Title: Head of Group Fraud Technology

Institution: HSBC

Latest innovation: Standardizing anti-fraud efforts globally


Brendan Pickering's a road warrior whose weapon of choice is standards.

The head of group fraud technology for London's HSBC Holdings typically visits about a dozen countries yearly to consolidate and standardizing the $402 billion institution's 80-nation fraud battle. "We're a huge group," says Pickering, who's been in his position for the past four years. "I can't sit in an ivory tower and do this."

In the past year, the efforts have borne fruit as Pickering says overall fraud losses have been lower than expected in the past year, even as the industry as a whole suffers from increasing threats. Figures for gross and net fraud losses have also been trending in a positive direction.

Most of bank's units had been using a variety of different anti-fraud measures. To change that, the first step is to "drill down to find out what the basic problem is." Then - even more importantly - according to Pickering, "I don't try to re-invent solutions." In other words, he attempts to use whatever infrastructure is working. "I basically try to attach fraud solutions in each of the major components the bank already uses," Pickering says, citing customer relationship management, business intelligence, remote access gateways and card platforms, as examples. "If you do that, it will successfully drive your rollout."

He noted that HSBC's debit and credit card anti-fraud technology now covers about 80 percent of the cards the company issues around the world. Pickering's anti-fraud efforts are closely linked with the banks' "One HSBC" project, a strategy to provide a single technology platform that improves customer services by giving the bank a single view of clients while reducing costs through streamlining information technology and operations.

From a vendor standpoint, Pickering has narrowed down HSBC's pool to a few strategic firms, including SAS Fraud Management, Detica NetReveal and Norkom Technologies.

Detica NetReveal reduces bank fraud exposure to by applying social network analysis and scoring technology. By identifying behavioral connections between accounts and customers not apparent to traditional systems, the system can detect a wider range of fraud, according to Pickering.

And SAS got into fraud detection by working with HSBC to create with a global debit and credit card fraud-detection system, notes Avivah Litan, vp and distinguished analyst at Gartner, adding Pickering is extremely progressive in using technology to find fraud and reduce anti-fraud costs. "Frankly, HSBC has pushed these vendors to the limit and helped them develop technology."

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