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How bilateral links between Singapore and the UK are supporting promising new anti-money laundering

Cynopsis Solutions – a case study of how a firm is leveraging its Singaporean roots to bring cutting-edge regulatory technology to small and medium sized firms in the UK and the EMEA region.

Early in 2019, Singapore and the UK announced the launch of the SG-UK Partnership for the Future. The move further cemented the already-strong trade and business relationship between the two nations.

Much unites the two, including a clear focus on supporting the development of the digital economy and the emphasis both place on embracing innovation and technology. Indeed, the 2018 Global Innovation Index - jointly published by Cornell University, INSEAD and the World Intellectual Property Organisation - ranked the UK and Singapore as the fourth and fifth most innovative economies in the world, respectively.

This focus on innovation is particularly evident in the area of anti-money laundering regulation. Just as in the UK, financial institutions operating in Singapore are required to put in place robust controls to detect and deter the flow of illicit funds through the nation’s financial system. Such controls include the need for financial institutions to identify and know their customers (including beneficial owners), to conduct regular account reviews, and to monitor and report any suspicious transaction.

This process collectively is called Know Your Customer (KYC) and has become an important part of doing business for large numbers of financial services firms around the world.

Regulators in the UK and Singapore share a strong interest in how new technology can help firms comply with their obligations to detect and prevent money laundering, commissioning reports and hosting events and “tech-sprints” to support greater innovation in the areas of AML, financial crime and terrorist financing and the greater adoption of these technologies by firms to help them comply with increasingly stringent regulations in this area.

Another area of interest by both the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) is how machine learning can help detect suspicious transactions or activity. Machine learning uses vast amounts of data and algorithms to identify and “learn” transaction patterns and then to screen and flag any transactions that appear incongruous – for example by product, transaction size, KYC risk score or location, or by a combination of these and other factors. Once “trained” a computer can screen many thousands of transactions in the time it takes a human to do just a handful. It also provides a full audit trail which can help streamline and facilitate internal risk management and regulatory reporting.

Headquartered in Singapore and with established operations in London, from where the organization services clients across the EMEA region, Cynopsis Solutions is proud to have been at the forefront of supporting the regulatory developments in relation to Know Your Customer (KYC) and the wider efforts of both the Singapore and British governments in relation to anti-money laundering.

Cynopsis has been heavily engaged in developing new digital talent in both locations, developing young new hires in its growing Singapore business and supporting the longer-term data science talent pipeline elsewhere in Asia and the UK. Most recently, the firm participated in the Data Talent Scotland event, part of the SG-UK Partnership for the Future program, which brought together students and employers to share learnings and facilitate recruitment.

The firm is also keen to promote regulatory inclusion by helping firms - particularly small and medium sized enterprises, for many of whom KYC is still a highly manual and laborious process - understand the opportunities that new digital technologies bring.

These firms typically don’t have the financial resources to build their own in-house KYC software, nor to buy in bespoke solutions, so many are now turning to off-the-shelf software which helps them streamline their processes, ensure the robustness of their data and reporting and keep pace with ongoing regulatory developments in the fast-moving world of anti-money laundering and countering terrorism financing legislation.

Cynopsis’ senior executives regularly share their expertise of electronic Know Your Customer (e-KYC) at leading industry events and FinTech festivals. The firm was a proud recipient of an award which recognises companies with the most promising FinTech solutions at the Monetary Authority of Singapore’s FinTech Awards in November 2018.

The end of April 2019 is UK FinTech week and so it is fitting that Cynopsis’ CEO, Chye Kit Chionh, is part of a trade delegation of Singaporean businesses visiting the UK as part of the SG-UK Partnership for the Future campaign. He and Cynopsis’ UK-based CEO (EMEA), Avere Hill, will meet with UK companies who are looking to expand their understanding of how RegTech solutions, such as e-KYC software, are changing the way firms manage their regulatory requirements.

Cynopsis Solutions is proud to be a part of SG-UK Partnership for the Future campaign and looks forward to many more opportunities to support the development and application of innovative new technologies across the two nations.

About Cynopsis Solutions

Cynopsis Solutions was established in Singapore in 2014 and offers regulatory technology (reg tech) solutions designed to automate KYC processes. It has operations in Singapore, UK, Taiwan and Vietnam. Cynopsis Solutions is a winner of MAS FinTech Awards 2018 and has been recognized as one of the REGTECH100 – an annual list of 100 of the world’s most innovative RegTech companies as determined by RegTech Analyst, a RegTech intelligence platform.




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