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In 2017, 32 year-old Alex Honnold made history as the first and only person to free solo Yosemite’s El Capitan.

His ascent up the 3,000 foot granite monolith without rope, harness, or any other protective gear was memorialized in the documentary film Free Solo, which likens the historic climb to setting out to win an Olympic gold, only with certain death as the price for failure.

Even more interestingly, it explores the psychology of having a singular mission to put oneself to a seemingly impossible test that others find incomprehensible.

Far be it for us to compare ourselves to an icon like Alex Honnold, but committing our team to the mission of using radical technology to cut the “tax” of financial regulation to zero can feel, at times, like staring up at El Capitan without a rope and saying “let’s climb this.”

Yet it’s also a mission we feel passionate about achieving for our customers. We can’t help but climb.

Where Others Have Tried

We can’t help but climb because we see a pressing need to solve the massive global complexities of regulatory compliance. In the past few years, financial firms have incurred record fines from regulators, despite lionhearted efforts (and eye-popping expense) to stay above board.

Without question, there has been progress. Thanks to the hard work of many from financial firms, regulators, consultants, and solutions providers, parts of the process have indeed been improved. And yet, we as an industry have not surmounted the wall.

In the past few years, the industry formation of RegTech is proof of the excitement and need for innovation in solving regulatory compliance. We know that this monumental challenge will require monumentally new ways of thinking.

READ ARTICLE: What is RegTech and Why Does it Matter?


Where Disruptive Innovation Beckons

We can’t help but climb because we believe strongly that a new path forward and up exists, and that anyone seeking it has to survey the financial regulatory landscape with an innovator’s eye.

We’re not alone in this mindset. Over the past ten years, technology has taken gigantic leaps forward, challenging participants in every industry to adapt or fall behind.

Netflix changed the way that we consume media, shattering pre-held assumptions and expanding the boundaries of what’s possible in entertainment. 

Not only did ride-sharing apps completely disrupt an entrenched industry and forever alter how we get from point A to point B, but they also spurred countless new services as part of the sharing economy. In this new era, thousands of jobs have been created and brand new areas of opportunity have yawned open, for consumers and merchants alike.

Innovations like these prove the business case for using new technological tools as inspiration for rethinking a problem from the ground up.

Progress can be scary, but as we’ve witnessed with the digitalization of so many industries, the early friction of adoption eventually gives way to a whole new way of being.

READ ARTICLE: Building Regulation AI: Solving Compliance in the Age of Artificial Intelligence


Where Our Technology Can Make a Difference

We can’t help but climb because we feel inspired by the tireless efforts of our favorite person — the compliance officer — the companies they protect, and the possibilities opened up by artificial intelligence to make their lives easier.

We didn’t invent AI, but we proudly take credit for leading the way in recognizing the potential it holds to revolutionize regulatory compliance.

With our backgrounds in the industry, we know firsthand how current regulations comprising millions of lines of text can take thousands of hours for a human to absorb.

We believe technology can eliminate the historically gargantuan task of manually reading and applying regulations, freeing firms from costly uncertainty, effort, and error.

READ ARTICLE: How Ascent Simplifies Regulatory Change Management with Automation


Where Regulatory Purpose and Function May Finally Align

We can’t help but climb because we believe the purpose and function of regulations have been out of alignment for a long time, and that our solutions can help bring them back together.

In our view, rulemaking could become more flexible and responsive to the finance industry if firms didn’t have to worry so much about the massive cost of interpreting and complying with a newly-adopted rule.

By reducing compliance costs, our technology can, we believe, contribute to greater regulatory precision and effectiveness.

READ ARTICLE: How Ascent Helps Customers Save Money on Compliance


Where Collaboration Holds Greater Promise Than Confrontation

We can’t help but climb because we recognize the lasting value of collaboration as an inoculation against future confrontation. Compliance costs rise in proportion to the degree of disagreement over regulatory interpretation among stakeholders.

Emerging technologies like ours can spur a rare moment of reassessment across an industry, inviting traditional adversaries to drop their guards and work together toward a more sensible consensus on compliance obligations and objectives.

We believe, in other words, that collaborating with regulators and advisors is the only viable way to achieve our ultimate goal of shrinking the cost and complexities of compliance.

READ ARTICLE: Ascent Selected by GFIN for Regulatory Cross-Border Pilot


We Are Ascent

We can’t help but climb because surmounting what everyone else believes are unconquerable challenges in financial compliance is what our company was founded to do. Our name reflects our commitment to this fundamental principle.

Alex Honnold’s ropeless ascent of El Capitan inspired so many in large part because it had never been done before. Certainly there were naysayers, as there always are with those who aim high — but we know that Alex ultimately perseveres and achieves the unachievable.

At Ascent, we understand the drive to do what other people say can’t — or even shouldn’t — be done simply because the status quo, while not optimal, is at least in some ways comfortable. We’ve assembled an incredible team of data scientists, technologists, and compliance experts to solve this problem.

The result?

Our market-leading RegulationAI™ — artificial intelligence built uniquely for the regulatory domain. It’s already changing the way our customers work and think about compliance, and we know the future holds even more promise for a world that’s not constricted, but empowered by the rule of law.

We can’t help but climb because we are Ascent, and revolutionizing the financial compliance industry is our El Capitan. We hope you’ll join us on the way up.


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