3 Questions with Mary Kopczynski of Regtech 8of9

FintekNews is pleased to offer our weekly feature column “3 Questions”. Each week, we feature a thought leader within a unique sector of fintech and ask them to answer just 3 questions for our audience in their vernacular. This week, we’d like to introduce you to Mary Kopczynski, CEO and Founder of 8of9, a next generation RegTech company that translates complex financial regulation into simiple solutions.  Prior to founding 8of9, Mary consulted with the Legal & Compliance Department at Credit Suisse.

NAME: 
Mary Kopczynski, J.D./Ph.D.      
TITLE: 
CEO & Founder
COMPANY: 
8of9
WEB ADDRESS:
  www.8of9.nyc

How did you personally become involved in fintech?

I got tired of begging for money after 10 years of being non-profit fundraiser, so I decided to get a J.D. and a Ph.D. in order to learn how money worked.  With little to no experience or training in banking, finance or even economics, I took a 10 week internship at an investment bank where I was assigned to CDOs and Credit Default Swaps in the summer of 2007, which was ground zero of the financial crisis. 

I had no idea what I was doing, but it didn’t take very long to realize that very few people had a strong understanding of what these complex instruments were! 

The bank asked me to come back as an hourly temp during the school year, which I did reluctantly, because I was sure I was destined to work for another non-profit, but providence had another calling for me.  Something about my willingness to ask questions, my humor, and my make it happen attitude led to bigger and hairier crisis-management projects in the world of financial services.

What does your firm do/offer within the fintech sector?

8of9 is a RegTech company focused on simplifying the complex world of financial regulation.  We have a regulatory rules engine that can integrate with software platforms to clarify which data points are required to meet rules for regulatory compliance and reporting.

8of9 was born as a crisis management services business, but the more crises we handled, the more we recognized they were preventable or at least more cheaply resolved with better technology and data management.  The technology people were lost amidst the new regulatory regime, but the lawyers who may have understood the regulation were seeemingly allergic to technology.  As 8of9 continued to manage these issues, we realized what the industry needed were regulatory requirements, delivered in code. It would take the confusion of the regulatory requirements out technology implementation, and it would also clarify what data points were required to meet the regulatory request.

What do you believe the next major innovation in financial technology will be and why?

The obvious answer here is blockchain, though I’m one step ahead of that because I think blockchain is a means to an end.  I think the largest innovation in finance is coming in the form of impact investing and social finance. As technology allows us to track financial transactions with better clarity but also the ability to measure risk, we will be able to take the powerful technology of Credit Default Swaps and Structured Finance products to build collective risk instruments that tackle complex human problems, such as financing elimination of certain diseases, reduction of homelessness, illiteracy, and other distribution-related social ills.

I also think the regulatory regime is complex and as many of the peer to peer lending groups in the fintech space move forward, they will find the traditional method of facing regulation (i.e. lawyers) is too primitive for the speed they need to go.  I think as 8of9 and others continue to crack the RegTech code – especially with new forms of Natural Languge Processing (NLP) and artificial inteligence – this will get easier. 

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Mary Kopczynski, J.D./Ph.D. is CEO and founder of 8of9. Mary is recognized as one of the country’s leading financial regulatory consultants, having advised some of the world’s largest global investment banks in navigating through regulatory change.