How To Bring Change to the Bank

Nirvana Farhadi
Global Head of Financial Services, RegTech, Risk and Regulatory Compliance
Hitachi Vantara

The financial services industry historically adopts digital systems quickly because moving and managing money lend themselves well to the accuracy and speed of data technologies. However, the industry is somewhat behind other industries in embracing today’s wave of digital transformation. Progress has become more difficult, with complex legacy systems and a certain amount of legacy thinking.

After years of developing vast, intricate IT systems, business processes and governance amid burgeoning regulatory complexity and scrutiny, financial services stakeholders must now step to the next level of digital transformation. They must find even more efficiencies and take advantage of fresh technologies to build even more value in their systems. Here’s where Nirvana Farhadi enters the picture.

Nirvana Farhadi
In the end, they proved it is possible to make a regulation machine-readable and executable.

Nirvana Farhadi is a global compliance, operations and risk expert who has worked across all financial services sectors and many global regulations and jurisdictions. With 20 years of senior experience, she leads Hitachi Vantara’s efforts in the core financial services industry and RegTech, which is the use of technology to help institutions comply with banking regulations efficiently and inexpensively for the most value from their data. In Nirvana’s view, financial services must continue to improve by applying state-of-the-art methods and technologies. She sees ample opportunity in RegTech to meet digital disruption head on. While Hitachi Vantara has much to offer here, Nirvana knew that the best answers would come by collaborating with the industry’s best and brightest talents across leading companies and institutions. 

Nirvana and her team were approached by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Bank of England to collaborate and host a TechSprint at Hitachi Vantara’s London office. The TechSprint would define a specific RegTech challenge and build a working model of a data solution. The software industry routinely conducts similar, focused sessions which they call “hackathons” to solve complex problems through the intensity of a relatively small group working toward a short deadline. Also invited to participate in the TechSprint were Grant Thornton, Credit Suisse, Santander, HSBC, Governor Software, Immuta, JWG, Linklaters, Lombard Risk, Model Drivers, Regnosys, Stanford University, Willis Towers Watson, University College Cork, and The Information Society Project at Yale Law School.

The TechSprint participants mapped an FCA regulatory requirement directly to financial institutions' data. They aimed to help to automate processing of regulatory reporting, which in turn could substantially reduce costly interpretation within banks. In the end, they proved it is possible to make a regulation machine-readable and executable by demonstrating automatic updating of reporting returns to satisfy a regulatory rule change.

"The event we hosted was the first of its kind, working across the entire financial services ecosystem with key industry stakeholders," said Nirvana. "Our challenges are not limited to just one particular sector, so it takes exactly this sort of holistic, pragmatic and collaborative approach for our industry to solve them as the seismic shift towards digitization happens."

With an important milestone now behind her, Nirvana continues to help the financial services industry apply the latest data technologies and techniques to change how the world works.

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