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The FinCrime Files – Q&A with Chor Teh, Investec

In this edition of our FinCrime Files interview series, we caught up with Chor Teh, Head of Client Lifecycle Management at Investec.

Q. Hi Chor, could you tell us a little about yourself and your current role at Investec?

I am Chor Teh, I currently head up the Client Lifecycle Management team here at Investec Bank plc. Prior to this role, I have had the opportunity to work in other banks such as JPMorgan, BNP Paribas and ICBC Standard Bank, to see and learn the best practices to embed into the work that I am doing now. My CLM team looks after the New-To-Bank Client Onboarding, Periodic Reviews and Off-boarding. I also have a Change function who oversees the systems and process implementation and enhancement across CLM as well as Financial Crime.

Q. We’ve been speaking to a lot of banks about the challenges of continuously monitoring customers through the lifecycle – where do you see the biggest challenges in achieving a “perpetual KYC” environment?

This is a great question, where do we start ? In my personal opinion, the biggest challenge is good data. I have read a lot of papers about the benefits and the journeys to achieve continuous monitoring, and 9 out of 10 is contingent on good data. Good data requires transformation and this is often linked to a journey that we have to go through, instead of a one-off project. It also means that we need to somehow change the way we perform KYC and how we capture data – and this may end up requiring slightly more standardisation along the journey of KYC so that we can come to some baseline standard. This is only the preparation stage albeit a crucial one.

Q. Where do you see the biggest friction points in the onboarding process, from a CLM perspective. What kind of best practices do you recommend in improving onboarding for business customers?

For me, best practice includes a combination of people and technology. For example, leverage technology to perform searching and start trusting the digital results, then incorporate peoples’ analytical skills to the outcome. I think this will truly improve the onboarding experience.

Q. You’ve implemented some major regulatory classification programmes including Dodd-Frank. What’s the next major regulatory milestone you anticipate having to implement?

It is a very interesting question. I am actually about to begin my exploration journey into perpetual KYC. In the current age of cost vs efficiency, perpetual KYC is seen as a go-to target to achieve optimum outcomes in terms of cost and efficiency.

Q. How far can AI or Machine Learning help to automate the most laborious steps in the client lifecycle? Or putting it another way, how can it save KYC teams most effectively?

Going back to the previous question and answer about building baseline standards, then using technology to improve searching capability, I would like to think if we add a layer of machine learning on top it would greatly reduce the false positives and ultimately allow us to achieve onboarding within minutes.

Q. Which key influencers/podcasts/blogs/books do you recommend to keep up-to-date with the latest developments in CLM tech/KYC or AML? Or, where do you find inspiration in general?

I consider myself very lucky to have great access to various forums, papers and a network of people that I can bounce ideas off of. They are my main source of inspiration. There is also another aspect – albeit one that sounds a bit strange out of context: embrace the term “lazy”! It is a very powerful tool to make people find efficient ways to solve problems.