case study

How DriveWealth Achieves 66% Faster SAR Filing with Unit21

Financial Solutions

Introduction

DriveWealth is a global investment rail offering fractional trading and other financial solutions to over 100 partners, giving global investors access to U.S. markets. The company has grown from 3 million to over 15 million accounts over the last three years, and its mission is to ​“empower anyone in the world to control their financial future from the palm of their hand.”

Here, we’ll feature insights from Chief AML Officer Matt DiGiacobbe and explore how DriveWealth is using Unit21 to solve key AML and Fraud Detection challenges like the high false-positive rates and time-consuming processes that they were accustomed to before implementing Unit21’s Transaction Monitoring and Case Management software.

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“Unit21 was head-and-shoulders above any of the solutions we looked at. The ability to use the no-code natural language interface to customize processes and automation to our business needs has been a big win."

Matt DiGiacobbe
Chief AML Officer at DriveWealth
66%

Faster SAR filing times after adopting Unit21's Transaction Monitoring and Case Management solution.

A Little Background: The DriveWealth Story

Matt leads the development, implementation, and administration of all aspects of DriveWealth’s BSA/AML Compliance Program. His department handles both financial crimes compliance as well as fraud. Matt’s objective is to balance growth with risk management, so when the AML and fraud detection system they had in place could not scale with them as they grew, he knew it was time to consider a new solution.

DriveWealth’s method of tracking payments could not keep up with the shifting patterns of anomalous transactions, which were creating a high rate of alerts that turned out to be false positives. Along with many false positives, creating and filing suspicious cases to FinCEN was a highly manual and time-consuming process for their five-person compliance team.

“You get to a point where your business has grown so much, and you don’t have a case manager in place so you’re saving things in shared files and managing everything the best you can, but that only takes you so far.”

Unfortunately, the team spent several hours on Suspicious Activity Report (SAR) filing, which took away from focusing on case investigations and severely impacted the team’s productivity. This led DriveWealth to search for a scalable solution that their team could easily manage as they grew.

As a startup, they ultimately sought a solution that could allow them to be hands-on without investing in building dedicated teams for risk analytics, financial crimes, and IT.

Why DriveWealth Chose Unit21 for Fraud and AML

“We were looking for a tool that is flexible to our specific needs as a growing global business. Primarily, we needed something that could help us properly manage that risk without bringing on additional headcount.”

Customizing transaction monitoring rules to their specific business needs and automating manual case management tasks were key priorities. They were also looking for a versatile solution that could take on any unexpected challenges.

“Unit21 was head-and-shoulders above any of the solutions we looked at. The ability to use the no-code natural language interface to customize processes and automation to our business needs has been a big win.”

After vetting several options, Matt chose Unit21 with the confidence that the platform’s offerings had the potential to make a positive impact on DriveWealth’s business goals.

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“What’s versatile about Unit21 is that it can monitor any kind of data. We've had non-AML instances in which we’ve configured the tool to build rules to detect fraudulent activity on our platform - resulting in over 1,000 account closures in the past year – a 10x increase from the prior year.”

Matt DiGiacobbe
Chief AML Officer at DriveWealth

“We were looking for a tool that is flexible to our specific needs as a growing global business. Primarily, we needed something that could help us properly manage that risk without bringing on additional headcount.”

Matt DiGiacobbe

Chief AML Officer at DriveWealth

How DriveWealth Uses Unit21 for Transaction Monitoring and Case Management

DriveWealth considered several providers that had both transaction monitoring and case management offerings. Now, two years in, they have built a high-performing compliance function using Unit21’s no-code transaction monitoring, rule validation, and automated case management.

They’ve been able to drastically reduce false-positive rates utilizing Unit21. Having the ability to run rules in shadow mode and validate them before setting them live is key in helping them deploy effective rules without depending on engineering resources.

“With Unit21, we are looking at things that actually present risk to our business instead of casting a wide net over everything and hoping to catch something.”

The Unit21 Impact on DriveWealth’s Business

Since starting with Unit21, DriveWealth has seen a 30% reduction in false positives, a 2x increase in the “alert to SAR” ratio, and 66% faster SAR filing.

“What’s versatile about Unit21 is that it can monitor any kind of data. We've had non-AML instances in which we’ve configured the tool to build rules to detect fraudulent activity on our platform - resulting in over 1,000 account closures in the past year – a 10x increase from the prior year.”

They’ve also increased the number of SARs filed by 300%, which is a testament to the team’s improved productivity. With Unit21, the DriveWealth team gained a big-picture view of their fraud and compliance landscape, giving them the perspective they need to plan for the future.

“Unit21 provides the tools we need to look forward and plan for the future state rather than looking at the immediate term.”

Unit21 As a Partner in Fraud and AML: Closing Thoughts


Matt reminisced about our partnership and how it has grown as both organizations have grown.

“DriveWealth has been using Unit21 now for almost two years and I feel like we grew up together in a sense. There’s always been a strong mutual engagement and what energizes me is that there’s a willingness to challenge the status quo. I regularly share my ideas for ways we can enhance the platform, and the Unit21 team is always very receptive.”

DriveWealth has trusted us since the beginning, and as their risk and compliance technology partner, we love supporting them to constantly achieve their business goals.

Ready to ditch the spreadsheet? Want to turn risk and compliance operations into your competitive advantage? Let's set up a time to discuss how Unit21 can help your business scale. Book a demo today.

“Unit21 was head-and-shoulders above any of the solutions we looked at. The ability to use the no-code natural language interface to customize processes and automation to our business needs has been a big win.”

Matt DiGiacobbe

Chief AML Officer at DriveWealth

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