PassFort's co-founders, Henry Irish, CTO, and Donald Gillies, CEO, shared a vision 5 years ago to transform the way trust and compliance are managed online. From that vision to the realities of customer lifecycle management today, the pair have grown a business and brought a vision to life.
Never keen on looking back, ever forward, on the occasion of our 5th birthday Donald shares what he sees for the company in the years to come and what this will mean for compliance professionals, our regulated customers and their customer journeys.
Bring on the next 5 years
"We've barely scratched the surface of what PassFort could do from a product perspective and from the perspective of getting that product in the hands of as many customers as possible. We will consolidate our product vision for becoming the single source of truth for all risk, compliance and financial crime touchpoints across the customer lifecycle, which means we need to continue to expand the degree of functionality and range of compliance problems PassFort helps its customers solve.
There is a bank of ideas in our roadmap. Customer feedback sessions are shaping that over the next 18 months. But we also have longer term vision for what we can become based on expectations of where financial services is evolving and how the wider physical economy is being digitised.
Taking advanced functionality to market will support evolution and improvements in the way compliance and risk are managed now, then we will change how things are done in the future.
We are very early in our journey as a business. It's an exciting time, especially having navigated a difficult 2020. This has built confidence in the team, with our investors and our customers that we're a company here for the long term.
From a product perspective, you can expect us to claim our position as a market leader, becoming the de facto compliance solution for financial services.
PassFort will shape the future of the compliance profession and what this market looks like. It really is early days, but we operate globally from our central London office. You can expect us to expand the size of our team. We will bring in exceptional leaders to augment the existing team. And ultimately you will see PassFort operate in many more regulated firms and throughout major countries around the world within the next year."
Living in the compliance technology ecosystem
"There are a huge number of data providers and there's a huge number of processes that could be managed by different platforms in the world of financial services. Firms can end up with a vast array of systems to deal with, which means their customers’ data is spread about in lots of places.
We want PassFort to be part of the core infrastructure that customers are dependent on and that they leverage to develop their businesses and customer relationships. Using CRM as an example - Salesforce, HubSpot, Microsoft dynamics - their value is the interoperability with other systems used as part of the sales or marketing process.
Back office functions are different, so it's critical PassFort operates with other toolkits and software platforms our clients either already use or will find useful in future.
From day one, we've developed a number of strategies, which underpin our commitment to operate with any system, which includes developing integrations with CRM platforms like Salesforce, it includes developing our own product on top of a set of APIs we give our customers access to. There's no differentiation in terms of what we develop relative to what our customers can develop against.
Importantly, we've always been data agnostic, so we don't drive the profitability of our business through recommending products that we make higher margins on. We want to make sure our customers are the ones in control of the vendors they use. They make those decisions based on performance, not cost."
A unique CLM solution
"There are a host of vendors in the KYC, KYB, AML space who focus on some of the standard technology that automates processes and aggregates data. Although our product certainly is an automation platform that can be used to manage that part of a customer journey, ultimately we've developed PassFort to help customers through their maturity journey as a business - from onboarding to ongoing risk management and beyond.
This is linked to the "three lines of defence" model.
PassFort isn't just the platform you purchase, get access to data and then use for an initial onboarding decision. It is the platform that helps you undertake those first line of defence responsibilities - collecting customer data, processing customer data and making a decision as to whether or not to do business with that customer based on those results.
Then you go beyond that and use the technology for the second line of defence, into operational processes. You have smart policies to focus escalation frameworks and handle medium and high-risk cases - making risk-based decisions from your policy and also changing your policy as needed at any point.
Then you move into advanced, ongoing monitoring that gives you comfort as a compliance leader or an operational leader that you’re taking a risk-based approach with multiple fail-over points in your processes to operate to best practice.
Finally comes the third line of defence. For organisations that are of sufficient scale, PassFort can introduce sophisticated periodic reviews for best practice. We help you think through your audit frameworks and how to best manage them.
It’s possible to be advanced in terms of the number of teams and different user groups that have support seats in the platform, as well as making sure your affiliates are operable with other advanced back office implementations that need to be balanced.
PassFort is a very extendible platform, and that’s unique in the marketplace. A lot of KYC and AML technologies focus on the first line of defence only - maximising Straight Through Processing on lower risk customer obligations and maximizing data coverage to approve as many customers as possible in as short a period of time as possible.
Technologies don't, certainly not at the price point PassFort operates at, focus on the second and third lines of defence, which is really where huge value and good operational practices come from. This is where we see real daylight between what we bring to market and what our competitors bring to market."
Listen to customers and develop from there
"The biggest learning for me over these five years has been to understand the value is not in the idea, the value is in the execution. The more you invest in building a great team and a fantastic culture that people want to engage with and develop themselves in, the faster you're able to grow and reach your objectives.
People, not just in business, but in life get caught up with ideas. They either have an idea that they don't feel is quite there yet to make a leap of faith or they think tomorrow will be better than today to run with their idea. That's the wrong way to work.
It doesn't really matter what idea you start with – getting stuck in is the main thing. Then having a humbleness and willingness to listen to feedback and work with people to solve problems that come up.
From a product perspective, we listen to our customers and enable them to shape our product vision.
From a company perspective we've built a great team with a good culture that is capable of solving issues.
Did I know all this five years ago? I might have thought I did, but not really. You only really understand something once you get started on it and we've only just begun."
Get in touch!
If you would like to talk about where your company is headed and how PassFort can be part of your growth and success story, please get in touch, we would love to hear from you!