Featurespace’s ARIC™ Platform Helps Put a Stranglehold on Fraud and Money Laundering Activity


Money laundering is the lifeblood of crime, corruption and terrorism. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime estimates that 2 percent to 5 percent of the worldwide gross domestic product goes through the money laundering cycle annually, equating to $800 billion to $2 trillion in U.S. dollars.

Financial institutions (FIs) and regulators are struggling to keep up with this unremitting crime.

Money laundering has become an increasingly prevalent issue, and while banks are obliged to follow anti-money laundering (AML) regulations, there is an underlying belief that many legacy AML systems are largely ineffective. To succeed, FIs need a new breed of intelligence-led transaction monitoring systems that understand customer behavior while continually improving and adapting to new risks.

Featurespace, a world leader in fraud prevention, has recently augmented its ARIC™ platform with AML capabilities, giving FIs a fully automated solution that streamlines compliance programs. It does this by leveraging the power of adaptive behavioral analytics – invented by Featurespace – and machine learning to detect money laundering activity faster with a multi-award-winning solution.

In short, ARIC concentrates on good behavior rather than bad, makes investigators’ work more rewarding by automatically prioritizing suspicious alerts and improves future transaction monitoring by predicting and adapting to the newest threats and shady schemes.

ARIC stands apart from traditional AML solutions because it combines rules, adaptive rules and adaptive models, automatically updating as behavior changes are identified. The result? Improved transaction monitoring, which provides FIs greater control of their risk exposure.

The global threat is real, and so are the fines

Multiple crackdowns have targeted money launderers who depend on banks, shell companies and others to cover their tracks.

For instance, Bloomberg reported that the subsidiary of a well-known New York-based bank was fined $237 million after processing $8.8 billion-plus in transactions with close-to-no oversight. These transactions took place from 2007 to 2012.

Separately in 2012, New York state fined a London-based bank $300 million for weak AML controls. More recently, a Sydney-based bank paid the biggest civil penalty in Australian corporate history – $700 million – after admitting to more than 53,000 breaches of money laundering laws.

Clearly, money laundering is a pervasive and costly global threat. And combatting this global threat requires a new approach to profiling and predicting risk. ARIC is a robust, resilient platform that conducts real-time money laundering transaction monitoring and gets banks and credit unions up and running faster by ingesting all data without the need to reformat it. It then analyzes data thoroughly and segregates it according to FI needs and security restrictions and regulations.

ARIC outshines the competition

One of Featurespace’s clients, a tier 1 global bank, selected ARIC after a head-to-head challenge with the bank’s internal data science team and other external vendors. The bank’s existing solution generated a monthly batch of alerts with a high volume of false positives, which required manual consolidation and time-consuming investigation that led to operational fatigue and inefficiency.

When ARIC was put to the test with this complex data set, it generated fewer alerts while uncovering more suspicious activity reports (SARs). In fact, the bank saw a 12 percent reduction in overall alerts while finding 133% more suspicious activity and one third of its SARs were spotted earlier than with its former system.

According to another Featurespace client, Clear Bank: “Featurespace not only delivers cutting-edge ability better and faster than anyone, it also shares our spirit of revolutionizing financial services. That’s an intangible quality that cannot be overstated and is exceptionally rare today.”

Top scores received from Forrester

Customers aren’t the only ones singing the praises of ARIC.

In September, Featurespace was recognized by Forrester as a “Strong Performer” in The Forrester Wave: Anti-Money Laundering (AML), third-quarter 2019 evaluation. The company achieved the top score available in 10 areas, including Transaction Monitoring plans, Reporting and Vendor’s POC & Demonstration.

Under the Model Performance category, Forrester said of ARIC’s Model Performance “…sandbox vs. live data and model comparisons are very intuitive.” Further, Forrester reported, “The vendor offers a clean, well-thought through purpose-built user interface,” which was a reference to ARIC’s Product Usability performance.

In addition, ARIC was named “best in class” among the new generation of AML solutions in the 2019 AITE report “AIM Evaluation: Fraud and AML Machine Learning Platform Vendors.”

The ARIC Journey

Born out of 30 years’ research, Featurespace’s adaptive behavioral analytics technology was created by a Cambridge University professor, Bill Fitzgerald, and his PhD student Dave Excell, and went on to found the company in 2008.

Since then, the ARIC platform has grown, adapted and changed the game to help FIs thwart fraud and other financial crimes. It predicts and prevents money laundering while reducing the cost of investigations. It increases productivity by minimizing false positives, enabling investigators to focus on the most suspicious alerts. And while money laundering is the lifeblood of crime, corruption and terrorism, Featurespace’s ARIC platform is the lifeblood of eliminating these effects altogether.





Araliya Sammé is head of financial crime at Featurespace, the world leader in financial crime risk management for fraud and Anti-Money Laundering. Featurespace invented Adaptive Behavioral Analytics and created the ARIC™ platform, a real-time machine learning software that risk scores events in more than 180 countries to prevent fraud and financial crime.