Emanuele “Manny” Conti, CEO and DirectorWhen pursuing new opportunities, organizations often quickly encounter the flipside of growth: risk. Whether it’s the growing pains of a risky jurisdiction – such as potential bribery and corruption – or of a new business model, like the cloud, which may pose information security challenges, it’s hard to expand without taking risks. But risk also leads to reward. Over the last several years, enterprises have experienced a significant increase in the administrative burden and enforcement actions posed by various regulatory mandates, including AML (e.g. US Patriot Act and FinCen), Bribery and Corruption (e.g. FCPA, UKBA), FATCA, Dodd-Frank, and OCC. Effectively managing and mitigating risks can lead one beyond competitors to reap huge competitive advantages, according to compliance and risk provider Opus.
“We believe risk management goes far beyond risk avoidance—it’s about helping customers understand, manage and make the most of the opportunities they are going after,” says Emanuele “Manny” Conti, CEO and director of Opus. Opus, whose brand promise is “Free your Business,” helps businesses identify who they are doing business with and adjust their strategies intelligently as they grow, proactively managing risks and complying with regulations while enabling them to seek emerging growth opportunities.
Today, outsourcing work to third-party vendors has become commonplace, with enterprises shifting work to hundreds, thousands, even hundreds of thousands of third parties such as vendors, suppliers, and contractors. Such outsourcing is critical to growth but poses risks such as threats to information security – a recent study by Opus and the Ponemon Institute shows 56% of data breaches were from third parties—as well as significant risks such as anti-bribery and corruption violations. When an organization tries to onboard a third party without knowing enough about them, the lack of detailed knowledge creates substantial risk – which only multiplies over time.
Think about it as a simple (or not so simple) identification problem. If you don’t know who you are doing business with, how can you assess their risk? Yet it’s challenging to accurately assess third parties. Most businesses have too many suppliers, vendors and third parties – and too little staff. They have multiple external databases, such as those from Dun & Bradstreet, Dow Jones, and Thomson Reuters, leading to issues from different cross-indexing from multiple ways of indexing information, mistyped information, and the like. And, in-house expertise in dealing with external data is not a core competence in most companies.
So how can an enterprise be more productive? Automation is one answer. Using client-tested technology, Opus equips multiplies client productivity through software-as-a-service (SaaS) technology. One example is Resolve, a data matching service created by Opus. By indexing popular external databases such as Dow Jones, Moody’s and multiple others and cross-referencing them against a customer’s data, Resolve seeks to rectify this by finding information about any required company, allowing customers to accurately identify the third by name and country. Comprehensive, accurate entity identification is a truly essential foundation for accurate risk management and it is here that Opus stands out from its peers. Only Opus aggregates and automates the cross-referencing of hundreds of external sources in a unique, data-agnostic way that facilitates data lookup and entity identification for quick, automatic, easy business identification.
Risk assessment is particularly important in large companies that have significant numbers of third parties – more than they have employees. Here automation is a must
Seems simple – but without it, the rest of the risk process is useless.
“Risk assessment is particularly important in large companies that have significant numbers of third parties – more than they have employees. Here automation is a must,” Conti explains, “Risk assessment is particularly important in large companies where the size of the third party exceeds its employees. Here automation is their sole respite.”
Opus has three core solutions. Hiperos 3PM manages third-party risks such as bribery and corruption, information security, financial, contract, and performance management efficiently and effectively. Alacra Compliance streamlines, automates, and simplifies KYC compliance through verification, screening, and due diligence in a single platform. Lastly, Data Solutions helps in the identification, enrichment and creating a single view of customers, counterparties, and third-parties. The uniqueness of Opus stems from its purpose-built workflow technology and the fact that it has the largest index of cross-referenced information that helps in gaining a single view of customers, counterparties, and third parties, thus managing risk effectively.
As one example, Opus’ expertise in risk management was demonstrated in a small company which had nearly 10 times the number of third parties than it did employees. Opus helped by automating its processes using a risk-based approach. It first segmented the company’s third parties based on the information provided in their risk model, such as jurisdiction and services offered, which separated the third parties into a low-risk majority and a small percentage considered high risk. This screening reduced the number of third parties requiring investigation and allowed for high-risk parties to be examined with greater diligence. The enterprise then found its management capacity increasing seven-fold and assessment potential escalating by 50 percent after automating processes using Opus. The capability to onboard new vendors also increased by two-thirds.
Opus also operates the technology platform of the Global Technology Distribution Council (GTDC), which combines business processes with the practices developed by GTDC, Thomson Reuters’ risk assessment, screening and diligence services, and Hiperos’ third-party management software as a service (SaaS) solution. Opus integrates advanced data management techniques to improve automation and free businesses from having to worry about risk management, thus enabling them to be more productive and innovative. Using an end-to-end SaaS platform to help customers assess and handle risks, Opus primarily operates in the Americas and has also been successful in carving a niche for itself in the UK and Asia.