Banking

UOB pioneers new AI solution for anti-money laundering surveillance

Thu, Dec 03, 2020 – 5:07 PM

UOB is making use of a new artificial intelligence (AI) solution that is “highly accurate” in identifying suspicious transactions and connected parties as it combats increased sophistication in financial crime, it said in a media statement on Thursday.

It will use AI concurrently on two anti-money laundering (AML) risk dimensions – transaction monitoring and name screening. The bank made early investments in AI, and began its AML proof of concept two years ago, head of Group Compliance at UOB, Victor Ngo, said.

“Our AI solution works concurrently on two AML risk dimensions, which is technically more difficult, but also more fruitful as it helps us to pinpoint criminals trying to pose as customers,” he added. “UOB will continue to invest in advanced technology to strengthen our AML system to deal with emerging risks.”

The use of AI enables UOB to pinpoint higher priority cases from the more than 5,700 monthly suspicious transaction alerts flagged on average, and lets it deploy the necessary resources swiftly to investigate potential money laundering attempts.

Since its implementation, UOB said, the new AI solution has proven an overall true positive prediction rate of 96 per cent in the “high priority” category. The category is the highest of three priority tiers, and contains transactions and accounts that are deemed most likely to be suspicious and are therefore subject to earlier and more thorough investigations.

Once the AI solution flags suspicious activity, the bank’s compliance officers step in to conduct in-depth investigations into those transactions and to submit reports to the authorities in the shortest possible time, increasing the chances of halting criminal activity.

The bank is able to spot more sophisticated transaction patterns and is more effective at connecting data points with entities using the financial system, UOB said.

It added that the AI solution, underpinned by machine learning and greater computational power, will continue to sharpen its detection capabilities over time, as the model responds to changes in customer risk profiles, behaviours and transaction patterns.

The bank is using the AI solution to screen all customers and transactions involving Singapore-based UOB accounts, and is expanding the solution to cover all UOB accounts globally.

UOB’s new AI solution was developed in collaboration with Singapore-based regulatory technology company, Tookitaki Holdings, after more than two years of validation and evaluation, it said.


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