The Future of Holistic Surveillance in Asia:

NICE Actimize’s APAC Director Jerome Lambert Weighs In

For today’s financial services firms in Asia-Pacific, the pace of new regulations is unrelenting, with no slow-down in sight. Risk is a moving target. To stay a step ahead requires a more modern surveillance approach. Regulation Asia Co-founder and CEO Brad Maclean recently sat down with Jerome Lambert, APAC Director for NICE Actimize, to talk about the Asia-Pacific regulatory landscape, growing cloud adoption, the benefits of AI, Machine Learning, and NLP-driven surveillance, what Holistic Surveillance really means, and NICE Actimize’s many innovations in these areas. Here is a summary of that interview.

We are here today to discuss everything around surveillance and artificial intelligence and your perspectives on Asia Pacific. As a starting point, can you please walk us through the concept of true risk?

Jerome Lambert: Risk is a moving target. So identifying true risk involves looking beyond what we know and what can be easily detected with traditional risk approaches. So we have to understand that events don’t happen in isolation. So therefore if you want to assess the risk, you need to analyze events holistically, which includes behavioral patterns and anomalies. In short managing true risk is looking for what we know and what we don’t know yet.

You’ve recently created a suite of solutions that Asia-Pacific firms can use to address these issues. Can you tell us more about the driving force behind that?

Jerome Lambert: Regulations, obviously. We see a lot of regulations in Asia and globally as well. Recently in Singapore, the MAS published trade surveillance guidelines. In Australia, we have the Royal Commissions that is putting a lot of pressure on financial institutions too. And in fact many Asia-Pacific based banks are struggling to catch up with new regulations and new changes because they are dealing with limited budgets and resources. NICE Actimize leads the industry with AI-powered analytics and anomaly detection. In fact we are bringing surveillance to the next level. Firms need those innovations because they need to quickly and accurately address these regulatory changes.

You’ve been discussing the concept of holistic surveillance. A couple of questions here. One, what is it and two, has it caught on the way you anticipated here in Asia?

Jerome Lambert: Holistic surveillance is the ability to combine trade surveillance with eCommunications and voice in a single platform. So in fact, holistic surveillance breaks down the technological barriers of having siloed systems. And it will also obviously facilitate the review process for compliance officers. We have customers who have implemented holistic surveillance and they have reduced by 98% the time spent on trade reconstruction. Our recent studies show different maturity levels in terms of surveillance. Firms are still doing sampling and siloed surveillance, but without exception, all of the industry is heading toward true holistic surveillance in the next couple of years.

So increasingly we’re also seeing the discussion involving AI. How are you layering AI on top of this holistic surveillance?

Jerome Lambert: We rely on four key disruptive technologies. We use AI and machine learning for better risk classification, better detection of anomalies, and better detection of suspicious behaviors. We also use natural language processing or NLP to understand the meaning of the communications that we analyze – the chats, the emails, the WhatsApp, the voice communications. We also rely on RPA, or robotic process automation, within our case management platform. This helps automate tasks on behalf of the compliance analyst to help the analyst as (s)he works on investigations. At the end of the day, our clients will benefit from these four disruptive technologies by being able to detect true risk, while also reducing the cost of compliance and boosting their surveillance efficiency.

With the emergence of cloud technologies showing enormous promise in financial services organizations, how are firms balancing the inherent risks and benefits of security and data privacy concerns?

Jerome Lambert: There is clearly an interest in adoption for cloud solutions in the Asia-Pacific region, even though on the other hand we still have some questions in terms of security and data privacy. But cloud technology will benefit the industry because it enables firms to deploy technology and new applications very quickly, and quickly comply with new regulations as well. Additionally, with our cloud-based managed service analytics, ActimizeWatch, we can help firms continuously improve their detection models and surveillance capabilities. So the cloud is not mainstream yet, but clearly in the coming few years we will see cloud adoption more and more.

Looking ahead, in the next 12 months, what’s in store for NICE Actimize in 2020?

Jerome Lambert: We had a busy year in 2019. We released a lot of innovations in the market and this will clearly benefit our plans in 2020. But in 2020 we will also be focusing on cloud-based self-development tools because our clients want to create their own analytics. They want to augment their analytical capabilities. Together with our partners, NICE Actimize is fully committed to supporting the Asia Pacific region with our full portfolio of financial compliance solutions and services.


Watch the complete video interview from Regulation Asia with Jerome Lambert from NICE Actimize here: