Anti-money laundering and fraud solution provider Alessa has named Holly Sais Phillippi as its new chief executive officer.
Sais Phillippi has garnered over twenty years of experience within the risk management and compliance industry. She has worked in notable positions at Refinitiv, Thomson Reuters, Veri-Site, World-Check and more.
During this extensive career, she has had a lot of experience working with organisations assessing and implementing data and technology to meet and comply with regulatory requirements. In her roles, she has focused on detecting fraud, money laundering and sanction compliance.
Sais Phillippi is also the co-chair to the Central Texas ACAMS Chapter Board. She also regularly attends risk and compliance forums to speak as a subject matter expert.
As to why Sais Phillippi chose to join Alessa, she said, “I have been a fan of Alessa for a long time now, I had the privilege of working with the Alessa team as a partner while I was with Refinitiv.
“Through our joint client engagements, I had the opportunity to watch those clients realize a significant level of efficiency in their AML and Fraud processes through the adoption of the Alessa platform, it was great to watch and be a part of. Therefore, when the opportunity to join Alessa came about I was thrilled and honored to be considered and chosen to lead the organization.”
Whilst serving as the CEO, Sais Phillippi hopes to capitalise on the strong foundations and empower the team to further help their clients’ AML/Fraud needs. She is confident this basis can be used to create new automation tools.
“It is key for us to help our clients and future clients realize the efficiencies and transparency that our solution enables,” she added. “Our industry changes rapidly, and I understand the challenges that presents our clients, and my goal for our organization is to ensure we are positioned to help our clients react quickly without a heavy lift.”
While Alessa is in a strong position, Sais Phillippi understands there are always going to be challenges. The past year has been tough for compliance teams, with rising levels of risk and regular regulatory changes. However, Sais Phillippi prefers to see potential challenges as ‘areas of opportunity’.
As CEO, she plans to keep a keen eye on what is affecting clients and the industry, as well as how the regulatory landscape is evolving. “Therefore, I will challenge myself and our organization to keep the finger on the pulse, and not lose sight of what is important and what our mission is, and that is to play an active role in the fight against financial crime.”
Speaking about taking the role of CEO, Sais Phillippi said, “I am very excited to be joining the Alessa team. I believe Alessa is uniquely positioned to support organizations as they navigate through the convergence of fraud and AML. The team at Alessa is highly skilled and well-versed in their field, which has allowed them to develop a comprehensive risk management solution.”
Alessa’s board of directors were equally ecstatic about the appointment. Alessa board member Vaibhav Nalwaya said, “We at the Board of Directors are delighted to have Holly join us as CEO to lead the Alessa business going forward. She is highly respected within the industry and among her peers, and her deep experience in the AML space will be invaluable to the Company in executing its growth plan.”
As to how Sais Phillippi hopes to help Alessa accelerate its growth, she will focus on the company’s core strengths and ensure clients are always at the centre of what they do. Customer centricity has become a major trend across all sectors. The fast-paced digital world has shown the need for firms to treat their customers well through strong client experience and engagement. If they fail to do this, they risk the customer leaving to other providers.
Sais Phillippi is a firm believer in the idea that good client experience and engagement helps pivot the relationship to a partnership. In turn, this allows the company to learn, grow, and expand its reach.
She said, “Without meeting our clients where they are on their compliance journey, we cannot be successful therefore that is critical to our ability to continue our growth and drive revenue.”
In a similar vein, Sais Phillippi believes fostering a good culture of innovation and continuous improvement is the best strategy for growth. Creating a team and environment where innovation and learning is fostered, is something she is passionate about and will look to nurture within Alessa.
“I want us to be our own success story and to have a team that can point to how they contributed to our success and that is how we continue to innovate and improve. It is through the individuals that show up each day with the same passion to support the industry in fighting financial crime and remembering it’s not just about the monetary aspect but the humans behind these crimes that we must continue to fight for.”
Finally, Sais Phillippi offered some insight as to how RegTech companies need to plan for the future. The answer is to be forward thinking about what could come next. The regulatory market is constantly changing, and new requirements or threats can come into play very quickly. The unprecedented level of sanctions placed on Russia in 2022 is just one example of how firms need to be prepared for significant changes.
“I will give an example, prior to COVID, I worked with a client that had built a very solid digital transformation plan, it was a 4-year plan. Fast forward post COVID it is now the most funded project and the timeline moved to 18 months, specifically due to their experience of no personal interactions during that time.
“Not only are we (compliance professionals) having to adapt and ensure we are keeping up with regulatory changes and requirements, we also need to be thinking about external factors as well that might impact our compliance programs.”
Alessa is an AML compliance and fraud prevention solution that allows for quick identification of suspicious activities and high-risk entities in compliance, finance and procurement programs. Its technology allows compliance teams to make more informed decisions and quickly detect suspicious transactions, uncover high-risk customers and decrease fraud risks.
Late last year, Alessa went through a rebrand to simplify its brand offering, moving away from its original name of Alessa by Tier 1 Financial Solutions.
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