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Taming the Wolves of Wall Street: voice recognition is the next frontier of compliance

smm_.jpgRemember the rogue mastermind of Leonardo di Caprio’s character in Martin Scorsese’s Wolf of Wall Street? Based on the real life story of Jordan Belfort, the movie showcases one compliance breach after another – as dozens of ‘successful’ calls mis-selling penny stocks were made every day. With many noticing – but no one paying real attention or willing to report suspicious behaviour. 

Times have certainly changed. Compliance is now at the top of the C-suite agenda in every financial organisation. Yet, even the best and brightest compliance officers can’t be everywhere, listening to every conversation. This is where AI-led voice recognition technology comes to the rescue. Not only can it eavesdrop on relevant sales conversations – but also transcribe each call in real time. As it does so, it can alert compliance in real time, flagging the most concerning and potentially non-complaint parts of the discussion. The solution would not only encourage brokers or sales persons to remain compliant but would also instil more confidence in customers that they are not being misguided in any way.

The AI semantic parsing revolution has already happened. And it’s here to stay. Natural Language AI technology with phonological awareness already exists. It understands speaking habits, conversational linguistics, dialects, idiosyncrasies, slang, foreign nationals’ accents, intonation, emphasis, intention and enunciation. It will not only be able to understand ‘rogue’ traders and agents who speak in code – but it will also be able to identify and authenticate each individual without any need for introductions, making real-time compliance issues escalation a reality.

On the other hand, traders and salesmen shouldn’t despair. The new technology will benefit them, too. Real-time sentiment and intent analysis and analytics will soon be able to help them better understand their customers. New tech will be able to determine when customers sound like they are ready for an upsell, and when it’s best to move the conversation in another direction, thus elevating customer experience and overall helping create a tangible competitive advantage. In the future, the technology will even be used to create a sound bank of known fraudsters, so that phone calls from these conmen are automatically identified in real-time.

This technology is timely, as the EU continues to tighten its grip on money laundering. Hot on the heels of the EU’s Fourth Anti-Money Laundering Directive (4MLD), implemented last year, the fifth iteration (5MLD), will be implemented by 10 January 2020. The changes will impose additional obligations particularly on those in the financial services sector, in line with the pace of tech innovation. Meaning, they have to step up their game in proactively taming any emerging ‘Wolves of Wall Street’ in the name of compliance. The right technology already exists to make sure that financial institutions can focus on high-value strategy and tasks, outsourcing repetitive and mundane – yet important tasks – to highly qualified AI assistants who are impossible to ‘bribe’.

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