We are delighted to welcome David White to the Accuity team as Executive Vice President of Global Payments. He talked to us about his view on the payments landscape, latest market trends, and the go-forward strategy for Accuity.
Why did you join Accuity?
I have worked in the payments and compliance industry, including developing a startup and working with large banks in anti-money laundering (AML) and Know Your Customer (KYC). This has given me a wide view of the industry and a good understanding of what solutions were available in the market.
The prospect of joining the Accuity family was very exciting. Working with such a well-known brand that has been part of the market for so long presented a unique opportunity to move the industry forward. I firmly believe that the next phase of innovation is best served by a company that has such a deep history in the space.
What is your view on the future of the payments industry?
The payments industry is going through a period of significant change that is driving a better experience for the customer. Today, you can move money instantly, whether it be through faster payments systems or the ever-expanding choice of peer-to-peer systems. For cross-border payments, we are seeing increased speed and also cheaper alternatives to the traditional routes.
Payments are also becoming faster and cheaper. These changes are hugely positive but do come at the cost of increased complexity and evolving risk. The job of the industry is to continue to drive forward with product innovation, constantly improving the experience and reducing cost while maintaining the highest standards of risk and compliance. It is a very exciting time to be in the payments industry!
With regards to regulations, how much impact are they having on payments today and what role will it play in shaping the industry in the future?
Regulations will always play catch up with new technology, and that’s fine. The industry needs space to innovate. However, it is also important that companies are joined up with the regulators to make sure they are supporting healthy economic growth and limiting risks. The FCA regulatory sandbox is a great example of how companies can work with regulators to test solutions and identify appropriate consumer protection safeguards. As the industry continues to strive for instant payments, it’s our role to help make them safer.
How do we achieve safe, instant payments?
We live in an age of instant gratification – from messages to transportation, and ordering food to dating. The same goes with payments, we should expect that type of instant response. That means that innovation in financial crime screening must keep pace with this transformation so safe, secure, real-time payments can be achieved. As the volume of payments increases, so does the potential for financial crime, especially as these payments are embedded in apps and devices. ‘Traditional’ AML services currently review possible violations before they are approved. Real-time payments demand a more intelligent risk-management approach that balances quality reference data and innovative screening technology to detect and stop suspect transactions.
What is the next big challenge for the payments industry?
The opportunities for a cashless society are almost endless. Cash is antiquated in this age of instant gratification and smartphones. It demonstrates that people have already begun to redefine their relationship with money, and there is scope for large parts of our society to go cashless. And while this creates an opportunity to eradicate money laundering, it also creates a two-tier society – those that can afford and use devices, and those that can’t. This sadly, will create more exploitation and hide illicit activity in global economies. This is a great challenge to solve. The industry has a responsibility to support the unbanked. We want to work alongside other groups to ensure that no one is excluded from the global financial ecosystem.