Talking about FinCrime Agent: An Interview with Marco Beranzoni

FinCrime Agent

What led you to a 15-year career in Financial Crime prevention? What exactly attracted you to this sector?

Doing something that can make our planet a better place and knowing that I can develop a career at my own pace has kept me motivated in this industry.

However, the path that led me initially into my financial crime career was not particularly planned for me. I started to make my first steps in early 2000 working for the online gaming sector. Back then I was in my twenties and moved from a customer service role into a payments role after which I managed to transition into fraud prevention. I found that initial experience very interesting and I was intrigued by the fact that with my work in fraud prevention I could make a high-risk sector like the gambling industry, more secure. So I continued to support the online gaming industry for a few years with a number of roles in payments and fraud before going into banking where I worked for about a decade in several Financial Crime related roles.

In those years, I built most of my knowledge as I was working and learning at the same time about economic sanctions, AML investigations, Management Information, and FinCrime Assurance. After my experience in banking, it is now 3 years that I’m working for a leading solutions provider in the Financial Crime space, and I feel very privileged as I still enjoy a lot what I’m doing every day.

How did you come up with the idea behind your YouTube channel FinCrime Agent? What were your objectives when you kicked off?

During the first lockdown, I was reviewing the steps taken during my year in Financial Crime. I realised that during my career I actually built quite a lot of experience and I thought it would be a good idea to share some of this knowledge with others keen to join the industry or with an interest in learning more about Economic Crime related issues.

The creative part in me was also keen to learn more about video editing, so starting to record videos to share on YouTube was a fun thing to do. In terms of my main objective, this was and still is, to talk with anyone interested to learn more about AML, Financial Crime or more broadly Regulatory Compliance. Since this is such a wide sector, I hope that my videos can be of interest to viewers considering a career in this industry, as well as those already in this field that perhaps are keen to learn more about other topics. Some videos that I publish are also providing very basic concepts to the wider public that is completely new to the industry, but willing to understand what’s been done by professionals that are fighting financial crimes. So in essence, as long as you are interested in AML, Financial Crime or Regulatory Compliance, you should find some valuable videos on my channel.

Which have been some of FinCrime Agent’s most well-received videos? Why so?

Videos related to Trade-Based Money Laundering where I expand on the TBML most common techniques are receiving a lot of views. This one is an example with basic TBML techniques. 

 

 

Also, my visitors seem to enjoy particularly videos with broader information about the regulatory compliance sector like the following one. 

 

 

And more recently I published in Q4 2021 a video with 10 fundamental AML rules that every compliance team should consider that is having a lot of success. 

 

 

I think that recently the industry is paying more attention to risks related to TBML, which may have generated some of the interest for those videos on my channel. Probably the interest to have a career in this sector has grown recently so more people are watching my YouTube videos to boost their knowledge. Anyone interested to apply for roles in AML or more broadly in Financial Crime is required to know the basics of regulatory compliance. Usually, people that are learning about those topics are naturally attracted to my content and, with a growing need for qualified staff by compliance teams, the demand for related educational videos like mine has also increased.

What can we look forward to viewing on FinCrime Agent in 2022?

Producing valuable content is the key to what I’m doing with my videos and it is indeed the main objective of my channel. I often try to shape my content’s roadmap by asking my audience what they would like to see in the future. I usually have a list of topics that I want to cover but, at the same time, I’m always open to suggestions. So, when requests from the audience are made, I consider those very carefully and try to accommodate as many as possible for inclusion into my list of videos to be rolled out.

In 2021, I didn’t cover as much as I was hoping for the topic of technologies and risks related to virtual assets, as well as emerging financial crime risks. So, in 2022, I’m planning to create more content around those topics to start with. I enjoy quite a lot having input from and sharing knowledge with industry professionals, so I also hope that in 2022 I can bring more 1-on-1 interview on my channel. With that said, I invite and welcome readers of this post to leave some comments on my videos if they are keen for me to cover some specific AML or FinCrime related topics in 2022.

Generally speaking, how have technologies contributed to the fight against financial crime? For instance, what role will artificial intelligence play moving forward?

This is a very interesting question as technology is indeed a hot topic. Yes, AI is being developed in several ways to support the sector. From the identification of risks up to the actual reporting stage where automated systems can now be in place to deliver suspicious activity reports to national agencies.

Other technologies like cloud computing and distributed ledger technology (DLT) are also bringing significant changes to the sector with the first one allowing a centralised space to keep data in a secure way among many other benefits. DLT is also being used to increase transparency and efficiency for KYC processes as well as in TBML processes.

Broadly speaking, like in most other sectors, technology is making an impact also within financial crime. Across jurisdictions, regulators can be more or less open to the adoption of the latest technology so not all countries are moving at the same pace, but solutions are there, so it’s a matter of time before we see the introduction of more efficient solutions at a global level to support better processes in the sector. There is quite a lot that can be said regarding the use of technology in AML and, more broadly in Financial Crime prevention, I have published a video recently discussing some of these aspects, so for your readers interested to learn more about this topic, here it is.

 

 

As an experienced financial crime specialist, what tips would you have for young professionals looking to get into this line of duty?

My answer to your question here is going to be very much aligned with what Mateo Jarrin Cuvi said in our 1-on-1 discussion.

In short, I would suggest anyone keen to pursue a career in this industry to start with acquiring initial high-level learning about Financial Crime prevention or even more broadly about the regulatory compliance sector.

Once you have a basic understanding of the industry, you can then focus your attention on the topics that interest you the most and start planning to further learn and build your experience towards your career goals. The industry is constantly evolving as we need to adapt to a huge number of changes at many levels. So, if you plan to progress with a career in FinCrime, be prepared to crave information and remain up to date. In such an industry that is evolving so fast, there will always be plenty of news to read, and you can develop your knowledge in so many ways including social media and YouTube videos. As long as you fully trust the source of information, of course.

Is there anything else you would like to share with our community?

First of all, I’d like to thank you for giving me this opportunity to discuss those topics on your blog. I also would like to invite anyone considering a career in this industry to join the sector. Do not be discouraged by the amount of knowledge required, you can build your competencies with time and at your own pace. The sector is expanding rapidly and, despite the help from new technologies, we always need good people able to support us at so many levels. Lastly, I hope your community will enjoy the videos that I publish every week on my YouTube channel FinCrime Agent and I look forward to reading your comments on my videos.

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