5 minutes with Loukas Skoteinos
- Tell us a few words about your daily routine at work.
I have worked for Law & Accountancy Firms and Investment firms since 2015. I'm currently working at an Investment Fund Management company. My daily routine is broken up in two parts a) submitting the reports investment firms are obliged to with the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission and b) making sure all departments follow the company policies and procedures and making sure they are always up to date and relevant with current business practices and legal framework set in motion by the EU and the Cyprus government. Finally, interviewing onboard potential new clients is part of what must be done in order to make sure the firm knows exactly where and how they made their money and that it is all legally derived.
The Job of a Compliance Officer is to make sure that the company is always aligned with the law and has policies, processes, and procedures in place to cope with changes in market and business practices, changes in regulatory framework, legislation, as well as training in a nutshell making sure all employees and the companies directors know what they are doing and why they are doing it. A compliance officer is an investigator working on behalf of the company ensuring nobody from within it or outside it is trying to use it for illegal activity.
The company I work for currently manages financial portfolios of Japanese universities for over a billion euros.
- How did you decide you wanted to work as an Anti-Money Laundering Specialist and Regulatory Compliance Officer?
I did not really decide to work as a Compliance Officer. I was working for a local law firm in Paralimni, undertaking my training as a barrister-at-law, where six months down the line I realised that law firms mostly enjoy the exploitation of cheap labour. Having understood this, I looked into the potential of changing my career path as I did not want to be stuck with making nothing as a lawyer for the next half a decade or so. This brought me to the world of corporate administration where I worked for a little over 2 years. The salary and atmosphere was much better, but I still felt it was lacking.
In 2017 an organisation called ACAMS had been assigned a project to assist in drafting an international memorandum and a methodology for combating financial crime. Even though I was a junior corporate lawyer at the time, the company had assigned me the task to review and write a report on this. Having done so I felt more intrigued and challenged than I had ever felt in my life.
School and university came easy to me and the legal practice was lacking the freedom I needed to make decisions. Compliance however was a whole other ball game as nobody, not even the company’s directors wanted to make the decisions the firms Compliance Officer had to make. After working with the firm’s Compliance department, I knew that’s what I wanted to do for a career. Two years later in 2019 I had worked harder than I have ever worked in school theough to university (my teachers and classmates at Xenion will be able to vouch for that 😊), and obtained my certification as an Anti-Money Laundering Specialist by ACAMS and a licence in regulatory compliance by the Cyprus Securities Exchange Commission.
- How easy was it to find a job after you graduated from university?
I feel the question does not do justice to the issue of job finding. It was “easy” to find any job as a lawyer since I obtained my law degree and Cyprus which is a very small island. But it is NOT easy to find your dream job. To find your dream job it is very difficult and needs a lot of hard work. It also takes time to understand through working in places and fields that are not for you to determine what it is you're looking for.
My desire is to eventually open an Art Gallery and Resto-bar, which I feel is something that this island is deeply lacking.
- How has the current situation with Covid-19 pandemic affected your work/business?
The industry I work in (Financial Services) is the most organised and best prepared industry to face any natural or unnatural disaster be it a pandemic or war etc. Myself and the firms directors in 2019 had already began updating and working on a document called a business continuation plan which basically tests the company and its employees ability to maintain control and manage any stress test scenario (including pandemics and how they effect the financial markets) against its ability to operate, its liquidity, and our clients funds. Covid-19 actually helped us test this manual and protocol and make it better. During the pandemic outbreak our firm has actually increased its profits because high net value individuals abandon traditional banks during crises and search for a safer environment for their funds to be put in during periods of turbulence.
- What changes have been made to your safety protocols at work because of Covid-19?
In February 2019 the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission had issued a task to all firms licenced by it to amend their business continuity plans and their workspace practices in preparation of the outbreak. In March it issued a circular guiding business to employ hygiene protocols which included frequent disinfection, employee’s social distancing, and working from home if offices had open unventilated spaces with no partitions. By March 15th all employees where permitted to work from home. Today I am still working from home as my firm has adopted this as its normality for the time being.