Nida Rahimi-Naeem here! I’m back with another blog in the RegChats with Nida series where I catch up with RegTech luminaires who are paving the way for women in our industry in more ways the one. In the latest in the series I had the pleasure of talking to Katherine Gormley, Financial Crime Solutions Lead for Efficient Frontiers International (EFI) where we spoke about hot trends, the RegTech world and advice to other RegTech women.
Nida: Hello Katherine, tell us about yourself and your role?
Katherine: Hello! Thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to chat with you. I am currently working at Efficient Frontiers International (EFI), where I am the Financial Crime Solutions Lead. EFI is a financial crime prevention consultancy which supports organisations in the regulated sector to meet their regulatory obligations efficiently and effectively. My role at EFI involves helping the business shape and define the financial crime solutions we offer our clients, whether that’s people-based solutions or tech enabled solutions. I fell into RegTech when I started working for a small start-up (not so small anymore), Arachnys. That is where I began to understand more about financial crime and learnt about the technology sector and of course RegTech as we know it. My current role is cross functional and involves working across our technology, commercial and operations teams to ensure we deliver the best solutions to our clients. It’s quite a diverse role, so I get to learn about different client challenges and see a lot of wonderful technologies.
Nida: What trends and opportunities are you seeing in RegTech right now?
Katherine: I am sure we have all heard of perpetual KYC or continuous KYC which is being spoken about a lot in the market. Over the last number of years there has been significant efforts around trying to solve the problems within KYC (Know Your Customer) and CDD (Customer Due Diligence). A lot of organisations are struggling with creating sustainable KYC, many are still dealing with remediation as well as regulatory pressure and regulatory fines for not truly knowing their customer. As a result of this, we’ve continued to see a trend towards organisations trying to achieve continuous or perpetual KYC, which is very interesting and extremely challenging.
I think another related area which isn’t a trend, but an interesting development, is around the regulators drive for continued innovation and adoption of technology. In the UK at least, HM Treasury recently put out a consultation call for evidence to review the UK’s money laundering regulations, where they highlighted the importance of regulation enabling the adoption of technology and have asked for industry collaboration in identifying whether there needs to be changes to the existing regulations to help promote use of technology to meet regulatory requirements. I think this signals the increase in collaboration from regulators and the industry, which is encouraging for the RegTech sector.
Nida: Tell us about your role specifically in the RegTech space.
Katherine: Specifically, in the RegTech space, my role at EFI is to really understand customer requirements and pain points so that we can shape the best solution for our clients, whether they are people based or combining our people’s expertise with the best technology solutions. I work in collaboration with our operations, tech and client facing teams to achieve this. From a tech perspective, that involves identifying RegTech solutions for us to partner with, license, or of course find opportunities for us to build tech to satisfy client needs. It’s the part of my role I love most, where I get to see all clever tech in the market, beautiful UIs and engage with very passionate people from the RegTech world. It’s so exciting to see the innovation first-hand and then being able to work with these companies to deliver the solutions to clients. What I find most fascinating about technology use in financial crime prevention is the interaction between risk, customer experience and the operational side of things. It’s complex and incredibly challenging to achieve the right balance between mitigating risk, making sure that you’re managing the cost of compliance and of course, ensuring customer experience is first and foremost. I think the only way you can find that balance is through the combination of great people and great technology. That’s a part of my role I really enjoy as we are constantly working to find the equilibrium between all these elements.
Nida: What one thing would make the RegTech world a better place?
Katherine: I’m sure lots of people say this, but collaboration and information sharing. Financial institutions are all trying to solve the same problem, we are all trying to protect our financial systems from bad actors. There is so much we can share with each other. Many organisations have war stories from the implementation of a RegTech solution, from trying to deploy new innovation and solutions to managing complex change management programmes to allow them to effectively adopt RegTech. I think that we can share these experiences and learn from them. Many organisations are implementing the same solutions, we don’t have to make the same mistakes. In my view, implementation and adoption of RegTech solutions is something that can still create a huge challenge. There is incredible new technology out there but ultimately the organisations that are adopting them are large and complex which makes the deployment of those technologies difficult, and it requires so much work from all parts of the organisation to come together. I think sharing lessons learnt and areas that were particularly challenging would really help to make sure the journey to adoption and true innovation is easier for everyone. That’s my view from the vendor side - deploying technologies in financial institutions is a tough job. The change it can bring is extraordinary but the journey to get there is hard, so the more we can share and collaborate with each other the easier we make it
Nida: What advice would you give to your fellow RegTech women about succeeding as a woman in the industry?
Katherine: Be bold, don’t be afraid to try new things. There is such a demand for hungry people willing to learn and grow. Don’t be afraid to take on opportunities, the RegTech market is flourishing at the moment and there are huge opportunities for people to jump in and get involved. It can often be a very male dominated environment which is no surprise given the combination of financial services and tech, but there is a huge community and support network out there, so don’t be afraid dive right in.
Nida: Thank you, Katherine!
Speaking to Katherine was really refreshing and inspiring, learning more about her role at EFI and her passion for customer centricity and RegTech shines through! It fascinating to see how much of a balancing act is required when deploying new tech. As always, I’ve summarised some of the key nuggets of information, I gleaned below from our conversation below
- Understanding the importance and complexity in striking the right balance between risk, operational efficiencies, the use of people and technologies as well as the cost for compliance when looking at adoption of RegTech.
- The need for transparency and openness to create better collaboration is key for the industry, to help others learn from past experiences.
- I one hundred percent agree with Katherine about being bold and not being afraid of a new challenge, especially at a time when the sector is flourishing.
Make sure you tune in for the next guest blog!