When Jumio acquired anti-money laundering (AML) solutions platform Beam last week, the move was more significant than simply adding AML strength to its onboarding platform, Jumio’s Chief Product Officer Philipp Pointner told PYMNTS in a recent conversation.
“We had already identified that we wanted to grow out of being a point solution and become more of an end-to-end compliance and identity proofing platform,” Pointner said. “We started executing on that strategy almost two years ago, [and] finally, we’ve reached the stage where we feel like we have enough services and enough product depth to really reposition ourselves as a platform.”
A platform, he noted, that authenticates consumers throughout their relationships with their financial services providers, beyond the initial moment of onboarding. Continuous authentication is becoming increasingly necessary in a post-COVID-19 landscape, where consumers have gone increasingly digital, fraudsters have become incredibly active and lifetime monitoring is increasingly necessary.
Authentication After Onboarding
Pointner said there are three basic areas outside the world of initial onboarding in which Jumio aims to be involved.
The first is keeping track of the customer over time, making sure the person using an account is the same one who opened it. Second is ongoing AML screening of accounts for things like PEPs, sanctions or appearances on money-laundering watch lists. Just because an account wasn’t on a sanctions list when the account was created doesn’t mean that person will never show up there.
“The last piece we’ve been very interested in is the entire space of transaction monitoring,” Pointner said. “[After] someone opens an account, are they behaving predictably or are they showing signs of attempted money laundering? That’s where the acquisition of Beam Solutions’ AML platform comes in.”
He said Beam succeeds in being a lightweight, cloud-based solution that’s easy to work with and integrate. And it monitors transactions holistically — and efficiently — to get a clear view of when an alarm should be raised (and when one shouldn’t be). It also includes some pretty intuitive and compelling case management and investigation functionality that streamlines the process of reviewing suspicious activity.
The Pandemic Creates A Growing AML Need
Pointner noted that a crisis like COVID-19 has a way of bringing out the fraudsters who see chaos and consumer vulnerability not as problems, but as assets to be exploited. The world saw this during the 2008-09 financial crisis, he pointed out, when fraud attempts doubled and, in some cases, tripled.
And not only do hard times stimulate fraud, but they also create financial vulnerability among consumers. That means people who would never have thought of themselves as capable of financial crimes are far more likely to become a willing accomplice to a money-laundering scheme.
“I think as more people around the world end up in dire straits with their own economic troubles, suddenly acting as a ‘money mule’ might seem like a good option,” Pointner said. “So, I think there’s a real kind of threat emerging right now.”
As he noted, new threats and money-laundering scenarios require a fresh perspective on fraud detection. As consumers’ lives become increasingly digital, they are seeking a wider range of goods online, where money laundering scams can proliferate.
Of course, Pointner added that “the growing volume of novel schemes are a very interesting opportunity for [Jumio] as well.”
Perhaps the company can’t stop fraudsters from showing up, but Jumio can give modern enterprises — especially those operating in regulated spaces — the building blocks to lock them out the front door, and prevent them from finding a side window to crawl through.