FIS Spotlight.

Achieving the Financial Intelligence Specialist certification is a career milestone. With thousands of FIS graduates from around the world, our FIS Spotlight showcases industry professionals who have demonstrated exceptional commitment while achieving their FIS designation. Each month ManchesterCF will profile a different FIS certified professional and share their insights on news and trends in the AML compliance space.


September 2021 Spotlight:
Nunzio Tramontozzi, FIS

1.  How did you get started in the anti-money laundering business?
My start in the anti-money laundering business did not follow a traditional path. I was a Toronto Police officer for 31 years. During the last six years of my career, I created and lead the Human Trafficking Enforcement Team. During that time I met Stuart Davis and Joseph Mari who were creating the first Public/Private Sector Partnership with FINTRAC in combatting human trafficking. I was part of their team and that was the start of my AML career. Presently, I am the Director of the Special Investigations Unit for Scotiabank and led a team of investigators who investigate the more complex AML cases for the bank.

2.  What are the challenges you face in your AML career?
The biggest challenge I had when I started my AML career was my knowledge base surrounding anti-money laundering and how cases were investigated and reported on at Scotiabank. The learning curve was a very large one but I was able to really expand my AML knowledge through the learning team at the bank. I also completed the ManchesterCF Financial Intelligence Specialist program which assisted me immensely in understanding every aspect of money laundering.

3.  What are the skills that serve you best in your AML career?
The skills that served me best in my AML career are my investigative and analytical skills which I brought with me from the Toronto Police Service. Also, I believe my team-leadership abilities, including listening to the concerns and ideas that are brought forward by my team members, are crucial in establishing a work environment where people like to work.

4.  What books/podcasts do you recommend?
I don’t have a specific book or podcast to recommend but I would recommend the ManchesterCF courses to anyone who wants a career in AML as they offer a very comprehensive view of all aspects of AML.

August 2021 Spotlight:
Lourdes C. Miranda, FIS

1.  How did you get started in the anti-money laundering business?
I joined the CIA and eventually the FBI. My AML interest increased in 2017 when I started working on criminal cases involving crypto.

2.  What are the challenges you face in your AML career?
Building compliance programs within Fintech companies that are just starting. Some have a difficult time embracing compliance because they think compliance hinders their product development and revenue. It’s just the opposite, compliance is there to protect the integrity and the resources of the companies.

3.  What are the skills that serve you best in your AML career?
Field investigations, intelligence collection and analysis.

4.  What books/podcasts do you recommend?
“Investigating Cryptocurrencies: Understanding, Extracting, and Analyzing Blockchain Evidence” by Nick Furneaux

“Blockchain Basics: A Non-Technical Introduction in 25 Steps” by Daniel Drescher

CRYPTO 101 Bryce Paul & Pizza Mind: Bitcoin Blockchain Cryptocurrency Ethereum Advocates

Cryptocurrency for Beginners: with Crypto Casey

August 2021 Spotlight:
Amber D. Scott, FIS

1.  How did you get started in the anti-money laundering business?
I got started in AML by accident. At the time that I graduated from UW,  there were no real courses in compliance other than internal training, so I didn’t know much about it. I saw a job posting at Manulife that seemed fascinating and I applied. I started work in August of 2001. In September of that year, the entire conversation around AML and CTF changed. It was then, as it is for me now, incredibly engaging work aimed at solving problems that deeply affect society.

2.  What are the challenges you face in your AML career?
The fight for “effectiveness” is something that I perceive as being a major challenge for all AML professionals. Compliance is, on one hand, meeting a set of requirements in a way that will satisfy our overseers (be they regulators, service providers that act as de facto regulators, or in the case of nations, the Financial Action Task Force)… but this is only one small piece of the puzzle, and I’m certainly not naive enough to believe that we’ve come close to developing a perfect set of rules that, if followed, will curtail financial crime. Our systems are imperfect, and often, ineffective. The measures (or lack of measurement) that we use to determine “effectiveness” are often deeply flawed. This leads to some interesting duality, both philosophically and practically.

In day-to-day compliance, this leads to the need to both comply with the existing rule sets and to implement other measures aimed at mitigating risk and curtailing financial crime, that may not be prescribed in legislation. This can be frustrating for businesses as there are costs to each measure implemented.

In policy circles, this has meant pushing for a more stringent evaluation of the effectiveness of the measures in place. I understand that all things AML are deeply steeped in politics, which is unfortunate. We would all be better off if a rigorous scientific approach could be applied. In my opinion, this would involve experimentation, rigorous testing and the abandonment of processes that did not yield the desired results. This is, of course, easier said than done in a complex global system.

3.  What are the skills that serve you best in your AML career?
Intellectual curiosity and a deep love of solving problems are key. If you believe that everyone will simply follow the rules because the rules are there, this is not going to be your happy place. A sense of humour is also important.

4.  What books/podcasts do you recommend?
I’m reading “Wilful Blindness” by Sam Cooper right now. I’m halfway through, and I’d say “no spoilers”, but as a Canadian, I’m living in the spoilers. I lost a friend from high school to fentanyl quite recently, and reading about how we got to this point in Canada has me thinking a lot about what we might be able to do differently before the next crisis makes its way here. We could have done so much more to fight organized crime starting in the 1990s as the patterns were first being noticed, but so many players dropped the ball. It’s a hard read, but for AML professionals it should also be a motivating read. It should have us thinking about how we can build more effective and resilient systems, not just domestically, but globally.

July 2021 Spotlight:
Eric Hansen, FIS

Eric was one of the earliest FIS members with a history in working in financial crime. ManchesterCF has had the pleasure of interviewing and learning more about Eric’s career and interests.

1.  How did you get started in the anti-money laundering business?
My career in financial crime started in 2012 when I was hired to be the Director of Risk and Compliance at Dow Jones Canada. I had the privilege of advising financial institutions across the country on screening for PEPs, adverse media and economic sanctions. Since that time, I have advised clients on a wide variety of compliance-related topics including transaction monitoring to building effective training programs.

2.  What are the challenges you face in your AML career?
The biggest challenge for me as an AML professional is trying to stay one step ahead of the bad guys.

3.  What are the skills that serve you best in your AML career?
The ability to think critically.

4.  What books/podcasts do you recommend?
I just finished reading “Dark Commerce” by Louise Shelley. The book offers a thorough study on how technology, communications and globalisation have fuelled the exponential growth of new forms of illicit trade.

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