IBM acquires German fraud detection firm IRIS Analytics

10 February 2016

IBM has acquired IRIS Analytics, a financial fraud detection company. The deal will see IBM considerably expand its client base, while for IRIS Analytics, the integration with IBM’s machine learning technologies with that of its own will improve the company’s ability to detect fraud while reducing false positives.

Detecting bank fraud remains a key issue for many banks – according to a study by IBM only 16% of banks could detect bank fraud as it happened, with false-positives seen as a considerable hindrance to international regulations. The vast majority of banks require four weeks to deploy countermeasures to countermand the new and rapidly growing form of fraud. Current fraud techniques have considerable limitations as new technologies such as alternative and mobile payments innovations are taking hold; today often well organised fraudsters are able to command technological innovations, allowing them to quickly innovate new fraud methods.

IRIS Analytics traces its roots back to 1992 with the founding of a GZS’s Fraud prevention task force aimed at preventing credit card fraud. The first version of IRIS Analytics was released in 2000, and, after the acquisition of GZS by First Data Corporation in 2006, IRIS Analytics was created in 2007 through a management buyout of various assets owned by First Data Corporation. Today the company produces a range of off-the-shelf products to detect fraud, as well as providing direct operational assistance to clients. The company works for a wide range of clients, including cross-border acquirers (PoS, ATM and CnP), payment service providers, e-wallets, and major card processors for many years. The firm has its headquarters in Koblenz, Germany.

IBM acquires German fraud detection firm IRIS Analytics

IBM’s announced acquisition of IRIS Analytics provides the firm with expanded capabilities in the fraud detection arena. One of the products offered by IRIS uses machine learning technology, the software acts as a ‘virtual analyst’ at various inflection points where patterns may be detected as the result of fraudulent activity. The combination of IBM’s machine learning techniques with that of IRIS Analytics’ will, according to the partners, help organisations “more accurately detect fraud at scale and speed so that they are in a position to implement countermeasures quickly, with more control and transparency, while at the same time assists with dramatically lowering false positives.”

“Defenses against financial crime are in critical need of innovation and improvement. As the payments industry evolves with new payments methods such as chip and PIN, mobile payments and immediate payments, the ability for financial institutions to accurately make decisions about what is suspicious and what is legitimate before the payment is executed is required,” says Constantin von Altrock, Chief Executive Officer of IRIS Analytics. “The combination of IRIS technology with IBM’s Counter Fraud capabilities creates a comprehensive solution for real time payment fraud prevention.”


SQW Group purchases property-based regeneration consultancy

19 April 2019

UK consulting firm SQW Group has completed its first acquisition since it completed a management buyout in January 2019. BBP Regeneration joins the company having collaborated with SQW for more than 20 years.

Established in 1983, SQW Group now operates all over the world. Comprising SQW, Oxford Innovation, Oxford Innovation Services – one of the UK’s leading innovation centre operators – and Oxford Investment Opportunities Network, the organisation’s origins can be traced to Britain’s two ancient university cities: Oxford, through Oxford Trust founders, Martin and Audrey Wood, and Cambridge, through SQW’s work in producing The Cambridge Phenomenon.

The consultancy specialises in public policy, working with entities from the public, private and voluntary sectors to research, develop, implement and evaluate social and economic development interventions. It now employs over 250 people across regional offices in London, Oxford and Edinburgh, and provides business support to over 4,000 entrepreneurs and small businesses each year. At the start of 2019, SQW secured its independence in a management buyout, advised on by M&A experts from Liberty Corporate Finance and Penningtons Manches.

SQW Group purchases property-based regeneration consultancy

SQW has strengthened its position as a provider of services across the business spectrum with the acquisition of BBP Regeneration. Founded in 1994, the consulting firm specialises in land and property-based regeneration and growth schemes, and is a leading social and economic development consultancy. 

The two firms first worked together over 20 years ago, when SQW and BBP collaborated to develop the first Regional Economic Strategy for the South East. More recently, they developed an economic strategy for Thanet and are now working together in locations stretching from Cwmbran via Oxfordshire to London.

With the addition of BBP, SQW can now provide an integrated advisory service for organisations developing property schemes which deliver economic benefit to their local area. By joining SQW, meanwhile, BBP hopes to further enhance its ability to support clients in delivering property and place-making ambitions. 

Speaking about the deal, SQW CEO David Crichton-Miller commented, “The UK more than ever needs solutions to the challenges of places – of high streets under threat, of meeting housing delivery targets, and of both economically over-successful and economically challenged towns and cities – and the combination of SQW and BBP is uniquely suited to developing those solutions. [This deal] brings together critical and complementary services relating to places to serve our clients with leading edge and practical advice.”

Andy Smith, Director of BBP Regeneration, added, “SQW shares with BBP the same values of seeking to provide outstanding, practical, real world advice that helps get buildings built and places developed.  We greatly look forward to the opportunities that come from joining our two organisations together.”