AML Automation for Evolution
Athene Holding Ltd. (Athene) is a leading retirement services company that issues, reinsures, and acquires retirement savings products. As such, with total assets exceeding $200 billion, Athene is committed to policyholder protection through high levels of regulatory compliance and must be vigilant with regards to financial crimes, including the risks associated with individuals trying to launder money or commit fraud.
That means strict due diligence when deciding who to do business with, from customers to vendors to employees. It also means constant transaction monitoring to detect suspicious activity, and increasingly demanding regulatory reporting requirements. All of this can put an enormous burden on a company, from both a resources and time perspective.
This was the situation Athene found themselves in three years ago, when Lisa Arechavaleta, Vice President of Compliance, and Mechile Adams, Senior Manager of Compliance started looking for a solution. The goals:
- Make data uniform
- Automate some of the labor-intensive tasks around compliance, AML, and fraud prevention
“I love to find software solutions that help make business processes easier,” Arechavaleta said. “Three years ago, we were doing all of this manually. Our transaction monitoring, customer risk scoring, SARs filing, were all manual. We knew there had to be a better way, so we started looking at options. When we reviewed Alessa, we found that we could automate all of these functions, including some that we hadn’t even considered being able to automate before.”
The cost of the solution was another important factor for Athene. When reviewing all the options, Athene found that Alessa offered a single integrated platform that was able to meet its needs at a price point that was much more affordable than other solutions.
Alessa Brings Speed, Efficiency and Enhanced Reporting
In 2020, Athene signed on with Alessa and began moving their AML Program processes to the Alessa platform in phases. First, they instituted Alessa’s powerful sanctions screening solution, which lets you screen against a host of up-to-date comprehensive and relevant sanctions lists.
Next, they implemented Alessa’s real-time automated transaction monitoring, which uses rules-based and advanced analytics, to help identify suspicious transactions.
Athene has also been able to utilize Alessa to automate their regulatory reporting. With 500 fields on a Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) Suspicious Activity Report (SAR), manually completing these reports can take an average of 90 minutes. Considering the number of these reports most organizations file in a week, the time savings of regulatory reporting automation is substantial.
Data Integration and Management is Everything
A benefit to utilizing Alessa’s integrated platform is that various processes feed information to other features. Results from sanctions screening, for example, are incorporated into transaction monitoring, risk scoring and regulatory reporting processes. And because Athene has grown through the combination of multiple insurance companies that all handled their data differently, finding a vendor that could help them bring all their data together in one system, and clean that data, has been invaluable.
“Alessa gives you a 360-degree view of your customer,” Arechavaleta explained. “Alessa took all our legacy information, from multiple systems, and pulled it together in one spot, which allows us to view our customers and their transactions based on a variety of criteria that we select.
“There is still manual assessment, but now we’re looking at transactions that were flagged for review because they met the detailed criteria we selected..”
Who You Do Business With Matters
Another area where Athene has been able to utilize Alessa’s screening and risk scoring is vendor selection. Like any company in the insurance and financial services realm, Athene must carefully vet anyone with whom they do business. Potential partners or vendors are supposed to disclose up front whether there are any adverse actions against them that businesses should know about when considering entering into a relationship. Unfortunately, not all businesses are so forthcoming. Alessa shows Athene adverse actions they may not have known about otherwise, crucial information when making these important decisions. For more information on vendor selection view our blog on vendor due diligence (VDD).
In just a few short years, Athene’s decision to move their compliance and regulatory processes to Alessa has allowed them to transform their business, and they’re really just getting started. Alessa has given Athene the ability to expand and enhance its compliance processes to better fight financial crime and meet its regulatory responsibilities, faster and more efficiently. And as Athene grows, Alessa will grow and adapt with them.
Book your free demo of Alessa’s AML compliance platform today and see how much easier AML compliance can be with automation.