Katalina Michael is a high calibre and renowned compliance executive with decades of experience in the banking and financial services sector, who has recently served as Chief of Compliance and Executive Director at BDSwiss and now leveraging her experience as Compliance and AML Consultant.

Throughout her career, Katalina has found that an organisation’s ability to adapt to innovation and change is essential to its success, something that is even more difficult in the investment services industry due to its rapid expansion and stiff competition. “An organisations priority should be to ensure that a strong culture of transparency and compliance permeates the company’s operations” comments Katalina, and adds that: “Once the foundation of sound corporate governance is ensured, the focus shifts on refining these processes and contributing to the company’s long-term goals, such as proactively identifying and addressing potential compliance-related risks while also ensuring adherence to the company’s regulatory policies, before delivering dynamic solutions that meet the organisations’ objectives and their clients’ needs.”

fintechview sat down with Katalina, in an exclusive interview, sharing her thoughts about RegTech, Compliance and AML consulting.

RegTech is trending, please share your thoughts on regulatory technology

The rise of RegTech has been driven by an increasingly complex regulatory environment, especially in financial services organizations, which in turn has created the need to find more efficient ways to comply. The rise of regulatory technology Regulatory technology (RegTech) is empowering organizations with the tools required to drive efficiency and sustainability in their regulatory compliance functions. In my opinion, we can expect that RegTech will provide increased transparency between market participants and regulators, drive standardization and continue to deliver value to shareholders.

Katalina, please tell us a bit about yourself and your professional background.

Having worked as a Compliance and AML professional in the financial services industry for the past 25 years, I have witnessed many changes and challenges in this dynamic and complex field. I became one of the first Compliance Officers in Cyprus, following the implementation of the first AML Directive. Since then, I have been passionate about compliance and I have obtained several qualifications and certifications, such as the EXIN GDPR Practitioner Certificate, the Certificate in Global Financial Compliance, and the ACAMS membership. I am also an associate of the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment.

Over the years, I have worked in various sectors, such as banking, corporate, funds and crypto, and I have acquired a wealth of knowledge and experience in these areas. In 2021, I was recognized by IEWL as one of the “10 Most Empowering Woman Leaders of 2021”, which was a great honor for me. However, my proudest achievement is being able to balance my career and my family life, as I have raised four wonderful children while pursuing my professional goals.

With so many years of experience in the financial services sector, specifically in banking and FX firms, how do you feel being on the other side of the fence and working as a consultant?

After 27 years of working in the financial services industry, I decided to make a career change and become a consultant, something which I’ve been wanting to do for many years. It was not an easy decision, but I felt that I had reached a point where I wanted to explore new opportunities and challenges. Leveraging my long years of experience as well as the fact that I have worked as an in-house advisor to a wide array of regulated institutions has enabled me to gain a thorough understanding of the challenges and issues these firms may face and provide tailored solutions to help them overcome their regulatory hurdles. Being on the other side of the fence has also given me a different perspective and insight into the industry, as I have been exposed to different business models, cultures, and practices. I enjoy the flexibility and diversity that consulting offers, as well as the opportunity to learn from other professionals and share my views and ideas. I will always have a passion for compliance and AML, and I believe that my background and experience in the industry have been valuable assets for my consulting career.

What do you believe are the benefits of hiring a Compliance and AML consultant?

I believe that hiring a Compliance and AML consultant can bring considerable benefits to a financial services firm, including access to specialized expertise and knowledge, objective, unbiased, and independent advice, as well as flexibility and cost-effectiveness for firms that do not wish to hire full-time professionals. A consultant can also help handle ad hoc projects for compliance with new or changing regulations that often need to be implemented within very demanding deadlines. As an external Compliance and AML Consultant, I help my clients carry out annual audits, manage the ongoing day-to-day dealings with the regulators, and provide them with support and assurance in case of any compliance issues or challenges.

That being said, I believe it is extremely important to hire a consultant that understands your sector and business model and with whom you can build an ongoing relationship. This way, you can benefit from their tailored solutions and insights that can help you achieve your compliance goals and enhance your reputation in the market.

What are the essential services a business needs support on Compliance and AML level and what would you advise them to consider?

I believe each business needs a Compliance and AML consultant with combination of experience, expertise, ethics and transparency. Having comprehensive and in-depth knowledge of the compliance and AML frameworks and best practices in each of these sectors is essential. Proactive approach for each project, making sure to fully comprehend the specific needs and expectations of each client, constant communication and constructive feedback and recommendations are some of the critical factors to determine the success of the collaboration in the long-term.

Leveraging my expertise in Senior Compliance roles in regulated entities, I am well placed to provide advice and support in matters of regulatory compliance, financial crime, forex, cryptocurrency, banking, and investment services. As a person with integrity and ethics, I take pride in my responsiveness, my ability to provide solid advice and tailor-made solutions to complex matters, as well as adding value to clients, establishing a long-term and trusting relationship with them.

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