The Business Times

Making the elevator pitch

Published Sun, Nov 12, 2017 · 09:50 PM

SINGAPORE was put on the map again at the inaugural fintech event in the Middle East and Africa region organised by the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), with several finalists in the Innovation Challenge coming from Singapore teams. Singapore's Silent Eight and India's FRS Labs emerged as winners and will be part of ADGM's delegation participating in the hackcelerator at the Singapore FinTech Festival. We asked four of the Singapore fintechs that participated in ADGM's fintech event for their best elevator pitch.

Julia Markiewicz, chief revenue officer, Silent Eight

To prevent the use of their facilities in money laundering and terrorist financing, banks have typically relied on large numbers of specially trained analysts together with software that uses simple logic. The software generates alerts when it detects a suspicious transaction or when it matches a person's identity to someone on a watchlist. Due to this approach, such systems tend to generate large numbers of false alerts. Analysts are obligated to investigate each alert individually, yet these older systems do not provide analysts with useful information that might help them investigate the alerts. This leads to a massive investigative workload on analysts.

Regulatory pressure has never been higher than it is today. Banks that fail to meet legal compliance requirements are handed extremely large fines and their executives often face potential criminal charges leading to jail time. Criminal networks are relentlessly advancing the detection-avoidance methods of their financial activities. This leaves banks with no choice but to advance their means of detection to keep up. The costs of compliance have never been higher - both in terms of human capital as well as financial costs. The reduction of an investigative workload is absolutely necessary in order to keep analysts at their best possible productivity level and keep compliance costs under control.

Silent Eight utilises artificial intelligence (AI) to accelerate and sharpen the anti-money laundering (AML) investigative process. Silent Eight can analyse all available data from all types of sources at lightning speed, and can then provide analysts with useful, relevant information related to each alert. This helps them complete their investigations much faster and with a lower probability of error.

Tanmai Sharma, CEO, Mesitis

Mesitis' Canopy is a "make sense of your data" company, whether it is an individual's assets held at multiple custodians or a single bank's transactions booked across multiple computer systems. We take data in any format, then standardise and reconcile it. We then cross check the data for consistency and fix any errors. We also standardise security and transaction definitions across the financial universe. We then do deep analytics on this "squeaky clean" data.

The benefits of our products are easily quantifiable in terms of bottom-line. This ranges from stickier customers generating more revenue to reducing the very large costs banks currently have of compliance reporting.

Most of our competitors cannot handle PDF statements for example and also do not bother to standardise data across multiple booking systems.

We are cheap - charging typically 1/20th the cost of doing it yourself - and we're fast - we quoted a six-week go live to a bank in Singapore. We are now live with Credit Suisse Private Bank in Singapore. We are also starting to work with a few banks to standardise their internal transaction booking data across multiple systems, and to help generate parts of their regulatory reporting.

Victor Lye, CEO, Pivot

Pivot brings intelligent investments to anyone, anywhere, anytime. It aims to deliver good risk-adjusted returns by harnessing the power of AI and machine learning made possible by affordable massive computing power combined with real-time financial data to design and manage globally diversified investment portfolios. Human investment managers are prone to emotion and bias. Until the advent of massive computing power and real-time data, human investment managers have held centre stage, professing to have some unspecified secret sauce when seeking investors' monies to manage for a fee. I know. I was one of them. Data says investment managers seldom beat the market on a consistent basis, and if they do, analysis over a period suggests it is more luck than skill.

We offer dynamic asset allocation because we use predictive machine learning techniques. It is not a black box as our methods are based on the well-known modern portfolio theory, which identifies the optimal combination of investment assets to deliver the best expected return for the defined level of risk. In continuing to innovate, Pivot will use gamification in the risk discovery process. Pivot is backed by the PINTEC Group of China, which among other mentions, is ranked 39th in the 2016 Fintech100 Global Innovators list.

Ian Chapman-Banks, CEO, Sqreem

Over the last three years, this small company has successfully solved problems and pioneered solutions in over a dozen industries, across 40 countries. We have successfully predicted elections, run advertising campaigns, identified criminal organisations, assembled capital market portfolios and risk management strategies, and detected billions in illicit funds and transactions.

We have built the world's largest AI-driven behavioural database, covering three billion people and 150,000 brands, including UBS, OCBC, HSBC, Aviva, Mercedes and Roche. We are signing new clients every week. We had been providing strategic advice and insights, and now have extended our AI platform to media buying. We been out-performing the usual suspects like the agencies by at least 100 per cent, at 60 per cent lower cost.

Sqreem is designed to process billions of permutations, linking factors across data sources, structures, and a wide spectrum of dynamics. It then assembles layers of links, associations, and relationships into an ontology of knowledge through which it makes sense of all input it is given. In short, the Sqreem AI understands people better than any one of us.

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