Signzy is a company which offers a digital on-boarding solution for banks, NBFCs and other financial institutions. Signzy believes that through a combination of Artificial Intelligence and blockchain can ensure that digital compliance is convenient but yet secure.Following are excerpts from the Interview with Arpit Ratan, Ankit Ratan and Ankur Pandey, Founders of Signzy talking about the Regtech Space and their success in it.
You are the leaders in Regtech – How do you define the term Regtech?
Technology has infused into the Financial Services sector and is transforming it at a break-neck speed. Norms of the regulatory bodies have governed the Financial Services sector across the world. Regulatory Technology or RegTech is a subset of Fintech, which is helping Financial Institutions adopt technology while being compliant to the regulatory norms. In simple terms, RegTech helps financial institutions overcome compliance hurdles using technology, parallelly making them less manual, paperless and increasingly digital.
RegTech is a combination of cutting-edge technologies like AI, Big Data, ML, which helps industry players create solutions, which simplify compliance adherence by largely automating systems and processes, thereby eliminating the risk of human error.
How big is your team and who are the critical players in your journey to build the successful Regtech company?
Our team consists of over 120 employees. Signzy’s co-founders have played an equally critical role in growing Signzy to where it is today. Ankur and I look after the product and technology and are well versed with digitization, software, data science, APIs and app development. Arpit heads our sales. Being a lawyer, Arpit brings in the knowledge of financial laws and regulations, making it the perfect blend for a successful RegTech startup.
Brief overview about your product/service offering?
Signzy is an AI-powered RPA platform for financial services. Banks and Financial Institutions often have to deal with operational complexities. Signzy is able to completely automate their back-operations decision making process into a real-time API. This is possible due to a combination of Nebula – Signzy’s no code AI model builder and it’s Fintech API marketplace of over 200 APIs. By collaborating and using APIs to advantage, banks and fintech firms can leverage their complementary strengths, enhancing the customer experience much more than what all stakeholders could do on their own.
Through it’s AI powered RPA solutions, Signzy is reducing human interaction with customers at various levels, saving it only for the critical decision making aspects of banking.
For example, customer onboarding in banks is tedious and mostly a manual process and requires an average of seven days. Signzy, through its AI-based decision engines and back-office automation solutions, enables account opening in real-time. Signzy’s Video KYC solution enables real-time Customer Onboarding, Verification and Fraud Detection for banking and financial institutions, which makes the process seamless for both financial institutions and their customers.
The company has built a digital trust infrastructure that ensures the highest levels of privacy for end-customers, digital transformation for banks and financial institutions in a matter of a few weeks, and enhanced security for regulators.
One of your solutions is transaction banking through automation. What role does it play in reducing the complexity for banks and regulators?
Being in the finance and regulatory domain, Signzy has been identifying a series of its client’s problems, which could potentially be addressed through AI.
According to an Infosys report, currently, banks spend approximately USD 270 billion each year, which is 10% of the total operational spending on big banks – on regulatory compliance. For banking entities maintaining and managing compliance records, contracts and other critical documents are both essential and expensive work.
AI and automation are proving to have a significant impact on compliance efficiency and robustness. AI-enabled systems built on machine learning are generating substantial reductions in the time and effort required for document interpretation, sans human intervention minimising the risk, which may cause human error. AI is helping bankers simplify regulatory compliance. The developments in the areas of customer identification and verification through the introduction of digital/ Video KYC and fraud detection technology are a few leading examples of how technology can make compliance seamless.
At Signzy, we do believe that this is just the beginning. AI has the potential to completely transform the way financial entities look at compliance today, and it will only continue to evolve and expand in the future.
What inspired you to build the above product?
While the whole banking was going digital, compliance function within remained very manual and paper-driven. Banks were spending enormous resources and time in doing tasks like customer onboarding, back-office operations, which we felt could be largely automated using AI. Even though there was no existing market for this when we started, we felt this was a significant problem to be solved within banking.
Our idea came from our personal experiences of dealing with banks as individuals and companies in our previous startups. While the sales guy wanted our business, it almost felt like the bank compliance or backend did not want to open our account despite us being legitimate businesses and individuals. We genuinely believe that the future viability of any product depends on customer experience, which for banks would mean far more automated compliance functions.
What was the most challenging/critical aspect of your journey as the co-founder of Signzy?
Given the fact that we are in a domain, which is highly driven by technology, finding the right kind of talent has always been a big challenge. People having in-depth knowledge of deep and emerging technologies are a few, and there is a reasonable risk that we may run out of such people.
The main challenge is to procure the best talent in the field, who would be able to compete in the global advanced technology race, knowing that we may not be able to attract and retain the best kind of talent that is going to the valley.
Also, when you come up with something innovative, especially for a sector like BFSI, it is super hard to get people to trust you and to agree with you initially because you are in a high regulatory environment. So, I think that was the biggest challenge that we faced during our initial days. We were providing solutions to the problems, but the people were not trusting. However, we were lucky to have a few banks who took the risk and believed in us.
The challenge now is to scale both organisationally and also in terms of technology. Today we are working with big banks, where security is critical, and the scale of operations is vast and very diverse, where every customer has different needs, which we have to cater to. To tackle this with efficacy is our biggest challenge as well as an opportunity to grow,
How did you overcome initial mindset challenges of the regulators/supervisors?
As mentioned above, winning the trust of Regulators and Banking officials was one of the biggest roadblocks. We were youngsters without extensive experience in the field trying to convince grey-haired officials, with at least over 15years of industry experiences. In most instances, we were not taken seriously. However, a few banks with foresight did see the value in what we were offering and took the risk and started working with us.
Where do you see yourself in the next three years?
Signzy’s products are focused and tailored to suit the needs of the banking and finance industry, which is a large segment. We plan to remain focused on it in the near future. India will continue to be our primary market, but we have started work in some other markets too. We foresee a significant opportunity for growth in the future.
Today, in the banking sector, there are 20-30% people in front end or customer-facing roles and 70-80% in back-end operations. Our vision is to reverse this. Our goal is to help banks reduce their cost of services and at the same time give a much better experience to the customers. However, solving tougher challenges, which the BFSI industry faces would always remain our primary goal
Which countries do you feel you can expand to with your offerings?
Today we work with over 90 financial institutions globally, including the four largest banks in India and a top 3 acquiring banks in the US. The Middle East too holds promising potential.