Posted by Brian Monroe - firstname.lastname@example.org 09/21/2021
For Refinitiv’s Phil Cotter, jump from distilling information to divining fincrime risk, protecting the vulnerable, the ‘highlight of my career’
Who inspires you?
My family and the people I work with. They give me energy every day.
What is one thing - industry-related or not - that you learned in the past month?
How good it is to be able to meet friends and family again after the pandemic lockdown.
What is something about you that not many people know?
I studied to be a dentist. To the relief of the general population, I didn’t go into practice.
What do you do in your current role
I’m the Group Head of LSEG’s Customer & Third-Party Risk business, responsible for leading the business globally and supporting our customers in meeting their financial crime obligations and helping them to manage risk in customer and third-party relationships effectively.
What does your career trajectory in financial crime look like?
I came to financial crime late in my career, having started in the consumer credit sector before moving to Experian in the mid 1990’s. I joined Thomson Reuters in 2014 as Managing Director of Risk, which at that time was a business providing a broad range of services across GRC, AML & Regulatory Compliance.
When Refinitiv was created by the acquisition of the Financial & Risk business from Thomson Reuters by Blackstone, I made a strategic decision to concentrate on financial crime and related services such as due diligence, fraud prevention and digital identity to support our customers.
This continues to be our focus now we are part of the London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG).
I’ve always had a keen interest in how data and analytics can be used to manage risk, be that credit, fraud, or financial crime related risks.
We use data and analytics to help our customers get a better understanding of where risks lie in their customer and third-party relationships. Vitally important when you are fighting financial crime as so many risks are hidden.
Becoming part of the community that is helping to fight financial crime is the highlight of my career because I real feel that we are contributing to the greater good through the work we all do.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
“If you don’t leave your desk at 5:30pm, why would anybody want your job?” Advice I got from my boss early in my career and something that has reminded me throughout it to try to maintain a healthy work life balance.
I can’t claim to finish at 5:30 p.m. every day, but I do try to ensure that I switch off once I’ve finished for the day.
What is the worst advice you have ever received?
It may be because of my long career associated with risk management, that I haven’t acted on poor advice. I tend to seek out more than one opinion if I’m unsure myself about the way forward.
What would you say are the most important attributes for someone in your position to succeed?
How has (compliance, investigations, etc.) changed and evolved during your career?
What do you see as the key financial crime challenges in your role or in the sector overall?
One of the areas we have focused on at Refinitiv is explaining to regulators, policy makers, and other stakeholders in the financial crime community, why fighting financial crime is important and the role we play in helping to do that.
Often the focus is on compliance, which of course is important, but, in my view, the critical point is the role we all play in helping to protect society.
Many people think financial crime is a “victimless crime” or a “few banks losing some money,” however, we know that money laundering is the result of serious crimes that often prey on the more vulnerable in society.
It is for this reason we became co-founders of the Global Coalition to Fight Financial Crime along with Europol and the World Economic Forum to help promote awareness of the impacts of financial crime and to promote improved dialogue with regulators, policy makers and governments.
What motivated you to become a financial crime compliance professional?
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Knowing that what we do makes a difference for our customers.
Is there anything that surprised you about your current role?
There aren’t many dull days!
Why did you join ACFCS or get CFCS-certified?
Collaboration is key in fighting financial crime and ACFCS with its collaborative approach and purpose to build a stronger financial crime community provides these opportunities.
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.
For professionals with 5-10 years of experience, what advice would give to help them rise in their careers to the next level?
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."
CFCS, CAMS, CFE, CSAR
Director, Global Risk
& Investigation Practice
FTI Consulting, Los Angeles