Independence: a Critical Factor for Success in Compliance



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Each year countries around the world lose vast sums in tax revenue from money that bypasses the formal economy. This is money that falls through the cracks of formal tax systems, denying countries valuable tax revenue that could be spent on infrastructure, economic development, or improving social programs. Many companies have invested heavily to grow and refine the compliance function within their organizations in recent years. Compliance, which is defined as making sure that established internal and external rules are followed, ensures that organizations are caring for their stakeholders, whether they be customers, employees, the public administration, or society at large. Abiding by the rules helps maintain a level playing field and keeps bad actors from gaining a competitive edge over legitimate businesses.

The financial services sector is an important element in guaranteeing the rules are followed when it comes to preventing both illicit financial flows and financial fraud.

Ria Money Transfer: The Industry Benchmark in Compliance

At Ria Money Transfer, we take our role in preventing both problems very seriously and have a compliance culture that demonstrates just how serious we are. Ria’s compliance function is independent of other business areas and reports directly to the company’s board of directors. This gives members of the compliance team the independence to fulfill their mandate of reducing risk and preventing fraud and money laundering without interference, making them the envy of many professionals in the compliance field.

That’s one of the factors that attracted Ria’s Compliance Director for Asia Pacific, Miguel Aguado, to the company after years in the financial services sector. “At Ria, there’s a high degree of corporate consciousness around compliance,” he explains. “Here, not only is compliance everyone’s business, but we have the full support of top management as well. We’re always allowed to have the last word.”

Technology without losing focus on the customer

Compliance isn’t just about the culture at Ria. We use the most advanced compliance technology, referred to as RegTech, that places us at the forefront of the industry. RegTech helps prevent financial crime and fraud and we are constantly investing in new technology to maintain our position. We use tools such as graph visualization that allows us to detect possible networks, unusual relationships and hidden trends by analyzing our entire database in real-time. These tools help our employees and specialists make better decisions to protect our customers and our company. We also collaborate closely with public institutions to extend the use of these technologies and enhance cooperation between private companies and enforcement agencies.

For the Global Head of Compliance for Ria Digital, Kenan Haskovic, Ria is leading the market with our approach that combines advanced technology with a strong compliance culture, while keeping the focus on the customer. “Ria has long-standing relationships with many regulators throughout the world,” he explains. “We are seen as the benchmark in compliance, but keep the focus on our customers with a customer-centric compliance model.” For Kenan, one of the main benefits of RegTech is that most transactions don’t have to be stopped or slowed down so that a person can review them. Ria’s automated system does most of the checks, flagging only situations that appear high risk to a specialist for human review.

Ria has its own internally developed RegTech tools, like its consumer risk assessment. “Every day the tool makes a score of each client’s behavior based on what transactions they carried out over a specific period compared to the entire year and assigns a score to each client,” Kenan points out. “That score helps us see any unusual behavior that might indicate a problem.” The technology helps prevent potential payment fraud, consumer fraud, and helps detect other suspicious activity.

Financial industry standards for customer onboarding

There have been many technological advances in the RegTech field recently, but the basic checks financial firms are required to carry out when signing on a new customer have remained the standard.

CIP (Customer Identification Program) is a check that takes place before any financial transaction can be made. Financial institutions such as banks are required by law to ensure that the person requesting their services is who they say they are. This check confirms name and address, date of birth, social security number, and either a fixed or mobile telephone number.

KYC (Know Your Customer) is very similar to CIP in scope. Both are checks that take place before a customer or client is onboarded. Where they differ is that KYC is about verifying the customer’s identity and the business activities they are involved in. A strong KYC policy encompasses risk management, continuous monitoring of account activity, and customer acceptance policy.

IDV (Identification Document Verification), unlike the other two, is a process, not a legal requirement. Its role is to verify the authenticity of an identity document such as a passport or driving license. The check’s purpose is to confirm that the person in possession of the document is the owner and that it isn’t a fake. Banks and other financial institutions perform IDV as well before providing services to a new customer.

At Ria, ensuring that our services are not misused and that our customers are protected is a top priority. Our compliance team is always working hard to ensure the proper checks are carried out and that we meet all regulatory requirements and company policies. By using advanced technology to handle each customer or partner’s data, we can track and review almost all transactions or operations carried out in real-time. This enables us to be ahead of the curve in compliance.

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