By Rebecca Ranjan
Please tell us a bit about your background, your current role and your responsibilities.
I have degrees in Finance and Law, however I’ve actually worked in the Tech sector for the past 20 years.
My first company Conversant, a VOIP service, was successfully acquired by Voyager in 2017. Whilst there I was frustrated with the onboarding process and how hard it was to prove we were providing a good service and that customers were going to pay us. I began thinking about one seamless, end-to-end solution that New Zealanders could trust to help keep their identity online protected, while also making it easy for people to prove their identity online. So once I left Voyager I started working on my current business - Raytio.
What is the most rewarding part of your role?
We’re creating a digital world where users and businesses can interact in a secure and safe way. So there are a lot of really difficult problems to solve and that’s a very creative and invigorating process which I love.
What is your opinion of the current AML/CFT regime within New Zealand? And, how does this compare internationally?
In some respects NZ is ahead of other countries in terms of taking customer due diligence seriously and the range of transactions and industries that are covered. In other respects I think we’re behind in that we have weak privacy protections compared with say Europe or California.
There’s a huge amount of data being gathered and the amount of data breaches that occur daily shows that most organisations are simply not up to the task of holding personal data and yet there are no penalties for not taking those obligations seriously.
What made you interested in AML/CFT and financial crime?
I’m interested in making everyone’s digital lives easier. As more and more financial transactions are conducted online, the friction involved in demonstrating trust is a major problem for individuals and businesses. Then there’s massive and increasing fraud so it feels like an endless game of whack-a-mole. I think those are fascinating problems to solve which is where Raytio comes in.
What are some of the biggest challenges you have experienced in AML/CFT?
The obligations on relying parties, which makes them very reluctant to rely on third parties, is a huge drain on the economy because it results in massive duplication of effort, large and insecure honeypots of personal information and, I would argue, results in an increase in the likelihood of financial crime.
Since all of the checks are transactionally focussed, there is no reputation built up over time and it’s very difficult to identify and prevent fraud because everyone is operating with blinkers on - one relying party has no visibility of what another is experiencing. Raytio solves that problem in a privacy-preserving way.
What is one of the most rewarding parts of working within your sector and supporting the AML/CFT regime within New Zealand?
I have not been happy with the way in which some of our competitors operate, so it is rewarding to be able to create a more user-centred and privacy-preserving solution, where you as the user are in control of your data and who has access to it. Privacy and security are the fundamental building blocks of Raytio.