Automated AML transaction monitoring can lead your compliance team out of the darkness

Adherence to compliance regulations is no easy feat for financial institutions. The compliance team depends on immense accuracy and timely information to get their tasks done properly – and the right tools can lead them out of the darkness. An AML transaction monitoring solution has the ability to sift through millions of transactions, match them against risk profiles, and automatically identify suspicious behaviour in real-time or on a scheduled basis, while minimising false positives.

It’s critical that the AML transaction monitoring solution identifies and alerts the financial institution of any transaction that may lead to money laundering, fraud, and/or terrorist financing. The best types of AML transaction monitoring solutions include integrations with sanctions & watch lists, a robust rules engine with AI capabilities for customer profiling, a comprehensive workflow with full audit trail for investigations, and real-time alerts which will, undoubtedly, make the compliance team’s lives easier to detect suspicious transactions.

All transactions should be monitored based on a combination of customer profile and risk level, with specific details relating to customer behaviour and transaction detail taken into consideration. When a transaction is flagged, an alert should be generated and the investigation procedure to resolve the case should take place. This procedure needs to be clearly defined in a written policy and enforced beforehand, so that quick and accurate action can be taken when suspicious transactions are flagged.

Streamlined investigation process

It is important that the compliance team investigate each and every alerted transaction. The AML transaction monitoring solution should provide account and transaction activity statistics on the customer in question, so that the information required for an investigation is all in one central system. Furthermore, financial institutions need to create a centralised investigative unit to follow-up on these flagged transactions while a standard protocol needs to be in place for all investigations.

In serious cases, these investigations can lead to the filing of a Suspicious Activity Report (SAR), an important source of information for law enforcement agencies to initiate action. That is why it is critical for investigators to collect all relevant information, prepare the report, and submit it to senior management so they can decide whether or not to file a SAR. The ideal AML transaction monitoring solution is able to export key information into the format of a SAR report at the click of a button.

The compliance manager should have a global view of all the data collected through the transaction monitoring process. This dashboard should illustrate the number of flagged transactions, false positives, true positives, SAR filings, and rule performance so that the AML transaction monitoring solution can be continuously fine-tuned. Finally, it is crucial to measure how investigators resolve cases so that it can be shown that follow-up procedures are being maintained with a full audit trail readily available.

ComplyRadar – it pays to comply

ComplyRadar utilises a full risk-based approach to eliminate disruption to genuine customers, detect potential criminal behaviour, and demonstrate full ongoing compliance. It monitors transactions related to individuals, accounts, and entities to detect suspicious activity quickly and effectively, through a fully audited process to inspect and act on flagged transactions. For more information on how ComplyRadar can help you avoid reputational risk and potential fines, contact us today.

What Is Responsible Gambling And How It Affects Customers And Operators

It’s all fun and games – until it’s not. Although gambling is a popular and undeniably fun pastime, it should not be treated as a means to generate income. That’s where responsible gambling comes in. The concept of responsible gambling is a broad one which holds several policies and requirements that apply to gambling stakeholders so as to make sure that they respect protocols and provide a safe gambling experience for all.

A brief look at the 7 types of responsible gambling areas

  • Protection of vulnerable customers – This can be controlled through self-exclusion programs, limits on the amount of money and time players can spend on the gambling website, reality check functionalities, and the possibility of setting a financial limit to a gambling account.
  • Prevention of underage gambling – Operators must take the necessary steps and precautions to prevent people under the legal age (18-21) from playing by presenting a clear registration process while players are setting up their gambling account.
  • Safety measures against criminal activities – Operators can prevent fraud and criminal activities by installing software programs that detect and block money laundering and hacking.
  • Information privacy – Strong policies need to be in place to control access to private information such as customer names, addresses, and phone numbers.
  • Online payment protection – Operators need to make sure that personal customer payment information is safe and secure. This can be done through a reliable software program to protect all data.
  • A secure online environment – Operators need to make sure that their websites are secure, fun and enjoyable for customers to gamble at.
  • Ethical and responsible marketing – Advertising should be factual and not target underage or vulnerable customers.

The above responsibilities are mainly targeting operators, however for responsible gambling to be a success, players also need to be self-aware and abide by rules such as:

  • Gambling is seen as a form of entertainment and not as a means to earn money.
  • Customers should never bet more than they can afford to lose.
  • Customers should self-assess their time spent gambling, take frequent breaks, and check their wins and losses.
  • If customers feel that they, or someone they know, have a problem with gambling, there are organisations that can provide the necessary support.

ComplyRadar can help operators provide a safe and enjoyable gambling environment

ComplyRadar helps you address the responsible gambling requirements by automatically identifying problematic behaviour in real-time or retrospectively. It monitors gambling activity on an individual customer basis which is then measured against each specific customer’s profile. This automated process provides you with a unique betting fingerprint for each of your customers – enabling quick detection of out-of-profile activity for all your customers. For more information on how ComplyRadar can help you provide a safe gambling experience for your customers, contact us today.

Don’t gamble with your regulatory responsibilities

Is problem gambling becoming something of a public health emergency? This is the question on everyone’s mind in the iGaming industry, and to be completely frank – we need to take it seriously.

Look at the UK, and you’ll find that the Gambling Commission has, over the years, been gaining ground when it comes to its regulatory reach. This probably comes as a direct result of a fair, few well-documented issues across the industry – specifically surrounding problem gambling, insufficient anti-money laundering measures, and rising concerns about underage players – none of which have been properly squashed yet. Because of this, stricter legislation is more than likely on the horizon. Responsible gambling and serious regulation aren’t just expected, but mandatory for any iGaming business looking to compete and succeed in the long-term. Improved player protection measures and quicker, more effective detection of addictive behaviour patterns is at the very top of the priority list, with tighter regulation surrounding anti-money laundering measures also at the centre of the discussion globally.

The biggest industry names are sitting up and paying attention to these new regulatory demands, investing significant resources and budget in a bid to not only meet these challenges head-on, but surpass expectations to boot. The issue remains, however, that changes to gaming regulations are coming hard and fast, with most industry players struggling to keep up.

Finding the balance between compliance and customer experience

So, the real question is, are your systems robust yet agile enough to keep up with these regulatory changes? How will this impact your most loyal customers and VIPs? Industry leaders do place a premium on compliance, but they also must meet and anticipate changes without compromising on customer experience. iGaming companies need to maintain a compliant, frictionless, efficient experience for their genuine players, but actually getting there using a manual approach or legacy systems in this dynamic regulatory environment is becoming more difficult every day. Future-proofing your business is more important than ever before, so try and invest in the latest technology early on in the game.

First, up the ante and identify at-risk players ASAP with behavioural monitoring. You’ll be able to provide support earlier on, and when it comes to anti-money laundering measures, it’ll allow you to hone in on suspicious behavioural patterns on a granular level. Next, look at ways to effectively leverage technology to drive change and meet ever-changing industry demands. You might need to overhaul your legacy systems first, but there are a whole host of modern solutions available to keep you ahead of the game.

Work smarter with automated transaction monitoring

ComplyRadar utilises a full risk-based approach to eliminate disruption to genuine customers, detect potential criminal or problematic behaviour, and demonstrate full ongoing compliance. It sends you notifications on the transactions that matter and enables you to automatically apply a full-pattern analysis to instantly see suspicious transactions in real time. You can then manage flagged transactions through a comprehensive, fully audited review process leading to the closing of a case. For more information on how ComplyRadar can help you maintain the right balance between stringent regulation and customer experience, contact us today.

Why you need an automated AML transaction monitoring solution

We’re living in the digital age, meaning we’re all too familiar with how the online sphere has dominated the world of financial transactions, particularly in recent years. Naturally, a consequence of this is that cybercrime and online money laundering have risen exponentially. Automating your AML transaction monitoring process, rather than doing it manually, will give you superior results with increased consistency – while you save time and money. Here’s a bit more on why you need to make the switch to an automated AML transaction monitoring solution ASAP.

Your customers and brand deserve it

Sure, theoretically you can opt for the manual route, but a manual transaction monitoring process is time consuming and error prone which can lead to a negative customer experience. More importantly, if your competition opts for automation before you do, then you fall behind and risk compromising your brand and the success you’ve earned so far.

Regulators will look at the leading names using automation when devising new regulations, leaving you to play catch-up. The days of having this information examined manually are long gone – the digital age waits for no one. Automation is inevitable, so you might as well be proactive, seize the opportunity, and get ahead of the curve. You’ll be amongst the leaders, rather than reacting to what others have done before you.

Increased accuracy and consistency

A team of people can never be as consistent as an automated system. Compliance officers cannot function at peak efficiency for long, with factors like fatigue and human error coming into play. Work rates will inevitably slow down over time, and mistakes will happen. Aside from all this, manual monitoring does not have the scalability that its automated counterpart offers – which is significant for any company attempting to keep up with global regulations.

The bottom line is this – purely manual methods are a thing of the past. We’ve seen automation on the rise across virtually all industries, at least in some capacity, and the financial sector is no different. Every financial organisation needs to facilitate maximum efficiency while being able to scale and adapt accordingly. With that in mind, there remains no doubt that automated AML transaction monitoring is the way forward.

ComplyRadar – it pays to comply

ComplyRadar helps address AML transaction monitoring requirements by automatically identifying suspicious behaviour in real-time or on a scheduled basis, while minimising false positives. It monitors transactions related to individuals, accounts, and entities to detect suspicious activity quickly and effectively, through a fully audited process to inspect and act on flagged transactions. Contact us for more information on how ComplyRadar can empower you to stay on top of the ever-changing regulatory requirements and make the right risk decisions, faster.

What is AML transaction monitoring?

Even if you’re not directly involved in the Banking & Finance or Gambling & iGaming sectors, there’s a pretty good chance that you’ve at least heard – or read – about Anti-Money Laundering (AML). It refers to a set of laws, regulations, and procedures intended to prevent criminals from disguising illegally obtained funds as legitimate income. Even though AML laws cover a relatively limited range of transactions and criminal behaviours, their implications are far-reaching and nearly impossible to detect without the right AML transaction monitoring software.

AML transaction monitoring software helps businesses operating in the Banking & Finance or Gambling & iGaming sectors automatically monitor their customers’ financial transactions so that suspicious activity can be identified in real-time. A proper automated system will achieve the following:

  • Minimise false positives by applying a risk-based approach and adapting scenarios to customer and/or transaction risk levels.
  • Spot patterns and outliers by monitoring behaviours alongside historical transaction data and other contextual profile data.
  • Check each customer transaction against their individual profile to identify any transaction that does not meet their historical behavioural patterns.
  • Compute running values and statistics to define complex scenarios that need to consider past activity.

How AML transaction monitoring software works

AML transaction monitoring software looks at everything from deposits and withdrawals to international wire transfers, currency exchanges, credit extensions, or any kind of payments in or out of accounts. By identifying patterns over time, the system learns to predict your customer’s actions, detect any unusual (potentially suspicious) behaviour, and send out immediate alerts to your compliance team for further investigation. 

Companies big and small use this technology to fight against all kinds of fraud and money laundering including structuring, double invoicing, and round-tripping – but that’s not all it does. This sophisticated software also plays a central role in sniffing out terrorism financing and any customers who might be trying to avoid international sanctions. The main benefits of AML transaction monitoring software are as follows
 
  • Comply with global regulations
  • Protect your reputation
  • Instil a positive customer experience
  • Minimise risk exposure
  • Avoid potential fines

ComplyRadar – it pays to comply

ComplyRadar utilises a full risk-based approach to eliminate disruption to genuine customers, detect potential criminal behaviour, and demonstrate full ongoing compliance. It sends you notifications on the transactions that matter and enables you to automatically apply a full-pattern analysis to instantly see suspicious transactions in real time. You can then manage flagged transactions through a comprehensive review process leading to the filing of a SAR when required. Contact us for more information on how ComplyRadar can help you address the AML transaction monitoring requirements by automatically identifying suspicious behaviour in real-time.

Using AI and machine learning to fight money laundering

Data scientists have done a great deal for us in the way of making our financial lives easier and, without a doubt, more secure than ever before. These advancements aren’t always used for good, however. While technology has brought the financial world forward in leaps and bounds, it’s worth remembering that this same technology is used for far more nefarious reasons: cybercrime in its many forms.

The Cost Of Money Laundering

Fighting money laundering is a massive, costly mission that needs to be perpetually in motion. For context, anti-money laundering (AML) measures cost European banks roughly €18 billion each year, with their US counterparts shelling out approximately €22 billion annually.

Banks all over the globe need to have their fingers firmly on the pulse of the fintech ecosystem, and that means paying close attention to their transaction monitoring standards. Failure to do so could leave banks with a hefty fine. The last ten years have seen a whopping 90% of Europe’s banks slapped with fines for failing to take the required AML measures – that’s €23 billion on fines alone.

Changes in the tech landscape

Staying at the forefront of tech is crucial for any organisation hoping to remain relevant in a highly competitive industry. AI and machine learning are developing at breakneck speed, with the biggest cloud providers in the industry making them a clear priority over the last few years.

This tech has the potential to completely revolutionise the front and back-end operations of financial bodies across the globe, boosting risk management efforts, maximising efficiency, and reinforcing the effectiveness of financial crime investigations across the board. Embracing this new tech can also minimise costs by helping financial institutions meet regulations more efficiently, freeing up human resources that can be assigned to other vital areas of the business in the process.

Types of AI and machine learning

There are two types of AI and machine learning, each with its own set of pros and cons – supervised and unsupervised. Supervised learning involves using a model trained using data that has already been categorized to raise a red flag on to any transactions that seem suspicious.  In unsupervised learning, what happens is that raw, uncategorised data is introduced to the system, making it start from scratch. By interacting with that data, the system starts to identify patterns indicative of money laundering activities while also creating new ways to sort and analyse data.

The bottom line

As intelligent as this tech may be, it’s only as good as the data you feed it, so investing in talent should remain a top priority. You can’t expect any model employing AI to work without any sort of human input or testing – not yet, at least. Take transaction monitoring, for example. Each transaction needs to be evaluated against a set of risk-based rules. Even the most advanced monitoring systems to date leave banks with a substantial number of false positives, and that’s when the reviewer comes in to cast a human eye over the results before moving forward. In order for any financial institution to get the best out of its human and tech resources, the two need to work hand in hand. Employees need to feel empowered to work with machines and AI, and tech needs a human element in order to continue moving the industry forward.

ComplyRadar to the rescue

ComplyRadar monitors transactions relating to individuals, accounts, and entities to detect suspicious activity – quickly and effectively. Its machine learning transaction filter provides an additional probabilistic layer on top of the rules engine. This not only drastically reduces false positives but also provides additional data output which is not being captured by rules. For example, the machine learning algorithm can identify that a particular new combination of data is resulting in suspicious transactions. Contact us for more information on how ComplyRadar can automatically identify and react to suspicious behaviour in real-time or retrospectively while minimising unnecessary alerts.

Key challenges Financial Institutions face when tuning AML Transaction Monitoring software

Financial institutions across the globe are under unprecedented regulatory pressure to improve their AML Transaction Monitoring systems and ensure they are correctly tuned to detect money laundering and terrorist financing. Recent fines given to institutions who failed to detect suspicious activity and therefore meet regulatory standards have served to demonstrate the importance of having an effective compliance program and the right rule-tuning in place.

Finding the right balance in rule-tuning

Getting the tuning right can be challenging without the appropriate configuration. Solutions can either generate too many false positives, or the scenarios can be “turned down” so that genuine suspicious activity goes undetected. While triggering excessive false positive alerts costs both time and resources – as compliance teams struggle to handle the high number of alerts in depth – doing the opposite and performing tuning to reduce the amount of false positives can lead to officers overlooking suspicious activity, thus undermining the efficacy of the compliance program and potentially subjecting the company to regulatory scrutiny and eventual penalties.

The various AML Transaction Monitoring rules 

Rules can vary in complexity depending on the monitoring needs of the institution in question, and are designed to monitor customer activity outside the scope and ability of profile-based monitoring. Here are a few of the many rules that can provide the tools necessary to fine-tune an AML Transaction Monitoring solution, as well as the challenges they may pose.

In an attempt to reduce false positives, financial institutions often create exclusion lists. These are lists of customers they’ve marked as “non-suspicious” and therefore excluded from the transaction monitoring rules based on their historical alerts which were ultimately flagged as false positives. While this approach certainly does its job in reducing false positives, these lists must be reviewed regularly for potential changes in their transactional behaviour to prevent illegitimate transactions getting through undetected and unimpeded.

The objective of the structuring rule is to identify attempts to avoid regulatory reporting of a large cash transaction by breaking the transaction into smaller amounts that fall below the reporting threshold. However, a legitimate businessperson may make a number of deposits in amounts that look similar to a structuring pattern, in which case, the rules needs to be tuned to trigger an alert based on a combination of the pattern of the transactions and the profile of the customer, rather than the transaction activity alone.

The aim of applying a velocity rule is to identify suspicious activity and flag accounts where there is rapid movement of funds into and out of an account, such as a large part of a deposit which is debited from an account in a short period of time. However, if a customer instantly pays off a high volume of bills upon receiving their monthly pay, this could trigger an alert because of the velocity of the transactions. Therefore, such legitimate behaviour patterns need to be taken into account when tuning the software in order to reduce triggering false positives.

A final challenge of tuning rules is that it is not a one-time task. Rules need to be continuously applied and reviewed over time to identify potential new risks that are not covered by the current monitoring process in place. 

Ensure effective AML Transaction Monitoring with ComplyRadar

ComplyRadar minimises false positives by tailoring scenarios to customer or transaction risk. It enables you to increase effectiveness over time by fine tuning rules through back testing without the need of technical personnel. Contact us for more information on how we can help you give regulators and banking partners confidence with a clear audit trail of monitoring and investigations.

Why manual AML Transaction Monitoring processes do not scale in iGaming & Gambling companies

With the rise of money laundering and online fraud, iGaming & Gambling companies everywhere have had to up their game and optimise their transaction monitoring solutions against such risks. Leading iGaming & Gambling businesses across the globe have even been heavily fined by the relevant authorities for failures related to compliance. Therefore, a good AML transaction monitoring solution is important not only to prevent crime and protect your brand, but also to keep regulators happy and to grow your business. In this article, we measure the weaknesses of manual transaction monitoring against the strengths of its automatic counterpart. 

Recurring problems with manual AML transaction monitoring

Reduced Productivity

There are only so many cases and transactions that each member on the team can work on manually, which results in a significantly lower throughput. When cases are highly involved, a manual transaction monitoring process may not have the capacity to deal with them as quickly or as efficiently as required. 

Higher Costs

The number of cases and transactions will increase as your business grows, leading to a need for more employees to handle the growing number of cases and thus resulting in a greater overall expense.

Lack of consistency

Each compliance officer processes things in a different way due to differing working styles. The resulting inconsistency means that suspicious activity may only be detected by a certain number of officers. Because manual transaction monitoring relies on the capacity of human memory, officers often need to pause their work to take notes, having to stop whatever they are doing and start again. This situation is often aggravated when there are multiple cases to work on.

More room for error

Transaction monitoring processes have to evolve with the times as techniques for money laundering change. This means having to train and re-train old and new employees – and even with the best instructors, mistakes can frequently occur when processes change or when there are judgement calls to be made.

ComplyRadar monitors transactions relating to individuals, accounts, and entities to detect suspicious activity – quickly and effectively. It automates the AML transaction monitoring process, empowering you to automatically identify and react to suspicious behaviour in real-time or retrospectively while minimising unnecessary alerts.

ComplyRadar also enables you to:

  • Avoid reputational risk and potential fines
  • Improve customer experience and increase retention
  • Reduce human error and reliance on reports
  • Automate time-consuming manual compliance processes
  • Decrease the number of tools needed for the compliance team
  • Easily adapt to ongoing regulatory changes
  • Simplify auditing through an electronic audit trail of investigations

For more information on how ComplyRadar can help you maintain the right balance between stringent regulation and customer experience, contact us today.