May 25 • 3 min read

Insights from our Legal Risk & Compliance Roundtable event


This week, a group of risk and compliance experts from the legal, financial, and advisory sectors came together for a virtual roundtable discussion on staying compliant in today’s complex global landscape. With regulations constantly changing, keeping up poses a challenge. But there’s a solution: AI and automation. In this blog, we’ll delve into insights shared by the speakers.

1) Cost-effective counterparty checks

Kristina Newman, Head of Risk, Legal and Compliance at Asia Green Real Estate, pointed out the importance of strict onboarding and counterparty checks required by regulations. To meet these mandates, businesses not only have to verify clients and investors, but also the parties they do business with. But gathering necessary documents from service providers is a time-consuming and resource-heavy task. And, on top of that, information availability varies across jurisdictions.

Lack of resources further complicates the process, as thorough checks on counterparties come with significant costs. Despite efforts to engage cost-effective technological solutions from service providers, Kristina highlighted the limited availability of such resources. For organisations actively seeking innovative ways to tackle these challenges, it’s all about finding a balance between compliance and cost-effectiveness. And that’s where AI-powered solutions prove valuable.

2) Balance regulatory and reputation risks

Luciane Mallman, Head of Ethics and Compliance at JLL, stressed the importance of evaluating both regulatory and reputation risks. While following regulations is vital, organisations must also consider the potential impact on their reputation. Luciane provided an example: even if a client isn’t included in UK, EU, or US sanctions lists, they could still be listed elsewhere, like Ukraine’s.

Understanding the reasons behind such listings and assessing the impact on reputation becomes crucial. Luciane highlighted the need for a strong decision-making process that aligns with risk tolerance and core values. Organisations should establish clear communication channels throughout the business to emphasise the significance of managing reputation risks and get support from stakeholders.

Bottom line: building a culture where compliance with regulations and ethical standards is prioritised leads to a stronger reputation inside and out.

3) The five risk factors: Applicability beyond regulations

Cary Whitmarsh, Head of Risk at Trowers & Hamlins, highlighted the importance of five key risk factors that apply to all industries, whether regulated or not. These factors include location, financial position, sanctions relevance, suitability of products or services, and payment methods.

As companies expand internationally, it becomes essential to align compliance efforts with the cultural differences of various regulatory systems. Cary also challenged the notion that Know Your Customer (KYC) processes are just a box-ticking exercise, emphasising the need to gain a deeper understanding of clients before accepting them.

4) The rise of AI to empower compliance

Bobby Todorov, Deputy Head of Compliance at Banctrust & Co, and Ilan Sherr, Legal Director at DLA Piper, both explored the game-changing potential of AI in compliance operations. Bobby focused on the rise of AI in watchlist checks while recognising the increasing need for automation, especially in thorough investigative research.

Ilan discussed the challenges businesses face in managing compliance risks due to the explosive growth of global data. Automation, particularly AI-powered by neural networks, can proactively identify and tackle compliance issues, assisting in early risk detection. But finding the right balance between AI and human expertise remains crucial to ensure ethical and lawful practices.

5) Unpacking AI, and moving beyond broad categories

When it comes to discussing artificial intelligence (AI), it’s crucial to move beyond broad categories and have a more nuanced conversation. Chris Green, CEO at Xapien, highlights the need to break down AI into its specific components, such as machine learning. By examining where machine learning components fit within a solution, we can gain a better understanding and approach AI in a more practical and meaningful way.

Have your own thoughts on the discussion? Join the conversation with us on LinkedIn. And if you’re looking for reading material, take a look at our law firm’s guide to using AI in client onboarding.

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