19 Oct 2018
Painless Client Onboarding
Automating and digitising the process of compliance and fund administration, Veridate integrates and automates the four key pillars of wealth administration: client onboarding, accounting, administration, and consolidated reporting.
Its Client Onboarding Application (COBA) provides digitally enabled onboarding services to regulated and self-regulated entities ranging from sophisticated discretionary wealth managers to law firms and crypto exchanges globally. “COBA’s unique business model leverages best-in-class KYC/AML [know your client/anti money-laundering] functionality from multiple regtech and fintech firms to deliver an end-to-end digital onboarding solution,” said Director Peter Hatz, who co-founded the company in 2015 with CEO Colin Lunn, joining a year later.
Mr Hatz has been involved in fintech in Hong Kong for more than 10 years, and inefficiencies in the financial system have interested him for over 25 years. “We are delivering an end-to-end solution that addresses one of the biggest inefficiencies: digital client onboarding,” he explained.
Including outsourced projects, Veridate has a team of about 22 full-time people, with eight in Hong Kong but it is always looking to add new talent, particularly as demand grows for its services.
Indeed, market demand for COBA is gaining significant momentum and the team is moving from a Proof of Concept to a growth phase. “We are in the process of enhancing our infrastructure with a multinational partner and starting to implement the blockchain as an immutable database with a team of highly skilled blockchain specialists,” said Mr Hatz. It has been refining the architecture for over a year to ensure clients are blockchain-enabled.
Client acquisition is a key aspect of its growth. “The people who we work with are the heart and soul of everything we do. We take the view that we have a responsibility to help them grow personally and professionally. If our people grow, our whole business grows.”
Mr Hatz has spent the past 19 years in Hong Kong and believes it’s a great city to do business in. “Quite simply, if you cannot succeed in Hong Kong you only have yourself to blame. The opportunities are boundless and the ‘can do’ attitude is brilliant. It’s natural for a business like ours to grow regionally but we are led by our clients. We have focused on Hong Kong but there are regional and international participants; servicing their needs leads our expansion.” With its Singapore office, clients similarly drive global expansion, Mr Hatz elaborated.
Naysayers drove Veridate forward, he said. “The first year of business is awesome as you are very often told how you will not succeed and that you’re on a well-trodden path to failure by those who have never taken a risk in their life. These people are great and an important part of the ecosystem. They drive us and inspire us to be the best we can possibly be. It’s so rewarding when you see them after a few years and they tell you how lucky you are.”
In the past decade, Mr Hatz has witnessed many new people in the fintech market come and go very quickly. “It’s the nature of the beast unfortunately… a lot of people enter the market, and they’re not very well researched. We’ve been around [in the industry] a lot longer.”
Addressing the Blockchain Issue
Delivering a blockchain solution to the marketplace that works and shows real benefits is a key concern for Veridate. There has been a lot of hype surrounding blockchain, he said. “We’ve sat back and haven’t participated in the debate but [focused on] building the architecture that can be implemented into the marketplace. We’re not a company that talks about things; we love product delivery and servicing our clients. We’ve been discussing architecture and functionality for over a year, designing functionality with a group of some of the most talented people [in this area] globally. It’s been a lot of hard work – it took us about a year of discussion to get what we wanted and we have monthly trips overseas to meet the developers and data architects. But it’s a worthy investment, as tighter security and data immutability is of utmost importance,” he said.
Resistance to change will always be difficult, he acknowledged. Only 1% of CEOs, for example, indicated any kind of technology adoption had taken place within their organisation and of that only 8% were planning or looking at active experimentation with blockchain, according to a recent report by global research and advisory firm Gartner. “The challenge remains from those who will not embrace change at all cost, as they feel threatened by technology, which is fully understandable. It is our role to teach these people new skills and give them confidence in the products we deliver.”