The lawyers within Westpac’s 300-strong compliance division are being taught to code and manage “large-scale agile projects” in an effort to integrate technology with regulation.
Speaking at the RegTech Australia forum in Sydney yesterday, Westpac chief compliance officer Rebecca Lim spoke about what she is doing to make the bank “RegTech ready”.
Ms Lim, who is also Westpac’s group general counsel, said she is in the process of changing the division’s capability to “support Westpac to deliver great service to our customers very differently”.
Part of that involves teaching her 300-strong team of lawyers and compliance experts to code and run “large-scale agile projects”, Ms Lim said.
Westpac also needs to change its culture to one of “experimentation” in order to fully integrate technology with compliance, she said.
“You can’t wait until you’re got every ‘I’ dotted and ‘T’ crossed before you experiment in this space,” Ms Lim said.
“We've got to start piloting and testing some of this so that we actually get the capability to do a larger scale experiment.”
Asked how RegTech start-ups can collaborate with Westpac, Ms Lim said it is important for the burgeoning sector to understand how banking is changing.
“Our front line used to be very many men and women in our branches and contact centres,” she said.
“But now … it's also the people sitting in our product and marketing teams helping understand the needs of our customers and helping think through what products will be suitable for them.
Those people are then working with our data analytics teams to understand how we can fulfil our customers’ needs.”
The advent of Australians being served in financial services by start-ups is an “incredibly welcome development”, she said.
Westpac is aiming to have a standard of service more akin to Amazon or Google than a traditional ‘brick and mortar’ business, Ms Lim said.