1.How and why you started with AG
I had always dreamed of being an entrepreneur but it was difficult to leave a high-paying corporate job in financial services. It was a number of factors, family being one, that helped me to finally take the leap of faith and I eventually joined Artius Global. Artius Global was a great idea started by a friend from the same industry. Having worked in financial services for almost 2 decades, technology was a breath of fresh air with great potential. I knew that many financial institutions were looking for vendor solutions for regulatory compliance but there were literally no commercial solutions out there. After enrolling me into Artius Global, my friend decided to return to financial services. To cut a long story short, I took up the challenge to lead Artius Global and there has been no looking back since.
2. What has been the biggest surprise for you in your journey
I knew entrepreneurship would be an adventure but even then, it was a lot tougher than I had imagined. Tenacity and conviction are fundamental traits to be successful. You have to believe in what you are doing and develop the conviction to sell the vision.
3. What challenges do you see in the industry?
The fintech industry has burgeoned because of investor funding. With investors becoming increasingly savvy and selective, seed funding will become less accessible and this will raise the bar to entry. Many fintechs are focused on solutions to drive revenue growth and customer acquisition. We are starting to see more fintechs creating solutions to transform backend processing, surveillance, compliance and regulatory reporting as the industry gets more complex and regulated and hence costly for business. Financial institutions want a single platform that covers multiple areas of regulations. This will require both in-depth domain expertise and a broad base knowledge of different regulatory regimes. In the last few years, RegTechs have mainly created solutions for Know-YourCustomer and Anti-Money Laundering. There is a broader spectrum of regulatory challenges that requires technology to make compliance sustainable e.g. shareholding disclosure, ESG, communication surveillance and trade surveillance, just to name a few. The global consulting firms understand the demand for a single regulatory compliance platform but their utility services remain limited in coverage because it is a tall order to build a single platform. This requires practitioner experience and compliance expertise from multiple domains. Faced with a limited pool of compliance talent to tackle a growing regulatory compliance burden, financial institutions are slowly but surely stepping up RegTech adoption. This is more evident in the US and EU where regulatory enforcement is strong. Asian FSIs are catching up with greater advocacy from the marketplace. We are seeing RegTech eco-systems evolving in the more forward thinking capital markets e.g. Australia, where a RegTech association, established by compliance professionals in the market, is charting the way for RegTechsthrough seminars, technology showcases and linking up stakeholders to build the eco-system. Similarly, enlightened regulators like the MAS, have come up with schemes to provide grants to drive RegTech adoption and are taking an active role in building an ecosystem for RegTechs in Singapore.
4.What are the important principles you keep while running your company?
Putting people first and building relationships is important. When you are genuine with others, it builds trust and stability for growth. Doing the right thing is another core value. For example, if we make a promise to a client or an employee, we will do our best to deliver on the promise. It is a pay-forward principle and I have seen first-hand how this can strengthen relationships, unify teams and build corporate resilience. Finally, being open to listen and learn. Having a feedback loop from customers, peers, employees and eco-system provides valuable information to make adjustments critical for growth and longevity.
5.What do you like about the industry?
Regulatory compliance is a complex and challenging space. And this makes it really exciting! For example, our flagship product for shareholding disclosure codifies regulations across 100+ capital markets. To build a good product, domain knowledge of regulations, financial instruments, investment data and understanding of the workflows and bottlenecks would be fundamental. Our product development process where we codify the “book of rules” involves hours of indepth discussion on regulatory readings, quantifiable triggers, data structures and workflows. There is significant process re-engineering that is delivered through our solution and this requires creative and design thinking. A disruptive regulatory technological solution delivers an end-to-end transformation with intelligent monitoring and reporting at a click to effectively meet current and future obligations and mitigate risks. The value of domain expertise makes a great difference as the bar is clearly high. At AG, we are very proud that our core team are senior practitioners from financials services and hence our corporate tagline, ”Built by Practitioners for Practitioners”. There are many exciting opportunities to develop innovative regulatory technology solutions for existing and new regulations governing institutional investing in financial services. And AG is well positioned.
6.Where do you see the market develop in 2 years?
Digital transformation will continue at an unprecedented speed and we will continue to see the emergence of new technology. Cybersecurity will remain a prime concern for financial services. Deployment of AI driven solutions will increase in financial institutions to bring cost reductions e.g. for cyber-crime detection. Financial services companies will also invest more in blockchain technology with the advent of Web 3.0. However, connectivity will remain limited with the lack of global standards. More established financial institutions will opt to work with start-ups to up their game by increasing speed to market to gain new footholds. Government and regulators will continue to play catch up with new digital services and fintech regulation. With tighter regulations and new ones coming on stream, it is not possible for regulated entities to keep throwing bodies at the problem and they will have to turn to technology as a sustainable way to stay in compliance. We will witness more M&A activity in this sector with increasing client demand for a single service provider with a platform for multiple regulatory reporting solutions. RegTech will be big theme in the next wave of Fintech and I expect to see more RegTech unicorns emerging!