We had a pleasure of sitting down with Jane Walshe, Co-founder and CEO of Enforcd, to talk about the future of regulation and compliance and her startup experience. Enforcd has completed a proof-of-concept with the Bank of England, who described the platform as an “intuitive and user-friendly way to facilitate compliance and the development of best practice”.
Q: What is Enforcd?
Enforcd is a global regulatory intelligence platform which enables regulated financial services firms and their staff to keep up to date with regulatory changes. It can prevent financial institutions from getting regulatory fines and enable them to prove to their regulators and stakeholders that they take the sharing of best practice around culture and conduct seriously.
Q: What inspired you to start Enforcd? Tell us more about your team.
I am a regulatory lawyer and I used to work in the enforcement division of the FCA in the UK. So it’s the subject matter that I get very enthusiastic about. There are also two other exceptional co-founders — David Lawlor, a senior product expert with over twenty years of experience, leading very large teams at Thomson Reuters; he is very talented. Also Wolfgang Hauptfleisch — our developer, who, again, has over twenty years experience and really knows his stuff. He’s written all of our code with his team, and he has done and continues to do very inventive stuff with technology to keep improving Enforcd.
Q: Could you tell us more about your partnership with the Bank of England? What was the outcome of the partnership?
We have a number of users at the Bank, predominantly in the regulatory action division. The lawyers and investigators have used Enforcd and given us very valuable feedback. They wrote a report about us, which in the main was very positive and complimentary, so we were thrilled about that. And they continue to act as a reference client.
And hats off to the Bank of England for working with us — when they first engaged with us, we were very early stage, we were much earlier stage than we are now. But it was the power of the idea, the fact that we have created something of a benefit to the financial services industry, and by extension, to consumers generally, to all of us who are engaged with financial services. Enforcd is all about conduct and culture throughout the industry, and those motivations really resonated with the bank.
Q: Are you planning to form the same partnerships with regulators in Asia?
I hope so. We are talking to the MAS in Singapore and through SuperCharger, are looking forward to being introduced to the HKMA and the SFC because we have got all of their data on our site, so we are ready to work with them. And we are working many other regulators too.
Q: What other organisations have you engaged so far?
Enforcd is something that law firms are really responding to because they love deep-dive analysis of regulatory cases as it saves them a lot of time. Also regulators and journalists. We’ve got a very large news agency as a client. This is exciting for us because the sorts of conclusions that we are able to surface with our technology wouldn’t be immediately apparent via a manual search through the various data points we are analysing and aggregating. So there is very useful information that we are providing with analysis through Enforcd, which is of interest to many different people of in lots of different environments.
Q: What do you think of the status of regulation and compliance in Hong Kong?
It’s interesting, because regulators here have introduced the Manager-in Charge regime, similar to the Senior Managers’ Regime in the UK. It’s interesting to see how regulatory thinking moves around different jurisdictions and how a good idea in one country is then adopted by another country. It is also of note that the SFC has taken quite muscular action recently.
Q: In your opinion, what is the biggest regulatory and compliance challenge for the financial industry at the moment?
I would say at the moment, it’s the GDPR coming up in Europe. Because even though it’s a European piece of regulation, so much international business is done into Europe it impacts many global companies. It’s going to have a big impact on tech companies that retain and process the data of millions of citizens, many of European citizens. Apart from that, the other big thing is anti-money laundering system and controls, and the use of capital markets for criminal money laundering. And that never goes away.
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Enforcd is one of the 10 companies admitted to the SuperCharger FinTech Accelerator HK 2018 Program.You can find out more about Enforcd here.