How AI and machine learning are driving RegTech innovation
The pace of digital transformation means that, throughout the global finance industry enterprises face an increasingly complex regulatory landscape.
In particular, the explosion of technology-driven financial solutions over the last decade has created complications in the space faster than they can be solved.
Given the speed of these changes, the global regulatory framework has also fractalised, increasing in complexity faster than enterprises can adapt.
Between 2008 and 2016, there was a 500% increase in regulatory changes in developed markets. Today, it’s estimated that a new regulatory update is made every seven minutes.
It should be little surprise then, that since 2015, the RegTech industry has grown out of virtually nothing to become one of the most dynamic financial verticals in the world.
By 2027, global RegTech spending is expected to exceed US$21.7bn and, according to a 2018 report by Medici, “an end-to-end RegTech implementation promises 634% in ROI realisable over a three-year period.”
In a report released earlier this year, global consultancy and accounting firm Deloitte asserted that, “RegTech promises to disrupt the regulatory landscape by providing technologically advanced solutions to the ever increasing demands of compliance within the financial industry.”
Key technologies advancing the sector are AI and machine learning. In particular, these mean that companies using RegTech can increasingly automate processes like due diligence, data management ananalysis.
According to a recent report, 2018 was the largest ever year of investment in RegTech, with deals attracting $4.5bn globally and more than doubling in value over the course of the year.
Examples of how technology innovation are driving change, include innovative RegTech, Shield , a Tel Aviv startup that specialises in reducing compliance risks through intelligent automated reporting.
The company’s platform, for example, uses AI to automate and orchestrate the complete communications compliance lifecycle, mitigate risk and make surveillance both efficient and driven by ROI.
Compliance is by far the largest subcategory of RegTech companies, with about three times as many as any other field.
This comes as no surprise, since compliance is the very basic core competency of any regulatory enterprise.
Darktrace is one of the world’s leading AI companies, and the creator of its proprietary Autonomous Response Technology.
This is modeled on the human immune system and won first place at the 2019 Fortress Cyber Security Awards.
Compliance with regulations like GDPR, HIPAA, and the DFS Cyber Security Regulations adds another dimension to the extensive list of challenges facing security teams.
Thanks to its ability to identify and contain threats in seconds, aid in the investigation of attacks, and provide complete visibility of digital activity across the business, Darktrace’s AI enables organisations across all sectors to comply with industry-specific and international regulations – without purchasing additional tools.
FIVE things fintechs must do to keep investors onboard
New investors flocked to the stock market during the COVID-19 pandemic. Thirty-eight percent of investors said they had never had a brokerage or similar account before opening one in 2020.
Low or no-fee trading options have helped accelerate the trend – nearly half of new investors said they accessed their account primarily through a mobile app. As FinTechs, how do we create the trust needed to keep new investors in the market and create a fruitful customer experience for them?
The financial industry does a disservice to individual investors if we merely offer tools that focus on making money quickly, an approach that usually backfires. Instead, the surge of interest presents an enormous opportunity for those who want to help more consumers use financial technology to educate them on responsible spending, saving, and investing in order to achieve financial wellness current fintech tools have welcomed individual investors in the door.
Now, it’s time to focus on education and improving their experience going forward. There are several ways those of us in fintech can step up to shape the future of retail investing so that it works better for everyone, starting with the following areas.
Equal access to financial wellness education
Financial health should be available to everyone — but today, not everyone has the educational resources to achieve it. One study shows that only 3.9% of students from low-income schools were required to take a personal finance class. What they aren’t learning in school or from family members, fintech companies can provide on their platforms.
The companies should move from solely offering financial services to a more responsible model of education, advice, and prescriptive choices to help consumers develop better habits and make wiser financial decisions. Not only can they empower consumers and bridge historical wealth divides, but they can also stimulate growth by opening up new consumer segments.
Just as we’ve come to expect that our fitness routines are tailored to our individual bodies, we’re also ready for finance tools that go beyond one-size-fits-all solutions. But only six percent of financial institutions say they’re using the kind of technology that allows them to deliver a deeply personalized experience. Fintech tools need to reflect that financial success looks different for each of us.
For one consumer, it may mean providing guidance on how to pay off student loans early; for another, it may mean prescriptive actions that enable them to stick to a budget for the first time; for a third, it could look like prioritizing environmental, social and governance (ESG) investments, so that her portfolio aligns with her political beliefs.
Now, we are seeing financial technology beginning to meet the demands of personalized finance in a substantial and meaningful way.
The rise of AI-Powered Advice
Big-picture advice and predictive guidance used to be a feature of high-end financial advisory firms — a perk only available to those who could afford it. But thanks to rapid advancements in data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI), that kind of holistic advice is now more accessible than ever. AI-driven robo-advisors can parse many different streams of financial information, delivering customized answers to key questions: Is it time to buy a home, or is it smarter to keep renting? Can I afford to take out another student loan?
Intelligent connectivity powered by AI can anticipate consumers’ needs and next steps, making proactive suggestions that guide them along the path to financial wellbeing. Fintech companies can also help consumers identify when their financial picture becomes too complex for a robo-advisor, and help them find a human financial advisor to meet their needs.
Focus on financial mental health
New investors are quickly finding that the market can be overwhelming. That’s not surprising, financial anxiety is common and studies show that financial stress can have an impact on mental health for some.
It’s not enough for fintech companies to give retail investors access; they also must provide the guidance and support that help consumers manage their financial well-being. Educational tools can ensure that consumers are well informed about their options.
Predictive analytics can anticipate consumers’ questions, serving them key information and insights before they ask. Features that emphasize a comprehensive notion of financial well-being, rather than short-term wins and losses, can also help ensure that consumers are keeping their eyes on the bigger picture.
Gamification for good
The surge of gamification apps has done an impressive job making investing as engaging as playing a video game or joining a social media platform.
Much of the current use of gamification emphasizes short-term thinking, but there’s also an opportunity to help consumers think more broadly about their overall financial picture. One example is peer benchmarking, a feature that enables help consumers to see how their financial habits compare to those of friends and fellow consumers.
Gamification can also be used to incentivize making smaller, smarter choices — for example, rewarding saving over making an impulse buy.
The future of fintech is about more than just broadening access to the markets. It’s about making sure more individuals have access to the tools that can help improve their financial well-being—in the ways that suit their own circumstances and needs. The potential to act within their own set of individual priorities, with their long-term financial wellness in mind is much more empowering to a consumer than simply relying on short-term, high-risk investments.