NICE Actimize launches cross-asset cloud markets solutions, Exclusive interview with VP Puja Agrawal

Rick Steves

NICE Actimize, a subsidiary of NICE Systems (NASDAQ: NICE) has launched a cross-asset cloud markets surveillance solution featuring FX and case management capabilities in an era of growing demand for top-of-line trade surveillance technology, especially in terms of coverage expansion for asset classes. Nice Systems was founded in 1986 as Neptune Intelligence Computer Engineering (NICE) […]


NICE Actimize, a subsidiary of NICE Systems (NASDAQ: NICE) has launched a cross-asset cloud markets surveillance solution featuring FX and case management capabilities in an era of growing demand for top-of-line trade surveillance technology, especially in terms of coverage expansion for asset classes.

Nice Systems was founded in 1986 as Neptune Intelligence Computer Engineering (NICE) by 7 Israeli ex-army colleagues. The company initially focused on developing solutions for security and defense applications, but soon refocused their efforts on civilian applications, mainly for contact center, financial services and business intelligence markets. In 2009, the company’s then CEO Haim Shani stepped down to become the general manager of the Ministry of Finance of the State of Israel.

Actimize, the company’s division which specializes in solutions for financial crime, risk and compliance software for the financial services industry, is a significant part of the company’s business. On August 30, 2007, NICE Systems acquired Actimize for $281m, entering the fraud prevention, anti-money laundering and risk management solution markets. Just two years later, NICE Actimize acquired Fortent for $73 million.

Puja Agarwal

In this particular new release, from within a single hybrid cloud environment, NICE Actimize’s solution targets foreign exchange, equities, fixed income, futures and options, while meeting the compliance needs and regulatory requirements of both buy-side and sell-side firms. The company has been awarded the 2016 Operational Risk Technology Product of the Year by Risk Magazine for its Sell Side capabilities.

To discuss the launch of the new product, FinanceFeeds reporter Ricardo Esteves had the opportunity of an exclusive interview with Puja Agrawal, General Manager and Global VP, Financial Markets Compliance at NICE Actimize, in New York.

New regulations and coverage for OTC markets present significant challenges for firms due to lack of expertise and data, which are driving the need for “compliance-as-a-service” surveillance technology solutions:

How has the cloud model evolved to meet such challenges?

“Most cloud providers have focused on covering exchange-traded products.  Given NICE Actimize’s heritage and expertise in the OTC markets, we are bringing coverage for OTC products in the cloud including FX, Fixed Income and Swaps/OTC Derivatives.

Bringing such coverage on the cloud, and relying on a vendor with over a decade of experience/expertise on OTC markets, allows firms to address their regulatory requirements without the need to have in-house expertise.  The solution is bundled with the market data and we can work with client data from a variety of sources and formats.”

What is the unique value proposition that NICE Actimize offers in respect to the “hybrid approach”?
“We do feel we have a unique approach – no one in the industry covers as many asset classes as we do in the cloud. For example, only NICE Actimize is offering comprehensive markets surveillance coverage to our customers with both deployment options, i.e. On-Premise or Cloud.  This means customers can choose their deployment method by asset classes/instruments, regions or other priorities.

Also unique to us is the fact that we offer comprehensive case management with our solutions, which allows customers to have a holistic view of risk across the organization regardless of deployment choice.  Many financial institutions prefer to have a strategic in-house compliance solution, while they may need a tactical solution in place due to time to market or short term resource concerns.

NICE Actimize can offer true flexibility with its multiple deployment choices.  From business process and end user perspective, it’s a seamless transition given that this same case management provides investigation, workflow, audit and management reports/dashboards.

Time-to-market and lower TCO challenges are creating demand for Cloud based deployment, especially for mid-sized firms:

What is the threshold that opens the door to your solutions?

Financial institutions come to us when they identify the need for a cost-effective, expedient solution—and while institutions of most sizes can take advantage of our hybrid approach; it is particularly the mid-sized firms that have the greatest need.

I also think that the increasing regulatory climate has moved the threshold – there is now so much to manage across so many areas, that we need technology solutions like this to stay compliant. While we have designed our offering to be available for smaller banks it has the scalability to also support larger institutions.

With more than 12 years of experience with OTC instruments, NICE Actimize’s Cloud Markets Surveillance solution is designed to offer turn-key implementation and reduced up-front costs, which means greater affordability for firms of all sizes in exchange for a combination of a core set of out-of-the-box detection scenarios with investigation capabilities, robust query and reporting tools, case management, and compliance oversight capabilities. The company says its Risk Case Manager (RCM) is a fully integrated, web-based case manager that offers efficient alert management, ad hoc investigation, and audit trail functionality.

As a new age of regulatory requirements evolves, so must the regulated firms adapt to such environment. Depending on a firm’s compliance strategy, fully integrated solutions such as NICE Actimize are to be considered, especially for the mid-sized financial institutions.

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