Posted on July 6, 2017 by staff

How AI is leading the war on money laundering


Artificial intelligence is set to lead the war on money laundering by scouring the unstructured web for information about individuals.

London start-up Kompli-Global has developed a machine learning-powered search platform, Kompli-IQ, which enables financial services companies to conduct deep searches for adverse information.

The company was founded by John Davies, CEO of Just Loans Group, after he realised that technology could be used to make such searches more efficient and thorough, saving clients time and money.

He approached barrister Jane Jee in 2015, who jumped at the chance to be CEO of Kompli-Global.

“I’ve worked in payments for most of my career and in compliance for the last four years. I feel that this is a really worthwhile venture,” she told BusinessCloud.

“Lots of companies spend time building up data sources of adverse info about particular individuals. A financial services company could either use a company who has one of those databases, or search the web manually.

“Traditional search engines only search a small part of the web: they don’t go behind websites, for example where things need to be done to access a directory, and they are subject to people saying ‘please take this info about me down’. They don’t work very well.

“Our platform uncovers adverse information about individuals which other search methodologies would not uncover – what they’ve been convicted of and accused of, the territory they’ve been accused in and the credibility of the body that has accused them.

“We’ve got around 500 stem words – criminal, scam, conviction, fraud, to name a few – and have built up an advisory network of 66 compliance specialists covering more than 150 territories who have translated these into their native languages. We can also help with the problem of common and misspelt names.

“We rank the credibility of the source of the information found – a national broadcaster like the BBC would rank far higher than a blog, for example – and also rank the stem words.”

Financial services firms have to build a risk assessment regarding potential clients, with money laundering in mind. New regulations which came into force this week have placed an obligation on them to thoroughly check for adverse published information on prospective and existing customers.

Kompli-Global provides clients with due diligence reports on the existence or absence of adverse information, but does not carry out the full risk assessment.

“The key change is that the authorities are making companies document that risk assessment. The process they have to go through has become more demanding,” added Jee.

“For 99 per cent of customers, there won’t be any adverse information. But using our platform enables you to say to the regulator: ‘I did this search and nothing came back’. You could call it [a gold standard].

“We’re not suggesting we will replace human judgment because that is required for the risk assessment, but our tool is a very, very useful and unique weapon.”

Kompli-Global shares resources with Just Loans and has the equivalent of 50 members of staff working upon its offering.

Despite being based in London, part of the FinTech firm’s operations centre and development team is in Manchester.

“Our COO has a degree in Maths from Cambridge but also a Masters from Manchester,” added Jee. “That is where he happens to be based and he’s built the team around him.”