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W2’s Warren Russell: Screening new customers with a simplified on-boarding process

W2 is a data screening solutions provider which helps major organisations, including those active in the sports betting industry, to conduct regulatory Know Your Customer (KYC), Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Fraud prevention checks.

Six months on from securing significant growth fund investment, we caught up with the company’s CEO Warren Russell to discuss the development of its sales, marketing and technical teams, increased due diligence challenges since the introduction of the 4th AMLD, and the importance of avoiding the on-boarding of problem gamblers.

SBC: How much of an impact has the Growth Fund investment from Mercia Fund Management had on your sales, marketing and technical capability in the UK and international markets?

WR: In April 2017, W2 received a series A investment from Mercia Fund Management, Finance Wales and existing investors. Recognising the innovative suite of customer due diligence solutions already in place, this round of funding has allowed us to accelerate the recruitment of key sales, marketing and technical staff to further improve the product and service offering.

With said marketing, sales and technical resources now in place and already delivering value to our global customer base, the focus is now very much on the streamlining and simplification of our customer on-boarding processes, ensuring our project office delivers all new customer projects in a timely manner and with full client satisfaction while our product team continues to engage with our prospects and customers alike on ‘what’s needed next’.

SBC: Have the extra due diligence challenges from the introduction of the 4th AMLD triggered an increase in your intake of clients in the sports betting and gaming space?

WR: Since June, the Anti-Money Laundering Directive is law with further regulation coming into force in the next year. A general trend we are seeing is that businesses across many different sectors are taking compliance more seriously and investing significantly more time, money and resource into the area – the online gaming sector is certainly no different.

The products from W2 facilitate customer onboarding and ongoing monitoring for gaming operators, ensuring compliance requirements are met from the perspective of both European Law (4th AMLD) and also through the requirements of the gaming regulators. The implementation of the 4th AMLD has seen a significant increase in our intake of clients in the sports betting and gaming space, however we have seen a much wider increase in interest across all sectors.

As a data aggregator, we have found that our depth of offering, coupled with the fact that we work with the most robust and trusted data suppliers, means that the gaming space is certainly aware of the benefits we provide in ensuring their offering is 100% compliant.

SBC: What puts your KYCchecker product ahead of its rivals in terms of its ability to perform verification and anti-money laundering checks during the process of opening an account?

WR: W2 KYC product offering is not limited to certain countries, we operate on a global scale by having a variety of data options available. We offer a product that is tailored to customer need and allows searches to be completed in an order that makes the most commercial sense for each client.

What this means is that there is no need to pay for searches that are not necessary, saving our customers money. On top of this, our team offers unrivalled service and guides our customers through each step, making the whole process remarkably pain free.

We constantly improve our products and service to meet customer needs in innovative ways. We now offer the Emailage Email Validation product as an additional service, allowing customers to add an extra layer of security that their customers are who they say they are. We are also currently re-developing our ongoing monitoring product, BSMART™, and are looking to have brand-new capability available next year.

SBC: Does your KYC product extend to the implementation of the nationwide self-exclusion scheme, and how important is it to avoid the on-boarding of potential problem gamblers?

WR: The introduction of GAMSTOP in 2018 will see the first online multi-operator self-exclusion scheme put into place in the UK. We would absolutely be open to discussions with the RGA to understand if we can collaborate moving forward, though at this stage their service is not currently live and we would require their data in order to add this service into our own KYC offering.

As a leader in the space of enhanced customer due diligence and KYC, our services are naturally aligned to ensuring player protection is adhered to on many levels. It would be fantastic if our products could offer gaming operators the chance to check for customer self-exclusion at onboarding stage and also on an ongoing basis; perhaps then the recent issues seen by operators such as 888 could be easily avoided and players would also benefit from enhanced levels of protection.

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