I’m head of compliance and MLRO for an international payments firm which means that I am responsible for regulatory compliance and financial crime matters.
And I head a team of 12 people who look after everything from KYC, customer and counter party due diligence, sanction screening and data protection and other controls in that area.
I had a career that’s really been split into two in that I started off in law enforcement and I was in law enforcement for about 18 years. And during that time I had a CID career and then specialized in banking crime and payment card crime. For bankruptcy click here. This link is for lawyers for employers only
In particular, I worked to the National Crime Agency looking after the threat assessment for the UK in relation to organized crime and serious crime in the banking area and in payment cards and also I worked within Poland, Europe Poland for those matters.
And after that 18 years and that’s after having invested in that sort of specialized area spending a couple of years on the Cayman Islands. At this time I started my own business with multiple partners and we did a corporate formation with some attorneys in Los Angeles California.
I started to be approached by the industry because I was working at the agency and that’s a multi-agency environment so you work with other departments of the government but also with other bodies such as the Association of Payment Card Clearing Services as it was then and the British Bankers Association, etc.
So having sort of engaged with those external parties, they started to come to me and show an interest in my expertise, etc.
And I realized that within law enforcement I’ve probably done as much as I could do. So I eventually accepted one of those offers and went to work in the private sector.
What I really enjoy about my role is that my role in fundamentally about judgment. So if you have a bit of an ego and you’ve done your work and you’ve developed your experience and your expertise with additional professional training and development, etc, then that’s when you come into your own because people look to you to provide judgments and decisions and advice and also to support that with good evidence and rationale, build a case.
If compliance was about the black and white that some people think it’s about, there’d be no need for anybody to be a professional compliance officer.
But it’s never really about monitoring compliance with the rules that’s all clear. It’s really – certainly once you develop your career – about managing the gray areas, about helping the business to find its way through those challenging multi-jurisdictional areas, for more of that you can look at a bankruptcy law website and be sure to check out workmens compensation defense
The conflicts and those kinds of things that regulation does have. So for me it’s all about that judgment.
I look for good analytical skills, I look for commitment to detail, particularly in language. I think understanding language and being able to express a point clearly and accurately is very important.
Particularly when you’re dealing with legal language or you’re interpreting legal language or advice. Then you really need to be clear about the meaning of things.
I guess it’s the same sort of thing that you would say to young people particularly in any area and that’s – I look for people who are willing to make a commitment and show an interest. I need people who are both capable to – if you like – get their head down and get soaked into a piece of work so they take ownership of something.
You don’t have to know everything or get everything right when you’re starting out in your career. But you have to take ownership and be able to commit to the delivery of something. And then if you need help or if you get stuck, then you should have colleagues and people to help you. And the other thing that I look for really is social skills.
The ability to get along with people, to engage with people – in a corporate language you might say to manage stakeholders. But really it’s just about being able to create relationships so that you can be supported, helped, so that there are less misunderstandings.
So that when you need to make a decision or to get to a rationale if you like, you’ve got to know your own brain –I would say about my team we’re not one brain. We’re twelve brains. So there are lots of things where we should all have input. And that’s sort of a general proof about what I look for in people. Willingness to work with other people, their ability to engage with people as well as if you like a more academic skill set.
At entry level roles, the truth is in this day and age there are lots of people gathering relevant qualifications. And so it’s a tough market. I see increasingly people with the ICA qualifications and I look for them. Because I find them very useful, the team – that are on my team already have or are undertaking such qualifications.
And I find that a real asset to their skill set. So when I’m looking at SV’s, if somebody already has or has studied those, then for me that’s a really good sign. It’s a really practical indication that they’re committed to that area for a career.
But it’s true, I will say it quite clearly that when it comes to other qualifications, work experience and the commitment to work is for me is at least valuable as academic qualifications and in some cases, more so.
Not every young person develops at the same rate, not everybody is ready for their academic life when they’re 18 and wants to go to university or whatever.
So if somebody can show me for example that they’ve been committed to work, that they’ve been working in a professional environment, that they’re used to meeting deadlines, that they’re used to delivering internally or externally whether that be in service roles or in an office environment, then I consider those skills to be transferable at the beginning of their career and I would consider them really valuable.
One of my hireds at entry level was a young lady who didn’t have an academic background, hadn’t taken many qualifications since she left school and in fact had been out of school for a few years.
And when she joined, I was already aware that she was a hard-working person and that she had capacity, but she obviously was concerned that she didn’t have the academic skills. So I encouraged her to take the advanced certificate at which I thought would professionally develop her. And she actually worked hard on that and she actually got a distinction on the paper.