Episode 26 With Abhishek Bali, CEO and Co-Founder of ZIGRAM
As the CEO and Co-founder of ZIGRAM, Abhishek Bali has over 15 years of expertise in Anti Money Laundering (AML), Financial Crime Compliance (FCC), data assets and third-party risk. Abhishek has worked on engagements and initiatives across the world, collaborating with organizations like KPMG, BMR Advisors, Dun & Bradstreet, and Axis Bank. He leads various business initiatives and data solutions that leverage machine learning, artificial intelligence, data assets and deep technology applications to solve real-world problems in the field of risk. Products and technologies developed by him are in the space of AML, politically exposed persons (PEPs), know-your-customer (KYC)/due diligence, adverse media alerts, country watchlists, sanctions, cannabis businesses, high-risk individuals and entity monitoring. Abhishek is ACAMS certified and a co-chair of the India chapter of the Association of Certified Financial Crime Specialists (ACFCS).
He talks to Regulatory Ramblings’ host Ajay Shamdasani about the state of AML and FCC in India, as well as the extent to which AI and machine learning can aid such endeavors, how India now has the largest concentration of AML and financial crime professionals in the world after the US, and what the drivers are of the country’s explosion of FinTech use and development, and regulatory oversight over the past decade. A point Abhishek emphasizes is that India has come a long way and it is now easier to do wholesale monitoring of people and transactions nationwide than ever before.
They also discuss how, of the approximately 175,000 banking and financial institutions across the world, most large AML solutions and data providers only focus on servicing the top 100-500 firms, leaving a long tail of unserved or underserved institutions that urgently need integrated FinTech and RegTech services.
Notwithstanding the perennial topics of AI and machine learning, Abhishek does not believe compliance professionals will be out of a job in the foreseeable future. While AML/FCC departments will increasingly require data science specialists for operational purposes, he emphasizes that such teams will continue to be led by those with on-the-ground financial crime experience and knowledge.
The conversation concludes with a point about why many customers are increasingly put off by FinTech and RegTech vendors offering AI as part of their solutions.
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