Chief business development and marketing officer for Africa Nico Olwagen (with award) and Greg Nott, director, awards host broadcaster Leanne Manas (left) and Legal Week's Natalie Hill (right) Chief business development and marketing officer for Africa Nico Olwagen (with award) and Greg Nott, director, awards host broadcaster Leanne Manas (left) and Legal Week’s Natalie Hill (right)

Finalists: Absa Bank (highly commended), Afriwise, Bowmans, Couto Graça e Associados, TTA – Sociedade de Advogados (PLMJ Network), Vieira de Almeida & Associados (VdA), Webber Wentzel, White & Case

Norton Rose Fulbright clinched the innovation award for its collaboration with fintech firm Gladi8 in creating a know-your-client tool (DocFox), which helps financial services companies comply more easily with South Africa’s Financial Intelligence Centre Act (FICA).

Those rules mean certain financial institutions are obliged to verify the identity of clients or persons on whose behalf their clients are acting, before they can engage in transactions. It is the first legal compliance technology tool for identifying and verifying clients under FICA legislation, allowing users to quickly submit and verify documents and carry out fraud checks to help combat money laundering (the software can also screen against politically exposed person databases and sanctions lists).

The tool is initially being targeted at foreign exchange traders and asset managers, with a banking group currently trialling the product ahead of a wider rollout to this part of the market in the coming months.

DocFox is available online or can be integrated within existing systems, and users can also upload digital photographs or scanned images of documents from smartphones and tablets, allowing remote verification of clients. The tool helps lower the cost of complying with FICA rules and speeds up transactions with new clients.