Nicholas Willard, head of Business Development, EMEA, Faactum is leading the expansion of the risktech company in Africa’s largest economy, Nigeria. In this interview with BusinessDay’s Frank Eleanya, he speaks about the opportunities its risk analytics technology offers players in the financial services industry to improve compliance and efficiency.
Overview of Faactum: Facctum is a risktech company specialising in cloud-delivered enterprise risk decisioning technology. Founded in 2021, it was created by former users and makers of financial crime compliance (FCC) to build agile, scalable and real-time ready solutions. Facctum uses risk analytics technology to improve compliance effectiveness and make operations more efficient. Its SaaS-first FCC platform is based on high-performance parallel processing and fully deterministic technology. This approach results from more enhanced risk detection, increased speed to compliance and improved operational sustainability.
Why is FACCTUM entering the Nigerian market? What are the opportunities you see?
Facctum solutions harness the power of big data technology, giving Nigerian financial institutions new choices to modernise financial crime detection. As the Nigerian financial service industry adjusts to a new risk environment, following the recent grey-listing of the country by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the Facctum initiative offers highly performant technology that is also affordable and sustainable.
To better service customers in Africa, Facctum opened its first office in the region earlier this year, in Johannesburg. Facctum now plans continued expansion in Africa by placing a strategic focus on serving Nigerian financial institutions and regtechs.
Explain the Facctum Watchlist Management solution, FacctList. How does it work and why do you think Nigerian companies in financial services need it?
FacctList is a purpose-built enterprise data management platform designed for the specific demands of financial crime compliance, specifically Watchlist Management (WLM). WLM is a critical anti-financial crime control that banks and other regulated institutions rely on to ensure that risk detection systems have all the right watchlist data needed to detect sanctions, counter-terrorism, money laundering and fraud risks. FacctList proactively monitors regulatory watchlists from around the world, plus commercial databases, for new risks, delivering this information quickly and reliably into anti-financial crime workflow. This approach results in improved speed to compliance, lower operating costs and reduced customer friction.
What is your view of the risk management market in Nigeria compared with other markets that you are in? How much work do you think needs to be done in the Nigerian market?
Nigeria is the number one economy in Africa and its financial institutions have been making sustained investments in sanctions, counter-terrorism financing, money laundering and fraud risks. Significant progress has been made in recent years, in terms of modernising technology, delivering continuous training compliance training and tighter coordination with regulators and law enforcement agencies. However, the recent FATF grey-listing will increase the need in financial institutions for tools that can provide current state reporting on the effectiveness of compliance. Providing real-time insights into compliance risk is a core capability of Facctum technology.
What are the services you are offering to your Nigerian clients?
Facctum provides a modular platform of financial crime compliance software solutions including FacctList – A new approach to watchlist management; FacctView – fast, performant client screening that delivers intuitive results; and FacctShield – a payments filtering engine designed for low-latency, high-volume risk detection
All Facctum technology is designed for cloud-first and offers a variety of integration options via APIs
How is FACCTUM different from other risk management companies out there?
As far as we know, Facctum is the only software company providing a purpose-built watchlist management solution which is screening solution agnostic.
Nigeria has money laundering laws, but compliance has been a big challenge. How do your solutions encourage compliance?
Facctum solutions are designed for fast and accessible integration, intuitive product design and workflow and transparent risk decisioning. We believe this combination enables customers to realise the compliance benefits of our effective and efficient technology as quickly as possible and at an accessible and sustainable cost.
Protecting companies from financial crimes would require collaboration with regulators. How do you see collaboration and how do you plan on going about it?
It is key for regulators to have an awareness and understanding of how the latest financial crime compliance technology can be used by the institutions that they regulate to strengthen the Nigerian financial system. Doing so complements the effort to undo the effects of grey-listing and makes Nigeria more attractive to foreign investors. This will also assist the regulators in coming up with the appropriate regulations and guidelines to improve the Nigerian financial system. To this end, Facctum takes every opportunity to support regulators in their efforts to access new technology.