Fexco Pacific is a leading provider of foreign exchange and money transfer services in New Zealand, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, and several other countries across the Pacific. With over 95 offices and 400 staff, Fexco Pacific provides money remittance as an agent of Western Union and foreign exchange through their No.1 Currency retail stores. They process over two million transactions a year.
Fexco Pacific handles a large volume of financial transactions through its retail outlets every day. Increasing international regulation around anti-money laundering (AML) and counter financing of terrorism (CFT) was placing additional pressure on their extremely busy operation.
To meet AML and CFT requirements, Fexco Pacific was monitoring transactions manually using Excel spreadsheets. This lead to slow turnaround times for processing and investigating suspicious activity, which meant the compliance teams in each of the nine countries Fexco Pacific operates in were stretched to capacity.
In the words of Jane Quinn, the Operations Risk and Compliance Manager for Fexco Pacific Group:
“The volume of transactions was becoming so large that we were concerned we were missing potential suspicious transactions.”
It took up to three weeks to process each report, line by line, which meant suspicious activity wasn’t identified in good time.
This situation wasn’t unique to just one of Fexco’s locations. All their offices throughout the Pacific Islands were grappling with the same issue. The compliance officer in each country was doing their own monitoring using Excel spreadsheets.
Fexco Pacific considered the best way to solve its problem was an automated monitoring solution that was equipped to handle the high volumes of money remittance transactions it processed, among other things.
To monitor transactions effectively, a suspicious transaction report (STR) must be raised within a few working days of a suspicious transaction being identified. “We hadn’t even got to the stage of identifying suspicious transactions in a timely manner, let alone raising an STR”, said Jane.
Fexco Pacific went to the market to review and compare the industry-leading products for fighting financial crime. After an extensive selection process, they chose Jade ThirdEye. This intuitive software removed the time-consuming, manual process of detecting suspicious transactions and helped Jane and her team meet their AML and CFT compliance obligations. It also set them up to manage increasing volumes of transactions for their expanding business.
One of the key considerations in the decision was that Jade has support people who are local to their clients. “We’ve been stuck with offshore support before”, explained Jane, “which created issues with time zones and availability”.
Another main reason for selecting Jade ThirdEye was its ability to handle Fexco Pacific’s data. Because the company is transactional rather than customer-based, they don’t have account numbers to store transactions against. Jade’s competitor products couldn’t solve this business challenge.
“We needed a product that could accommodate the absence of a customer number, but still connect the dots if there was a pattern of behaviour. If, for example, a customer comes in twice this week and twice the following week, Jade ThirdEye can create a ‘pseudo’ customer number that we can attach the data to, for reporting and monitoring”, she explained.
Two members of Jade’s account management team were on hand for the initial rollout and training, which went very smoothly. The local support desk helped during the bedding-in phase, which encountered the usual teething problems of logins, passwords, and authentication. “Having the support team to call on was fantastic – they offer a great service”, said Jane.
One initial hurdle the support desk helped with was when Fexco Pacific’s Fiji office changed its internet provider. This meant a change in IP address, so the Jade ThirdEye support desk jumped in to solve this quickly. “They are switched on and very helpful”.
Jade ThirdEye being a software as a service (SaaS) solution made it easy to deploy to nine countries. Fexco Pacific staff in each country could access the system without needing to set up Jade ThirdEye in each country. All they needed was a browser.
Fexco Pacific rolled out Jade ThirdEye incrementally across the remittance side of their business, starting with New Zealand, and followed by each of the other eight countries.
Jane explained that they initially had a standard set of transaction monitoring rules in place. But this didn’t work for each country, which had its own unique regulations and requirements. “Jade ThirdEye lets us tweak the rules to fit each country’s legislation and currency thresholds”.
Jane and her team appreciate that they can upload initial data into Jade ThirdEye and run the rules in draft mode before these go live. They find this extremely helpful, as it helps them minimize false positives.
“Clearing the alerts is a big effort, but it’s good to be able to do this properly, as we are creating a history and pattern of customer activity”. Because of these features in Jade ThirdEye, Jane’s compliance team is now up to date and able to review alerts within 24 hours of these being raised.
That’s twenty times faster, thanks to Jade ThirdEye providing an automated way to get to know your customer.