The Connector engages with a diverse range of individuals, banks, and fintechs that provide specialised and innovative solutions to the financial industry. Today we'd like to shine the spotlight on AQRisk and provide perspective to what they're doing in and offer to the banking space. The article is inspired by this podcast with Esge Räder and Koen Vanderhoydonk.
The name AQRisk is an abbreviation of applied quantitative risk, which is the foundation for their platform and services. This specialised fintech was founded in 2015 by Morten Virenfelt, who wanted to address key immediate challenges within the core banking industry through a more holistic utilisation of the wider data sets that are available to banks, and combine this with an application of more sophisticated quantitative risk modelling.
Over time and always with their fundamental goal in mind, AQRisk built its banking solutions suite. The suite comprises of three main solutions that address functional gaps within the wider core banking space and the domain of pricing, exposure analytics, Operational Risk and regulatory compliance.
Although predominantly in Northern Europe, AQRisk has grown beyond its Nordic roots and is currently scaling throughout Europe. The fintech is seeing good organic growth in its existing large client base in Denmark and in their partnerships with Nordic data centres that serve as progressive medium sized banks. Of the roughly 5,000+ financial institutions across Europe, 1,000+ of them fall within the AQRisk suite. Their solutions serve fairly widely within the industry already and they're scaling up to extend their global reach.
What does AQRisk solve and for who?
AQRisk supports progressive banks of all sizes to secure more profitable growth, helping them to become more solvent and sustainable.
Most banks face the challenge of balancing their drive to maximise shareholder value with their systematic role within wider society, which is to secure the financial health and strength of businesses and households. To solve this challenge, banks need to optimise their core business beyond automation and digitization.
In addition, the need for greater transparency and ability to properly comprehend and allocate cost drivers and risk exposures by banking product and client level, calls for more sophisticated and powerful tools than most banks have available to them today. This is exactly where AQRisk comes in.
Helping banks to achieve profitability in a heavily regulated environment.
Over the past decade, banks have been forced to rethink business models in order to comply with a steady increase of new regulations. This influx of regulations is a result of former crises and were introduced in the pursuit of a stronger and healthier banking sector.
AQRisk believes that the path to becoming solvent and securing profitable growth is for banks to gain a better understanding of their business through a superior exploration and utilisation of data. Most banks have a lot of data available to them today, so progression depends on how they explore and diverge this data in the best way.
A key aspect addressed by the AQOPTIMIZER solution, an add-on to the AQRisk core banking platform, is the systematic repricing or mispricing of core banking products and the effects this have on overall profitability and risk exposure. Through AQRisk's improved risk-based pricing and exposure analytics, clients experience an average improvement of 12% in overall profitability. This is a significant amount and is achieved by ensuring that the right prices are set whilst incorporating cost and risk elements. At the same time, clients achieve a better relationship and standing with regulators through their improved understanding of their overall risk appetite and actual exposures broken down by product and client.
Preparing banks for future challenges by improving their capabilities
The banking sector has undergone huge transformations over the past decades, affected by various financial crises and intervention from regulators. Adding to this are the increasing demands from wider society for greater transparency and digitization, which is highly influenced by developments and dynamics within the e-commerce space. Products and solutions have to be super intuitive, always available, self-serviced and fully automated processes with limited touchpoints.
To facilitate these demands and pressures, banks have had to make huge investments to replace their earlier monolith with more advanced core banking platforms based on newer tech-stacks and a service-oriented architecture. Aside from this, banks have had to transform their operations and business models. To the point that some banks today can more likely be classified as tech companies with a banking licence. This highly competitive industry has required banks to rethink traditional models but also ensure that they are extremely lean and well-driven, and this extends all the way into offering loans and credits and more.
AQRisk supports banks by making the tools they need to accomplish this available; tools that provide proper exposure analytics and cost assessments so banks can ensure they are competitive and offer the right price to the market.
Although top tier regional banks make significant investments in these regards, there is a lot of potential for progressive mid-sized and smaller banks to improve their capabilities. Particularly within the domain of differentiated and, more importantly, a risk- and cost-based pricing methodology, AQRisk allows bank advisors to gain a much more dynamic and better understanding of their profitability down to the product level and on a customer-by-customer basis across their entire commercial operation.
Banks overcome lost revenue potentials with AQRisk
It's important for banks to capture actual exposures and price that into the products they offer. If banks aren't able to capture and understand these dynamics, then they are likely consistently mispricing their portfolio, which impacts their profitability and solvency.
Whilst the corporate banking side is largely only being repriced annually, huge volumes of retail clients are being repriced much more frequently by banks. This is being done with high potentials of systemic mispricing and consequently leads to lost revenue potentials.
Bank advisors' inability to perform intra-day and simulation based "what if'' analysis prohibits them from better capturing unprofitable business. From a societal perspective, it is vital for banks to be well-driven and able to service and provide growth for businesses in the local communities. Equally, banks need to be able to drive more profitable growth for themselves and continuously improve the services they offer to meet the ever changing needs of their clients.
Whether for a retail or business client, banks are expected to offer relevant services when needed in an intuitive and accessible way – at the lowest cost rate when we need their credit and highest yield when we deposit or invest.
To balance and orchestrate all of this, banks need reliable yet sophisticated engines that can support them. This is why AQRisk is often the preferred, trusted partner and solution provider for many Northern European banks today.
The Connector has been doing business with AQRisk for a while now and we are continually impressed by how their solutions and tools are supporting progressive banks to not only secure more profitable growth, but to become more solvent and sustainable.
Don't hesitate to contact us if you're curious to find out more about AQRisk and how their specialised solutions can help to solve key challenges you're facing.