Apiax Interview with Planet Compliance – 2021 RegTech Interviews

Let start with a brief introduction, what can you tell us about Apiax and your RegTech offering?

Apiax is a RegTech company that makes it radically simple to comply with regulations. Companies of all sizes in financial services can use our compliance solution software to bridge the gap between compliance, business and technology. Apiax’s technology is designed to embed compliance into business processes so that business teams can work more productively and compliance teams can manage their stakeholders much more efficiently. Unlike paper-based manuals or in-house compliance training, we make it easy for you to excel in your daily tasks. This frees up significant resources so that you can focus on your strategic issues and create great experiences for your customers.

What are some of the biggest challenges your solutions solves for your clients?

We see one of the main challenges to be the understanding of the complexity of regulatory requirements, especially for client-facing employees. In fact, we believe that professionals, whatever their job role, should have access to easy to understand and single answers to complex regulatory questions. That is why we digitise knowledge and place a rules repository at the centre of the organisation. This allows all the stakeholders to get answers to specific regulatory questions they need in their daily work right away. Another big challenge we solve with our solution is making the legal and compliance knowledge easily manageable for compliance teams. A lot of teams still operate in a very traditional, paper-based way (even though their legal documents might be in an online format). Having legal content in a text-based format can make it very hard to track all the regulatory changes, which makes it hard to guarantee that all the stakeholders are up to date with the recent rules — and at all times. By providing a user-friendly platform, our solutions solve exactly this problem. This allows legal and compliance teams to easily access, customize and manage all the rules in action, as well as make sure the front-end employees have up-to-date information when serving clients.

Could you give us a use case of why a client came to you and how they are using your solution to solve their particular challenge?

The Apiax Cross-border app offers an alternative to paper-based manuals and compliance training. Through a simple user interface, the app provides clear yes-or-no answers to the most relevant compliance questions when offering products and services across borders, and even allows the comparison of results across multiple jurisdictions.Apiax client CartaX, a global ownership management platform, bought the Cross-border Compliance solution mentioned above. “Thanks to Apiax’ Cross-Border App we can keep up with country-specific regulatory requirements in no time. The tool helps to dramatically shorten our market launch cycles and to serve our clients faster and better.”— Loukas Tasigianis, Compliance Officer at CartaX

How would you describe the differences between your offering from others in your RegTech category?

Apiax makes it radically simple for financial institutions to stay compliant. Undoubtedly, our solution is the only one on the market that gives financial institutions easy access and control over digital compliance rules. Without any technical skills, Apiax clients’ regulatory experts can adapt their digital compliance rules to their risk appetite and in-house preferences. Our solution enables organizations to compete in more markets, with less compliance costs. Given increasing compliance complexity due to many new regulations which is hugely important in order to stay competitive.

What advice would you give to decision makers when choosing a RegTech solution such as the ones you offer?

When deciding on a RegTech solution to digitise compliance processes in the organisation, we believe it’s crucial to have a full view of how the solution is going to benefit the different stakeholders in the company. Based on that, we advise to choose a solution that is going to help you achieve your business goals.

Apiax’ digital compliance solution is designed to give everyone in the organization easy access to compliance knowledge, and mostly, to bridge the gap between business and compliance. The solution offers a very different way of how business people can interact with compliance knowledge by allowing quick and precise answers to regulatory questions they need in their daily client interactions.

On the other side, compliance units can manage and keep the rules and regulations up to date in a very efficient way. So, when choosing a digital compliance tool efficiency wins are definitely an important factor to consider. Having a digital compliance management tool open and bring more business opportunities might be equally or even more attractive reasons on why to consider a RegTech solution.

Due to the global pandemic a lot has changed in the world in the last year. How has your company changed in the last 12 months?

During the course of 2020, Apiax practically doubled its number of employees, surpassing 50 people in total. This is the fastest growth since its founding in 2017. We also launched our Singapore office, adding to our existing locations and presence in Zurich, Lisbon and London. In early 2021, Apiax won its first customers in Germany and, with the support from the Futury Regio Growth Fund, we opened a new office in Frankfurt. All of this happened with most of our employees working and beginning their journeys with Apiax from their homes. We are growing fast and it is amazing to see how far we have become in just four years.

Can you tell us about some of your most recent achievements or milestones you’ve reached?

To add to our achievements and milestones mentioned above, Apiax is proud to have been recognised and won awards from across the globe. In late 2020, Apiax made it to the FinTech50 list, the RegTech100 list and won a Regulation Asia Award for excellence in compliance automation.

In 2021 so far, we have raised fresh capital to enter the German market, been named ‘Most Promising Fintech Startup’ by the Asian Private Banker and graduated from F10’s first accelerator program in Singapore. We are also in the running for a Business Leader’s ‘Fintech Business of the Year’ 2021 Go:Tech Award, which will be announced at the end of April.

What drives you as a company and what is Apiax’ long term vision?

Even now, four years since Apiax was launched—with new clients, new rounds of funding and over 65 employees—our aim continues to be the same: to make compliance easy for everyone, for companies of all sizes.

What are some of the important developments you are seeing in the

RegTech industry?

We see that the impacts of the pandemic have only accelerated the need for innovation and technology. Here are some of the important RegTech trends we see coming for 2021 and beyond:

RegTech AI

AI and machine learning have recently found their way into regulatory technology. This will help manage and govern large volumes of data that constitute regulatory information. As Apiax data engineer Peter Bouda explains: “RegTech AI will provide support for repetitive tasks when digitising compliance rules. It will be especially useful to improve coverage of regulatory contexts and keep compliance up-to-date.”

Cross-border compliance and RegTech (Asia)

Financial institutions that want to serve a global client-base need to cope with a growing list of ever-changing regulations. With impressive growth rates over the last decade, APAC has become a key region for the financial industry. Hong Kong and Singapore, along with Switzerland–the world’s top three offshore wealth centres–are set to profit most from this change. Many financial centres across the globe are looking for ways to enable growth, innovation and customer-focus despite regulatory complexity. According to our cross-border compliance survey, this has also become a main challenge for the financial services industry in the APAC region.

Data Protection and RegTech

In 2020, Apiax conducted a data protection survey to find out what the usual operating patterns are when dealing with data protection. 70% of APAC companies said that regulatory requirements around transferring data are the biggest challenge in data protection. This implies how RegTech can be used to drastically ease the compliance with these regulatory requirements. Oliver Riedel, regulatory engineer at Apiax, explains how: “The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that businesses tend to be less vulnerable in times of crisis if they have started to invest into digital environments. It is clear that data is the key for businesses to grow and hence data protection rules are a key element for business in 2021.”

Open source and RegTech

We believe that 2021 will also see the emergence of new open source projects driven by cross-collaboration between financial institutions, technology firms, service providers and regulators or governing bodies. Projects with this idea in mind that already started collaborating are FINOS and the Regulatory Genome Project. What unites them is the idea to bring together all the actors of the financial services ecosystem to deliver open source information.

RegTech 2.0

2021 will see the emergence of a new RegTech environment. First, we predict that the use of RegTech will see an image change of just being a ‘nice-to-have’ to becoming a business accelerator by providing value-added technology. This change will necessarily entail a broad adoption of mature providers. We ourselves were able to secure such an adoption with Credit Suisse, which was announced last year. To us, RegTech 2.0 means ‘embedded compliance’. 2021 will see the acceleration of mergers of regulatory technology with business processes. As Apiax Co-Founder and regulatory expert, Ralf Huber, explains: “We see a rapid shift away from traditional resource-intense compliance frameworks which are based on policies, training and monitoring towards digital-centric compliance frameworks. And there are obvious reasons for this. By integrating digital compliance rules into core processes, an organisation can massively reduce compliance risk by replacing sample-based compliance monitoring with an embedded compliance or compliant by design approach.”

Taxonomies, knowledge graphs and RegTech

Taxonomies, ontologies and knowledge graphs are the logic continuation of AI and machine learning mentioned in the first trend. The taxonomy is a way to classify things that allows us to describe “the domain of information through a standardised vocabulary”. This is done by making connections between concepts and capturing alternative ways of describing the same concept.

How is this important to RegTech? The knowledge graph captures the gathered information, reduces its complexity and organises it into knowledgeable data. As Apiax software engineer Gonçalo explains: “Ontologies will change the way regulatory topics are explored by crossing and integrating the data of different sources and use it to bring smartness. At Apiax, we want to build a regulatory knowledge graph capable of delivering meaningful insights to help experts fill in the gaps and make use of complex legal ideas. We want to challenge the RegTech

world and become the real-time subject matter assistant to legal experts.”

To learn more, see the Apiax RegTech Guide 2021.

What’s next for Apiax?

Our objectives are to accelerate global growth plans, strengthen product development and continue to build a strong interdisciplinary team across all locations. This includes the expansion to new markets, investing heavily in the product pipeline, as well as an ambitious hiring plan for the coming year.

What’s the best way for potential clients or investors to get in touch with

you?

You can reach out to:

Alan Blanchard, Head of Business Development UK

alan.blanchard@apiax.com

Nicolas Blanchard, Co-Founder and Chairman nicolas.blanchard@apiax.com

Planet Compliance

Planet Compliance is a marketplace where institutions and corporates can discover RegTech and LegalTech solutions. Planet Compliance also operates a content platform that provides information and insights on technology, regulation, compliance, finance and innovation.
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