Andrew Au, CEO and Co-Founder of AGDelta, On The Importance of Compliance
Technology is an invaluable asset
“These are tough times for many in the wealth management industry.” So says Andrew Au, CEO and Co-Founder of AGDelta, a firm that offers a technological solution to connect the entire wealth management eco-system via an easy-to-use platform.
Following the Great Financial Crisis in 2008, an endless array of rules and regulations have been rolled out by central banks and monetary authorities, leading to skyrocketing compliance costs and complexity in business processes.
“Faced with demands ranging from money-laundering checks and data flow policies, to more data for stress tests, banks have been forced to invest heavily in personnel – from senior executives on $1 million a year salaries, to unskilled people screening emails at a rate of 200 messages a day,” Au points out.
As a result, some banks today spend up to $4 billion a year on compliance. But it doesn’t end there. According to a Thomson Reuters report, 83% of major global financial firms expect the cost of senior compliance staff to continue to rise in this year, with 66% saying they are forced to “do more with less”.
“CEOs need to understand that taking a hands-off approach to compliance is no longer acceptable, and in some cases, being caught not in compliance with certain rules can result in more than a slap on the wrist,” warns Au, referencing the jail-time sentence handed down to a branch manager at Falcon Private Bank in Singapore for failure to comply with anti-money laundering rules.
Cue companies like AGDelta. Spotting an opportunity, Au co-founded the company in 2004, backed by more than 20 years of experience in the financial services industry.
The digital wealth solution offers a platform that can be integrated seamlessly into a bank’s existing IT architecture, for the entire supply chain of investment products, making it streamlined and completely transparent. The best part is that all the compliance controls can be embedded at the relevant stages of the investment advisory process and tracked.
“We offer a solution that eases the administrative burden on both the product suppliers, and those who use their products. We make communication easier, we allow for better analysis, we speed up the transaction processes and we ensure all is in full compliance with the relevant regulatory regime,” says Au.
While compliance is already being taken very seriously today by leaders in the financial services industry, he feels that they can afford to think more “outside the box” for solutions to counter the challenges of high costs and reduced competitiveness. Hiring more officers in the department to tick the boxes is not the way forward.
“Wealth management is a very traditional industry and very personalised, where experience, trust and character count for much. I understand technology is not the first thing many leaders think about when seeking solutions to their compliance woes.
“However, AGDelta’s platform has been proven to reduce costs and improve customer service and transaction speeds, yet is quick to implement and flexible. The advantage of having a digital solution is the fact that you can rule out human error, each step and process is logged with a digital footprint, allowing complete peace of mind for the user.”