West Africa — SAP AG (NYSE: SAP) is to invest $ 500 million into the African continent to upskill and train 10,000 IT leaders and professionals by 2020. One of the hub anchors of the investment will be Nigeria.
“This type of investment creates a strong need for a regulated economy and transparent operations” states
Merlin Knott, Head of Analytics at SAP Africa. “The perceived high risk of conducting business in the technology space can be daunting to Directors and employees while the technological advancements experienced everyday can seem overwhelming to companies. However, SAP has the ability to provide automated solutions for Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC) as well as providing checks and balances in order to reduce the possibility of fraud, through the Know Your Customer (KYC) platforms”.
“The African continent exhibits various levels of compliance maturity with West Africa placing second to the SADC region.” elaborates Knott. As recently as June 2014, the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) clamped down on organisations failing to comply with their regulations and an estimated N19.3 million (approximately US$ 118 890) in fines were issued to six companies. In terms of the Nigerian Insurance industry, a fine of N1 million (approximately US$65 000) is common place for non-compliance. Although not a huge amount of money from a US perspective, this amount is substantial in an industry where, according to the Timetric report on the Insurance Trends and Opportunities to 2018 in Nigeria, only 1% of the total adult population in the country has access to insurance products of any kind.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) published revised guidelines for Finance Companies in Nigeria, one of the elements with which they must now comply is Know Your Customer (KYC) and KYC returns are to be submitted on a quarterly basis to the CBN. SAP has a fully automated platform to assist clients with this process, which if done manually can lead to a host of issues for the organisation.
The SAP platforms able to assist organisations with these elements are fully automated making compliance and risk analysis relatively easy. When an organisation has GRC and KYC fully integrated into their cultures, all levels of employees are empowered for the betterment of the company. In the insurance field, the repercussions of non-compliance in the fields of GRC and KYC can be fatal for the business. For example, if an insurance telesales consultant phones a potential client and sells a life policy to a terminally ill patient without the proper checks and processes, this could have serious implications on the sustainability of the company.
“The KYC concept delves deeper than just acquiring the correct information in order to close a deal; it also talks to the innovations of customer-centric solutions to make life better for the companies’ customers by listening to what they require and providing the services they require” says Knott.
“In the ever changing environment of GRC and KYC, organisations need a partner who has the technical knowledge, background and expertise in these matters. SAP has worked with some of the greatest minds in these fields to develop and support these platforms. With the constantly changing landscape within these areas, it is easy to either miss a deadline or to miss some vital part of the information ecosystem. These platforms form part of the SAP core business structure, therefore by using them within their organisations, our clients are able to focus on their core business, whether it’s mining, insurance or banking.”
Fraud, money laundering and electronic identity theft are very real threats to any organisation operating in the 21st Century, with a partner such as SAP the risk is greatly reduced and companies are able to focus on their core business. Says Knott: “GRC and KYC are vehicles through which companies are able to focus on their core business, with the peace of mind that an experienced business partner is constantly monitoring and evaluating the risks to their organisations. Any organisation with a tradable commodity is open to money laundering and fraud, and as such an experience partner needs to be on-boarded in order to reduce the risk of these terrible and increasing crimes.”
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