IRSF Fraud Expert Colin Yates Joins Symmetry Solutions

Respected telecoms fraud expert Colin Yates (pictured right) has sold his PRISM database of numbers used for international revenue share fraud (IRSF) to Symmetry Solutions. Yates will become Symmetry’s new Head of Fraud Prevention and will be responsible for overseeing the maintenance of the PRISM service that he first established in 2013. The price of the deal between Yates and Symmetry was not disclosed.

Symmetry Solutions is best known for data analysis products that unpack value from a telco’s reference data. One of their offerings identifies leakages caused by flaws in a telco’s tariff data and another makes recommendations about the ideal service plan for a subscriber based on that individual’s historic usage. Symmetry is also known for the leakage catalog and coverage studies curated by Geoff Ibbett, Symmetry’s senior business assurance consultant. The acquisition of Yates’ business will see Symmetry diversify into fraud intelligence for the first time but the deal should be complementary because the ongoing analysis of large volumes of data is central to Yates’ PRISM service and because both companies are focused on selling to telcos. Surveys by the Risk & Assurance Group (RAG) indicate approximately half of all telcos now have joint revenue assurance and fraud management (RAFM) functions so there are synergies in being able to supply a range of products that support both revenue assurance and fraud management objectives.

Symmetry CEO Bill Leahy (pictured left) praised Yates’ contribution to the telecoms industry in the announcement of the deal on Symmetry’s website.

You can count on one hand the fraud experts whose name is known to telcos on every continent. Colin Yates is one of those experts. He has given a lifetime of service to law enforcement and then to the telecoms fraud management community, and has deserved all of the many awards he has consequently received. After 18 years with the New Zealand Police, Colin went on to do pioneering fraud management work with Telecom New Zealand, then for Vodafone Group, and latterly through the business he established. PRISM represents one of Colin’s key innovations and is unrivaled as a source of intelligence about premium rate frauds.

PRISM is considered an essential anti-fraud service by telcos all over the world. It is also increasingly used by other businesses to protect themselves from fraudsters that try to manipulate them into making expensive calls. It speaks volumes that PRISM has attained such an impressive global user base whilst Colin has continued to enjoy life in his beautiful but remote corner of New Zealand. There was no shortage of rivals that would have jumped at the chance to add PRISM to their product range. It makes me proud that Colin has chosen to become an ambassador for Symmetry Solutions whilst continuing to advise telcos and law enforcement agencies about new and evolving frauds.

Yates also commented on his reasons for joining Symmetry.

Keeping a close eye on the fraudsters means we’ve never allowed them to get ahead of us, but there comes a time when a job like this requires a bigger team. Symmetry has just the right skills to manage the never-ending turnover of data in PRISM, they’re dedicated to serving the same kind of customers, and they wanted to preserve and build upon the intelligence gathering approach I developed. We’re going to accomplish more by working together.

PRISM has a customer base of over 60 comms providers worldwide. Both men emphasized there will be no change to the delivery of PRISM intelligence to existing customers. However, it is likely they will explore ways to offer an expanded range of fraud services that leverage the combination of Yates’ expertise and Symmetry’s development team.

Eric Priezkalns
Eric Priezkalns
Eric is the Editor of Commsrisk. Look here for more about the history of Commsrisk and the role played by Eric.

Eric is also the Chief Executive of the Risk & Assurance Group (RAG), a global association of professionals working in risk management and business assurance for communications providers.

Previously Eric was Director of Risk Management for Qatar Telecom and he has worked with Cable & Wireless, T‑Mobile, Sky, Worldcom and other telcos. He was lead author of Revenue Assurance: Expert Opinions for Communications Providers, published by CRC Press. He is a qualified chartered accountant, with degrees in information systems, and in mathematics and philosophy.