RegTech – what you need to know

The biggest buzz in the tech industry right now is around RegTech. If you have compliance requirements, RegTech is going to matter to you. Here, Virtual Mgr’s Chairman, Anil Patel breaks down the basics.

What is RegTech?

RegTech is short for regulatory technology and that’s exactly what it means: technology which provides solutions in regulatory compliance. It’s an area which is presenting more challenges than ever, as regulatory and compliance obligations increase at a colossal and rapid rate.

RegTech began in the finance industry and is now emerging into healthcare and really any area where compliance is an issue.

What technologies does RegTech use?

RegTech harnesses technologies such as machine learning (an AI application that teaches a computer system to make accurate predications based on the data it receives, and to learn and grow as it receives new information), natural language processing (another AI application which works to understand, interpret and manipulate human language. Think predictive text, autofill etc) blockchain (a digital record keeping system), and more.

What are the key drivers of innovation and change in RegTech right now?

The market is the biggest driver of innovation. It’s about what the market is demanding. For example, in the UK recently, the National Health Service undertook a huge analysis on the quality of food in the hospital system, and the impact food has on recovery. The result has been a new blueprint for better hospital food. Obviously to achieve the goals of this blueprint, there are compliance requirements, so technology is being reviewed around monitoring that food compliance.

The existing status quo in these situations is to have to teams of data analysts to collect, analyse and report on data. That’s obviously time consuming, slow, and susceptible to human error or interpretation. With machine learning, we can do this a lot faster, a lot more efficiently and it is completely factual, with no emotional influence.

Tell us about the Australian RegTech industry?

Australia has so many innovative tech companies; proven companies that are billion-dollar success stories, but I think there is still an inertia in Silicon Valley to invest in anything outside the US.

It’s a bit different in the UK; the Department for International Trade have developed programs for Australian tech companies to take part in virtual trade missions which opens a lot of doors.

But for Australian tech companies, the reality is, it’s a hard slog. Some great start ups can’t get funding in Australia. And Covid has made it even more difficult.

In terms of Australian companies embracing technologies, the rates are pretty low. There is nowhere near as much pick up by Australian companies as there is in other parts of the world. There is a ‘she’ll be right mate’ approach, and ‘we’ve always done it this way, so we don’t want to change’.

The exception to that in my experience would be the oil industry – they really see the value in investing in innovation.

RegTech seems like a natural progression for VM; there are existing VM products that could fall under the RegTech banner. What are VMs plans for this space, and where do you see VM in the industry?

We have been implementing RegTech solutions globally for a while. As an example, in Australia we take the HACCP Standard food regulations and make it easier to comply by digitising the processes.

Our work in the oil industry too is all about RegTech, and really the oil companies lead the way here, because they go beyond the standard. They take what the standard is, and go over and above that. We create the technologies that enable them to do that.

It is going to be exciting for Virtual Mgr to play a part in RegTech taking hold in healthcare and beyond.

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