Anti-money laundering at Revolut – a sneak peek into our Compliance team

Karolina Gruszczyk

 · 12/08/2022  · 12/08/2022

Compliance is a key team at Revolut, as it ensures our products and processes meet the regulatory requirements to create the best experience for customers. The team has an outstanding ability to find solutions and carry out testing in a purely digital environment. Our data-driven experts know that better people and stronger technology are the most effective ways of managing conduct risk.

We sat down with a member of the Compliance team, Aurore Versele – our Money-Laundering Reporting Officer – to discuss key challenges in combating money laundering, and how we overcome and prevent it at Revolut. We also covered what we’re looking for in future Revolut compliance officers.

First, a bit of an introduction. Aurore Versele joined Revolut in March 2022 as Money-Laundering Reporting Officer based in Belgium. In fact, she was  our first Belgium-based employee, an exciting part of our expansion into Europe. Aurore comes with a bit of experience on the issue of financial crime and money laundering. She previously held similar positions in a Belgian retail online bank and at Credit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank, in Brussels.  

Outside of her career,  Aurore’s a bookworm and foodie. She shares her love of books on social media, where she also recommends cultural events, trips, or local restaurants she’s tried. Now let’s dive into what she has to say.

Aurore, why does combating financial crime remain a critical challenge?

I think combating financial crime (or fincrime) while being customer centric definitely remains a critical challenge. We want to ensure that our customers’ funds remain safe with us, and give them the tools and skills to avoid fraud. When it comes down to it, the key challenge is: how can we, on one hand, meet and even go beyond the Anti-money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML & CTF) requirements, and on the other hand, create the best product for our clients? How can we protect them from the fraudsters who adapt extremely quickly?

What are Revolut’s key strengths in combating fincrime?

At Revolut, we solve problems. In fincrime, we’re trying to prevent criminals from using Revolut to hold or process the proceeds of their crime. Our process is based on four steps: mitigate, analyse, improve, repeat.

We approach fincrime at Revolut  by going beyond the regulations and looking at the effectiveness of our controls in reducing our fincrime risks. Using our metrics – key performance indicators (KPIs) and key risk indicators (KRIs) –  we try to figure out why we combat fincrime, and how we do it. These tactics help us come up with ways to improve our processes using the data we constantly analyse.

How different is working in the anti-money laundering (AML) field in fintechs compared to traditional banks?  

The banking sector is not data driven. So, the process I described of AML mitigation, analysis, improvement, and repetition can’t be used at the same speed or the same scale as we can in the fintech sector.

How automated and computerised are AML departments today? How much has changed in recent years?

We use technology, including automated tools and processes, as much as we can, and as long as this meets the AML legal requirements. We’ve been using automated systems to detect anomalies in transactions or to onboard our clients for a few years now. What’s new is that we can use technology to predict when the transaction a client is about to confirm might be a scam to be more proactive. In that case, we send that customer a scam alert in-app explaining that the transaction should be reviewed.  

In what direction is AML going? Is it slowly becoming more part of the IT industry, or is there still a place for financial specialists in this field?

We work in a regulated sector, which can’t be compared with the IT industry in terms of supervision. AML is evolving with stricter and more complex requirements as we speak. The field requires fincrime specialists that can quickly understand the constant evolutions of the AML legislations and  translate them into products the clients would get value from and enjoy using. Those who will be able to use the AML legislations as tools to build the best products for our clients don’t have to fear for their career; they’ll always be in demand!

If you’re up for the challenge, we’ve just opened a few positions which you may find interesting 👉

How have the tactics criminals deploy changed in recent years?

The last few years have been marked by increased money-laundering activity on a larger and more specialised scale, which makes their crimes more difficult for victims  and financial institutions to spot. These activities are disguised as increasingly clean. This is because well-structured organisations with an international dimension sometimes even offer ‘money laundering services’ to high level criminal organisations active in a variety of illegal activities that generate gigantic profits (such as trafficking narcotics, human traffickers, international crooks, etc.) Fraud in particular has been booming recently, with fraudsters adapting quickly to vulnerability inducing situations, such as the Covid-19.

Your job sounds like a constant challenge! What traits should a person have, if they want to join the AML team at Revolut?

We’re looking for sharp minds who can quickly identify risks and keep our systems running smoothly! Employees are tasked with monitoring our front-line performance to ensure that the business remains on safe footing.

Depending on the role, there might be compliance qualifications required like ACAMS/ACOI/ICA or previous experience in Fintech, audit, or similar. Check all the requirements per role on our career page, but  generally the perfect candidate should be eager to learn, and able to think creatively. They should also, as a Revoluter, follow our key values of remaining determined, supporting a dream team, never settling, thinking deeper, and delivering wow.

So if you love saying “this is textbook!” – and love hearing others say it – you know what to do… take a look at our Compliance open positions.