Automating compliance regulation in ASEAN – A game changer for the finance industry?

Jiunn Pyng Yu, RSA Archer GRC Business Manager, Asia

This vendor-written piece has been edited by Executive Networks Media to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favour the submitter's approach.

Jiunn_Pyng_Yu, RSA
Photo: Jiunn Pyng Yu

Today's economic and financial environment in ASEAN has grown into a complex beast, but one that also represents significant potential if the right technologies can be used to tap into the right growth opportunities.

This case for reducing this complexity and increasing financial and economic integration can be best seen in the recent establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC). The AEC hopes to locally mirror the European Union economic model, with the free movement of investment, and unimpeded flow of capital, among its goals.

The challenge that the region faces to realise these benefits is managing this convergence for a 600 million population and a GDP of US$2.39 trillion across dispersed populations and inconsistent levels of technology adoption. Additionally, realising the promise of financial integration will require ASEAN countries to make long-term investments in financial infrastructure.

According to a recent Ernst & Young report, 67 percent of companies believe changes in regulatory requirements have posed significant challenges to their governance, risk and compliance (GRC) processes. As with most high-growth economic environments, rapidly changing regulatory and tax policies are the norm, but if the financial industry is to thrive in ASEAN countries, it is essential for it to adapt quickly. It can only do this by identifying, managing and controlling the financial and reputational risks associated with evolving GRC requirements, and with the agility to do so.

One such investment that financial institutions can make to guarantee long term success in this area is with IT automation. With the right solution, businesses are able to manage the rapidly expanding flow of information with minimal IT complexity, making technology fundamental to ensuring regulatory harmony and smoother policy coordination.

Technology available today can provide organisations with the right insights and tools for achieving faster integration and growth, backed with intelligence that enables insight-based decisions.

Technologies that support automation enable businesses tackle the following challenges:

1. Vendor Management and Risk Assessment
Regulations around financial and customer data security have meant that there is a greater obligation on the financial services industry to evaluate prospective vendors and conduct due diligence reviews to assure that third parties don't pose any unnecessary risks.

One such example is Singapore's recently introduced Outsourcing Guidelines for financial institutions, aimed at tightening security controls on outsourcing and better regulating Third Party Risk Management. One of the changes introduced was for financial institutions to maintain an updated register of outsourcing agreements.

Automating this process through technology significantly reduces time to evaluate, and minimises business exposure to non-compliance. It also allows companies to aggregate key vendor information to simplify the process of choosing vendors. Information collected about vendors might include: profiles, subsidiary hierarchy, subcontractor relationships, contacts, facilities, contracts and engagements, financial statements, and certificates of insurance.

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