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REF NO.: 16
SUBJECT: Memorial University finds a way to wash out money-laundering
DATE: Sept. 25,2003
After Sept. 11, 2001, the way the world does business changed and at Memorial University the work of two post-graduate students also changed. Jamie King and Raymond Pretty switched gears from robotics research to finding an anti-money laundering (AML) answer to help financial institutions tighten their security measures.
Now their AML company, Verafin, developed in the university's entrepreneurship gateway, housed in the P.J. Gardiner Institute, has the potential to crack down on terrorist financiers and money laundering activities.
In October 2002, Memorial alumnus David Kelly, an expert in the cash management industry, saw that the financial sector needed more sophisticated AML software. Armed with a proposal to fund the research, he approached Dr. Bob Richards at the P.J. Gardiner Institute for Enterprise and Entrepreneurship and the two put together a team from the faculties of Business Administration and Engineering and Applied Science. The result is a group of Memorial students, including Mr. King and Mr. Pretty, along with faculty and alumni who formed the company Verafin and developed Pulse, their money laundering detection product.
Verafin has impressed the industry with the sophistication of their product and their rapid response to an industry problem. "Our product identifies patterns representing possible financial crimes such as money laundering among the millions of daily financial transactions," said Mr. King. Once integrated into a company's computer networks, Pulse can quickly scan all transactions and flag any suspicious activity, including large deposits, withdrawals and client names. For example, if an individual's banking activities are considered suspicious and are being monitored by a regulatory body, Pulse will flag all transactions made by that person and transactions made by people with names that are spelled or sound alike.
There are other detection products in the marketplace; however, none that were conceived specifically for the AML problem. Among Verafin's many competitive advantages is its integration time. It can take large organizations, like banks, more than a year to integrate other products into their current systems while Verafin's software can be integrated in approximately two weeks. Verafin, now a client company in Memorial's Genesis Centre, is demonstrating its product to banks in the Caribbean and United States and finalizing partnerships with distributors in international markets including the Middle East and Australia.
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