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What’s the return on investment of spending 24 hours travelling to the other side of the world to attend a one day conference?

As travel opened up I promised myself that in 2023 I would try to attend 2-3 overseas RegTech conferences in person. In such circumstances you need to pick and choose the right ones to attend, after all it’s not a case of popping along to a local conference centre for an hour or two, it involves some serious time and money.

During May, I attended the Global RegTech Summit in London, my first in person conference on RegTech outside of New Zealand, and most definitely not my last.

Travelling so far is not a day trip, so the added ability to speed date with connections outside of the event provides an added bonus to the return on investment (RoI). Despite the crowds on public transport, in cars and on the streets, remote working is still very prevalent in London, so scheduling a face to face meeting itself was a challenge. That said, those unfortunate gaps in your calendar present windows of opportunity that should be grabbed with both hands, you never know what you might learn. In the event of inevitable cancellations I recommend having a back up plan – even if it is a little shopping trip on the side, explore your destination in all forms not just business.

What insights did London offer me on my three day speed date?

1. Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Fraud.

AML and fraud is such a big issue we are not winning and won’t ever win. A soundbite that resonated with me was ‘fraud is like diabetes, we can’t eradicate it, but we can find ways to manage it.’

In managing it though, we are heavily focussed on data, collection, analysis and sharing. Sharing of the data both cross border and between public and private agencies was of prime focus at the events I attended. Whilst privacy is being highlighted as a blocker, the insights I noted were the need to balance the ‘right to privacy’ alongside the ‘right to be protected from fraud.’ This view provides a great way to reconsider not just what we do, but how we communicate it and set people’s expectations, so that we can be free to do the right thing.

2. Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG)

It seems, we are all still trying to work this one out, trying to align what we are doing to meet the interpretations of the Paris Agreement. One speaker offered ESG as a challenge similar to a marathon, working towards the 2030 goals iteratively, perfecting it over time – design, develop, test and adapt.

Again data challenges made up most of the discussions, there is lots of data, but what is relevant? How can it be shared, what standards might facilitate data sharing to get the information we need. There is plenty of talk about the quality and quantity of the data, I feel this will be a long running discussion at many events to come.

3. Regulatory engagement

This discussion is definitely one that resounds globally. Like us, it seems everyone wants more involvement from their regulators to solve solutions by working together whilst recognising the need for impartiality.

The United Kingdom’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is collaborating to gain the information they need with the least disruption to business, using technical capability to support this. They need the responses to data at their fingertips and ways to battle the growing overhead of data analysis. Working together to get the right outcome benefits everyone, we all just need to get over ourselves and get in the room.

Overall, yes, flying 24 hours for a three day conference is worth the investment! A definite RoI surpassing my expectations and providing plenty of great connections and opportunities to follow up for the RegTech NZ team.

Janet Chenery
RegTechNZ Chair

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