ThetaRay, an AI-based data analytics provider, launched SONAR, a solution designed to protect cross-border payments from financial crime by improving visibility across complex payment flows. The solution uses advanced algorithms to help financial institutions and service providers mitigate risk of money laundering, terrorist financing and human and narcotics trafficking, according to Mark Gazit, CEO at ThetaRay.
Gazit called SONAR the new standard for trusted global transactions that enhances ThetaRay's technology suite and correspondent banking solutions used by global financial institutions. "SONAR provides an accurate assessment of risk and enables safe, secure cross-border payments for financial services providers and their partners," he said. "Best of all, it can be up and running within days, providing immediate value."
Gazit noted SONAR's algorithms were developed by mathematics professors Amir Averbuch and Ronald Coifman, stating the technologies can detect early-stage and modern, sophisticated money laundering schemes. Unlike other advanced security offerings, SONAR provides a REST API designed to speed integration and deliver a fast ROI to help users improve the customer experience and reduce total cost of ownership, he added.
Yaron Hazan, vice president of regulatory affairs at ThetaRay, was instrumental in developing SONAR, leveraging his former experience with the Israeli police and Price Waterhouse Cooper, where he led forensic investigations and developed anti-money laundering (AML) strategies.
"SONAR enhances ThetaRay's AML solution for correspondent banking, which has long been used by large global financial institutions such as Santander and CecaBank to bolster their defenses," Hazan said. "Flexible service models, which include SaaS, private cloud and on-premises deployments, enable us to provide the solution and power of the algorithm to smaller enterprises and not just large global banks."
Hazan explained that cross-border payments are complex because they involve disparate regions, currencies and financial institutions. A solution like SONAR, which can ingest data from a variety of formats, can help banks and regulators identify suspicious transaction profiles and unlock hidden insights, not only from SWIFT traffic but across all major real-time and automated clearing house (ACH) payment schemes, he stated. SONAR's cross-functional data ingestion supports all major formats, including RJE, API, CSV and XML, and its flexible, global support and a simple subscription format make it simple to integrate and maintain, he added.
SONAR, an AI-powered SaaS solution, offers configurable unsupervised, supervised and rules-based transaction monitoring, sanction screening and single case management, Hazan stated. It can analyze transaction traffic, industry risk indicators and customer data to detect anomalies indicating illicit activity across complex transaction paths.
Available as a cloud-delivered service, SONAR can help payment service providers (PSPs) and financial institutions accelerate new customer on-boarding while minimizing risk of being shut down by network providers, Hazan stated, adding that regulators, Tier 1 banks and PSPs are currently using SONAR's full stack detection capabilities, which cover all major global risk typologies developed by banks and PSPs and include 60 risk indicators out of the box.
SONAR uses a phonetic fingerprint, a unique identifier that converts names to numbers to optimize analysis, Hazan stated, adding that the solution creates proxies of customers to isolate high risk originator or beneficiary (non-customer) activity to identify complex risk patterns. The solution can also translate 25 different languages in real time.
Hazan went on to say that risk-averse banks may unwittingly turn away good business. "Global financial institutions serve numerous customers in different countries, and when they feel insecure, they turn away a lot of good business," he said. "Their customers want to shop online and enjoy financial inclusion with secure, cost-effective and fast cross-border solutions."
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