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Welcome to Youverify Compliance Interview Session, Episode 2. On today’s episode, we’ll be discussing tech compliance and its role in sustaining innovation in today’s rapidly evolving regulatory landscape.
Businesses face the challenge of navigating compliance requirements and regulatory requirements. Their ability to stay agile and compliant is crucial for maintaining business continuity, risk management and mitigation. Maintaining stakeholders’ trust is very important and most importantly, driving growth.
This session aims to delve into effective strategies that organizations and individuals can employ to adapt to emerging technology regulatory changes whilst fostering a culture of compliance. My name is Damilola Amodu. I’m the Global program coordinator at Youverify and I’ll be your host for today. I have an amazing guest in the studio with me but I’ll let him introduce himself.
Good to have you. Okay. My name is Elijah Etoh. I’m a risk and compliance professional. I am currently the head of risk and compliance with Spektra Technologies International Ltd. I’ve been in the financial services industry for over a decade and worked across four different Nigerian banks before venturing into the fintech space. I started this new chapter of my career with a unicorn in 2021.
After a short stint, I went back to learn more and know more about the fintech journey, where I was a recipient of the ACAMS certification, after that, I launched back into the FinTech space, which I’m currently in this role for over a year and six months. It’s a pleasure to be on the show.
It’s amazing. There’s a lot going on and looks like a whole trajectory in the compliance space.
Yeah, absolutely. It’s because I started my career in banking and the third line of defence, which is internal audit, where I realized that compliance seems to be more involved, more operational, and happens to be the liaison between the regulators and management.
So I want to be in that space where I am actively involved, participating, training people sharing knowledge and ensuring that there are not regulatory loopholes or pitfalls that organizations are exposed to.
Absolutely. And you did mention that you’ve worked with a couple of institutions. Do you mean you don’t currently work with a financial institution?
No. So what I meant was a proper bank.
So I started my career with Ecobank in internal audit, and then I moved on to the defunct Diamond Bank, which is now Axis Bank PLC. Afterwards, I went to Keystone Bank Ltd and then shortly I moved on to Union Bank. My last experience was the Union Bank before I moved into the fintech space proper.
So I’m currently in the fintech space and as you all know START fintech startups, leverage technology to also offer financial services. So that’s what I’m currently doing and I’m loving it.
Absolutely, I can tell. So there’s been a huge disruption in the tech ecosystem, in the financial services, in how we operate. In recent times, at Youverify, we’ve been at the forefront of this, providing technological solutions to aid compliance and ensure a seamless onboarding, you know, and due diligence and all of the intricacies.
How would you define the role of compliance within the tech sector and what has been the uptrend, right, considering its rapid evolution?
So compliance in the fintech space or in technological innovation is a must-have. In the fintech space, a lot of products developed there must comply with regulatory requirements and at the same time, because of the traffic, rapid evolvement and change in regulations, you also need to meet up and cope and meet up with evolving regulations and trends.
Compliance shouldn’t be an afterthought for players in a proper fintech startup should be involved from the product’s inception stage trial, the product lifecycle till rollout and launch, and then thereafter you will see that compliance helps the business as a business enabler, providing business advisory services, ensuring that you’re providing products that meets the needs of people, but at the same time not compromising standards or breaching any regulatory guidelines.
Overall compliance helps to ensure that you are alive to the environment and that it’s up with global best practices.
I completely agree with you and I do verify it as something that we like to propagate because it’s very important. A lot of startups believe that compliance should be an afterthought. They often neglect that part, then come back to it when things go south.
I really like the touch point of use, mentioning it as you know, and in design and concepts, what’s your experience been like with compliance tools? I mean, I mean compliance flows. I mean full-scale KYC. KYB, transaction monitoring. I know these are tools that you’ve probably, you know, played around with all that time. What’s your experience been like?
What are the pros and cons? Yeah, it’s it’s been great. Without these compliance tools or software, everything will be manual, slow, and sort of archaic and you need to ensure that with the rapid change in the fintech space, we are dealing with non-face-to-face clients. You don’t have walk-in customers who you get to see or verify physically.
You need to utilize technological and compliance tools, so I’ve had the opportunity to work with a couple of identity verification documents, compliance tools, same time, various tools for sanctions screening for transaction monitoring. You know, so if I’m checking adverse media and the like. So I say, for a fact that without these tools, your compliance program would be slow, would be archaic.
And what meets up with global best practices these days with a rapid rollout of products and the expansion in the fintech space, you cannot afford not to use this tool virtually for onboarding, for verifying customers, because like I said, the financial technology and fintech space does not involve face to face customer verification. So you need to utilize technological tools to aid your processes.
Which transactions are online in real-time and where there are deviations or instances of patterns about access? You root out fraud taking policing in you could quickly put in place to mitigate and set and stop a potential fraud that might lead to a huge catastrophic loss to the business. Technological tools have really helped the compliance function to be very, very robust, very useful and aiding business in several local.
I agree. And I like to add that it also helps businesses grow. Yeah, yeah. Cause compliance can actually be a unique selling point. If your business is foolproof, I would trust and trust is a very important currency in the financial space. So if I trust your business, I would refer to your business and even invest more in that business.
Absolutely. So scaling up with a lot easier to do original numbers, increasing your volumes, you know, ensuring that you’re bringing more people into your space, you can expand easily all of this very, very important. Then as you scale up, you increase your capacity using tools and ensure that security is key. And that’s why for me, I would say it’s going a step further to really go into the information security management space I’ve seen what the impact of cybersecurity has really done and the benefits, which is please.
So I went a step further to become a certified information security management professional and my main reason being that I have seen that you can not just be a traditional compliance professional only fostering email laws and regulations. Technology has come into play. You need to also know how to use this tool so you do not wait for lead engineering guys who are building the products or working in the backend to tell you what’s going on.
It may seem like jargon, but if you have that technological knowledge at the same time you’re able to provide solutions and keep them supported to help them ensure that you carry out your vulnerability assessments and penetration testing, make sure your system, your platform is very secure, foolproof, and ultimately business will grow. Scaling up your numbers. When numbers have grown, your colossus has had everybody talking.
Absolutely. At Youverify, we take cognizance of that. And that’s why we created a full-on compliance tool, right where you have everything you need, you have your KYC, you have your risk intelligence, you have your adverse media, the transaction monitoring, everything as well.
So and the beauty of it, you mentioned, I mean, you don’t have to wait for the engineering team or the product guys or any of that is very, very simple and has the advantage of most of these tools.
They are very easy. Some are local tools that you can explore to make life easy and protect your business entirely. I know you do work in this cross-border remittance of payments, and then when you say cross-border, we mean, of course, different jurisdictions, right? With that comes its own challenge. From your experience, how challenging has it been navigating this?
It’s been quite challenging because we product managers who when building these products, have to understand that you need to comply with different regulations from different jurisdictions and the flow of funds is in line with regulations in those jurisdictions.
You need to ensure that the proper KYC information collected is verified. You also comply with data privacy regulations and data protection. For me, my experience using Youverify as a platform is a one-stop shop where all of these things are on that platform so you do not have to navigate to two or three compliance tools or software.
Your KYC is there. You can verify identity documents and other checks. At the same time, you can also screen use against the sanctions list and carry out your risk assessments. You know what you need to ensure that does a high risk and low risk depending on their profile and the pattern of their business has been recorded and an automatic scoring is assigned to that customer as a spider is also their pet screening.
And I’ll tell you for a fact, my exposure to Youverify platform was really mind-blowing and I never thought I could see a platform that has all of this, it was really interesting. So in the cross-border space, I’ll tell you for a fact, that most organizations I know about, the functionalities of Youverify and how they can help and assist you in cross-border remittance. It’s evolving and hopefully more companies will know about the functionality of your products.
Absolutely. They would know. They would know. And I mean, as you said, cross-border is very important because we scale to different parts of the world beyond Africa, you know, relatively live in so many other countries. You mentioned cybersecurity. You talked about fraud in crime. Can you give us a case study or how you dealt with a particular situation?
So when you experience fraudulent activity from transaction monitoring or anything like that?
Okay. I hope I can remember one. Because I’m also a data protection officer in my organisation and data privacy is very key. I have access to most of the data entry points and wherever personal identifiable information is not secure it exposes the organisation to breaches or data loss.
I’ve seen a situation where some sort of integration was being done, but there were no controls that were put in place, you know, like the two-factor authentication and maker checker and having an input on an authorizer and ensuring at different levels, different units are put into place.
For me, when situations like that happened, the key points I took back were to ensure I asked why it happened in the first place? How did it happen? What do we do to ensure it doesn’t happen again? That was what really made me even know more about vulnerability assessments and intrusion testing, ensuring that at least every quarter or occasionally, test your platform so be sure that you’re foolproof is secure. You know where there are instances where potential breaches can occur, ensure that these loopholes are fully secure and overall communicate these findings, you know to your management so they are fully aware of the challenges faced, itemization of all potential threats that may exist on the platform.
I think that that is a quite valuable nugget because we also believe in your verification. We like to tell our customers to re-verify after six months depending on the type of business. So I agree totally and our technology has been able to put all of these needs into one. Therefore, you want to scale to Ghana, to South Africa, Canada or the US. You don’t need to get to that country, and then look for a compliance service provider with a platform. You can scale your compliance program from whatever jurisdiction you are with Youverify due to our global coverage.
When you are not working, what do you do?
Hmm. So I like to listen to music. Okay. It’s because to gauge, I am more than an extrovert. Therefore, you could find me dancing in karaoke, maybe in the pool swimming, and then ultimately networking with good friends. That’s what I do outside of work.
So in your opinion, what other trends do you see in the compliance space with AML and CFTC sanctions? All of those spectrums of compliance.
Like I said, regulation always plays catch up with innovation. I think will continue to happen that until we have that open door synergy, the open door policy that has been established between regulators and compliance professionals, you still continue to see more trends coming.
Examples include Defi, the virtual asset space, and the blockchain technology, it’s really interesting. A lot of people think because of the anonymity in the movement of funds, it’s very difficult. Yes, the EMI regulations will be there, but I’ll tell you for a fact that compliance streams should not be relegated.
We should carry out more sensitization, more training, retraining and availing, and more opportunities for people to be able to come out and share more information. So establishing a whistleblowing channel, an ethics hotline, to ensure that when you see something outside the norm, you see something for a fact. I know that’s will continue to do more new trends will please.
You need to be on your toes. You need to be online in real-time with evolving trends. So reading the continuous knowledge-sharing sessions, attending webinars and more participation, and seeing public and private partnerships really go a long way to ensuring that compliance covers all of the loopholes or any of the pending attacks so that control the cyberspace as we continue to evolve.
I have taken and gained a lot of insights from this session. I mean, the importance of continuous learning, the importance of community, definitely. I mean, we are playing catch up in this part of the world, but that doesn’t limit us to, you know, playing catch up personally. We have to continue to learn and keep up with trends all around the world.
The cross-border payments and remittance have their own challenges. But as a professional with, you know, with the help of tools like Youverify, it would help, you know, you keep up and have a foolproof plan in place. Yeah. So thank you so much. It’s been very insightful and we hope that we have more of you for our webinars as well, because, I mean, like you mentioned, they’re very key.
We like to preach the gospel of compliance. So we have webinars, we have sessions like this with industry experts. We will continue to do that to your time even more so. Thank you very much.
Thank you very much.
Youverify is a global RegTech100 company that empowers financial institutions to automate and simplify their AML risk mitigation processes. We utilise large AI models that process over 5 billion records of individuals and 400 million records of businesses to reliably help our customers determine the AML risk profile of their clients.
Our services empower the financial community to enhance their AML program, enabling them to proactively improve or reactively respond to any regulatory order with ease. By providing the necessary automation, we are helping our clients stay ahead of the challenges of today’s market and achieve their business goals.