By Shafiq Mazlan, CMO
Hey again! The year’s coming to an end, and as we close off this 2017 chapter soon and get on with the festivities, here’s a quick roundup of recent happenings.
SMU BIG (Business Innovations Generator) Incubation
Regit is proud to be a part of BIG incubation by SMU’s IIE (Institute of Innovation & Entrepreneurship). We will be working closely with SMU as well as their partnered businesses in developing pilot programs to use Regit. Exciting times ahead for us!
Singapore FinTech Festival 2017
We were at Singapore FinTech Festival 2017, a 3-day event helmed as the world’s largest FinTech event ever. It was organised by Singapore’s very own Ministry of Finance, and saw many notable speakers from around the world giving talks and hosting panel discussions. Blockchain was the main buzzword of the event, and being blockchain and crypto enthusiasts ourselves, we found the talks and discussions highly enriching.
Our CEO, Cindy, was among other women tech entrepreneurs who were selected to attend a private dialogue session with the ambassador of Netherlands and the Dutch Queen herself, Her Majesty Queen Maxima. Thank you The FinLab for the special invitation!
Startup Festival 2017 in Korea
Our CEO was invited to represent the Singapore startup community in Seoul, Korea for Startup Festival 2017. It was hosted by the Korea Foundation for the Advancement of Science and Creativity, the Ministry of SMEs and Startups, and 500v2. The festival was bustling with a cool and futuristic atmosphere, with neon lighting everywhere in the dimly lit exhibition hall and of course, the amazing tech startups that grazed the presence. Oh, and Cindy’s favourite part of this trip? A selfie with the Korean president himself, Mr Moon Jae-In. How cool is that!
That’s about all the recent major happenings we have to share with you for now. It’s the best month of the year, Christmas is coming, and we’re all geared up for holiday season. 2017 has been a real blast for us, it’s time to enjoy this jolly good month. Happy holidays everyone!
If It's Not Regit, It's Not Legit!
www.regit.today | www.regitblog.com | www.facebook.com/regit.today
By Shafiq Mazlan, CMO
A firm’s compliance cost is the total expenditure incurred in adhering to government and industry regulations or legislation. This can include the salaries of compliance officers, spending on reporting, software or platforms to manage compliance, or just about any ongoing expenditure for conforming to regulations. Typically, the cost of compliance is directly proportional to the level of regulations in an industry or country, put in place by local and international regulations. The more jurisdictions a company operates in, the higher the compliance costs as well.
Today, complying with ever-changing regulatory laws is not only difficult, but increasingly costly as well. Companies operating in different geographical locations face differing regulations. The U.S. checks the sum total of a firm’s operations to monitor compliance with AML and anti-terrorism legislation, while in Europe, all companies selling goods and services are required full compliance with the stringent General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), hence increasing compliance costs from appointing data protection officers (DPOs) to overlook implementation of regulations and privacy measures.
The Rising Cost of Compliance
Over the last 8 years, the cost of compliance and risk mitigation has consumed almost all discretionary funding available to firms. Ever since the financial crisis, operating costs on compliance have increased by over 60% for retail and corporate banks.
With the rising cost of compliance comes many other changes as well, in the areas of regulatory, technology, and role changes to name a few.
With regulatory compliance increasingly becoming a complex function requiring cross-functional effort, it is no longer just the sole responsibility of the compliance officer or chief risk officer. Chief experience officers (CXO) have other roles that are crucial to the planning and establishment of regulatory compliance.
Senior Compliance Resources
In the recent Thomson Reuters’ Cost of Compliance report, the general consensus from respondent firms for the upcoming year is that the cost of senior compliance specialists will either rise or remain the same at the high costs the industry currently commands (97%). Having been consistent for the past 6 years and in correspondence with the expectations of rising budgets, the survey this year shows results that most companies expect the cost of senior compliance staff to continue rising slowly (50%), a consistent expectation throughout the world. Similarly, in correspondence with budget expectations, some signs point to the ever-incremental compensation for senior compliance staff since the financial crisis having reached a peak, and for the first time in 6 years, the largest percentage of respondents have reported that they expect costs to stay flat (37%).
The involvement of compliance officers is required in overlooking all significant outsourcing arrangements, especially when compliance – also outsourced – is involved. For outsourcing to be cost-effective and efficient in supplementing in-house resources, it must be executed appropriately to be beneficial. The basis for successful outsourcing is that while activities can be transferred to a different group, organisation, or third party, the managerial skills for those activities must remain in-house. In an intra-department outsourcing scenario it may be less prevalent, but for a separate legal entity with a separate license, it is crucial. Similarly, a branched or structured firm would also need to analyse the effectiveness of the outsourcing arrangements and the skills, governance and local responsibilities of the branch.
Mismanagement of Board Agenda
The authors of the survey also found that regulatory matters, which include correcting non-compliance, avoiding more sanctions, and establishing structural changes to obey new rules, are taking up “disproportionate amounts” of board agendas.
The survey also exposed the lack of coordination in how control functions interact and are aligned. For example, approximately half of compliance staff spend less than an hour with legal, internal audit and risk functions to discuss compliance matters.
To address these issues, the board has to continue to support compliance teams and senior leadership with the budget and resources to instill a culture of trust and transparency. As advised by the authors, "The pendulum needs to begin to swing back at least in part toward the business itself to allow for business improvement and development, rather than having all change capacity and capability taken up by regulatory issues".
However, they added that this does not mean the board should stop focus on regulatory compliance matters, but rather to maintain balance between those matters and managing the business.
Another issue faced in compliance is the threat of technology, specifically from cybercrime and IT risks. IT risks are multi-faceted and should not be solely undertaken by the IT department. The authors mentioned, "Compliance functions need to be engaged in the consideration of risks to the business (and by association the potential effect on their customers) from an attack on the wider financial services infrastructure, as well as the implications of a direct attack on the firms themselves".
Due to the rising compliance costs, many firms are resorting to large enterprise-level systems to reduce the number of dedicated compliance specialists needed such as DPOs. However, the trends that created these systems, such as big data analysis, became a double-edged sword in helping regulatory bodies with the further discovery of non-compliance.
The Cost of Non-Compliance
On the topic of non-compliance, recent episodes of compliance infringements have shed light on the monumental amount of fines being rolled out for non-compliance and data breaches. A simple comparison between non-compliance fines in Singapore, the EU, and the United States demonstrates that the cost of non-compliance can be greater than the already rising above-mentioned compliance costs, which comes as no surprise.
For non-compliance with the PDPA (Personal Data Protection Act), the Personal Data Protection Commission (PDPC) may issue regulatory fines of up to S$1,000,000 (approx. US$700,000) for infringements. The PDPA also imposes criminal sanctions, including fines of up to S$100,000 (approx. US$70,000) and one-year imprisonment. In calculating a financial penalty, the PDPC has a non-exhaustive list of aggravating and mitigating factors that it may consider.
The GDPR, which will come into effect on 25 May 2018, will impose fines of up to €20 million, or 4% of the total annual revenue of companies who breach data protection regulations. A research by Oliver Wyman shows that fines of up to £5 billion annually could be faced by FTSE 100 companies if they do not comply with the GDPR. This figure was obtained by identifying prominent FTSE 100 companies which have incurred a known data breach over the last 5 years. It used financial reporting figures from 2015 and applied the 4% of annual revenue fine to obtain a total of £25 billion, or £5 billion annually.
“For the most serious violations of the law, my office will have the power to fine companies up to 20 Million Euros or 4% of a company’s total annual worldwide turnover for the preceding year.” Elizabeth Denham, UK Information Commissioner at the Information Commissioner’s Office. Speech – “GDPR and Accountability” at the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.
For non-compliance with data protection laws, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Act can impose fines of up to US$16,000 per offence. Additionally, the offender can face up to ten years imprisonment and up to US$500,000 of fines (for individual offenders) and US$1 million (for a company) if such offences are committed or attempted while violating another US law or as part of an illegal activity involving more than US$100,000 in a year. The FTC can also obtain an injunction, restitution to customers, and repayment of investigation and prosecution costs. Criminal penalties include up to ten years imprisonment.
In 2006, ChoicePoint paid US$15 million to settle charges by the FTC of inadequately protecting the data of millions of consumers. Settlements with government organisations can also include cumbersome reporting requirements, audits, and third-party monitoring. A major retailer that settled charges of inadequate protection of customer's credit card numbers agreed to allow a 20-year comprehensive audit of its data security system.
Current Costs of Compliance Solutions
While many compliance staff have focused on traditional cost-effective ways to lower the expenditure of meeting regulatory compliance and have gained some relief, many are now looking towards emerging technology for greater improvements.
What are the costs of implementing current compliance software then? A quick look at Resolver, a popular compliance solution software, charges $26,150 per year for their enterprise pricing plan.
Another popular GRC (governance, risk management and compliance) software, from LogicManager, charges $30,000 annually for their “standard” pricing plan.
Again, the high costs come as no surprise as the regulatory/compliance industry (or arguably lack thereof) is one that is growing, and GRC firms are cashing in on the GDPR epidemic through increased sales of their pricey solutions.
The Rise of RegTech
As the cost and change of compliance rise exponentially, the pressure is increasingly growing on finance departments of companies to find the teetering balance between managing compliance, staffing, and operations expenditure.
Current infrastructure is struggling to keep up with regulatory compliance, with new regulatory requirements becoming more technical and data-centric. The legacy code that current infrastructure is built on is difficult to replace and incapable of keeping up with the technical requirements expected by regulators.
The advent of this regulatory fatigue has brought about the growth of the Regulatory Technology (RegTech) industry. RegTech is broadly defined as any technology/software that is created to address regulatory issues, helping firms understand regulatory requirements and be compliant.
Now a $100-Billion market, more firms are leveraging RegTech solutions for cost-effective and scalable alternatives in efforts of slashing current expenditure. One of these solutions is Regit; a compliant consent-based platform that simplifies and automates the exchange and updates of information between businesses and their customers. Regit only charges a mere $3600 per year for their “heavy” price plan.
Through digitisation and streamlining, many RegTech solutions today bring about efficiency to workflows. New and upcoming RegTech solutions are also increasingly leveraging AI and machine learning, natural language processing, and blockchain to significantly reduce the need for existing manual processes and human intervention.
RegTech is increasingly playing an important role. The value of efficiency and automation are coveted by firms, more of which are switching to a proactive approach to regulatory analysis and response. This will in turn strengthen oversight function roles within the business and improve operations. In the near future, RegTech could completely automate current policies and procedures of regulatory compliance, or even reduce the need for human intervention for regulators themselves.
We are delighted to announce that Regit is now an approved vendor under the National Council of Social Service (NCSS)! This means that Regit is a preferred NCSS vendor that will offer specially discounted rates to help charitable and non-profit organisations, doing our part to help the community.
If you know of any NCSS or charitable organisations who could benefit from the Regit platform, let us know and we would extend our support.
For our friends in the United States and to everyone else, Happy Thanksgiving!
New feature alert!
Inviting people you know to connect with you on Regit has just gotten easier. We have now implemented a Google and Facebook contacts plugin, which allows you to invite your Google or Facebook contacts on the platform itself.
Give it a go and invite your friends and family on www.regit.today, stay connected with everyone on Regit!
By Shafiq Mazlan, CMO
The day had barely started and I was drinking my sacred morning coffee, checking out our social media accounts. Then a Tweet notification comes out, stopping me mid-sip.
My eyes widened, and this woke me up faster than the coffee could. I clicked on the image;
And sweet lord we are now a RegTech100 company!
The Global RegTech Review by FinTech Global is an essential, in-depth analysis of the global RegTech market, including profiles of the RegTech100; the 100 innovative RegTech companies that every financial institution should know about in 2018. And that's right, Regit is one one of them. This comes as an exciting and honourable news for us, as FinTech Global is a well established organisation from the UK that provides comprehensive data, valuable insights and powerful analytical tools in the global FinTech industry which enables their clients to make superior business decisions.
What an amazing form of midweek motivation that was. If anyone from FinTech Global is reading this, we'd like to thank you! Our day has definitely been made. Okay my coffee is cold now and that's all for this morning's good news, back to work.
By Shafiq Mazlan, CMO
Wake Me Up When September Ends.
The song to sing every September, (in case you’re living under a rock, it’s a song by American rock band Green Day) especially now when times have been really busy for us. We only wish we could have more sleep! A lot has happened since our last newsletter and while it’s been tiring, we’re having a ball. Here’s what we’ve been up to!
5 for 52
We had our first-ever giveaway draw for the public in celebration of the country’s 52nd birthday, where every week we gave out $52 to one lucky participant. It was really fun to have been able to engage with so many new people, and meet all our winners who came down to the office. It definitely won’t be our last giveaway campaign, stay tuned for the next one!
We’ve had some pretty exciting collaborations with other startups lately, with 2 of the most recent ones being The Wellness Insider and Sluggr. We worked closely in coming up with enticing promotions for the people, and the Sluggr one is still ongoing as you read this! If you don’t already know, Sluggr is a subscription service where you get to have one free drink every day from a great selection of bars, for one whole month, at the price of just one drink! Create a Regit account and become a user, and we’ll give you a promo code that gives you a free one-month Sluggr subscription! Ask us to find out more.
Lee Kuan Yew Global Business Plan Competition 2017
The LKYGBPC was a monumental yet humbling experience for us, being shortlisted among 36 finalists from over 550 entries globally to attend an accelerator program and compete in this prestigious event. We’ve learned so much from this one-week affair that despite all the late nights we’ve had prior to and during this competition, it was worth all the experience, knowledge and insights we’ve gained. We hope to be a finalist again next year!
SLUSH Singapore 2017
We exhibited and pitched at the recent SLUSH Singapore 2017. The exhibition layout and space was really cool, and crowd traffic there was one of the highest we’ve ever had for an exhibition! What’s better was that we managed to make our way to be in the top 35 pitches too! Great event, hats off to SLUSH for organizing this.
Women In Tech Conference (Asia) 2017
Women In Tech took place on the next day right after SLUSH Singapore. Again this was another cool exhibition, and we’re all for celebrating the power of women! It was a pleasure to exhibit among the many other different startups and seeing all these brilliant and innovative ideas, knowing that behind all the greatness were women. Onward to seeing more women in the tech world!
What’s To Come…
We’ll keep it on the hush for now, but there will be an exciting contest coming up soon with a really attractive prize. Also, we’ll be doing more educational posts on our Facebook page and blog to guide users on how to use certain features in the Regit platform. As for new developments, keep your eyes peeled on our FB page ad blog for more news!
If It's Not Regit, It's Not Legit!
www.regit.today | www.regitblog.com | www.facebook.com/regit.today
By Cindy Nguyen, CEO, and Shafiq Mazlan, CMO, Regit
Many aspiring entrepreneurs ask us, “Should I exhibit?” or “What’s the point about exhibiting?” Last week we participated in Slush and Women in Tech, and we’d like to sum up our answer in 4 words to explain why.
Practice, exposure, networking, and luck.
Practice. Not sure if 8 hours of constantly trying different elevator pitches is your idea of practice, but it’s more boring when you say the same thing over and over again. You are meeting an array of people from VCs, to angels, to potential clients - why use the same script? When exhibiting and someone comes to ask you, “what do you do?”, it’s your time to shine. Make yourself prepared and practice 100 versions of what your business does and know how to cater it to your target audience.
Exposure. Whether you like it or not, you will get noticed. Exhibitions are a great way to spread the word of what you are up to, it’s great PR. In the sea of thousands of attendees, you never know who is listening. Bring on your best game and embrace it!
Networking. Talk to everyone, make friends or foe - either way you are at this place to create buzz and generate new business leads. Depending on objective, make every minute count and talk away.
Luck. If all the above aligns and with a mix of luck, you may find the right investor that will open his/her pocket. It’s not every day you will have all VCs 100 metres away from or right beside you.
As the saying goes, you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. Go out there, put in some grind and hustle, and you might just find the answer yourself.
Here are some snaps we took from Slush and Women In Tech:
By Shafiq Mazlan, CMO
“Lee Kuan Yew Global Business Plan Competition” – A competition bearing the name of Singapore’s founding father; sounds like a pretty big deal huh? That was the exact first thought I had upon finding out about this competition, and soon enough I found out how big of a deal it really was. With over 1 million dollars’ worth of cash and investment prizes to be won, big name investment firms as major sponsors, and all foreign finalists flown here on an all-expenses paid trip; this competition was nothing short of big. Of course we applied for it immediately.
A few weeks went by, and we were thrilled to have been notified as a shortlisted finalist among the top 36 teams from over 550 applicants worldwide. Wow. Being selected as a finalist in this competition and acceleration programme itself was a great honour for us. Upon the news, over the next few weeks we started working on creating and perfecting a 10-minute pitch for this competition, with little knowledge of what to expect. The day finally came, and what went on for the whole week from 11th to 15th September was a truly humbling and insightful experience for us.
The first few days of the acceleration programme prior to the day of the pitch was a fresh breath of enlightenment. We attended talks from various visionary and experienced individuals, ranging from the founders of highly successful companies to industry leaders who gave us masterclasses on vital entrepreneurial skills. Besides the highly enriching talks, each team was paired with an industry-related mentor, and we were lucky to be paired with Sandip Gupta, vice president of cloud business in SingTel. With his incredible experience and knowledge, Sandip was a brilliant mentor, giving us invaluable advice not just for the pitch competition but also for our startup journey as well. He was truly a knowledgeable yet humble man, giving us critical input and motivation to do well, guiding us wholeheartedly as if he has been our long-time mentor since our inception. He paved the way for substantial improvements in our pitch, and even helped us make a critical decision of cutting down to 2 presenters for our pitch, as opposed to our original plan of 3.
On the day of the pitch itself, everyone in the team was highly nervous, hoping that the late nights we’ve put in prior to this day would pay off in the form of the cash prizes that were up for grabs. It was funny how even though I wasn’t presenting, I was still nervous and kept pacing back and forth outside the room full of judges and investors. After a nerve-wrecking wait, it was finally our turn. All the days of preparation and practice boiled down to that very brief 10 minutes. Looking at my fellow teammates pitch to the audience made me feel so proud of everything we’ve done that has led up to this. As usual, questions and answers followed, and we gave the judges our best replies. All in all, we left the room feeling really proud of ourselves knowing we did well.
Alas, the very next day was the day of results and everyone was eager to hear the good news. Unfortunately, our team was not mentioned and we did not win. Despite the slight disappointment, we were not thwarted. At that point in time, we knew we had already done our best, and while we may not have won the cash prizes that we set out to win, we have gained so much more. It was the invaluable advices, lessons, and motivation we’ve gained that have made this a holistic yet humbling experience for us as a finalist in this prestigious competition. We definitely did not leave this event empty handed. We’ve earned some truly incredible takeaways, and were lucky to have forged friendships with some really brilliant minds from all over the world. The Lee Kuan Yew Global Business Plan Competition is surely something that we are all grateful for being a part of, and we would love to take part again next year should we be given the chance.
"Ambition is the path to success. Persistence is the vehicle you arrive in.” ~ Bill Bradley
This quote sums it up. Looking forward to our next journey!
By Shafiq Mazlan, CMO, and Cindy Nguyen, CEO, Regit
To acquire new customers or to retain existing customers – the “to be or not to be” question in business sales. While it may be an obvious answer for new businesses that have yet to establish a substantial customer base, this dilemma has been the topic of argument for businesses that have already grown their customer base significantly, but are seeking further growth in sales.
A quick look at statistics and studies will show that the cost of customer acquisition for businesses has been skyrocketing as time goes. The expense of acquiring new customers is 5 to 7 times costlier than retaining existing customers. While costly, customer acquisition is necessary for small and new businesses seeking growth.
The cost of a new customer is the cost incurred to acquire a new customer through marketing strategies such as advertising. These are customers that have not used the company’s products before; thus, increased efforts should be made to encourage them to purchase company’s products. One way of acquiring customers through advertising is by using Google AdWords.
There has been a trend of Google keywords increasing in prices from 2005 to present. The graph made below is derived from a data set of average PPC costs from 2005 to 2016.
How does Google estimate the minimum bids for keywords?
A keyword's minimum bid is determined by its Quality Score. The more relevant your keyword is to your landing page and to the ads in its ad group, the higher the keyword's Quality Score will be. This translates into a lower minimum bid for that keyword and lower costs for you.
Google uses the concept of QS to rate each campaign and those with higher Quality Scores get served more and pay less. Among the factors Google uses to compute this score are; a keyword's click-thru rate (CTR), the relevance of the keyword and ad text to its ad group, your landing page quality and other relevance factors.
Most Expensive Keywords in Google
The Cost per clicks of the abovementioned keywords range from $20 to $60, the top being Insurance at nearly $55 per click.
The Increase in Customer Acquisition Costs
With the increase of new entrants to various markets, both new and existing SMEs have been increasing marketing and advertising activity to stay ahead of the competition and to get noticed. Marketing and advertising being the main components of calculating the cost of acquiring customers, every year the cost of acquiring new customers have been seen to increase, on an average of 34% per year. This have been affecting SMEs as they are losing market share to their competitors as well as having to dealing with increased marketing and advertising cost.
Average Customer Acquisition Cost by Industry
Conclusion: Customer Acquisition or Customer Retention?
As mentioned before, with CAC increasing across all industries and it costs significantly more to acquire new customers compared to retaining existing ones, it is critical that companies place equal if not more emphasis on retaining existing customer than acquiring news ones.
Looking at customer retention, studies show that 4 to 5 times when a customer leaves, they will not return. Even if they return, 59% of them will be less loyal. This highlights the importance of customer retention, as the potential loss of sales from existing customers can be highly substantial.
Comparing the 2 choices, statistics show that the probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70%, while the probability of selling to a new prospect is 5-20%.
Weighing the results above, it makes sense for businesses (with an established customer base) to focus and invest more on customer retention, which is not only more economical, but statistically proven to work better in generating sales. It all boils down to two simple reasons why businesses should focus on retaining existing customers first. Firstly, retention is cheaper. Getting loyal customers to return and winning back lost customers costs lesser than acquiring new customers. Secondly, customer acquisition only works effectively after first having secured a solid retention of existing customers.
So how do you focus on solid retention then, you might ask? By creating trust – making relationships with customers more personal, establishing a brand community, and most importantly, generating repeat business with every customer interaction.
How then? The solution is Regit, your “forever customer” enabler. Regit enables the forever customer by promoting clean customer data. We do this by simplifying how customers exchange and update information with your business at inception and ongoing. We created a suite of common communication tools for businesses to interact with customers. These are called interactions and reflects how businesses currently collect and maintain information from customers. The platform will be simple to use with an intuitive interface, highly secure, and comply with personal data protection rules (i.e. PDPA and privacy rules).
At the core of Regit is the Regit handshake, which once approved, automatically notifies the business when the customer makes a change to a relevant piece of information. The handshake is bilateral and is only active once the customer agrees to the handshake. Regit places the ownership of customer’s information back in customer’s hands. They customers use it however they like.
With good customer data, businesses can better service their customers, create trust and increase customer retention. Customers on the other hand are happy because they get the service and convenience they want; a win-win for both! Hence, the question of “to be or not to be” to acquire new customers remains to be to spend or to retain, I’ll choose the latter which is Regit.
By Shafiq Mazlan, CMO
5 for 52 was a success! It’s been a good month-long campaign. We really enjoyed interacting with many different people over the past 5 weeks, from replying keen queries on knowing more about what Regit does to guiding new users on how to navigate around the platform, and the response received in number of entries for the draw was splendid.
Holding this draw provided us with some valuable lessons and insights. Firstly, the increase in new users allowed us to better monitor the use of our platform and learn more about which features were more commonly used. Secondly, the questions we received gave us a better insight into what people who weren’t familiar to Regit had queries about. Thirdly, from speaking to all the 5 winners who came down to our office to collect their prize money, it allowed us to find out more about our interested end users.
The support and engagement we’ve received from this draw made it an exciting experience for us, and we’re sure to conduct more engaging and attractive contests in the near future. It was our pleasure to celebrate Singapore’s birthday with you, and thank you for keeping it legit with Regit!