜在责任。Promontory已经训练Watson识别、分类这些债务,检查、验证、输出对监管法令的解读。

第二项在监督领域。我们最初关注交易商监督,整合多领域信息,除了交易活动,还关注他们的在线通讯、电子邮件、聊天甚至语音记录。另外,我们发现相同的功能还能在行为不端中有更多应用,比如销售欺诈、产品适用等。

另外两个领域是客户调查领域及反洗钱领域。我们已经提出解决方案,通过调查、补救活动把顾客流水化,帮助银行及其他金融机构实现从身份证件确认到实施处罚、无纸化筛查、广告新闻查询、利益所有人确认等等客户调查要求。

我们进入反洗钱监测事务时,发现应用现有的事件检测手段大部分机构疲于解决虚假警报。在所有处理的警报中,大多数机构最终只填写1%到2%的疑似活动报告。这就意味着这些机构有98%的误报率。我们利用Promontory的专业技术,结合我们的认知能力、机器学习功能,大幅度降低误报率,这是我们关注的另一个领域。

GTR:这一产品推出后,你已经与许多银行有过接触。让这些银行接受管理科技解决方案还有多长的路要走?

Andrews:这其中有许多变数。我们接触过各级银行,涵盖顶级国际金融机构到二级甚至区级银行。每一层级都能看到许多变数。

我们观察到,许多银行富于前瞻性,即使许多科技还处于实验测试阶段,但他们还是已经开始应用这些科技和功能了。还有许多银行在思考阶段。但老实说,有些银行有点落后,仅仅还在尝试追赶、处理特定管理条令的阶段。

GTR:管理科技如何能够惠及银行?

Andrews:主要有两大方面。第一,银行面临不断增加的监管要求,需要努力有效解读、理解监管要求。

第二,降低合规性开销。如今银行必须确认风险承受能力、想要遵守的合规性等级,这将会产生一定费用。如果银行想要降低风险等级,必须增加开销。我们正在改变风险/开销曲线,让银行能够适应日益增加的合规性要求,降低风险等级,而无需持续增加开销。

GTR:管理科技能够帮助银行减少合规性雇员吗?

Andrews:管理科技能够帮助银行更加有效地利用雇员。大多数机构现在必须引进或联系额外人员来解决额外的问题。

我接触过的一家银行说,如今三大合规性分析中50%的时间花在了收集、整合信息上。25%花在检查、分析、决策上。剩下的时间要用来写文件、列举证据、填写表格、完成报告。而我们产品的功能就可以高度作用于第一与第三类任务,这样员工可以花更多时间、分更多资源去做深度分析、决策。

GTR:有些人认为机器人将会接管银行的大多数合规性工作。但是银行仍在增加合规性开支,雇佣更多的员工。那是否对技术的能力太过乐观?

Andrews:我不认为对技术的能力太过乐观。这主要要理解现实,了解什么可接受。

许多技术和管理科技公司正在考虑技术领域。老实说,我们曾经一度退出这一领域,但是我们意识到我们需要深刻理解管理过程、法规合规性要求。

哪怕有再多的进程可以自动化解决,但一旦出现合规性问题,如果出现员工行为不端或最终让坏人逃脱,监管者不会仅仅说:“没关系,因为你使用机器人或机器做决定。”最终监管者会认为银行负有责任,需要他们提供相应等级的风险管理。

GTR:采用监管科技解决方案最大的障碍是什么?

Andrews:最大的障碍是银行处于某种特定的管理行为中,银行仅仅为了应对特定的监管行为。这有点像动画片里两个洞穴人努力推装满石头的方轮车。这时有人给他们提供了圆轮,他们会说,不,谢谢,我们太忙了。这是个绝佳类比。最大的障碍就是压力。

GTR:管理科技能够改变监管者的工作方式吗?

Andrews:最初开始与监管者接触和合作时,我们努力说服他们支持创新技术应用。然而,当我们的分享这些方案时,他们开始返回去讨论,说这是我们自己内部可能会用到。这些问题贯穿所有,从提升消费者保护、分析投诉更佳方案、追踪可疑事件更佳分析到提高监管内部交易及其他活动的能力。

GTR:最后,管理科技将革新合规性领域吗?

Andrews:不管是金融服务机构还是整个产业,管理科技绝对有很大的几率会极大地促进机构应对合规性方案发展、改变监管合规性。管理科技也有机会促进金融市场稳定、安全,帮助打击金融犯罪。

IBM is one of the new big players in the regtech space, after it acquired compliance consulting firm Promontory Financial Group in November. Together, the companies are training IBM’s cognitive computing platform Watson to crunch complex legislation and help banks comply with regulatory requirements.

GTR caught up with Marc Andrews, vice-president at IBM’s Watson Financial Services Solutions, for a chat about the potential of new regulatory technologies and why the company decided to devote their attention to regulatory compliance.

GTR: What was the idea behind the acquisition of Promontory and entering the regtech space?

Andrews: When we first went to commercialise Watson, we started in the healthcare space. We worked closely with leading healthcare institutions and basically taught Watson to understand that domain.

We then looked to start expanding these capabilities to other domains. The industry that we felt could benefit the most was financial services. We looked at what areas technology, and more importantly, analytics and cognitive technology, had not been applied in any significant way. We looked for processes and activities that were highly manual intensive, required a lot of human intervention, and where the only way to address increasing requirements was to add people and increase costs. We also tried to identify the areas where organisations may be more open to collaborating towards a shared goal. That’s what drove our decision to focus on regulatory compliance: it’s an area where banks are under pressure to do more, yet it’s not competitively differentiating for them – they do it because they have to, not because it adds value to the bottom line.

GTR: What areas of regtech are you focusing on?

Andrews: We picked four areas. We have already delivered solutions for two of them, we will be delivering solutions for the other two within the next month or two.

The first area is around regulatory change management. Watson reads through the regulations and other regulatory content – commentary, guidance, speeches, legal cases –pre-processes those regulations and identifies the potential obligations of financial services firms. Promontory has been helping us train Watson on the identification and tagging of those obligations, and reviewing and validating the output of the interpretation.

The second area is around surveillance. We initially focused on trader surveillance and incorporating information from multiple places, including not just the trading activities but their electronic communications, email, chat and even voice. In addition, we found that a lot of these same capabilities can be applied to broader types of misconduct like sales malpractice and suitability of products.

The other two areas are around know your customer (KYC) and anti-money laundering (AML). We have been building a solution to streamline customer due diligence and remediation activities, to help banks and other financial institutions to meet their KYC requirements – from ID verification to sanctions, pep screening, adverse news media search, identification of beneficial owners and so on.

As we get into transaction monitoring for anti-money laundering we see that most organisations are struggling in that they generate a lot of false positives through their current transaction monitoring approaches. Most organisations end up filing an SAR (suspicious activity report) for only one to two percent of all the alerts that are generated. That means you have a 98% false positive rate. This is another area where we’ve been leveraging Promontory’s expertise combined with our cognitive capabilities and machine learning to dramatically reduce false positives.

GTR: You have been talking to a lot of banks after launching the product. How far are they when it comes to adopting regtech solutions?

Andrews: There is a lot of variability. We have been talking to everyone from the top tier global financial institutions to tier two and regional banks. At every tier, you see so much variability.

What we are seeing is that there are a couple of banks that are very forward-thinking, starting to apply some of these techniques and capabilities. But even those are more at the experimental pilot stage. There are a lot of banks that are in the thinking stage. And then, frankly, there are some banks that are somewhat far behind, still just trying to catch up and address the specific regulatory rules.

GTR: How can regtech benefit the banks?

Andrews: There are two main areas. The first is that banks are being asked to address increasing regulatory requirements, and they are struggling to effectively interpret and understand what their regulatory requirements are.

The second benefit is to reduce the cost of compliance. Today you have to make a decision of what your risk tolerance is and, based on that, the level of compliance you want to adhere to, which will drive a certain level of cost. If you want to reduce your risk, you need to increase your costs. We are shifting the risk/cost curve, and enabling banks to address increasing compliance requirements and reduce their risks without continuing to grow costs.

GTR: Can regtech help banks reduce compliance staff?

Andrews: It’s more about how the banks can more effectively utilise their staff. Most of these organisations are having to bring on and or contract additional resources to handle these extra loads.

One of the banks I’ve met with said that today, 50% of three compliance analysts’ time is spent just collecting and aggregating information. 25% is spent going through, analysing and making a decision. The rest is spent on documenting what they did, generating the evidence, filing it and completing the reports. These capabilities can dramatically impact both the first and third category, so they can spend more of their time and devote their resources to doing the more in-depth analyst analysis and decision-making.

GTR: Some believe that robots could take over majority of banks’ compliance work. But banks are still increasing their compliance spend and hiring more staff. Is there too much optimism about what these technologies can do?

Andrews: I don’t think it’s optimism about what the technology can do. It’s about understanding the reality and what is acceptable.

A lot of technology and regtech companies are just looking at the technical side. Frankly we started going down that path, but we realised that we needed the deep understanding of the regulatory processes and the regulatory compliance requirements.

As much as you can automate, ultimately, if there is a compliance issue, if they end up with some employee misconduct, if they end up letting through a bad guy, the regulators are not just going to say, “that’s fine, because you had a robot or machine make that decision”. Banks are ultimately going to be held accountable by the regulators and need to ensure they are providing the appropriate level of risk management.

GTR: What is the biggest barrier to adopting regtech solutions?

Andrews: The biggest barrier is banks that are under specific regulatory action and are just inundated with trying to address that particular action. It’s like the cartoon where two cavemen are trying to push a cart full of rocks with square wheels on it. When the guy behind them offers them a round wheel, they say, no thanks we’re too busy. It’s a great analogy. The barrier is just pressure.

GTR: Can regtech change the way regulators work?

Andrews: What’s interesting is that we initially started reaching out and working with the regulators, and part of the initial discussions were around trying to gain their support for applying these innovative technologies. However, as we shared those approaches with them, they started turning back, saying this is something that we could potentially leverage internally.

This goes through everything from enabling consumer protection, better analysis of complaints, better understanding of what suspicious activity they should follow up on, and improving their ability to monitor for insider trading and other activity.

GTR: Finally, can regtech revolutionise compliance?

Andrews: It definitely has the opportunity to drive a dramatic step change in how organisations are addressing regulatory compliance, and to transform regulatory compliance, both within financial services organisations and in the industry as a whole. There’s an opportunity to drive greater stability and security to the financial markets and help combat financial crimes in general.


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