Conquering Compliance – Letting Automation Reduce the Burden

Automation and artificial intelligence (AI) are making almost every aspect of our lives easier. Siri, Alexa, Cortana and the like are on hand to answer nearly any question we ask, and in the work environment, many firms are already using automated ‘bots’ to triage customer queries while law firms are turning to AI to help them solve cases. Compliance is no different.

60% of compliance professionals believe an automated CDD process would reduce wasted effort and duplication by team members

Financial institutions (FIs) have long had teams for identifying illicit funds and preventing criminals from laundering money through their organisations. But as the size of the problem has increased, FI’s compliance functions are struggling to keep up.


In a recent survey of UK compliance professionals, Dun & Bradstreet found that over half (54%) of FIs take between three to six days to onboard a new business client. Not only can this have a negative impact on the customer experience, but there is a substantial cost associated with investigating each case.

In the same way automation technology is helping individuals, customer service teams and law firms, a small number of forward-thinking FIs (7%) have recognised the benefits of and are using automated programmes to help them check and continuously monitor clients as part of their Customer Due Diligence (CDD) process.

These benefits include:  

  • Revenue speed: 60% believe it would yield a faster time to revenue
  • Customer experience: More than half (56%) believe it would improve customer experience
  • Efficiency: Half (50%) believe it would reduce wasted effort and duplication by team members

Automation does not replace the compliance function but rather makes it more efficient, so it can keep up with the ever-growing sophistication of criminals. By removing the burden of reviewing every case, third-party data can be used to classify the majority of customers. This means the compliance team can focus on the more challenging and advanced money laundering cases. This not only reduces duplicated effort, as stated above, but it results in a more engaged and challenged workforce as the mundane tasks are reduced.

Beyond the benefits it brings to onboarding new customers, automation makes it far easier to monitor customer compliance status on an ongoing basis. This is a challenge for FIs, with 45% admitting it is “very” or “fairly” difficult to monitor this on an ongoing basis, therefore putting the company at risk of fines and reputational damage. The Financial Conduct Authority has shown that it takes no prisoners with regulating CDD, and failure to effectively comply with the legislation has resulted in multimillion pound fines.

The majority of FIs claim they are already using external data sources to help with this process – just 5% said they use no external data sources at all. So for many, moving towards a more automated process is not a big step. In an environment where just under half (49%) of compliance professionals believe it will become more difficult to comply with financial regulation, automation provides the key to conquering compliance.

Download our report Conquering Compliance – Shining a Light on Customer Due Diligence to find out how other compliance professionals are using modern technology and what they expect the future to bring.