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New AI solution ‘could be a gamechanger in fight against financial crime’

Neotas – a leading provider of online due diligence for the financial services sector – is joining forces with artificial intelligence (AI) experts at the University of Essex to develop a next-generation screening system.

The London-based company has been awarded a £200,000 grant from Innovate UK towards the first stage of the project, which it believes could revolutionise due diligence by providing new solutions to tackle financial crime and mitigate risk.

Neotas - Essex Uni team
Neotas – Essex Uni team

Neotas uses powerful search techniques to analyse a company’s or an individual’s ‘digital footprint’, providing advanced insights without invading their privacy. Clients range from private equity firms carrying out pre-investment checks to banks and institutions which need to comply with anti-money laundering (AML) rules or the Senior Managers & Certification Regime (SMCR).

The project aims to make the screening process less labour intensive and automatically identify warning signs without creating false alarms. The incorporation of AI will enable the platform to take account of the context in which words or images are used – for example, to be able to tell the difference between an individual on a clay pigeon shoot, or a terrorist armed with a gun.

Neotas will be working with internationally recognised Natural Language Processing (NLP) expert Professor Ansgar Scherp and a newly recruited data scientist. The findings will help it develop new services and solutions  to help keep firms ahead of the changing regulatory landscape. .

Neotas-Ian and Vipul
Neotas-Ian and Vipul

Professor Scherp said: “The Knowledge Transfer Partnership with Neotas will focus on the utilisation of a novel combination of natural language processing (NLP) and image analysis to accelerate and automate the collection of Open Source Intelligence (OSINT), providing end users with advanced insight into individuals without invading individual privacy.”

Vipul Mishra, CEO at Neotas, added: “We’ve been working on our proprietary AI-driven platform for almost three years and have been building in machine learning technology to help pinpoint and mitigate risk, but this partnership with the University of Essex will take that to the next level.

“We believe this could be a gamechanger for the financial services sector in terms of preventing money laundering, financing of terrorism, fraud and other crime and helping companies reduce reputational risks through enhanced due diligence processes.”