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Meet the Connectors | June 29th 2020 | CDL Online Meetup #2

Graphs in Sustainable Finance

A talk by James Phare
Director, Neural Alpha

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About this talk

In recent years graphs have been increasingly adopted in financial services for everything from fraud detection to Know Your Customer (KYC) to regulatory requirements. At the same time Environmental Social Governance (ESG) investing has become the fastest growing segment of financial services. In this session James discusses how many of these historical graph techniques are now being enhanced for the era of sustainable investing. Going beyond definitions, let's identify use cases, discuss news and trends, and wrap up with an ask me anything session.


Graph Databases have been rapidly adopted within financial services since 2008 financial crisis as regulatory drivers have mandated Banks, Asset Managers and others to ramp up efforts to understand their customers better (KYC), report to regulators more precisely in areas such as data lineage and prevent fraud and sanctions breaches. In recent years there has also been a trend towards a ‘greening’ of financial services driven partly by regulators but also by a new generation of financial consumers demanding investments that no longer damage the environment or society at large. Environmental Social Governance (ESG) investing is now the fastest growing segment of the Fund Management industry with the number of funds growing 80% since 2012 to now exceed $1.8tn in assets.

In this talk James discusses what he’s been up to recently in his day job as CEO of Neural Alpha – a sustainable fintech based in London. He will give an overview of why he sees graphs as an essential part of the technologists’ toolkit for making the financial industry more sustainable, some of the challenges in large scale, graph centric data integration projects and some of the unique analyses possible from leveraging the power of the graph.

James will give a deep dive into how the team are using graph technology to develop tools for the financial industry to more thoroughly screen investments and develop new products. He will also show these tools are being used by NGOs and researchers in the fight against deforestation in projects such as www.trase.finance and in the process are exposing instances of fraud, political corruption, labor rights abuses and other barriers to sustainable investment.

James Phare

James' founded Neural Alpha to bring Connected Data solutions to the financial sector with a particular focus on sustainable investing.  He has a track record of delivering innovative data solutions particularly within the financial sector having consulted extensively at many of the world's largest Investment Banks, Mutual Funds and Hedge Funds.  Prior to Consulting he was Head of Information Management at Man Group plc following roles at Thomson Reuters. James is the Event Director of Connected Data London and holds a Bachelors Degree in Economics & Economic History from the University of York. Outside of work he enjoys running, cycling and is a keen Moth sailor competing internationally.

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