Here we are again, shining a spotlight on another Neo4j customer! We had the opportunity to chat with Miguel Aguado, Compliance Director at Ria Money Transfer, at one of our GraphSummit events over the summer. Though Miguel lives in Sydney, Australia, it was our Madrid attendees who were treated to his expert presentation – “Graphs in Money Service Business to Fight Financial Crime about Ria Money Transfer” – followed by a panel discussion and Q&A.
Miguel was kind enough to answer a few questions for our 5-Minute Interview series. Check it out below to learn more about his path to graph and the insights this technology has afforded him. Enjoy!
Please introduce yourself.
Miguel Aguado: My name is Miguel Aguado. I work at Ria Money Transfer, where I’ve been working for the last nine years. Before, I was working at MoneyGram, and before that four years at PayPal. For the last few years, I have been managing the financial investigation unit for Ria Money Transfer and have been the owner of the working implementation of Neo4j at Ria.
Why did you choose Neo4j?
Miguel Aguado: The reason why we chose graph technology was because… in the Netherlands six years ago, the regulator brought a sheet of graphs to the table and said, “Okay, this is happening in your company. Are you able to identify this?”
We didn’t at that time, so we decided to look for a provider or vendor that offered a solution. At that time, we found Neo was offering a product, together with Linkurious, as a visualization, and it was the solution that really fit our needs at that time.
What are some surprising results you’ve seen from using Neo4j?
Miguel Aguado: One of the most surprising results is when we have repeated the same analysis that we did before, except now the investigation was finished, was closed. The report was made, and then we repeated the same analysis in the graphs. We found that part of the trend was hidden, and when that came to light we could see networks’ relationships that we didn’t see before.
Also, the capability to respond to law enforcement requests, to subpoenas, to regulators has been enhanced – we can provide second or third layers of information that, before, was too time consuming.
Do you have any advice for someone getting started with Neo4j?
Miguel Aguado: My main advice is to spend time deciding what your data model is. Use the experience of the consultants, or any other partner, who has already gone through it. The data model is key to the success of graph technology.
If you are able to create the model that reflects your reality, and at the same time fulfill your needs, you are going to be a success, and you are going to reach the results that you expected – or even beyond.
What do you think is in store for the future of graph technology?
Miguel Aguado: Well, from the compliance point of view, the regulators are more and more involved in graphs. So in the future, it’s going to be an expectation of the regulator that you have graphs. Without this technology, you may not fulfill the expectations. So my point of view isn’t too technical, but my experience is as a final user, as an analyst.
I think that in terms of expectations and the complexity of the unusual and suspicious patterns will make this technology mandatory to success. It can combat the technology that’s become more and more complex in digital channels. It can identify patterns that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to identify, to mitigate in terms of flow, to prevent your customer base – or in terms of money laundering – prevent this from happening and maintain your business protection.
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