Darren is Chief Executive Officer of Arctic Intelligence, a global RegTech company that provides risk assessment software for financial institutions to better assess, document and manage their financial crime risks. Prior to assuming his role as CEO, Darren was Chief Operating Officer at Arctic Intelligence for almost 4 years. Darren has extensive experience in the risk management domain, having worked as a consultant in Enterprise Risk for EY and Deloitte, followed by 10 years in risk and governance roles at Macquarie Group.
1. Tell us about yourself and your role at company
I’m the CEO of Arctic Intelligence, a global SaaS business specialising in digitising risk assessments. I’ve worked in risk and compliance for over 20 years.
2. Can you venture your journey into the Fintech market for our audience?
I worked in large consulting firms and banks for most of my career but a few years ago was looking for a different challenge. Technology was an exciting space to be in with some much potential to transform current risk management processes.
3. What, according to you, are the top Fintech Trends ruling the market?
There’s a lot of interest in artificial intelligence, machine learning and blockchain but there are many solutions that don’t include any of those, yet significantly improve existing manual processes.
With its significant impacts on non-compliance, RegTech is an area that will increasingly attract investment and provide value to regulated organisations.
4. In which ways do you think the Risk Assessment market is adapting Financial technology?
Risk assessments are typically recorded on many spreadsheets. This results in subjective, untimely, infrequent outcomes that do not assist organisations in managing their risks. Technology and data will change that.
5. How does Arctic Intelligence succeed in providing a unique Fintech perspective to its customers?
The team is passionate about raising the level of compliance, reducing financial crimes and other social and environmental impacts of poor corporate governance. That requires better risk management approaches to allow stronger board reporting. Technology enables that and provides increased oversight and as a result, improved risk cultures.
We are transforming how risk assessments are undertaken – from a slow spreadsheet ecosystem to fast data-driven workflows with insights and benchmarking.
6. Do you think AML risk assessments are performed often enough, if not then why?
A spreadsheet-based risk assessment process in a large organisation can take up to nine months to complete, so typically they are only completed once per year. Regulators expect risk assessments to be updated to reflect changes in the organisations over time, so in many instances an annual process is unlikely to keep pace with organisational change such as new products and services, or customers in a new jurisdiction. We are seeing the frequency of risk assessments increase for some but many will need to embrace technology more to help them conduct them more frequently.
7. How according to you, is technology bringing change in the Fintech sector?
Technology enables efficiencies and best practices and provides increased assurance that robust approaches to regulation and compliance are being followed. It also has helped create global communities of FinTech and RegTech professionals that are helping drive the industry forward.
8. As an evolution curve, how do you think risk assessments have evolved over the years?
Unfortunately, they haven’t really evolved much over the years. That is why we think it’s time to change and move beyond spreadsheets to data-driven risk assessments that can alert institutions to when a risk profile moves beyond the agreement risk parameters. Such data-driven insights can and will provide much more value than subjective ratings on a spreadsheet.
9. Do you think there “should” be a need amongst regulated institutions to improve awareness of the length of time required to conduct a risk assessment?
The risk assessment process is often under-funded and many institutions are unaware that specific technology exists to help them in this area. Governments, regulators, business associations and SaaS businesses are all trying to increase that awareness and encourage institutions to engage with technology providers, because of the many benefits that the technology can provide – including the ability to conduct robust and timely risk assessments in much less time than doing them manually.
10. Can you throw some light on the widespread positive impact that digitalisation is having on risk assessment processes?
In a recent Anti-Money Laundering (AML) benchmark survey which we conducted in the market, respondents who have adopted technology reported that digitisation provided at least two or more significant improvements to their risk assessment process.
Improvements included having a more simplified yet broader view of their AML risks across their entire organisation as RegTech could facilitate risk assessments that incorporated all key areas of impact, such as customer base, products and services offering, channels to market and geographic exposure. And since country-specific risk and regulatory changes are monitored and regularly updated by the RegTech provider, it means that regulated organisations can be confident that international best practice and regulation is being adhered to.
Finally, having a centralised documentation repository for risk assessment was another area of positive impact that resulted from RegTech implementation. Survey respondents reported that it provided confidence and peace of mind that a secure process was in place that could be managed and accessed by all, regardless of location.
11. Which is the movie that inspires you the most?
Apollo13 – an amazing achievement in the face of disaster that shows the power of a great team.
12. Would you like to share your all-time favourite motivational quote with us?
Be the change you wish to see in the world.