Let start with a brief introduction, what can you tell us about Shield and your RegTech offering?
At Shield, we believe there is a better way to stay compliant – a more valuable, efficient way. We believe that a communications compliance platform should be open, custom-tailored, intuitive, and cost-effective. We are obsessively passionate about regulations and technology, and our mission is to help people and organizations turn communications compliance into a competitive advantage.
Shield is here to revolutionize financial compliance. We understand the daily struggles of the compliance team, from top to bottom, which is why we have created a super-smart, shockingly efficient way to deliver next-generation communications compliance. We deliver a comprehensive communications lifecycle platform which ensures financial businesses have a complete 3600 view, along with the reassurance that all interactions are proactively monitored, helping to ensure all relevant regulations are fully met 24/7.
What are some of the biggest challenges your solutions solve for your clients?
In a world of complex national/regional regulations and ever evolving communications, it is a real challenge for financial firms to accurately monitor all interactions and ensure they follow all the rules correctly. This has become even more complex since the global pandemic, with many workers forced to work from home, potentially operating away from the usual watchful eye of the compliance team – which is a significant worry for any business (particularly regarding wilful abuse such as Insider Trading threats).
The Shield platform automates and orchestrates the complete communications compliance lifecycle across not only in-house communications platforms, but also any associated third-party platforms (such as WhatsApp or even Zoom and MS Teams) being used by office and home-based workers. This includes delivering all elements of capture, correlation, data enrichment, analytics, proactive and preventive detection. Our solution empowers numerous functions within regulated organizations, from departments such as surveillance and monitoring, risk and governance, forensic and control, all the way through to conduct and management.
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?
A financial institution recently engaged Shield to build a solution that will help them meet regulatory requirements. This multi-billion European- financial services group serving over 11 million private customers, was seeking ways to bolster company-wide compliance and address Market Abuse (MAR) requirements.
The financial service company’s banking division processes hundreds of millions of online payments per year and countless regulated trades and transactions company-wide. As an entity subject to MAR and MiFID II Regulations, the client needed a solution that facilitated recordkeeping for massive amounts of compliance data. Further, the sophisticated software solution the bank required needed to work with the company’s existing IT infrastructure.
The daily workflow of the compliance department was highly manual. Each communication channel was recorded on a different, siloed, system that the bank installed. That resulted in long investigation times and low productivity from the compliance team.
Shield was able to customize a data acquisition and data enrichment solution and work it in to the client’s existing systems. This solution was not only efficient and effective, but it also provided the client with a rich suite of tools that improved recordkeeping and eDiscovery processes company-wide. This is possible because Shield’s proprietary compliance platform is designed to be capable of simultaneously collecting data from a great variety of sources and enriching it with content-rich metadata for recordkeeping and eDiscovery purposes.
Shield captured content from sources as diverse as email, voice chat, Skype for Business, and even specialized chat platforms offered by Bloomberg and Thompson Reuters. Once collected, Shield’s customized software solution extracted key data and enriched relevant metadata to each piece of eComms data. Shield’s software then cross-referenced eComms data with trade data from the Order Management System (“OMS”). This is all possible thanks to Shield’s highly specialized AI engine, which integrates eComms and trade data in a manner that makes reconstructing, reporting, and interacting with content and users on the platform natural and intuitive.
Shield’s Financial Context Recognition (“FCR”) engine takes all forms of eComm data – voice, text, chat, or other – and uses it to reconstruct the entire scenario of a trade event. The FCR can correlate an unfathomable amount of data. This sophisticated algorithm extracts relevant data from text, chat, and verbal conversations and uses it to contextualize transactions and other regulated events. Not only does the FCR paint a more complete picture of a regulated event, but this process also makes different types of eComms data searchable through Shield’s custom-built engine. Altogether, this greatly improves both the efficacy and efficiency of future review.
Altogether, this system ensured all compliance related data was collected, normalized, tagged and indexed for searchability, and placed in an eDiscovery format with investigation capabilities. Shield used pre-integrated connectors to connect to the client’s existing data sources. The recordkeeping processes facilitated by these solutions improved the efficiency and effectiveness of compliance investigations, whilst ensuring the client had maintained compliance with MAR and MiFID II’s extensive retention and record keeping requirements.
MAR and MiFID II require sweeping data collection and management processes far too complex for many legacy systems to handle. Despite the extensive functionality and advanced design of its own software solution, Shield was able to work its software solutions into the client’s existing IT systems.
Designing enterprise software solutions is challenging enough; making it backwards compatible with existing or legacy systems that have been in place at regulated financial institutions for years is a feat few providers can achieve. In this case, Shield met all the client’s needs by designing a software solution with regulatory compliance in mind.
How would you describe the differences between your offering from others in your RegTech category?
In an age of increasingly complex communications and ever-tightening regulations designed to protect customers and the firms themselves, being able to prove compliance and proactively detect, prevent, and resolve potential breaches and issues is vital. Whilst there are other solutions on the market that purport to address these issues, the Shield platform is the only one to provide a complete automated start-to-finish service from collection, processing, clear and simple presentation of the insights and fully secure storage.
Whilst our competitors rely on customer data (with the inherent faults and lack of coherence adversely affecting quality of insights), Shield automatically collects, refines/enriches and structures this data (from virtually any comms source) to ensure full visibility, ultimate reliability and accuracy. We understand that however powerful your AI system is, the results are only as good at the quality of the data you feed it.
What advice would you give to decision makers when choosing a RegTech solution such as the ones you offer?
Communications compliance isn’t’ optional, it is essential for protecting your customers and your business from hefty potential fines and (just as importantly) protecting your reputation as a trustworthy business. Therefore, it is important to ensure that the RegTech solution you choose fully meets the needs of your business – including the regulations your organisation is subject to, the communications platforms being used by your business and employees, and addresses the specific risk areas your business faces (for example Insider Trading).
Its also important to ensure the solution you choose thoroughly encompasses the entire lifecycle of your compliance journey – from data collection and processing through to proactive detection and fully secure and searchable storage.
It goes without saying that the RegTech solution you choose must evolve with your business needs and those of the market. A prime example of this is the seismic shift to home working during the global pandemic. There is no point having a solution which covers all your workplace operations but fails to cover home worker activity!
Finally, there is no reason to settle for a solution which is purely a cost for your business. The right RegTech solution will also provide you with a competitive advantage, delivering business insights into your customers’ activities/behaviour as well as the efficiencies within your own organisation. A human compliance team would never be able to match this level of insight, and certainly not for the same kind of investment costs. The right RegTech solution will deliver the levels of ROI that turn it from a grudge purchase to a sound investment for the whole business.
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?
We tripled our team and grew our revenue by 350%
Can you tell us about some of your most recent achievements or milestones you’ve reached?
In October 2020 Shield launched an enhanced solution that combines our Insider Trading and Information Handling models – INSIDERS – to provide greater surveillance for increased remote working in the new normal.
Shield recently joined the IBM Cloud for Financial Services ecosystem as an Independent Software Vendor (ISV) partner, onboarding our communication compliance and surveillance offerings to the platform. In 2020 Shield also announced we had been selected by Microsoft to join its One Commercial Partner (OCP) program, which provides best-of-breed Cloud-based solutions.
Additionally, Shield agreed a ground-breaking world-wide collaboration agreement with FIS, a global leader in financial services technology. FIS offers Shield’s powerful Communication Surveillance and Data Management platform to its substantial client-base worldwide, both as a standalone solution and also combined with its own market-leading FIS Protegent trade surveillance platform. By integrating the trade and eComms side of surveillance together we are moving the market forward from the obsolete holistic approach to the user-centric hybrid one.
Earlier this year, Shield announced we have partnered with mobile archiving specialist TeleMessage to enable the direct capture and storage of Mobile and WhatsApp voice and chat messaging. We also announced the integration of Shield’s platform with popular audiovisual collaboration platform Zoom, and have been awarded Service Organization Controls (SOC 2) certification following an extensive audit by Deloitte LLP.
What is drives you as company & what is Shield’s long term vision?
Shield’s aim has always been, and continues to be, to deliver the ultimate RegTech solution for our customers. Inevitably the technical specifics of this mission will change and evolve over time, along with our customers and the market as a whole, but our vision is for Shield to always deliver the best solution available, one which can always be trusted to provide full peace of mind.
We are also driven by the desire to ensure the RegTech industry gets the recognition it deserves for protecting businesses and consumers. The financial sector is getting more and more complicated as time goes on, so automated regulatory compliance needs to ensure it moves ahead of the curve and demonstrates why it is an essential purchase. To this end, Shield is building the World’s first Employee Behavioural Risk Platform – Workplace Intelligence.
What are some of the important developments you are seeing in the RegTech industry?
Shift to cloud, WFH changing how compliance operates, the adoption of AI solutions by financial services
There is a significant shift towards our customers wanting to use Cloud for their IT and storage hosting, which has been particularly accelerated by the pandemic and the need for work from home provisions.
What’s next for Shield?
As a business we like to stay under the radar of our competitors until we are ready to go to market, so we will continue to build a platform which looks at the challenges ahead and is designed to dominate the market as it evolves.
How does Shield think about making an impact and giving back?
We are very keen to give back to the community, specifically to help underprivileged young people to embrace a career in technology and technology development. This has obvious benefits for the individual, but also helps to ensure our industry has as broad a pipeline of young talent as possible, to power the next generation of development and evolution.
What’s the best way for potential clients or investors to get in touch with you?