The 2008 financial crisis was the worst economic disaster since the Great Depression of 1929, bringing about an increase in regulation, new requirements, and laws within the financial services industry. At the same time, banks were trying to find ways to improve the customer experience and new technologies began to emerge within the financial sector. Fintech companies and startups exploded across the market to bring technology-driven products that would enhance the banking experience.
With the emergence of FinTech, concerns have been brought forth among regulatory organizations calling for more laws on data privacy usage and distribution. The combination of new regulatory measures and laws with advances in technology brought about the need for regulatory technology. RegTech companies work in collaboration with financial institutions and regulatory bodies, and utilize technologies such as cloud computing and big data for sharing of information.
RegTech 2017, sponsored by SourceMedia, publishers of American Banker, PaymentsSource, Credit Union Journal and a number of other financial services industry publications, is an industry event that brings together the entire ecosystem involved in regulations and compliance to discuss the technology that helps banks master them. Conference attendees include financial regulators, senior executives responsible for risk and compliance at financial institutions, technology vendors, and industry integrators and consultants.
Jo Ann S. Barefoot, CEO of Barefoot Innovation Group, and regular advisor for banks and companies on technology and regulation, will be the keynote speaker at RegTech2017. According to her, “RegTech has caught on because financial regulation today is nothing like we’ve seen before. Previously, technology and regulation were not touching each other much, so RegTech is suddenly exploding.” She adds, “We have moved quickly from analog to digital era. The older technologies were built in the analog era – taking processes that existed before and bringing a layer of automation to them to make them faster and more useful. I think some of the most he exciting technologies today are the combination of big data, AI and machine learning. AML compliance has had challenges in the past but regulators themselves are adopting RegTech. And In the UK they are looking to digitize their rule book, so RegTech is spreading rapidly across the globe.”
When it comes to implementing a RegTech strategy, Jo Ann says it takes time, and advises companies to “start small” before developing a plan and getting the rest of the company on board. One of the biggest challenges with RegTech, she adds, is that “It requires new skillsets which are difficult to find today,” but with that, there is so much “potential for taking unstructured data that is currently in silos and organizing it for regulatory and compliance purposes.”
Jo Ann concludes, “This is the biggest opportunity ever to make regulation clean, simple, more effective approach. We are moving from an analog approach to a digital, data-intensive one and I’m advocating for regulators to develop an alternative channel where banks can get out of some of the traditional compliance burdens. It’s possible that regulatory and compliance executives will be leading the way for organizations into this digital world because they will be developing the technologies that are going to change everything about banking.”
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