Founded in 2011, London-headquartered Encompass claims it enables banks and financial services organisations to improve customer experience, deliver revenue faster and demonstrate consistent compliance with real-time digital KYC profiles.
The road to the creation of Encompass was a long and winding process. Following the successful exit from their big data visualization business, Wayne Johnson and Roger Carson – the co-founders of Encompass – took the route of many and become fully fledged investors themselves.
However, while on this new path, one of the investments they engaged with proved deeply costly, when they because victims of financial crime. Detailed information on the parties involved in the case that would have flagged this risk was available – however, in Carson and Johnson’s experience, it was lacking and manual processes meant it was overlooked.
If both co-founders had access to more information, which showed the true full picture of the aforementioned investment, they would have walked away from the deal – saving themselves valuable time, effort, and money.
It was this experience that gave Carson and Johnson the drive – and confirmation of urgent need – to set up Encompass. With its mission of enabling regulated firms to comprehensively detect and prevent financial crime and reduce regulatory risk, they knew this was desperately needed and saw the gap in the market for the technology that also facilitates critical business growth.
Today, following a rapid global growth in recent years, Encompass customers include leading global banks and financial institutions, while the organization also has industryleading partnerships with a number of technology service, data and consulting firms.
The Encompass platform automates the KYC search procedure, as directed by an organization’s risk policy to bring together global and authoritative KYC data, documents and evidence via pre-built data integrations. This reduces the risk of human error and ensures the KYC is more effective by processes being followed consistently, every time.
Data is matched, merged, de-duped and standardized in order to create a single digital corporate profile. Complex ownership structures and ultimate beneficial ownership (UBO) are unwrapped in more detail and faster than is possible with manual KYC processes. Furthermore, full data attribute lineage, source documents and a dynamic audit trail are retained as part of the digital KYC profile for future KYC refresh or remediation and audit purposes.
By nature, the technology is simple to scale, also maximizing growth opportunities, with the range of strategic partnerships outlined previously enabling seamless integration with thirdparty workflow solutions.
Solving pain points
In order to be a real standout player in the growing RegTech industry, businesses must be able to solve pain points better and more efficiently than their competitors. So, what pain points does Encompass look to solve for its customers, which will have impact now and in the future?
Traditionally, KYC has largely been manual, with banks spending millions creating teams of analysts, which follow written instructions and perform manual searches to discover information about the identity of individuals with control and ownership of companies. It is hugely expensive and inefficient, while also resulting in a lack of control and the need for continued outreach. This impacts the time to complete KYC, ultimately causing customer friction and dissatisfaction, which leads to lost business opportunities.
Manual KYC is far from as effective as it should be, hampering output and customer experience. With KYC automation, on the other hand, organisations are able to build an effective process that is quick, responsive, and optimizes the use of data. This results in drastically improved customer experience, removes KYC bottlenecks, and boosts productivity.
The RegTech sector is fast evolving, with many new businesses entering the sector every year. However, at heart, there remains a lack of understanding over how organisations can best leverage RegTech solutions, the partners available, and the role each vendor plays within the widening ecosystem.
In Encompass’ view, particularly in the current economic climate, when businesses, in many cases, are pushing to work faster and better with limited resources, education of the landscape – and how these solutions are key to boosting processes and ultimate business trajectory – is crucial. Digital transformation starts with understanding the problems and solutions, and focusing on this is how banks will succeed.
Trends to look out for
With this fast growth that we have witnessed when it comes to RegTech, the industry trends that stand out have also evolved.
According to Encompass, as we approach the end of 2023, one of the most important trends to take notice of – and that will have an impact for years to come – is the shift towards a perpetual KYC/event-driven operating model. pKYC, which uses automation to detect risk more accurately and quickly while improving operational efficiency and customer experience, is a strategic driver for organisations striving to remain competitive in a rapidly evolving financial landscape. While it is seen by many as the ‘dream state’ when it comes to due diligence, in order to make it a reality, the key lies in ensuring an organization has its data strategy and foundations correctly prioritized and focused in order to go down the path of moving to an effective pKYC model.
Looking ahead, another trend that stands out in the opinion of Encompass is the acceleration of the usage of Generative AI.
The impact of Generative AI
Generative AI is projected to reach a total value of $44.89bn by the end of 2023. Going forward, the market size is expected to show an annual growth rate of 24.40%, resulting in a market volume of $207bn by the year 2030.
In the view of Encompass, while Generative AI has the ability to offer potentially exciting benefits to financial institutions, it will not replace KYC analysts now or at any time in the foreseeable future. Instead, Generative AI will accelerate existing processes and augment the work of analysts, empowering them to detect financial crime risk much more quickly and comprehensively.
AI’s impact on KYC
What impact will AI have on KYC practices in the RegTech industry? In the view of Encompass, looking at KYC onboarding , Generative AI could work in tandem with traditional AI to provide solutions that combine the strength of both technologies while minimizing risk, with benefits crossing areas including improving experience and streamlining data management.
The RegTech organization stated that it is important to realize, though, that the adoption of Generative AI also brings with it a number of challenges. Some of these challenges include the complexity of models, their unpredictability as well as the need for strong and robust risk management strategies. It is the banks that balance AI’s potential with addressing these risks that will see the best outcomes.
What lies ahead for Encompass in the future? The firm stated, amongst other things, increasing expertise and insight of its transformation team to help customers accelerate KYC transformation will be an ongoing priority.
Alongside this, as organisations are looking to focus less on KYC efficiency and more on KYC effectiveness, the company plans to continue to focus on increasing the completeness of the profiles it creates. Encompass supports organisations in their drive to ensure they only get the data attributes they need and the best data available, as well as eliminating irrelevant data collation in order to perform better KYC. This removes repeat and unnecessary outreach and improves customer experience. Ultimately, this creates business opportunities and lays the foundation for the growth banks are seeking.
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