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Meet the financial crime expert series: Luke Raven

Luke Raven

Senior AML/CTF Compliance Manager, Cabital

Who are you and what do you do?

I’m Luke Raven! Across a little over 13 years now I’ve worked at Big 4 banks and world class FinTechs, helping each tackle Financial Crime. Whether it’s Sanctions, Anti-Money Laundering, Fraud Prevention, Anti-Scams, Bribery & Corruption, Terrorist Financing – I enjoy all of it! I love helping both traditional financial service providers and FinTechs look for the red flags and otherwise manage the risks that their customers misuse the legitimate financial system for illicit purposes.

How did you get into this career in the first place?

I answered a job advertisement with NAB in their fraud prevention department. It was initially sold to me as a type of ‘problem solving’ job – you had to look at customers and see if you could find a difference or a red flag from their usual activity that might indicate they’ve had their cards used by someone else! It was very engaging work, because you got a real endorphin hit when you saved someone money, but it also mattered that we weren’t overzealous – people hate having their accounts blocked for no reason.

What is it that most excites you about your job?

While ‘riddle-solving’ is what got me excited about anti-financial crime initially, I soon became pretty passionate about striking that balance between ‘doing what’s right’ to stop bad guys and not inconveniencing good customers too much. That’s what I love about my job now! As a Senior Compliance Manager I get to try to design systems that function a bit like a sieve – the ‘good’ customers get through with relative ease, and the bad guys get caught. It’s great! I also really love learning new things, like blockchain analytics, which is brand new to me and a huge perk of my new role with Cabital!

What are the biggest challenges that you and your organisation/ clients face in your role?

The biggest challenge we face at Cabital is misunderstanding as to the risks of cryptocurrencies – we’re a new exchange getting ready to launch in Australia, but a lot of banks won’t let us have accounts because crypto is “high risk”. The truth is, crypto IS high risk inherently, but that’s before you look at the really strong controls that FinTechs can bring to bear to manage those risks super well. And truthfully, a lot of compliance resources (at banks and FinTechs) is so focused on either finding our type of business to kick out, or appeasing our banks so that we don’t get kicked out – it detracts from the time we have to fight actual crime!

What do you see as the main emerging risks and challenges for the future?

Working together is a double edged sword. Right now, outside tightly constrained circumstances, banks and financial institutions can’t really tell one another “hey we think customer X might be a bad guy”. A lot of people are very excited about that possibility, but I’m concerned that it could lead to a lot of people misidentified as bad guys getting shadow-banned from the economy. Think about how hard it would be to hold down a job if you couldn’t get a bank account, or how hard it would be to pay for parking or your rent or coffee? So the future is exciting but each step needs to be really carefully considered.

What advice would you give anyone starting out in this profession?

This may be controversial, but I say breadth is a great thing to pursue before you specialise. I’m a bit of a jack of all trades myself, and the beauty is that developing that way lead me to understand the relationships and dependencies between different aspects of FinCrime. And that’s my other tip – ask “WHY”. Always be asking ‘why’ – whether you’re dealing with an internal process or even a regulation – you’ll learn a lot more if you develop an understanding of what’s being achieved rather than just trying to put one foot in front of the other and get the task at hand done.

Anything else you’d like to share?

Definitely treat Compliance as a ‘team sport’. That’s with your colleagues, your business partners and sales folk, and even other institutions. While we all want what’s best for our organisations, at the end of the day, it’s getting actionable intelligence to law enforcement that matters most!

Click here to connect with Luke on LinkedIn

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