5 benefits of language switching detection for financial institutions

Fonetic Team
Wednesday, 10 October 2018 / Published in Compliance, Communications Surveillance, voice surveillance, Trading

5 benefits of language switching detection for financial institutions

Language switching_blogpost_2

In linguistics, combining words from different languages within the same phrase is called language switching or code switching. When talking about language switching outside of academia, many may think of James Bond movies, double-agents and spies; in other words, risky behaviour. That’s not necessarily off the mark when it comes to trading and the financial industry. For instance, if a trader or another employee at a financial institution uses more than one language in a sentence or a conversation, it may show an intent for committing fraud – something that regulators have been trying to watch out for lately. Here’s a look at the recent past to figure out some of the reasons for this monitoring.

Since the 2007-2008 financial crisis, regulators all over the world have buckled down to curtail problematic behaviours and practices, and fine offenders. According to an annual industry report published by the Boston Consulting Group in February of this year, banks worldwide have paid a total of $345 billion in fines between 2009 and 2017. In North America, banks have paid $220 billion, or 64% of the total, while the penalties accrued by European banks account for or $125 billion, or the remaining 36%, for the same period.

Now, let’s time travel. Imagine it’s the year 2020 and you are looking at your annual report for 2019. It reveals three key achievements: 1. you have saved your analysts countless hours of work; 2. you have been on top of internal audits; and, 3. you have complied with external investigations quickly and openly. In addition, your institution has been cited as an example in the fight against financial crime. Sounds great, doesn’t it?

The good news is that it is possible with a RegTech solution that offers you capabilities beyond those your company has already deployed. In other words, a game changer that gives you an edge on your competition. A surveillance mechanism that does not leave any information outside the scope of your current solution and allows you to monitor and record all information as well as to accurately understand all the data gathered.

The ability to detect the use of many languages in a single phrase in your employees’ communications, whether voice or e-comms, is one such mechanism. Currently, most communications surveillance solutions can identify the languages they support but do not offer significant language switching detection. This means that parts of conversations are being left out and not analysed, exposing your institution to huge regulatory and possibly financial risks. Are you willing to take any chances?

To help you understand just how important having powerful language switching capabilities are, we have put together a list of the 5 most important benefits language switching detection can offer your company.

 Benefits of language switching solutions for financial organisations

1. Improved efficiency and faster case analysis

Voice is the most difficult and time consuming channel to monitor, especially since voice communications are now also part of e-comms in the form of voice attachments and voice messaging in chat platforms. Addressing this automatically and detecting all languages within your communications will provide richer and more complete data, improving surveillance and compliance efficiency, speed in getting to the bottom of any potential case and avoiding false positives.

Furthermore, integrating language switching technology leads to increased workflow efficiencies and reduced costs, as it presents the full picture to your analysts, allowing them to quickly and effectively decide whether to close or escalate a case in less time.

2. Scalability of surveillance

Being able to review more information, if necessary, in less time without the need to train new analysts in this very specialised task. Alternatively, redirecting your staff’s efforts is another option so they could spend their time on other, more important, tasks. 

With this automation, surveillance professionals can now focus on analysing those cases that are significant instead of questioning the decisions they’ve made, looking for hard to spot behaviours that could lead to misconduct.

3. Minimise exposure to risk

The more time a surveillance team spends on truly important alerts, without missing any information, the more likely it is to identify fraud or any other suspicious behaviour in future analysis. This means curtailing systemic risk as detecting language switching reduces the risk of suspicious behaviour going undetected and potentially exposing your institutions to even greater reputational risks and possible financial losses.

4. Improved relationship with regulators

Complying with regulators, whether in the UK or US, in a timely and proactive manner will improve your relationship with them. This could have a number of benefits. For instance, if your company comes under investigation and you show the investigator that you want to make their job easier, they will be nice to you. In the worst-case scenario, they may be willing to look at reducing a fine you may have to pay.

5. An agent for behavioural change

Last, but not least, detecting language switching in your organisation’s communications can help you build a better corporate culture and foster the idea of a moral compass across the entire organisation.

Additionally, different regulations have brought personal liability to the table and unless there is a change in culture, aided by your surveillance and compliance technology, your decision-makers may feel uneasy. Easy their worries and help them sleep tight at night.

Be an agent of change for the better, so that you can effectively have a risk culture that manages itself. The choice is yours.

Download Fonetic's  Language Switching ebook here

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