In this series, we share light on our employees and find out how they began working in RegTech, what they do at Apiax, among other fun insights. This time we put Andreas Strässle, Regulatory Engineer at Apiax, in the Spotlight:
Could you tell us a bit about your role?
I am a Regulatory Engineer. That means that I work together with clients to establish digital compliance solutions and digitalise internal processes. I am also heavily involved in the digitalisation of compliance resources to support the greater digital infrastructure that Apiax encompasses.
What did you do before joining Apiax?
I come from a risk management background. Before Apiax, I spent 18 years in management roles in the financial industry. Notably in investment management and regulatory projects such as MiFID II implementation.
Through heading up various teams, I developed a strong interest in process optimisation and digitally-enabled solutions. Today, I am passionate about unleashing the potential of regulatory digital rule sets and making them applicable to day-to-day work.
You seem like a RegTech enthusiast. How would you define the term more precisely?
I certainly am! Many dictionaries would probably describe it as something like: “digitally-enabled regulatory processes”. In my opinion, RegTech is so much more than that.
The way I see it, RegTech solutions, as its core purpose, enables compliance by design. Meaning, if processes are designed in such a way that people have no other option but to follow them, the error rate goes down significantly. Equally as important is the reduction of control efforts that comes with this set-up. And not to mention the huge cost savings!
How does this work in practice?
Imagine a cockpit: legal & compliance is the pilot. RegTech is the latest plane model with cutting-edge software. Can the pilot use a different, older machine to get somewhere? Yes, but with the latest technology, they can get to a place way faster and easier.
RegTech enables legal & compliance to navigate and control entire chains of processes and distribute responsibilities accordingly through one centralised system. For the organisation, it can make reliable actions quicker as smart policies block or pass actions based on their accordance with the law.
The compliance officer’s job will never be easy, but resources can definitely facilitate many of their responsibilities. With digital rules, you suddenly have an environment that enables automated and designed processes. The knock-on effect is reduced by supervisory controls, nor do entire organisations need to undergo training. By having the best machine and software, the pilot can fly seamlessly!
So what about country manuals for banking services and investment instruments?
Country manuals are comprehensive learning resources, no doubt about that. Getting back to our metaphor, they are the source for building the machine software. It is from there that we extract intelligence for our digital rules. In fact, we collaborate with many leading content partners to form regulatory frameworks for each jurisdiction.
However, when used in a learning context, manuals in their traditional form come with limitations (old machine). Like all paper-based legal opinions, documents can appear static and one-dimensional. Many are also full of jargon and terminology which can be challenging to interpret correctly across the organisation.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I really enjoy exploring new rule sets together with our clients. As Apiax users develop their understanding of our concept, they often develop their own ideas of regulation and process digitisation. This is very rewarding to see. The initial client purpose is almost always the starting point of something bigger.
Tell me about some of your ongoing projects.
We are working on several new rule sets. One of them is data protection rules for several use cases and industries. We are also enhancing our compliance solutions for the financial industry, such as data protection and identification and verification checks.
How does Apiax differ in its approach to compliance?
When we talk compliance, we talk about a digitised version of the kind of compliance work that you would usually expect. We distill traditional compliance tools such as cross-border country manuals or internal policies into digital, machine-readable rules that indicate what you are or are not allowed to do at any given moment.
Now that we have digitised this knowledge, it can take on a number of different forms and be used in tandem with other requirements to provide a complete and clear view of the red and green listed moves relevant to your case. In other words, Apiax allows for legal & compliance professionals to scale their expertise and take control of the journey.
Do you have a favourite Apiax function?
Yes, the constant accuracy of digital rules. What frustrated me during my time in risk management were the outdated policies or process descriptions. These had to be squeaky clean whenever it came to an audit.
With Apiax, I have one source of truth. Whether updated by internal experts or external law firms, all rules are maintained in one system. These rules are directly fed into front applications or into rule reporting with no discrepancies between policies and IT implementation.
Office chocolate is a big thing at Apiax. Do you have a favourite?
Dried fruit and nut chocolate is the best 3 pm pick-me-up!