On May 24, 2021, the ACAMS New York Chapter, in partnership with ACAMS, hosted an online webinar titled FinTech AFC Starter Kit. This event was moderated by Susan White (Managing Director, Americas at kompany and ACAMS New York Chapter Board member), and included the following panelists: Nishi Gupta Head of Compliance at ECO and Dr. Scott Grob AML Director – Americas at ACAMS.
The event was organized into 3 categories: Compliance Basics, Compliance Enabling Growth, and Technology. In the pre-event survey, the audience was keen on hearing industry best practices, what makes for a good compliance officer at a FinTech and the best ways to leverage technology to mitigate risk.
The panel spoke about why compliance should matter to a FinTech and how compliance officers can create a culture of compliance AND contribute to fast growth. FinTechs are in a unique position because they are not laden with legacy systems and pre-existing processes and can build compliance processes into their business models. This reduces friction (both internally and with clients) and can speed up the on-boarding process by removing unnecessary and burdensome requirements while reducing risk and generating revenue faster. One important recommendation is for compliance officers to stay involved with the engineering teams—understanding what is being built and how compliance can be an important building block. Today’s compliance officer must have a good grasp of technology and the regulatory environment.
Discussions were also centered on what FinTechs get right, and what they get wrong. Panelists agreed that paying close attention to FinTech regulatory requirements (regardless of whether they currently apply to their business) and hiring the right people are the easiest ways to prevent a business failure. Creating a culture of compliance and hiring the right compliance staff is key to not only prevent and detect money laundering and terrorist financing but can provide growth to the organization.
The live poll revealed that over half of the participants worked at firms that built their tech in-house. However, the panelists pointed out that depending on the maturity of the business, there may be a need to outsource compliance processes. When outsourcing, the recommendation was to cast a wide net and understand the best way to integrate with your existing technology.
Key Takeaways and Link to Materials:
Culture: Compliance at a startup FinTech is essential to the business thriving over the long term. Mindset: Compliance personnel at a startup FinTech have to view/understand their role as integral to the business succeeding and augment/adapt their skill sets accordingly.
Ability: Compliance employees must lean into engineering; both the people and the technology.