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FraudTech & Financial Crime, Manchester – Event Round Up

Jake Fox / 13th September 2019


The FinTech North community gathered on 13th September in Manchester to network and discuss FraudTech and Financial Crime. The event was hosted at RSM and sponsored by RSM and MERJE.

Julian Wells kicked off the event with an introduction to the two founding companies of FinTech North: Whitecap Consulting – a regional strategy and commercial consultancy and White Label Crowdfunding – a northern FinTech company. Since 2016 FinTech North has run 41 events across the north, including 7 full day conferences, whilst operating on a not for profit basis.

“Over the time we’ve been running FinTech North , we’ve connected with industry bodies and big brands and corporates that are active in the space but also made sure we’ve given smaller, innovative firms in fintech a platform to showcase their ideas.”

Julian also told us about the FinTech National Network which was recently announced, which has seen FinTech North work in partnership with Innovate Finance, FinTech Scotland, FinTech Wales, FinTech Northern Ireland, and FinTech Wales. Read more about that here.

Neil Pickles, Partner, RSM

Neil from RSM was the first of our presenters, and provided an industry update on FraudTech as well as an overview of transaction monitoring in preventing money laundering.

“When we look across all the Section 166 Reviews conducted by the FCA last year, 30 out of 32 were concerned with financial crime.”

Neil emphasised that a combined mix of manual governance on top of automated systems is often necessary for a sufficient standard of compliance and prevention. He then ran us through the costs and benefits of Transaction Monitoring Systems.

The benefits of Transaction Monitoring systems include:

  • Identifying suspicious behaviour
  • Increased automation in customer monitoring
  • Increased effectiveness over time
  • Confidence to the senior management

Issues include:

  • Number of cases: “It’s important to find the balance in setting parameters that are wide enough to capture all the potential problem cases, but narrow enough to focus down and not have the really important cases get lost”
  • One size doesn’t fit all – every major bank, building society or financial firm has a different transaction monitoring system, there is no magic black box that can cover everything, so there always has to be custom and suitable resources in place to fulfil the company’s own requirements.
  • Too many scenarios – “you may have a suitable Transaction Monitoring System currently, however as businesses grow and regulators evolve, lots of factors can change so it’s something that has to be continually addressed”.

Neil finished with two cases studies of Deutsche Bank and Linear Investments as real life examples of how companies can be stung by falling behind on financial crime monitoring and prevention.

Chris Leatherland, Head of Financial Crime, NewDay

Chris was next up to cover his experiences over 20 years of working in financial crime, which has covered areas such as financial fraud, terrorist finance, whistle blowing, and modern day slavery.

Chris made the point that as we are leaving cash behind this has meant it is now easier to track customers in their day to day life as each transaction works as a footprint.

Furthermore, as digital continues to growth, Chris highlighted that each new technological advance brings both benefits and risks in terms of financial crime and risk.“Opening an account with a selfie is cool, but it’s not the most secure. Systems and processes that have been tried and tested over many years are the most reliable.”

“New technology is perceived as a growth-area for risk, because it happens fast.”

Sarah Tierney, Nesta

Sarah was next up as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Nesta Challenges. Nesta is an innovation foundation that looks to support innovation via an array of funding schemes and programs, one of which being the Open UP 2020 Challenge.

Open Up is a challenge in open banking looking to encourage FinTech start-ups to better serve consumers in financial inclusion and day to day banking. Each of the finalists in the challenge will receive up to £300,000 in equity-free funds, as well as other mentoring support by specialists in the industry.

More details on the application can be found here.

The key segments Nesta is interested in are:

  • PCA switching
  • Overdraft bundling
  • Savings sweeping
  • More affordable credit
  • Micro payments savings
  • Robo financial management

James Nurse, Managing Director, FINTRAIL

FINTRAIL is an anti financial crime consultancy firm, based in London. James was with us to tell us about the FinTech FinCrime Exchange (FFE) an organisation FINTRAIL jointly founded with Royal United Services Institute.

The FFE is a global network of anti-financial crime professionals consisting of 150+ member organisations and 400+ financial crime specialists. The FFE works with FinTechs to better navigate the challenges in fraud and financial crime.

The FFE is a free group to join with regular meet ups in  London, Amsterdam, New York, San Francisco and Singapore. The FFE conference is on 27th November in London. More details here.

Panel Discussion:

Patrick Gerard Dahill, Senior Consultant Financial Crime & AML at MERJE then joined the rest of the speakers for a panel discussion with questions from the audience.

Topics that were covered included: the balance between tech innovation and sufficient compliance, customer preference and security across different channels, and qualifications and resource requirements in financial crime

On compliance vs innovation:

“Compliance does hold back the pace of implementation. However, non-compliance will catch up with you.” – Neil Pickles.

On recruiting specialists,

“The development of FinTech, FraudTech and RegTech systems has been a fantastic innovation and allowed financial crime practitioners to be much more effective at doing their roles. However, for all the benefits and strengths, at the end of the process, no matter how much data or information is produced, the human element is still needed to make the final decision. FinTech systems are a compliment to financial crime practitioners, not a replacement for!” – Patrick Gerard Dahill

On expectations from FCA,

“It’s not about getting yourself in a zero risk position, Fraud will happen regardless, and on any channel whether digital or other, and the FCA knows this.” – James Nurse.

Julian Wells closed the event, also alerting delegates to the Greater Manchester FinTech Ecosystem research that is being launched by Whitecap next week, supported by Midas and FinTech North. Midas is also working with pro-manchester on a FinTech committee and other initiatives, so there will be plenty of FinTech activity in the city over the coming months including a number of further FinTech North events which will be announced soon.


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FraudTech & Financial Crime, Manchester – Event Round Up