At Ascendant, we boast a diverse leadership team which includes our Chief Operations Officer Shemina Jiwani and our new SVP of Finance and Regulatory Compliance Jeanne Millis.
To celebrate International Women’s Day, we decided to profile another important female leader at Ascendant – Lesley Pettigrew, Director of Anti-Money Laundering (AML) for our Compliance Department.
Read more to learn about Lesley and her role on our team!
Can you describe your role at Ascendant?
I create and implement AML processes and workflows for execution in the field and technology systems to help the company with their obligations in Anti-Money Laundering and Sanctions Compliance. In addition, I lead a Team of talented Compliance Professionals who execute those obligations.
What was your career journey before joining Ascendant?
My career journey started on the account management side of the foreign exchange industry, helping customers with their FX needs. In 2003, I was introduced to AML Compliance and I never looked back.
In the early days, my account management experience helped me build AML processes into business processes, while also helping my colleagues meet their regulatory obligations within the sales process. My education background is in Business Administration and I am a Certified Anti Money Laundering Specialist.
Why did you decide to choose this career path?
All the aspects of the anti-money laundering field fit my skills and personality naturally. I have an inquisitive mind so in the early days of my career I enjoyed investigating client’s and transactions. Now you can find me leading projects to refine processes around AML Technology.
What is the biggest challenge to your role?
The biggest challenge in my role is keeping up with criminals’ ever evolving money laundering and fraud techniques. The Bad Guys are always looking for new ways to launder money using new schemes and technology.
What do you like most about your role?
My favourite aspect of my role is to train, lead, and mentor the talented group of individuals that make up the AML Compliance Team.
Why do you believe your role is important to the company as a whole?
While mitigating the risk of AML and Sanctions risk to the company is the obvious answer, I also enjoy working with sales and account managers to assist in their specialized onboarding or account management requests with the AML/Sanction framework.
What have been the biggest challenges you have faced as a department or individual during the pandemic?
The pandemic has challenged all of us in many ways. I recognize that many of us are struggling mentally in adapting to the “new normal”, and that is a very real challenge that can’t be ignored. I try and approach every conversation with patience, empathy, and kindness because we are all in it together.
What are the exciting developments in your field that you have your eye on for the future?
Dynamic customer due diligence for real-time risk management is an exciting concept. Solutions that allow us to conduct rapid customer account reviews, based on dynamic event-based triggers, are coming to fruition. The idea of incremental updates to a customer’s profile every time there is an identified material change, gathered from internal or external data sources, ensures customer’s risk profiles are current. Perpetual, dynamic KYC is most certainly going to be the gold standard to come.
AML compliance is a key piece of our greater legal and compliance obligations. Lesley and her team of dedicated professionals spend every day ensuring that we protect our customers and ourselves by preventing our services from being used for illegal activities.
To learn more about our Compliance program, click here.