Looking back to what now seems to be distant times - 14 months ago - Frederic Gielen and I decided to start Alpha Reply to help Financial Institutions solve complex business problems using data, models, and technology.
After 10 years working as Head of Risk Modelling in a large UK bank and a much shorter role as CRO of a fast-growing British FinTech, I was keen to find the right platform to develop innovative ideas that we could deploy across a large financial services customer base.
Reply offered the right platform based on its three characteristics:
Our strategy from the start has thus been to:
Fast forward I am now starting a series of blog-posts discussing a software solution we are currently developing that allows banks, e-money institutions, and payment processors
to test and stress test their financial crime controls.
Let me start by defining financial crime and its controls: Financial crime refers to any crime involving an individual or group of individuals using financial products offered by banks to:
Financial crime controls are the set of processes banks put in place to prevent – or mitigate the impact of – financial crime. It is quite complex to test the effectiveness of the control for two quite obvious reasons:
Banks and regulators have launched numerous initiatives to mitigate the above, such as forums and bodies (FATF, …) who facilitate the communication of best practices and the dissemination of existing and emerging financial crime schemes (known as
While these initiatives have largely improved these controls, financial crime is nevertheless still prominent. Its consequences are hugely detrimental to society and banks themselves where regulators have imposed massive fines to financial institutions with insufficient controls.
It is in this context that we have developed a software solution,
simulates financial transactions by combining:
Our goal is to make this
agent-based simulation tool a key part of how banks go about
testing the effectiveness of their controls, leveraging the fact that they can directly test for transactions that:
It is also a powerful tool for rapidly implementing emerging typologies (using our
behavior scripting engine) escalated by our users and documented by various bodies to directly test for vulnerabilities in control environments. As with any complex problem, the development of our solution is a continuous work-in-progress.
In the coming months, I will be posting weekly content about our tool, discussing various aspects, covering technological, methodological, business, and infrastructure aspects of it.
Finally, I would like to call upon financial institutions to join the effort and work with us on this initiative. If you would like to partner with Reply, please contact us at