Leveraging Technology to Solve the Evolving Diligence Challenge

Friday, May 3, 2019

Highlighting the advent of technology and its unforgivingly quick pace in altering a number of processes and professions seems almost redundant in 2019. It is obvious that technology has had an incredible impact on our professional and private lives, dictating the way we both find and use information. In the realm of compliance, technology has been used as a tool to track and record important red flags and risks.

Previously, a due diligence researcher would focus their work largely on data gathering; locating and sifting through documents for relevancy and to positively identify their subjects. After making a positive identification, the researcher would then commence analysis and synthetization. Today, the logistical challenges of data gathering are less commonplace, albeit with some exceptions in certain jurisdictions where information is not available in a digitalized format like Nigeria. Despite these exceptions, due diligence data collection has largely evolved from physically going to courthouses and requesting documents to harnessing the vast amount of readily available online information to automated aggregation of this data.

The trend is the digitalization of data and an increased interest in big data tools, specifically for regulatory data are on the rise.[1]

Statistics stipulate that around 51.2 percent of the global population (or around 4 billion people) were using the internet in 2018[2] An increase in internet users speaks to a more diverse digital footprint among various regions, but also an increase in online data including that found on social media. Additionally, as databases like Wikileaks and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists have demonstrated, public accessibility to previously classified documents are becoming a part of online culture that seeks to counter corruption and cross-border crime.

Researchers and employers now face new challenges. At the heart of it, the question becomes, how can we effectively leverage technology for better due diligence? Answering this question is not only about efficiency and accuracy, but also sheds light on how companies can leverage their talent more appropriately. Global trends have seen a rise in degree-wielding individuals[3]– meaning more experts are looking for opportunities to utilize their critical thinking capabilities in a satisfying line of work. In a stimulating employment environment that effectively facilitates the collaboration between human and artificial intelligence, researchers would not be subjected to perform menial administrative tasks and searches. They will not be made to rule out obvious false positives drummed up by a Google search, when they could better put their cognitive abilities toward more constructive and enriching tasks that will ultimately produce a superior result.

The idea of a working partnership between human and machine analysis is not new, despite the artificial intelligence buzz word that has gained significant traction in the last few years. In the vein of due diligence, artificial intelligence can do the ground work in data collection and filtering through findings intelligibly and quickly, while human talent can synthesize the puzzle pieces of information into a comprehensive and intelligible picture. This would effectively be mobilizing human resources in more meaningful ways: doing diligence smarter and more thoroughly, but not by exhausting precious energies and resources.


[2]https://www.itu.int/en/ITU-D/Statistics/Pages/stat/default.aspx https://wearesocial.com/us/blog/2018/01/global-digital-report-2018


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Victoria Sztanek, Research Manager, CAMS

Aaron Narva, Vice President | Global Head, Exiger Insight 3PM

Aaron Narva is Vice President, Global Head, Exiger Insight 3PM, based in Exiger’s New York office. He focuses on the firm’s fully integrated, technology-enabled, anti-bribery and corruption platform.

While at Exiger, Aaron has conducted in-depth testing and review of complex financial institution compliance and anti-money laundering (AML) programs both in the US and abroad. His experience includes detailed assessment of transactions, customer due diligence, and policies and procedures. He also helped to design and develop Exiger Diligence, the investigative due diligence arm of Exiger.