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Kalgera launches platform to help banks spot and protect vulnerable customers

  • Concern that Covid is driving “hidden vulnerability”
  • FCA issued guidance to firms to take action to protect vulnerable customers
Kalgera's Vulnerability Platform for identifying vulnerable customers

09 September 2021 London – Today, Kalgera announces the launch of its new platform designed to help banks and financial institutions identify and protect vulnerable customers from financial harm.

This comes against the backdrop of increasing concern about the financial stress brought about by the impact of Covid-19 lockdowns and the forthcoming end of the furlough scheme at the end of next month.

Kalgera’s platform integrates with banks’ existing systems to enable them to securely access, filter and evaluate customers’ transaction data using advanced AI and cutting-edge cognitive neuroscience.

Partnering with the Kalgera platform enables banks and financial institutions to manage risk and comply with recent FCA guidelines for protecting vulnerable customers while also providing enhanced levels of service to customers.

Founded by Chief Executive Dr Dexter Penn, a doctor and UCL dementia researcher, Kalgera was born out of the need to better recognise the serious issues facing vulnerable people.

During the pandemic, one in three (31%) of adults have experienced a drop in household income with 14.2 million now having low financial resilience (an increase of 3.5 million between March and October 2020), according to FCA research*.

Dr Dexter Penn said: “Unfortunately, an increasing number of people now find themselves in a financially vulnerable state as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.  It is more important than ever that banks and all financial institutions identify and protect their customers who are at risk of being harmed. We believe the hidden vulnerability revealed by the pandemic shows that anyone has the potential to be at risk.” Earlier this year, the FCA issued its latest guidance for firms to take actions in four areas; understanding the needs of vulnerable customers; making sure staff have the right skills and capability to recognise and respond to the needs of vulnerable customers; respond to customer needs throughout product design, flexible customer service provision and communications; and monitor and assess whether they are meeting and responding to the needs of customers with characteristics of vulnerability.

“Our platform has been designed to help banks meet and surpass the Regulator’s guidance, while also integrating seamlessly and securely with their existing systems to help identify potential issues like financial abuse. Using our proprietary algorithms, the platform improves the efficiency of current systems – which saves considerable time and cost compared with building in-house capabilities from scratch.”

The launch comes after Kalgera recently announced the appointment of five new members to its Advisory Board. Click the link to the announcement made in July of 2021.

For more information about Kalgera’s Vulnerability Platform, please visit www.kalgera.com/product.

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NOTES TO EDITORS

* FCA Financial Lives 2020 survey: impact of coronavirus

About Kalgera

Kalgera was born from a desire to better protect the financially vulnerable. It is designed to have the greatest impact for the widest possible community. The company does this by enabling banks and other financial institutions to identify and protect vulnerable customers from financial harm through its Artificial Intelligence platform. The platform uses cutting-edge cognitive neuroscience research to analyse financial behaviour captured in transaction data. This is processed with ‘deep tech’ data science to interpret financial behaviour. This proprietary process automatically self-improves using AI.

The RegTech was founded by Chief Executive, Dr Dexter Penn, who is also a clinician at the UCL Dementia Research Centre. The company was in the elite cohort on the National Cyber Security Accelerator Programme by Wayra as well as taking part in the FCA’s Digital Sandbox Pilot.

For press enquiries or for interview requests please contact:

Nicola Forsyth

nicola@impactandinfluence.global

+44 (0) 7809121015

Rishi Bhattacharya

rishi@impactandinfluence.global

+44 (0) 7767 654 070

How banks and building societies are affected by new FCA guidelines regarding vulnerable customers

Protecting and helping vulnerable customers is an opportunity for banks to build trust and increase financial inclusion

Earlier this year, the financial regulatory body, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) issued guidance for financial institutions’ fair treatment of vulnerable customers

The guidance exists to help financial institutions better understand the needs of vulnerable customers – and make the necessary changes to ensure they are being treated fairly and are able to experience outcomes that are as good as any other consumers. 

As it stands, many vulnerable customers are excluded from the financial system, face difficulties in gaining fair access and good customer experience – or are more susceptible to becoming a victim of fraud. 

The FCA guidelines outline four areas for banks and financial services providers to take action: 

  • understand the needs of their target market / customer base;
  • make sure staff have the right skills and capability to recognise and respond to the needs of vulnerable customers; 
  • respond to customer needs throughout product design, flexible customer service provision and communications; 
  • monitor and assess whether they are meeting and responding to the needs of customers with characteristics of vulnerability, and make improvements where this is not happening

We, at Kalgera, share this vision; we were born of a deep desire to better protect the financially vulnerable. The after effects of the pandemic are leading an increasing number of people to find themselves at risk of financial harm. 

Rise in vulnerability due to COVID 19

The FCA’s Financial Lives Survey, concluded in February 2020 and repeated in October 2020, demonstrates the impact of coronavirus on personal finances. More than half (53%) of UK adults are displaying a characteristic of vulnerability. This is a rise of more than 3 million potentially vulnerable customers since February 2020, and many of these people may have multiple characteristics of vulnerability. 

Figure form the FCA report showing the proportion of adults who show characteristics of vulnerability (April 2017 / Feb 2020 / October 2020 )
Source: FCA’s Financial Lives Survey

Additionally, three in eight adults (38% or 20m) have seen their financial situation overall worsen because of the stresses of Covid-19. Lockdown restrictions have seen many people unable to work for extended periods of time, working less or being subject to reduced pay, which has resulted in unexpected falls in income levels. Some business owners were able to invest or borrow to pivot and diversify their offering – but for those who lacked the means to, the consequences have been dire, seeing otherwise successful businesses fail, leaving more people financially and emotionally vulnerable.  

The nature of the pandemic meant no one saw it coming, leaving most of us unprepared for such a situation – both financially or mentally. For those who were living hand to mouth, the consequences have been devastating and the prolonged periods of uncertainty have taken their toll. 

Some of the worst hit sectors, such as services, hospitality and the entertainment industry, are also among the lowest paying – unfairly affecting those workers, and leaving even more people financially vulnerable perhaps for the first time in their lives. Others have been forced to homeschool children while also fearful of keeping their jobs at a time of mass redundancies. 

Sadly with the end of the furlough scheme looming, a hike in energy prices and a reduction in Universal Credit payments, we can expect to see more people becoming financially vulnerable.  This triple whammy is why it’s more important than ever that we as a sector come together to identify and protect financially vulnerable people.

This can be an arduous, difficult and time consuming task for banks and financial institutions – and it’s likely that pressure to meet the guidelines will only increase as time goes by. Currently, they rely on resource-heavy manual processing or face the prospect of considerable investments in time and cost to build in-house tech to meet the FCA’s guidelines.

While some institutions have dedicated vulnerable customer teams, many do not or provision is limited as knowledge, expertise and equipment is in its infancy. Sadly, the needs of vulnerable customers have been relatively unknown – or simply gone undetected until it is too late and the damage is done. 

Identify and protect vulnerable customers

This is where we come in – our smart platform enables banks and other financial institutions to identify and protect vulnerable customers from financial harm using our proprietary Artificial Intelligence (AI) platform. It uses cutting-edge cognitive neuroscience research to analyse financial behaviour captured in transaction data. Processed with ‘deep tech’ data science it can interpret financial behaviour – and automatically self-improve using AI. This helps build a profile of vulnerable characteristics that can be used to help identify vulnerable customers before it’s too late to intervene. And, as we all know, prevention is better than cure.

The Kalgera platform also helps financial institutions keep up with, comply with – and surpass – regulatory guidelines (such as those issued by the FCA), while also providing enhanced levels of service to customers. Over time, this can help improve customer experience and build trust and loyalty. 

The platform can be integrated to run on the existing infrastructure of banks and building societies, meaning it benefits from the same level of safety and security, giving banks and their customers added peace of mind. It also makes the experience seamless and a built in part of everyday banking services, rather than an add on or afterthought. 

We believe access to banking and financial services should be accessible and equal – and that vulnerable customers should expect the same experience as anyone else. Our founder,  Dexter Penn, is part of the clinical trials team at the Dementia Research Centre at the UCL Institute of Neurology. It was through his work into Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease that the idea for Kalgera came to life. He recognised there was a gap in the provision of, and access to, fair financial services for people with vulnerabilities or cognitive impairments. The specific challenges they face are not readily solved or easily serviced by the sector. Kalgera wants to change that. 
We have previously participated in the FCA’s Digital Sandbox Pilot in 2021, which focused on vulnerable customers, providing synthetic data for teams to validate their potential solutions on, and are interested in positively collaborating with banks and financial institutions. This means, collectively, we can play our part in better identifying and protecting vulnerable customers and ensuring the FCA guidelines are met – and surpassed.

For more on Kalgera’s vulnerability platform click here.

Kalgera unveils new advisory board as it seeks to support banks in protecting vulnerable customers

July 14th 2021 London – Kalgera is unveiling its new advisory board today as the company sets its strategy for future growth through enabling banks and financial institutions to identify and protect vulnerable customers from financial harm.

The RegTech platform is bringing on a multi-disciplinary bench of new advisors from sectors including banking and fintech with expertise including fundraising and communications marketing.

Earlier this year the FCA issued guidance for financial institutions in terms of protecting vulnerable customers, especially with the additional stresses brought on by Covid-19.

Founder and Chief Executive Dr Dexter Penn said: “It is crucial for us to find new ways of protecting vulnerable customers – especially as we begin to recover from the pandemic – in which banks and other financial institutions will have a key role to play. Kalgera’s thoughtfully designed platform delivers the tools to enable this, bringing companies in line with regulatory guidance while delivering operational efficiency as well as protecting the customer. We are delighted to have assembled an advisory board of this calibre to guide us in the next phase of our growth.”

The new Advisory Board members are:

Helene Panzarino

Helene Panzarino, who was originally a Commercial Banker, is an Associate Director with the Centre for Digital Banking and Finance in LIBF, an experienced FinTech Programme Director, exited entrepreneur, educator and author. Her career boasts a number of ‘firsts’, including the creation of the FinTech Scale Colab Programme for Rainmaking, the Inaugural Programme of Education and Events for Innovate Finance, the FinTech on the Entrepreneurship Masters’ for UCL. Additional board and advisory roles include the Spanish digital identity scale up, Biid and the SME payments company, TomatoPay.  Helene was named on the Computer Weekly 100 Women in Tech Award, the Innovate Finance Women in FinTech Power List, and the Fintech Magazine 100 Women in Fintech list. She took part in the FCA 2020 Data Sprint on post-Covid SME Lending. Her new book ‘Reinventing Banking & Finance: Frameworks to navigate global fintech innovation’ (Kogan Nov 2020) and was named the number one banking book for 2021 by Investopedia.

Richard Zirps has over 25 years international banking & capital markets experience with focus on Debt Capital Markets/Fixed Income Origination. Having worked at Citigroup, Lehman Brothers and NWM formerly known as ABN AMRO/RBS, his clients include public sector banks as well as their owners, commercial banks, insurance companies, special credit institutions and agencies as well as corporates. Following his banking career Richard set up Alluvium Capital Ltd specialising in advising “Best in Class” UK FinTech companies and introducing them to his Bank, Insurance, Agency, Asset Manager, Regulatory and Corporate contacts.

Chris Kelsall is Chief Executive of Tokamak Energy.  He previously served as Chief Financial Officer, following his appointment to the Board of Directors in 2020. Chris has 30 years’ international experience spanning commercial, financial, legal, operational and business transformation roles. This includes leadership positions in private and listed companies in the energy sector. As Chief Operating Officer for HSBC Global Banking Europe, Chris was responsible for operational delivery and risk management in countries, including the major hubs in the UK, France and Germany. He also led the delivery of major business transformation projects within the bank, including Brexit. Chris holds degrees in Economics and Law, with a Masters in Finance from London Business School.

Hugh Furness is a specialist in achieving profitable operations through cost-effective management of resources and quality performance. Hugh has over 20 years of experience in developing teams, go-to-market and business development strategies, as well as the development and execution of operational and sales playbooks. Hugh has worked in a variety of roles including interim MD for Network Group and at Datalogic PLC where he developed their global expansion over 17 years to become one of the top companies in its industry. Most recently, Hugh has worked with several cyber security companies with Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions opening them to new markets from direct to channel partners generating monthly recurring revenue (MRR).

Rishi Bhattacharya is the Founder and CEO of Impact & Influence, an independent communications consultancy designed for the next generation of leaders, companies and organisations. He has 25 years of communications experience, as both an advisor and a journalist. Prior to Impact & Influence, he was a senior executive at two international communications agencies for a total of 15 years, providing both C-suite advisory for companies going through fundraising rounds, as well as running complex communications programmes for some of the world’s largest companies. Before moving into communications, he was a broadcast political journalist during the Blair years.

The new Kalgera advisors join existing advisors:

Ivona Wolff has experience in financial services advisory, commercial, product, pricing and partnership development across both large matrix organisations as well as small start-ups. She has functional expertise in card payments (issuing and acquiring), retail bank benchmarking and loyalty services. Ivona also holds a Masters in Economics from LSE.

Karen Thomas is a BBC-trained journalist, global markets analyst and nuclear technology correspondent. With her background in healthcare, she has also worked overseas in international development supporting resource-poor academic institutions and for humanitarian relief agencies. Karen holds a PhD in Pharmacy and an MA in journalism.

NOTES TO EDITORS

Kalgera was born from a desire to better protect the financially vulnerable. It is designed to have the greatest impact for the widest possible community. The company does this by enabling banks and other financial institutions to identify and protect vulnerable customers from financial harm through its Artificial Intelligence platform. The platform uses cutting-edge cognitive neuroscience research to analyse financial behaviour captured in transaction data. This is processed with ‘deep tech’ data science to interpret financial behaviour. This proprietary process automatically self-improves using AI.

The RegTech was founded by Chief Executive, Dr Dexter Penn, who is also a clinician at the UCL Dementia Research Centre. The company was in the elite cohort on the National Cyber Security Accelerator Programme by Wayra as well as taking part in the FCA’s Digital Sandbox Pilot.

For press enquiries or for interview requests please contact:

Nicola Forsyth

nicola@impactandinfluence.global

+44 (0) 7809121015

Rishi Bhattacharya

rishi@impactandinfluence.global

+44 (0) 7767 654 070