Interview with the CEO
Matt Rizzo is one of the co-founders of InScope-AML, and has been the CEO since 2018. We caught up with him to discuss developments in the fight against money laundering and the financing of terrorism, as well as how organisations can reduce the complexity inherent in the management of AML compliance.
What was the main reason why InScope-AML was set up?
InScope-AML started from the idea that the fight against money laundering and the financing of terrorism was becoming more and more complex. While its importance in the world we live in increased, many front-liners in this fight did not have the right tools to fulfil their obligations. By front-liners I am referring to the individuals and firms operating in sectors such as accountancy, legal, corporate services, tax advisory, investment firms, real estate and others. These firms should be ensuring that the proper checks are made when onboarding new clients. They also need to have a complete view of the customers and have processes in place to be able to fulfil their obligations and implement ongoing monitoring.
Unfortunately, today there are still organisations that are not yet on top of things, and this is reflected in their approach to AML compliance, including the tools they use. While larger organisations and operators in verticals such as banking are likely to have adequate tools, many times small organisations or firms operating in the DNFPB sectors are struggling. This is where we believed we could help.
What features of AML compliance make it a complex affair?
There are various reasons for this. To begin with, people involved in money laundering employ a wide variety of techniques to hide their actions and try to keep one step ahead of authorities. Because of this, regulation evolves to counter their moves, and this results in AML processes having to change constantly. Even if regulations remained the same, things change every day. Your corporate clients change their ownership structure. Individuals become politically exposed or get sanctioned. Countries are added and removed from high-risk jurisdiction lists. And documents expire.
Why is AML Compliance software necessary to keep up with one’s obligations?
First let me start by discussing the alternatives to having AML Compliance software.
Today, doing nothing is not an option since authorities the world over are tightening regulations and ensuring that everyone plays their part. Front-liners also have a moral duty to ensure they implement measures to detect and report financial crime.
Firms employing manual systems, sometimes aided by spreadsheets, find AML compliance to be a costly burden. They might be using this approach because they might not be aware that there is a better way, or because they believe that it is the cheaper option. This approach, however, gives rise to errors, a lot of duplication of work, an inability to track if procedures are being adhered to consistently, and many other problems. It is only software that has been created specifically for the task that is fit for purpose. And at the end of the day, software is the most cost effective way to remain compliant from an AML perspective.
What makes InScope-AML stand out from other solutions?
InScope-AML was primarily created for small to medium sized organisations and built specifically for accountants, lawyers, tax advisors, trust and corporate service providers (TCSP), investment firms and real estate. The specific aim, being to make life easier for them. It offers the robust compliance required by international AML guidelines, and at the same time it is very adaptable to local regulations and the firm’s risk policy. This flexibility enables firms to implement an efficient and effective AML function in line with a risk-based approach (RBA).
It offers firms all the tools to monitor the end-to-end AML processes. Dashboards give a 360-degree view of each customer, showing direct and indirect ownership and ultimate beneficial owners (UBOs). It displays prominent warnings in terms of missing data and documents, violation of AML policies, expiring documents and reminders of when customer risk assessments are due. It also provides access to ongoing sanction lists and PEP/adverse media searches which ensure that they are always on top of things. Automated risk assessments are also a key component of the system. This enables firms to easily identify high-risk clients and automate enhanced due diligence (EDD) processes.
But InScope-AML is not only the software. It is the complete solution which includes training and support throughout the journey by a team that consistently has your back.
Is your customer base focused on a specific territory or is it international?
Today InScope-AML has customers in eight countries, and the list is growing. The international nature of the fight against money laundering means that a comprehensive tool such as InScope-AML can assist organisations deal with the complexity of AML across borders, while at the same time ensuring that local requirements are met.
How easy is it to move from a manual system to a solution such as InScope-AML?
Partnering with the right software provider, such as InScope-AML, can make the journey much less painful as we have done this many times before.
We have learnt that there is no one size that fits all. We take time to understand the organisation, existing processes and their risk framework. We use this knowledge to customise and adapt the solution to the organisation’s very specific needs. At times we may identify gaps in the existing processes, and we will suggest ways that these can be fixed to make the process more robust and consistent.
Having laid the groundwork, we will then proceed with assisting the client in the migration of any existing data, providing the necessary training and support. Additional training will also be provided beyond the initial stages, and our support is a continuous part of our engagement.
We also ensure that our product is adapted to any developments in the market and is continually improved with regular product updates.
For more information about InScope-AML, please download our eBook here.
If you are interested in scheduling a one-to-one discussion with one of our consultants, you can book a call here.
Or schedule a demo for an in-depth look into InScope-AML.