Ireland Focus – Fintech
This formed part of and IRELAND FOCUS: FINTECH Special in September as part of the FT Wealth GEN Magazine, which had an accompanying foreward by the US President. The article also featured contributions from Centre Consortium member CEO, John Byrne, who chaired the GRC Technology Centre’s inaugural Annual Symposium in Dublin the following month.
Photo: Peter Cowap, Director, GR3C and Prof Tom Butler, Principal Investigator, GR3C.
A force for change
The Governance, Risk & Compliance Technology Centre (GR3C) was established in March 2013 as part of Ireland’s Technology Centre Programme with five years of research funding from Enterprise Ireland and the IDA.
Hosted by University College Cork and industry-led, its primary purpose is to provide a means for applied innovative research to support the transformational changes taking place within the financial services ecosystem.
It currently has over 20 industry members, including AIB, Bank of Ireland, Citi, State Street, Fenergo, Propylon and TerraNua, and a multidisciplinary team of researchers drawn from not only UCC, but NUI Galway/Insight and University College Dublin as academic partners.
The centre was instituted by a consortium of organisations from the financial industry and fintech sectors with the support of EI and the IDA. The centre’s mission is to apply semantic technologies to solve the governance, risk and compliance problems facing the industry, particularly issues of regulatory compliance and risk data aggregation, explains Prof Tom Butler, GR3C Principal Investigator.
“Traditional technologies were found wanting in terms of solving these challenges. For example, the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision has specifically identified IT risk as representing one of the major issues within the banking system, particularly for risk data aggregation, and is acknowledged as being one of the contributory causes of the financial crisis.
“We are developing a family of semantic technologies based on proofs of concept and demonstrators for application by fintech companies and financial institutions. Our goal is to help provide financial services institutions with innovative solutions to help capture the meaning of regulations more systematically and more cumulatively and in a less labour intensive way. Much of the elevated costs in relation to compliance are associated with manual interventions on an industrial scale.”
Peter Cowap, Director of the GR3C, says the centre has become “a means through which Ireland Inc is helping to shape the setting of global standards”, having already aligned itself with global industry organisations such as the Enterprise Data Management (EDM) Council and the technology standards consortium the Object Management Group.
“We are the only university-based, publicly funded research centre member of the EDM Council and are directly involved in developing a common language for the financial services industry using semantic technologies – the Financial Industry Business Ontology – and we are also developing our own complementary Financial Industry Regulatory Ontology to help address the unprecedented levels of activity generated by regulatory change management within the industry.”
The GR3C is a critical feature of the Government’s strategy for international financial services in IFS 2020.
After only two years the GR3C is already directly involved in global initiatives to advance technology in the financial services industry.