Posted by Brian Monroe - firstname.lastname@example.org 08/30/2021
Fincrime Career Tips and Tricks: A ‘happy accident’ opens door to countercrime compliance career, fueled by ‘What If’ scenario to stop Ponzi powerhouse
By Brian Monroe email@example.com August 30, 2021
In this new initiative, ACFCS engages the fincrime compliance community for wisdom and practical insights on how to enter and rise in a fulfilling but demanding and everchanging field.
We are asking minds across the spectrum and around the world of compliance officers, regulators and investigators to share some of their secrets to success.
Some of the questions: How can you take the first steps launching a career in the midst of a pandemic? And for those already working, how can you continue to develop professionally and take it to the next level?
For this tip, we travel to the United Arab Emirates, to see through the eyes of a professional in the high-pressure, high-stakes world of international sanctions compliance – an area that has seen record enforcement actions in recent years, with penalties in the billions of dollars for longstanding and egregious failures.
Getting into the field of financial crime compliance was, to phrase the eminent artist Bob Ross, a “happy accident,” with the unlikely genesis of an entire career being sparked by a single question: deceptive in its simplicity, but earthshaking in its power.
The query that started the quest: In the case of the biggest Ponzi scheme in history, Bernie Madoff’s more than $50-billion dollar fraud, what should’ve been done to better to prevent it?
Though he didn’t land that particular job, the desire to learn more about the tactics to find and fight frauds and their scheming scammers led to the opening of a door to the interlinked field of anti-money laundering (AML), a rapidly expanding universe of rules designed to prevent illicit groups from legitimizing their tainted profits.
“From then I started actively following AML and compliance events and learned a lot,” he said, adding that although he didn’t have any prior experience, his innate passion and growing knowledge helped land a job at banking behemoth HSBC on its customer due diligence (CDD) team.
In less than a decade, he has gone from focusing on fraud in the ecommerce space, to the foundational prongs of AML to crafting training to address criminal trends, regulatory focal points and compliance gaps – and currently the ever-changing, expanding and contracting regions, companies, groups and individual brigands on burgeoning blacklists.
But while many would crumble in a space where mental agility and program fluidity are a must, that could actually be considered a perk of the job.
“No two days are same here in the AML industry and that’s what keeps me here!” he said. “You get to learn new things every day and the work we do here has a huge impact on the financial sector and the world in general and hence I love to contribute!”
Even so, that puts more pressure to work even harder to see the big picture – and through the eyes of others with higher levels of knowledge, experience and skills.
“Go above and beyond the role by actively following the external events that are relevant to the industry,” he said. “Try volunteering for projects that are outside of your daily responsibilities since the amount of knowledge and exposure you gain is invaluable!”
Name: Abhilash Varma Lakkamraju
Organization: Emirates NBD
Title: Group Compliance Screening Officer Emirates NBD
Country: United Arab Emirates
See What Certified Financial Crime Specialists Are Saying
"The CFCS tests the skills necessary to fight financial crime. It's comprehensive. Passing it should be considered a mark of high achievement, distinguishing qualified experts in this growing specialty area."
KENNETH E. BARDEN
"It's a vigorous exam. Anyone passing it should have a great sense of achievement."
(CFCS, Official Superior
de Cumplimiento Cidel
Bank & Trust Inc. Nueva York)
"The exam tests one's ability to apply concepts in practical scenarios. Passing it can be a great asset for professionals in the converging disciplines of financial crime."
(CFCS, Royal Band of
"The Exam is far-reaching. I love that the questions are scenario based. I recommend it to anyone in the financial crime detection and prevention profession."
(CFCS, CAMS Lead Compliance
Trainer, FINRA, Member Regulation
Training, Washington, DC)
"This certification comes at a very ripe time. Professionals can no longer get away with having siloed knowledge. Compliance is all-encompassing and enterprise-driven."
KATYA HIROSE CFCS, CAMS, CFE, CSAR Director, Global Risk & Investigation Practice FTI Consulting, Los Angeles