ASIC regtech voice analytics symposium

Opening statement by ASIC Chair James Shipton, Melbourne, 24 September 2019

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Thank you, Perry Wandin for the Welcome to Country.

I would also like to begin by acknowledging the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we meet today and pay my respects to their Elders past and present. I extend that respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples here today.

Welcome to ASIC’s Regtech Voice Analytics Symposium.

Thank you to the Hon. Senator Jane Hume for opening today’s event which forms part of ASIC’s Regtech Initiatives series.

We value Senator Hume’s, and the Government’s, support of the fintech and regtech sectors. With this support we are encouraged to continue developing these types of events.

Australia has a vibrant financial technology ecosystem, with very active communities of support.

This ecosystem provides a great foundation to position Australia as a world-leader in the development and adoption of regtech.

Moreover, Australia has a distinct advantage in terms of a critical mass of financial firms looking to technology to provide solutions to the regulatory challenges facing the industry.

Regtech’s aim is not only to streamline procedures but to build a culture of compliance and, importantly, improve consumer outcomes.

ASIC plays a crucial role in encouraging the uptake of regtech.

We have regular contact with industry, Government, international regulators, technology firms and consumers.

Our Regtech Initiatives series itself has proven to be a catalyst for the strengthening of dialogue between financial services firms and technology providers.

Last month, at our first event of the Regtech Initiatives series – the ASIC Regtech Monitoring Financial Promotions: Demonstration and Symposium - we set regtech developers the task of identifying potential misconduct across promotional material from financial, credit and lending services.

Demonstrators showcased the variety and versatility of natural language processing solutions to analyse a range of promotional material, and successfully identified misleading and deceptive conduct.

Even better – the demonstrators did not stop at displaying how non-compliance could be identified after-the-fact. They showed how real time solutions could be integrated into the end-to-end development of these promotional materials.

Our second event - the ASIC Financial Advice Files Symposium – built on the theme of ‘compliance-by-design’ by inquiring into the capacity for regtech to help improve financial advice standards.

In this exercise, six firms encompassing the auditing, legal, and technology sectors exhibited how their machine learning technologies can:

  • quickly identify poor financial advice from documents and other information sources;
  • indicate the impact these could have on consumers; and
  • then reach conclusions on appropriate customer responses within a short timeframe.

Both these exercises proved to us the future potential of regtech and the utility of this series of events.

They demonstrated the potential that compliance-by-design has to improve both business procedures and consumer outcomes.

Today’s event looks to carry the momentum forward, as we continue to listen, learn and evolve.

It sets out to explore the potential of voice analytics and voice signal analysis technologies within the context of the insurance sector.

You will get a detailed look behind the scenes of what is required to scale up and, to some degree automate, the monitoring of sales calls.

Why have we chosen this area?

Because in August 2018, ASIC released Report 587 The sale of direct life insurance – which found that sales practices and product design were leading to poor consumer outcomes.

As I said at the time, life insurance is a long-term product, but cancellation rates and poor claim outcomes showed that Australians were being sold products they didn’t want, couldn’t afford, or didn’t perform as they expected.

ASIC can see a future where artificial intelligence including machine learning, text analytics, voice analytics, and other technologies are a seamless component of financial services firms’ business models.

A future where firms can record, store and analyse all communications with consumers using these tools.

This would provide firms with near to real time insights, as well as after-the-fact insights on quality and compliance.

We believe this can in turn aid strategic business insight analysis and training and development, and improve risk and compliance outcomes at scale - with greater efficiency and at a reduced cost.

My ASIC colleague Shelley Scott of ASIC’s Financial Services team will shortly detail how our three trial participants were provided with 1,700 sales calls – to test whether voice analytics and voice-to-text could be applied to the dataset and actually replicate what ASIC staff members did when they manually reviewed those calls.

This year’s series of Regtech Initiatives events demonstrate ASIC’s efforts to seek out new compliance technology, and real-world situations to test and apply the latest regtech.

We will continue to hold further collaboration and networking opportunities through a new series of Regtech Initiatives.

Importantly, we are interested in knowing what role you see for industry, ASIC, fellow regulators, and for Government to play in the near-term to continue promoting the application of regtech.

I would like to once again thank Senator Hume for attending and opening today’s event.

The Government’s continued support for our Regtech Initiatives are crucial to the development of this important sector.

Thank you also to the Victorian State Department of Treasury and Finance for hosting us today, and to the trial presenters and panellists for their contributions.

Many thanks also to the ASIC teams involved in setting up this symposium and previous events.

I hope you all enjoy today’s Regtech Voice Analytics Symposium and we look forward to seeing you all again soon.

Thank you.

Last updated: 24/09/2019 12:00