Economic Crime Prevention in Switzerland: An Interview with Steve Young & Sandra Middel

Kisaco Economic Crime Prevention

Hear all about Kisaco Research’s Economic Crime Prevention and Compliance event taking place on April 5-6 in Zurich. The event’s two co-chairs share below a bit about themselves and their expectations for the event.

Please tell us a little about yourself!

Steve YoungSteve Young: I served 20 years in UK law enforcement, investigating economic crime and specialising in the pro-active investigation of Banking Fraud, Bribery & Corruption, Whistleblowing and Money Laundering. This was followed by six years at Citigroup Inc., as EMEA Regional Director of Investigations, and eight years as Barclays Bank Plc, Global Head of Investigations for Investment Banking & Wealth Management. Currently, I’m Head of Fraud & Investigations in Group Compliance at Lombard Odier, based in Geneva. To date, 41 years of international economic crime experience in both a law enforcement and corporate environment.

Sandra Middel: I started in Compliance in 2006/7 in Russia for a bank insurance. Since then, I remained in the Compliance area, building up the Compliance and Risk Management process for the bank. In 2010, I moved to an industry where I materially contributed to designing and implementing the Compliance Framework for a big Agrochemical Company and heading the function for the EMEA region. In 2017, I took over my current position as Head of Group Compliance at Clariant, responsible for Ethics & Integrity, Data Privacy, and Information Security.

Why are you interested in co-chairing the upcoming Economic Crime Prevention and Compliance 2022?

Steve Young: It’s a great chance to network with colleagues in Switzerland from different industry sectors and disciplines. Engaging with the delegates as a co-chair is extremely rewarding and not least a chance to tell some terrible jokes.    

Sandra Middel: After two years of virtual events, it is great to meet you again in person. And, of course, the conference is a unique opportunity to learn about trends and solutions in other industries, as it is uniquely combining the financial industry and industry topics. And to meet new colleagues and get fresh ideas and insights; I am very much looking forward to this.

Can you tell us about the scope of this upcoming conference in Zurich and what attendees can expect to learn?

Steve Young: The conference organisers have carefully crafted the agenda  to reflect items that are both current and relevant to the Swiss market across all sectors. Extensive consultation occurred and there is something for everyone involved in the fight against economic crime in its many guises. 

Sandra Middel: To my knowledge, it is unique that we have a conference in Switzerland where you have topics from the financial industry and the industry combined in one event. It is a great learning and network opportunity.

What are some of the biggest trends in Switzerland when it comes to Economic crime prevention and compliance? Why are they important for an industry in-house?

Steve Young: Anti-Money Laundering (AML) remains a key compliance concern for compliance professionals in Switzerland. In the Banking sector (highly regulated), this is extremely important for both the reputation of Switzerland, individual Banks, and corporate entities. Being engaged in the laundering of the proceeds of crime has consequences at many levels – for compliance, individually and at the corporate level, with the criminal, civil and regulatory sanctions available, attention to AML can never drop. Anti-Bribery and Corruption (ABC) is on an equal footing and keep compliance and risk professionals at a high state of alert.  

Sandra Middel: We see in the industry a switch with the counter proposal of the responsible business initiative requiring more transparency and reporting from Companies. The new EU WB directive is equally having an impact on many International Companies headquartered in Switzerland.           

How has ESG evolved in Switzerland during the past several years and where do you see it heading?

Steve Young: It’s now the number one item of the day with these three letters taking on more importance daily. With the life of the planet at stake, it is a no option issue and it will take on increasing importance year on year. Switzerland has some excellent Environmental, Social and Governance initiatives, not least FINMA monitoring climate-related financial risks to which regulated financial institutions are exposed.

Sandra Middel: In the industry we observe that there is, in addition to the regulatory activities, also a strong request from the customers and partially end users to emphasize on ESG topics.            

What’s the top three things you are most looking forward to at the upcoming Economic Crime Prevention and Compliance 2022?

  1. Meeting colleagues face to face
  2. Interesting speakers and agenda
  3. Time to listen and think about important topics
  4. Gather new ideas
  5. Discuss best practices

In your opinion, what’s the importance of a live onsite event vs. virtual event?

Steve Young: Virtual events are fine, but nothing beats the chance to meet colleagues face to face. And let’s be fair, not everybody turns their camera on.

Sandra Middel: The quality of the exchange is different when you meet face to face, and you enlarge your network, which you do not really do in a virtual setting.

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