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Executive Spotlight: Juan Zarate, Global Co-Managing Partner of K2 Integrity, Chairman of Consilient

Juan Zarate, global co-managing partner of K2 Integrity, chairman of Consilient
Juan Zarate, K2 Integrity

Juan Zarate, global co-managing partner of K2 Integrity, chairman of Consilient, and 2016 Wash100 Award winner recently spoke with ExecutiveBiz regarding the rebranding of K2 Intelligence FIN into K2 Integrity, the origin and continued development of Consilient, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the potential plans for his companies heading into 2021.

“Our best-in-class teams have unparalleled abilities to plan for, detect, and manage enterprise risk while embracing technologies to develop cutting-edge, scalable solutions.”

ExecutiveBiz: What are the differences between K2 Intelligence FIN and K2 Integrity? What does this rebranding mean for the company’s core values and culture?

“‘K2 Integrity’ reflects the mission, purpose and values of our combined firm. K2 Intelligence and FIN had each built great reputations and capabilities to serve clients globally with world-class talent on a range of risk management needs.

With our merger and name change, we are reflecting explicitly that our firm shapes and delivers best-in-class integrity services to ensure commercial and financial transparency and security.

Built by industry leaders, driven by interdisciplinary teams, supported by cutting-edge technology, our mission is to safeguard the operations, reputations, and economic security of our clients. Integrity is what animates and defines our work, and it is what unites legacy K2 Intelligence and legacy FIN.”

ExecutiveBiz: How does K2 Integrity use the latest emerging technology and trends to address the most pressing financial challenges issues for your clients?

“K2 Integrity is dedicated to shining a light on risk and shaping financial and commercial integrity and security solutions for our clients as well as innovating and blending world-class financial crimes risk and compliance services, investigations, strategic risk advice and management and new technology solutions.

We have an intentional focus to leverage the latest technologies, tools, and techniques to discover and manage risk for our clients — and to tailor those technologies into solutions that fit the needs of our clients.

Our technology team, Agile Technologies, has developed a range of proprietary tools, platforms, and capabilities that allow K2 Integrity to deliver more effective and efficient solutions to our clients. With other tech partners and capabilities, including the launch of our new technology joint-venture Consilient, we are trying to define what best-in-class financial and commercial risk management looks like.

More and more, the best-in-class risk management relies on the combination of cutting-edge technologies and world-class expertise, which K2 Integrity offers. Our best-in-class teams have unparalleled abilities to plan for, detect, and manage enterprise risk while embracing technologies to develop cutting-edge, scalable solutions.”

ExecutiveBiz: What can you tell us about Consilient’s development? Where did the idea come from and how has it come to be over the years?

“The idea for Consilient has been a focus of mine for almost two decades. Shortly after 9/11 when I was a part of the U.S. Treasury, we recognized that the global AML/CFT system is inefficient, not wholly effective, and not designed to allow for the prevention of financial crime risk systemically.

Real reform and effectiveness require a new 21st century design that allows financial institutions, authorities, and other regulated actors in the financial system the ability to discover and manage evolving and complicated illicit financing risks to the financial system more proactively and securely.

For many years, especially since leaving government, I was on a concerted quest to evangelize this idea and find the right technologies and partners to design the next generation model. This is what we have done with the launch of Consilient, the joint venture between K2 Integrity and Giant Oak, in close partnership with Intel.”

ExecutiveBiz: How will the new fintech company revolutionize the anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism?

“With Consilient, we are leapfrogging the current system with a revolutionary new design that meets the policy goals of preventing financial crime, leveraging more data and machine learning, sharing risks and resources, all the while protecting and preserving privacy.

In essence, we are bringing federated machine learning – the ability to interrogate and analyze data sets between institutions and across borders — into the anti-money laundering (AML) and cross-functional teams (CFT) domain as the driver to reform the system.

Ultimately, this will allow banks and institutions to focus more intently and cost-effectively on systemic financial crime risks that matter most to the security and integrity of their enterprises and the financial system. Already we know that we can make significant inroads toward reducing the false positives that plague the current transaction monitoring and screening systems.

Consilient’s design can scale securely by using Intel® Software Guard Extensions (Intel® SGX), and Intel is committed to working with us to bring this model to market with the ability to secure the system – at a time when data localization laws and privacy are making it harder to move and aggregate large amounts of data.”

ExecutiveBiz: What does the next 12 months look like for your companies moving into 2021 and a post-COVID world?

“We anticipate that the demand for greater financial and commercial transparency, accountability, and assurance will only increase and that economic security-related risks will only grow to be more complicated.

This puts our companies in the pole position to help clients around the world. We have assembled the most impressive talent focused on revolutionizing how clients and the market perceive and manage risk, creating a competitive business and reputational advantage through a fundamental commitment to integrity.

We are unmatched in the marketplace in offering the full suite of capabilities in this space — whether it’s tackling fraud in a global supply chain; conducting a complex, multi-year asset search; monitoring major infrastructure projects; assisting new sectors like the maritime industry, art market, or virtual asset service providers to manage heightened sanctions and anti-money laundering demands and risks; assisting investors, companies, and authorities to manage CFIUS-related risks; designing next-generation compliance risk management systems for banks, payment providers, and jurisdiction; or helping ensure and certify that financial institutions are leveraging cutting-edge training and technology to protect themselves against emerging risks.

We are seeing strong demand signals, and we continue to add to our deep bench of specialized talent. Our focus is on the clients we serve, the challenges they’re facing and helping them see around the corner and reinforcing and validating their ability to manage risk more effectively and confidently. This focus, led by our ethos of integrity first, will continue to guide the services we offer, the innovation we drive and the growth of our companies.”

About Juan Zarate

Juan is a global co-managing partner of K2 Integrity and chairman of Consilient. Prior to K2 Integrity, Zarate served as the deputy assistant to President George W. Bush and as deputy national security adviser for combating terrorism (“counterterrorism czar”), where he was responsible for developing and implementing the U.S. counterterrorism strategy and policies related to transnational security threats.

He was the first-ever assistant secretary of the treasury for terrorist financing and financial crimes. In this role, Juan led the post-9/11 anti-money laundering and sanctions regime expansion in the United States. He was a board member of the Juan sat on the board of the Vatican’s Financial Information Authority and was appointed twice by Pope Francis as the U.S. representative to oversee the Vatican’s AML reforms.

In addition, Zarate is currently on the board of directors for Northwestern Mutual, Boston Dynamics, Cambridge Quantum Computing (North America), and the Director’s Advisory Board for the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC). He is also the chairman of the Center on Economic and Financial Power at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, senior advisor at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and an independent advisor to Coinbase.

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