Four tips to help you start your career in Compliance

Four tips to help you start your career in Compliance

almost 2 years ago

Are you out of University and pondering about your first career step in the Maltese professional scene? There has never been a better time to consider a career in compliance than today.

Compliance is prevalent in Malta! Long gone are the days when compliance was seen as a tick-the-box exercise. The constant influence of regulatory bodies, such as the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), to adopt new regulatory obligations and improve frameworks, brought a significant increase in the scale of responsibility of compliance professionals. So, it is safe to say that, compliance is no longer boring. The role provides intellectual challenge, exciting career opportunity and most importantly a good financial reward.

Traditionally, the compliance function was mostly present amongst the financial services industry. However recently we have seen an increase in awareness and adoption of the expected compliance standards from law firms, gaming companies, healthcare entities, telecommunication companies, environmental lobbyists, public entities and many more. Nowadays, such firms are recognizing the importance to be in line with expectations of the regulator.

Why should you want to work in compliance?

The obvious answer is job security – Compliance is here to say. A lot of entry level roles within industry as well as external such as advisory, get introduced to the market almost on daily basis.

These entry roles are usually referred to as a Compliance Administrator, read about duties here, and once you are in, you can climb the corporate ladder as the opportunities become apparent quickly.

Skills desired for your first role in Compliance are: excellent communication, good judgement, attention to detail, quick decision making, business acumen, risk management and efficiency.

Compliance has become an important hand in every business, hence allowing you to gain experience and more understanding of how different departments operate across the organization.

Compliance is now global and the opportunities are endless.

So, what is the best way to get your first Compliance job in Malta?

1. Obtain the right qualifications

There are some qualifications that will help you kickstart your career. Depending on the industry you will choose, you should consider a Bachelor in Financial Services, Banking and Finance, Business Intelligence, Business Administration, Commerce, Criminology, Governance, Economics, Insurance, Law, Management and many others. There are also a series of advanced qualifications if you choose financial services, like MBA, ACAMS, CISI, ICA as well as some certificates like Certificate in AML & TF, Award in AML/CFT Compliance and many other courses that will bring you closer to your goal. These will allow you to expand your knowledge of the compliance landscape and open the doors not only in Malta, but globally too.

Remember, all these courses are not designed to be easy, but will give you an advantageous position when you enter the market. While hands on experience will always remain important, these qualifications instill confidence in your future employers as they, more often than not, see them as a commitment to the cause.


2. Commit to additional development

Your day to day duties in a Compliance role are dictated by the constant development of regulatory and legal frameworks, amendments in the Implementing Procedures, and the imposition of sanctions by regulatory authorities.

To follow these, Compliance professionals attend seminars and webinars organized by the authorities in order to explain the changes and advise on necessary steps moving forward.

If you already know the specific sector where you wish to work, you could look into the calendar of these training sessions/seminars, check if they are open to the public and book your attendance. Attending these gatherings will allow you to learn, but will also give you the opportunity to surrounding yourself with professionals in the industry. Networking is key.


3. Regulatory or AML?!

The main dilemma when starting a career in compliance is whether to choose Regulatory Compliance or AML.

What is regulatory compliance? Simply put, regulatory compliance is when, no matter the industry or the size of the company, businesses follow external legal mandates, dictated by local and international laws and regulations. Most of the time these vary depending on the industry the business is operating in. Here we can also talk about, corporate compliance which ensures that the whole company adheres to the internal policies and procedures. Compliance Administratorswould usually assist the Compliance Officer, who is the Designated Person responsible for the Company’s compliance with all laws and regulations, with drafting internal policies and procedures and implementing them in the daily operations.

Now, what is AML? AML stands for Anti Money Laundering and it contains a set of policies, procedures and technologies that prevent the act of laundering money. Money laundering refers to the process of taking illegally obtained funds and place them back into a financial system (placement) with the intent to legitimize them through a series of steps, known as layering. Any proceed appearing to now be clean money are legitimized by integration into the financial system. We cannot forget to mention the battle of counter terrorism financing (CTF) where terrorists make use of both licit and illicit funds to finance terrorist activities. Due to this a lot of companies take actions such as Customer Due Diligence and Customer Risk Assessments, Ongoing Monitoring and Pre and Post Transaction Monitoring.

When the company fails to comply to either one of the above, it opens itself to potential lawsuits and hefty fines.


4. Click ‘Start’

Start by contacting a recruiter that specialize in this area. AIMS International Malta is an Executive Search and Talent Management agency that specializes in the recruitment of Compliance professionals particularly successful in the Financial and Professional Services industry.

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