Emily Moore spoke to AI Compliance founder Georgina Reid about her award-winning business
WHEN Georgina Reid decided to take a career break in January 2022, she didn’t expect that, just over a year later, she would have launched an award-winning company.
Nor, perhaps, had she fully realised, when she first tendered her resignation, quite how much she thrived on being busy.
‘I’ve discovered that I do get bored quite quickly, so I need projects to keep me occupied,’ she said with a smile.
Against that background, it is perhaps unsurprising that, having worked in a variety of compliance roles, ending at director level, Georgina soon discovered that ‘taking a break’ wasn’t for her.
Instead, inspired by some of the challenges that she had encountered during her 20-year career in the financial services industry and spurred on by the support of her husband, David, she came up with the concept for AI Compliance, a software-as-a-service platform which she says gives businesses ‘an intuitive regulatory and legislative library, offering them multiple plan functionality, live KPI positions and tailored remediation trackers for each plan’.
‘Essentially, it’s a one-stop digitised platform for operational monitoring,’ explained the former Le Rocquier and Victoria College student.
‘Having worked in that corporate environment for 20 years, I saw the same problems repeatedly. The compliance department is the safety net for a lot of businesses and yet a lot of compliance professionals are relying on archaic systems such as Word and Excel to maintain records and deliver data to boards.
‘Not only is this inefficient and time-consuming but the information provided quickly becomes out of date. In a number of cases, consultants are brought in and do a great job but, as soon as they leave the business again, the in-house teams struggle to maintain the information.
‘Having a digital solution enables the directors and managers to access live information at any time, rather than waiting for a quarterly board report, and gives companies a full view of all areas of the business.’
Saying that the platform offers multiple-plan functionality, Georgina says that as well as giving live information about key performance indicators, AI Compliance also highlights areas of vulnerability within a business.
‘Critically, the platform identifies any areas of failure and vulnerability and, thanks to the built-in remediation tracker, not only can you identify and record the problems but you can also notify the relevant department and ensure that follow-up action is taken,’ she said. ‘This is really important as, in many cases, once a problem has been identified, the compliance department has to take on the role of a “babysitter”, ensuring that the issue is addressed. When you are already monitoring a business, ensuring that policies and procedures are implemented and identifying risks, it is not easy to juggle the additional workload which that generates.’
With time being a constant enemy of those working in busy compliance departments, Georgina says that the ‘regulatory library’ offered by the platform is another core benefit – and a feature which makes AI Compliance unique in the global marketplace.
‘A regulatory library of this type does not exist in any other jurisdiction,’ she said. ‘This is a world first and has been made possible thanks to the support of the Jersey Financial Services Commission. The regulator has been tremendously open and helpful, giving us access to its database so that we can ensure the platform provides the most up-to-date regulatory information for any category of financial services firm.’
Adding to the library’s usefulness, says Georgina, is its search functionality.
‘With my corporate background, I was very aware that, given the lack of any other regulatory library, compliance professionals are forced to look for information on search engines and then often end up scanning Word documents or PDFs to find the information they need,’ she said.
‘With this software, every regulation for every licensed category in the financial services sector is available and easily searchable, so you can modify your search terms by licence type, complaint and code of practice accordingly.’
Having launched the product in the Island, with the support of the JFSC and Digital Jersey fintech lead Edmund Hatton, Georgina now has ambitions to take AI Compliance overseas.
‘The work that we have done to get to this stage demonstrates that the Island is supporting the development of technology to ensure that businesses have access to the most up-to-date information that they need to perform effectively,’ she said. ‘That shows Jersey in a very positive light, underlining the strength of our financial services infrastructure and demonstrating our commitment to regulation and innovation.
‘Now that we have developed a product which contains information about all the legislation which applies to finance companies based in Jersey, we are keen to branch out and develop a similar resource for other jurisdictions. I am already in talks with the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority and I can see huge potential to extend this to other jurisdictions, particularly as so many firms based in Jersey have a presence in other places as well. If they could select multiple jurisdictions and see the whole group’s position in terms of compliance monitoring, that would be hugely valuable.’
While Georgina knew the challenges facing compliance professionals and was confident that digital solutions could provide the answer, she admits that her technological knowledge was very limited before she embarked on this project.
‘I had no tech background, so I was entering an unknown area in that respect but I could see where the gaps were and, being quite a creative person, I knew that there was a solution to each of those problems,’ she explained. ‘What I have discovered since launching AI Compliance, though, is that tech language is completely different, so when I ask for something, there are several pieces of the puzzle required to get that one functioning element.’
With the elements now in place, the platform has not only received positive feedback from the regulator and industry professionals to whom Georgina has demonstrated it, but it has also gained recognition internationally, winning the WealthBriefing European Award 2023 for Most Promising New Entrant.
‘Winning this award was a great testament that we are heading in the right direction,’ said Georgina. ‘In their feedback, the judges commented on the “innovative take on using technology to support best practice in compliance monitoring”, which was really encouraging. We have also been shortlisted in the fintech category for the Digital Jersey Tech Awards, which we are really excited about.’
While being grateful for the endorsement that such awards bring, Georgina’s drive for success comes from a source much closer to home.
‘As a mum of three girls – Amelie, Freya and Ruby – I really wanted to show my children that, as a woman, you can raise a family, look after the house and achieve professional success,’ she said. ‘If you are driven and accept that anything is possible if you work for it, you can do so much. AI Compliance is the proof of that. We have identified problems and created our own solutions to address them.’