SAS adds better analytics and reporting to its AML product line

29 February 2012

SAS has updated its regulatory reporting console and other key functions in its anti-money laundering (AML) product set. The aim is to improve the efficiency and quality of suspicious activity reports (SAR) using predictive analytics and better risk-based scoring techniques and to help financial institutions be better prepared for more stringent sanctions screening and other controls.

HSBC is one of many banks facing a hefty fine from the US regulator at the moment, following in the footsteps of others last year who were hit with fines running into the hundreds of millions, so the enhanced product set is timely and useful for corporate treasuries facing the same controls.

SAS AML now uses better predictive analytics, says the vendor, to improve alert quality for users and minimise expensive false positives, which waste time. Alerts are only escalated to investigation level for the most egregious risks, improving claimed productivity. An improved user interface speeds investigations by displaying all relevant customer information based on user roles, rights and privileges, to display key performance indicators of the most recent trends.

According to the vendor, the updated regulatory reporting console supports multiple forms and languages, and interacts with new electronic filing systems being adopted by global financial intelligence units.

Banks, their corporate clients or large standalone corporations, can also harness risk-based scoring during the on-boarding process thanks to new features in SAS AML. The risk classification process regularly assesses a customer's risk profile in a single data pass, based upon transactional behaviour or association with high-risk attributes. This means institutions can monitor high-risk peer groups. End users can modify or create unlimited scenarios through a point-and-click interface, monitoring more risks and behaviours while bypassing trusted accounts and parties posing no threat.

"Enhancing the quality of alerts by applying predictive analytics is a significant process improvement over the typical transaction monitoring approach," says Rodney Nelsestuen, senior research director at the CEB TowerGroup consultancy. "This should help institutions lower false positives, reduce analyst fatigue, and improve the quality of investigations, all of which are increasingly important in the face of tougher regulatory actions and stiffer fines for poor anti-money laundering (AML) monitoring."

Laurentian Bank in Canada is one of the first launch customers for the enhanced product, combining it with two other solutions from SAS Enterprise Financial Crimes for Banking. "Our competitors know us for our flexibility and our agility, qualities that let us react quickly and allow us to, among other things, efficiently implement new processes to fight financial crime, thereby securing our constantly growing operations," said René Trépanier, vice president of compliance and operational security at the bank. "Our goal in implementing this system is to quickly obtain an overview of our various business lines so as to better recognise and identify fraudsters."

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