Transform Finance Speaker Spotlight with Zac Cohen, COO of Trulioo

Zac is a versatile leader experienced in managing and scaling high-growth companies. He is a veteran of all facets of startup and tech operations, including strategic planning and execution, corporate management, and building high performance teams. His expertise in risk and compliance software continues to drive innovative and effective solutions for businesses operating worldwide. Zac is passionate about fostering change-makers who want to make an impact and are engaged in building groundbreaking solutions that are solving our world’s most pressing problems.


In terms of your core offering, what is the Trulioo difference? What are the main challenges in ID verification and how does Trulioo solve them?

Digital identity verification plays a crucial role in protecting businesses and their customers from risk. And forward-thinking businesses are looking for identity verification solutions that also support their global growth and help them adapt to changing regulations and technologies.

As more and more people rely on digital services in all aspects of their lives, from banking and shopping to healthcare and entertainment, our digital identity becomes ever more important.

Today this is more true than ever before, as the COVID-19 pandemic has meant that many parts of the economy have had to shift to digital-only delivery of products and services almost overnight. As consumers and citizens, we are relying hugely on digital services during this difficult period.

Unfortunately, technology also attracts bad actors who want to exploit these advances. In the hands of bad actors, the technology that makes our lives better — from business software to mobile devices to smartcards — also puts businesses and their customers at risk.

These dangers have placed identity risk in the spotlight because they threaten two core human values: trust and privacy. As society combats the scourges of money laundering and identity theft, Anti-Money Laundering (AML), Know Your Customer (KYC) and privacy regulations have become more complex, stringent and numerous.

Trulioo helps businesses to protect themselves and their customers against these threats, empowering them to know who their customers are every time, enabling them to prevent fraud, and meet cross-border regulatory requirements. In doing so, Trulioo enables organizations to build trust with their customers and establish strong, lasting and profitable relationships.

Trulioo is unique because we take a risk-based approach to trust and safety, compliance, and fraud prevention. Our approach is to manage risk by matching the verification process to the appropriate risk level. It involves creating custom verification workflows based on each type of customer and transaction. This flexible approach provides a much higher confidence level of identity proofing because it allows for cross-checking different facets of identity when the risk profile calls for it.

By combining both speed and security within identity verification, we can offer end users with world-class digital experiences and businesses with the peace of mind and compliance they need.

We achieve this through a digital identity network, which offers multiple verification methods across many markets and has the flexibility to meet every organization’s unique business needs. The digital identity network accounts for every single risk profile, whatever the use case, industry and geographical market.


As a business, how is Trulioo managing during the COVID-19 crisis? And what new ways of working do you think might be retained or adopted post COVID-19?

The world has leapfrogged from “digital first” to “digital only” almost overnight as consumers around the globe have stayed in, hunkered down and reoriented their work, social and commercial lives around digital channels.

We have most of our staff based in Vancouver B.C., and we’ve had everyone working remotely since early March, including our colleagues located in our offices in Dublin and San Francisco. We were in the fortunate position of already having a remote work policy in place so we had a lot of the infrastructure, processes and platforms needed for our people to feel comfortable and happy working from home and to be productive away from the office.

Certainly, I’ve been so proud of the way our team has pulled together over the past couple of months, helping one another through the current situation. They’ve also continued to provide our clients with exceptional customer experience, while supporting the significant increase in demand for identity verification during the digital only environment.

Similar to all businesses around the world, we’ll see a lasting impact on the way that we work going forward. Although I don’t subscribe to the ‘end of the office’ narrative that we’re hearing from some organizations, I do think we’ll definitely see more agility in the way that people work and more of a hybrid model with people working both in an office with colleagues and remotely.


COVID-19 has seen many financial institutions pivot to greater access to digital onboarding. Is this a move that you welcome? And how does Trulioo support this?

Yes, absolutely. We have the technology to be able to onboard people in a secure and seamless way so it makes sense to accelerate this shift towards digital onboarding to meet current needs. It’s essential to helping consumers through this difficult time, to give them access to the products and services they need. Our job is to support organizations including financial institutions to deliver safe and secure onboarding while maintaining world-class digital customer experience.

At a wider level, our entire company mission is built around trust, privacy and inclusion, on a global scale. We are on a mission to make sure no one is left behind and everyone participates fully in the modern digital economy.

Enabling digital onboarding is an important stepping stone, as it is particularly helpful to the most vulnerable in society.


There has been a huge rise in scams worldwide connected to COVID-19 – how should the market react to this? And what part can technology play?

I think what’s driven this is the number of businesses and consumers that have suddenly found themselves wholly reliant on digital services. Organizations that hadn’t previously had a need or desire to digitise their offering have had to rush through transformation programmes that would usually take months or even years in a matter of weeks. It’s been the only way for them to survive but, of course, this brings risk.

Alongside this, there are millions of people that are now using digital services for the first time, whether that’s shopping for groceries, banking and paying bills or accessing online healthcare services. Many of these people are the most vulnerable in society, from previously marginalized groups who weren’t online for many different reasons.

It’s been fantastic to see how businesses have mobilized to ensure historically digitally-underserved demographics like the elderly or the economically marginal now have a critical access point to key services. Sadly though, these groups and individuals have become a target for bad actors who recognize an easy target for fraud and identity theft.

We’re doing all that we can to work with our clients across all sectors to protect these groups. So that’s about delivering tailored customer experiences and recognizing their unique needs and concerns.

That’s particularly true of the account creation process which will often be the first touchpoint that many of these people have had with the digital world. We need to ensure every individual feels safe, comfortable and in control. And that means thinking what it might be like for someone who isn’t typically used to taking a picture of themselves with a phone or using their identity documents in the identity verification process.


In the US, Trulioo is part of the Stand for Small (i.e. supporting small companies) initiative, do you plan to be involved long term and do you think it could be rolled out in other countries?

We’ve partnered with American Express ‘Stand for Small’, a coalition with more than 40 companies to support over 30 million U.S. small businesses through the Covid-19 crisis.


As part of this, we’re offering three months of free identity verification to small businesses to help mitigate various types of risks associated with digital identities, such as fraud, identity theft, and account takeover. This is absolutely critical as many small businesses open up digital channels to market for the very first time.

We want to do all we can to support small businesses throughout this difficult time so we’re definitely looking at whether these types of programs can be replicated in other countries.


We are looking forward to your speaking sessions at our Virtual UK and Ireland Summit, and at our Virtual Summit for North America. What will delegates learn?

We’ll be focusing on the need for businesses to take a customer-first approach to ID verification and the account creation process. Organizations need to adopt more targeted and tailored AML and KYC checks, based on the risks associated with the digital identity, matching the right level and type of verification process to each use case.

We’ll also look at the need for agility and resilience within KYC and AML strategies, particularly in the wake of COVID-19, new risks and unprecedented levels of economic uncertainty.

We’ll present some topline findings of the research we’ve recently carried out amongst consumers in the UK and U.S., which has some really useful insights into what customers want and expect during account creation. And we’ll also hear from one of our customers on the challenges and opportunities that arose from the booming gig economy. They will illustrate how Trulioo GlobalGateway supported their due diligence for gig economy workers through use of automation made possible via a single API .

And at a broader level, we’ll talk about the need for a strategic approach to KYC and AML, and why a proactive, future-looking approach to compliance is key to change the narrative around regulation and compliance from one of complexity, cost and pain, to one of business opportunity and growth.


What are your thoughts on the virtual events environment? Is it something you and your team are making more use of?

Yes, absolutely. And again, I think this will be one of the big shifts we see in the coming years. People are recognizing that they can get huge value from these types of virtual events and we’ll continue supporting them.

It’s great to see how the platforms and formats have evolved over the past couple of months and how event organizers are stepping up to deliver really engaging and impactful digital experiences to delegates.

I still think we’ll see industry events returning in the future, when it is safe to do so, as face-to-face interaction will always have an important role, but maybe we’ll see smaller, more intimate and local events, certainly in the short-term.

Overall, I believe we’ll see a balance between virtual and physical events going forward.


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