You’ve been with UKRSIBBANK for 20 years, since before it became part of BNP Paribas in 2006. Have you always been involved in compliance?I started my career with the bank in the retail business, and I became involved in large real estate projects when the bank began to expand across the country. Initially it was a very small bank, but the shareholders had large ambitions and the bank decided to expand to all provinces within the country. It was a really interesting project to be involved in.
After that, I worked in procurement, and then in operational cash management in charge of ATM management and cash supply. Before I stepped into compliance I had very broad experience in other areas of the bank, which has proven to be very helpful for me in my current role.
Do you have a specific focus within compliance?
Compliance is usually broken down into two parts: financial security part and compliance part, related to client interests protection (PIC), market integrity and so on. My area is financial security, and I’m in charge of our anti-money-laundering efforts—shortened to AML—as well as countering financing of terrorism (CFT). My team is 36 people strong and growing, with the introduction of new processes and procedures requiring more people to perform oversight. We’re doing our best to improve our level of compliance maturity, and we’re working in parallel with the rest of the business to develop this aspect of the bank.
How is this of particular significance to the Ukrainian market?
The market has evolved a lot over the last few years, as regulator, National Bank of Ukraine, has closed more than 50 banks, many for compliance reasons. The market is definitely maturing and compliance, financial security part generally, is now a major function within all the banks present in Ukraine. Over half of the banks are state-owned and they’re paying close attention to compliance, as well.We have several advantages being part of an international group. We have the experience and knowledge coming from our headquarters, and we receive information on policies and procedures from them. The risk profile of the market here—keeping the recent political turmoil in mind—is such that we still have some issues with corruption. There are still many companies who are participating in illegal economic activities or benefitting from shadow economies and so forth. In addition to all this, the market is very cash based, which poses some additional challenges.
Are these issues likely to evolve in the coming years, and how is compliance looking to adapt?
We will continue to become more digital, and increasingly implement sophisticated tools. In the area of AML, what we are usually looking to identify is something atypical.
We work with millions of clients with tens of thousands of daily activities, so it’s impossible to manage these manually and automation is a big part of what we do. For example, we are working on an artificial intelligence (AI) pilot program. We’re going to test a new AI tool and we are going to compare the results to our existing systems and tools that we use on a daily basis to see how it compares and how efficient it is. It is quite an interesting operation.
We will continue to become more digital, and increasingly implement sophisticated tools.
Any specific successes you would like to share?
We recently implemented and upgraded a profiling tool, which enables us to use more scenarios that are applicable for our risk setup. This allows us to have better coverage of client transactions and better visibility of atypical pattern. Our AML setup became much stronger with this upgrade.
“ The key thing is to develop your expertise in different areas. Learning about the functions of the bank outside of only compliance helps you meet challenges, and helps you speak the same language with your colleagues. We all want to be understood, we all want to be heard, so better understanding means you are more likely to find common ground with your colleagues. ”
Compliance Officer and Head of the Anti-Money Laundering
How would you describe your job to a child?
When I was a child, it was already important to me that everyone played by the same rules—that things were fair for everyone. In my role today, I am a kind of referee, ensuring that there is a level playing field for everyone.