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Joe Gillespie, Booz Allen Hamilton's financial crimes program manager, recalls being invited to a meeting with some prospective banking clients. They needed help catching criminals—the kind that need to obscure the origins of their illicit profits and activities.
Thanks to key provisions of the Patriot Act, financial institutions are on the front lines of anti-money laundering efforts. It’s a tough burden, but one that Booz Allen is making easier with a new suite of products called riskCanvasTM.
When it comes to solving client’s problems, we’re ready to take on any challenge. And by combining our analytics expertise with an understanding of the regulations that financial institutions need to comply with—we were ready to help banks take money-launderers head-on.
“We’re bold about creating better processes and that’s exactly what the financial industry needed us to do. In 2 years, we’ve made quite an impact in compliance and are helping financial institutions realize that there’s a better way.”
- Joe Gillespie, Booz Allen's financial crimes program manager
Joe was used to tough challenges, having spent considerable time after 9/11 working for the Department of Defense and using his analytics skills to stop criminals. But this was different.
“The bank’s leadership—they didn’t want a weapon and they didn’t want to hand over their data to us to track these criminals. They wanted to buy a product so they could do it themselves, better and more efficiently,” says Joe.
RiskCanvas has gotten off on a strong start. Reports from our pilot launch with two clients—a large multinational bank and a capital markets broker dealer—have been very positive. These clients are meeting their anti-money laundering obligations more efficiently and reducing the costs of doing it.
What makes riskCanvas different is the data science and advanced analytics that goes into it. Many banks have large anti-money laundering programs to conduct investigations—sometimes thousands of analysts, but the problem is that their systems are generating greater than 99 percent false positives alerts and each one of those false positives has to be checked out by an analyst.
“That’s a huge efficiency problem,” says Senior Associate Quinten Hout, riskCanvas product manager, “both in human hours and costs, while the real criminals could get away undetected.”
By applying a propriety technology to search open-source data, riskCanvas is able to enrich the information that banks are already required to collect about their customers. It then goes through detailed analysis and generates something we call riskDNATM, and eventually everything known about a customer is distilled into a Risk Score.
Through riskCanvas’ case management tool, which leverages Big Data technologies to aggregate large and disparate customer and transaction data, analysts are able to conduct their investigations more rapidly and conclusively than ever before.
“RiskCanvas has cut false positives down by 50 percent,” says Quinten, “and reduced wasted analyst time by 75 to 80 percent. All in all, this is delivering multi-million dollar cost reduction for our customers.”
And we have the time studies to back up that claim, adds Joe.
"I’m proud of Booz Allen and the people that have come together to create this offering,” says Joe. “We’re bold about creating better processes and that’s exactly what the financial industry needed us to do. In 2 years, we’ve made quite an impact in compliance and are helping financial institutions realize that there’s a better way.”
And let’s not forget that in addition to the benefits financial institutions see from being able to meet their regulatory obligations better and more cost effectively, “We’re saving lives,” Quinten says. “I believe that. By disrupting the ability of really bad people to move money and finance their operations, we’re creating a safer society.”
That’s the kind of risk we’re willing to take.