ACFCS Member Spotlight: The secrets to success for Jumio’s Craig Fetterman? Treat those under you like they were your boss, continually broaden knowledge, network

The Skinny:

  • When Craig Fetterman finally got a chance to manage others in the compliance field, he made sure not to let it go to his head. Rather than trying to institute an authoritarian regime, he took a decidedly different tack, guided by a simple but powerful philosophy: “Treat people who work for you as if they were your boss.”
  • Now at AI-powered financial crime technology firm Jumio, Fetterman realizes that even as his career has become more data analytics driven, there can be no program success without knowledgeable, skilled and passionate professionals.
  • Helping companies craft and develop technology, and as well guiding and teaching bank compliance teams to implement them, has been a foundational theme since Fetterman entered the fincrime fray nearly 25 years ago. 

By Brian Monroe
bmonroe@acfcs.org
October 27, 2021 

When Craig Fetterman finally achieved the lofty title of managing others in the financial crime compliance field, he made sure not to let it go to his head.

Rather than trying to institute a totalitarian and authoritarian regime, meant to instill fear and obedience, he took a decidedly different tack, guided by a simple but powerful philosophy: “Treat people who work for you as if they were your boss.”

“The theory is that your team is there to help you achieve your goals, so your primary focus should be to make them successful at that.”

Now at AI-powered financial crime technology firm Jumio, which specializes in customer identification verification and screening, Fetterman realizes that even as his career has become more data analytics driven, there can be no program success without knowledgeable, skilled and passionate professionals.

He is currently the Director of Global Customer Success for Jumio’s anti-money laundering (AML) business.

In that role, Fetterman is responsible for helping organizations understand how Jumio’s solutions can help meet their regulatory requirements, He is also responsible for all RFP responses across the entire organization.

He also has a B.S. in Information Systems and Finance from the University at Albany in New York.

Helping companies craft and develop technology, and as well guiding and teaching bank compliance teams to implement them, has been a foundational theme since Fetterman entered the fincrime fray nearly 25 years ago.

The last 15-plus years he has focused on financial crimes and compliance working at Citibank and industry juggernaut NICE Actimize, before joining Beam Solutions, which was acquired by Jumio in 2020.

One the key secrets to success for a field as deep and dynamic as AML is to grow all available networks of knowledge, in and out of your organization, so you can turn yours strengths into weakness and gain true, practical knowledge from the thought leaders wrestling with budgets, regulators and historical and emerging vulnerabilities.

In that same vein, attending in-person or virtual industry events and conferences, take time to network and engage attendees, including regionally to better understand local criminal tactics, but also top leaders you want to connect with and collaborate.

More people have also been connecting to share knowledge on fincrime compliance and money laundering – but not in the way you think.

As AML departments have risen in importance for banks globally, commanding eye-popping salaries for high-profile leaders and capturing penalties in the billions of dollars, the focus on and awareness of money laundering has soared in the arena of pop culture, Fetterman said.

That is a big change from recent decades, he said.

“I feel that 15-20 years ago, if you asked a random person (not in financial services) about money laundering, they wouldn’t know much about it,” he said. “Now with banks asking more questions, increased press coverage, and shows like Ozark and Breaking Bad, the general public is more aware of the AML world.”

Fetterman was kind enough to share some of his insight in our latest ACFCS Member Spotlight:

Who inspires you?

I’m often inspired by the frontline financial crimes specialists that have dedicated themselves to detecting and investigating illicit activity.

Because I’ve always been in roles that provide the tools and support that they need to do their jobs effectively, I’m inspired by the men and women who go the extra mile to protect our society and our financial systems from various types of bad actors.

What is one thing - industry-related or not - that you learned in the past month?

I had a couple of experiences recently with some work being done at my house that showed me that there’s no substitute for a professional that’s good at their job.

The first was when I was having a new couch delivered for my living room. I wanted to move my old couch down to my basement, which has a tight stairway with low ceilings and a few tight corners.

I spent a couple of hours measuring how it could fit based on every possible orientation to negotiate it down the stairs, only to determine that it would not be able to fit.

When the new couch was delivered, I asked the men who delivered it what they thought, and they looked at the couch and the stairway for about 5 seconds and said “I think so.”

They had to remove the door and the couch legs, but 10 minutes later the whole thing was in the basement. 

If I had tried to do it myself (or with a helper), it would have taken me hours, and I probably would have failed, but instead I got to watch a team of professional couch movers do what they do best.

It doesn’t matter whether it’s moving couches, performing brain surgery or investigating financial crime, I’ve realized that there’s no substitute for genuine expertise.

What is something about you that not many people know?

I’m a Wikipedia junkie. Instead of reading a full book on a particular topic like most people, I prefer to read 100 Wiki articles on 100 different topics.

The articles can be about anything. Articles that I’ve enjoyed recently span from a biography of Andrew Carnegie to theories of human evolutionary migration and from the International Space Station to the JFK assassination.

Usually, during the course of reading an article, I’ll find links to several other related articles to read until I’m a fake expert on the topic. The website’s Random Article feature can be interesting as well. And I’ve recently started editing articles.

What do you do in your current role

As the Director of Global Customer Success for Jumio’s AML business, I’m responsible for a team that covers three main functions: solutions consulting, implementations, and customer support. 

The solutions consulting component involves working with organizations that are evaluating AML solutions to understand their challenges and requirements, and illustrate how Jumio’s suite of anti-financial crime products can help them to be successful.

The implementation team is responsible for managing the entire system deployment process from kick-off through go-live.

This is probably the most challenging component because we work with so many different types of organizations across multiple sectors including traditional banks, fintechs, cryptocurrencies, lending, marketplaces and more.

Finally, the third component is customer support, which helps our live clients with any issues that they may encounter to ensure that the solution delivers the expected value.

In addition to my primary Customer Success responsibilities, I am also responsible for Jumio’s global RFP team across all of our solutions beyond AML, including ID and identity verification.

Lastly, I function as an AML subject matter expert within Jumio, assisting our internal teams such as product, marketing and sales.

What does your career trajectory in financial crime look like?

I try not to look too far ahead because I think that trying to predict the future is sometimes an exercise in futility.

Two years ago, who would have predicted that a global pandemic would change so many aspects of our day-to-day lives?

While it’s good to have an idea of what you want in the future, I try to avoid pre-writing my career story. I try to always look forward to the next unexpected surprise.

What is the best advice you have ever received?

The first time I was given an opportunity to manage other people, I was told to treat people who work for you as if they were your boss.

The theory is that your team is there to help you achieve your goals, so your primary focus should be to make them successful at that.

So essentially… help them to help you.  While this is obviously not an absolute for every situation, I find it valuable to consider this perspective to ensure that you’re both successful.

What is the worst advice you have ever received?

Years ago, a few of my colleagues convinced me to move into a sales role.

While I enjoyed the experience, the role shifted my attention away from the topics that I enjoyed most.

I found myself focusing on prospecting leads and scheduling meetings when I would have preferred to focus on industry trends and technology solutions.

Even though I decided to leave sales a couple of years later, I don’t at all regret giving it a try, because I love trying new things and got to see our industry from a different perspective.

What would you say are the most important attributes for someone in your position to succeed?

When you’re in a customer success role such as mine, you need to be able to see things from other people’s perspectives.

What may seem like a small inconvenience from a technology perspective can be a major issue for somebody that has a regulator arriving for an audit the following week.

Or a software interface that requires a few more clicks to accomplish a task may seem insignificant, but to a team of analysts who are overwhelmed by alerts to investigate, those extra few seconds add-up.

It’s important to empathize with the position that they’re in so that you can make more informed decisions.

How has (compliance, investigations, etc.) changed and evolved during your career?

One big change is that the general public is aware of money laundering and AML.

I feel that 15-20 years ago, if you asked a random person (not in financial services) about money laundering, they wouldn’t know much about it.

Now with banks asking more questions, increased press coverage, and shows like Ozark and Breaking Bad, the general public is more aware of the AML world.

Why did you join ACFCS or gain the CFCS designation?

I engage with ACFCS because I value the insight of people in different roles at different organizations. Every article or webinar is an opportunity to hear the challenges that other people in the industry face and the creative ways that their organizations are finding to solve those challenges.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

I like that I get to work with many different types of companies (banks, securities, fintechs, lending, cryptos, marketplaces, etc.).  It makes the job more interesting, and I get to learn something new every day.

How did you get your first job in the field and what advice would you give other job seekers to help land their first position.

I took an interesting path to get to my current role. I started out as a software developer for treasury and capital markets systems.

I then joined Citibank in the technology team responsible for a broker-dealer. When I was being promoted to manager, the compliance technology team was in need of a new manager. 

This was my introduction to the regulatory compliance and financial crimes space.

My initial focus was on securities and financial markets compliance, such as suitability, market manipulation, and insider trading. It was during my 12 years at Actimize that my focus shifted towards Anti-Money Laundering and fraud. 

For professionals with 5-10 years of experience, what advice would you give them to help advance to senior management roles?

If you’re like me and you love to learn new things, don’t be afraid to ask your colleagues about their jobs. 

For example, if you’re an analyst, schedule some time to meet with somebody in an audit or technology role to ask how they spend their time and what problems they are trying to solve.

This will give you a much broader understanding of the big picture within organizations and our industry.

The same can apply to people outside your organization at industry events.

What I’ve found is that people enjoy sharing their knowledge and experience and will also want to hear the same from you. It’s also a great way to build your professional network while gaining valuable knowledge.