By Eric Micallef – Senior Analyst, Financial Crime Compliance, MFSA
The MFSA’s AML/CFT strategy complements the current national strategy and action plan, both showcasing the emphasis being placed on the fight against financial crime.
Innovation has allowed the Authority to create new processes and operations within its remit as the licensing Authority, as well as in its role as the conduct and prudential supervisor for financial services – aimed at inhibiting financial crime. However, the best processes and supervisory tools would mean nothing without sufficient skilled professionals. As such, the MFSA has committed specific resources for internal training to enhance its personnel’s technical skills: the Financial Supervisors Academy ensures that the Authority has the necessary expertise and competencies to carry out its functions effectively. These training efforts are not limited to internal MFSA training sessions but extend towards guiding the sector forward into an increasingly stable and compliant industry, communicating trends, typologies and emergent risks identified within the financial sector, not to mention putting the spotlight on our own regulatory standards.
However, the Authority’s own internal resources are only one side of the coin: the other – a key issue that we come across throughout our supervisory engagements – is the lack of qualified compliance professionals in the industry, often preventing licence holders from effectively meeting regulatory expectations. This reality indicates that all the stakeholders must do more to promote a career in compliance as being fulfilling and attractive, something that I can attest to!
The MFSA’s efforts to alleviate this shortage include social media campaigns and public webinars, roundtable discussions and training events with content ranging from sector-specific regulatory developments to overall corporate governance. Training and outreach are not seen merely as educational but also as a promotional tool to attract more human resources to this field.
The Authority is involved in other initiatives to engage with prospective graduands, and to encourage students to consider a career, both with the regulator and the regulated. For example, I am part of the MFSA team which takes part in events like the KSU’s Fresher’s Week and Careers Expo at the University of Malta.
I also contribute to internal training sessions and have participated in panel discussions organised by student organisations as well as delivering lectures at the invitation of other lecturers. These are all key opportunities that allow us to engage with students and form connections with academic staff to encourage careers in compliance.
Similarly, this brief publication is another one of these opportunities. So, whether you are a student looking for a meaningful career or an experienced professional contemplating specialisation in financial crime compliance, I would like to take this opportunity to encourage you to make that leap and take your place within an international community of professionals dedicated towards ensuring that the financial system – upon which our society rests – is not criminally exploited.