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From Customer Support to Global Head of Compliance in Fintech! - An Exclusive with Metkel Asfaha

This story highlights the amazing journey of a determined tech bro who transitioned from servicing customers to climbing up to lead Global Compliance at Leatherback.

3 mins read
28th February 2024
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Leatherback Content Team


Where has your curiosity led you?

This story highlights the amazing journey of a determined tech bro. Whose career started from helping customers and attending to their needs to climbing up to lead Global Compliance at Leatherback.

His story shows that staying curious and never giving up can turn little wins into bigger wins.

Let’s stroll down memory lane; how did you start in your field?

A very long time ago, I got a job in customer support where I had my first exposure to payment processing. 

From there, I transitioned to the role of fraud analyst and I became very intrigued with investigating fraud cases.  The favourite part of my job was creating barriers against fraudsters while ensuring that controls didn’t impact genuine clients. I knew at that time that this was going to be my career.

At what point did you realise you have all it takes to lead?

In my past roles, I improved my leadership skills by embracing challenges outside my comfort zone. On one occasion, I'd just started as Deputy MLRO (Money Laundering Reporting Officer), and soon after, the Head of Compliance left. 

So, I had to take on the Head of Compliance responsibility over the following 6 months. During this time, I was able to implement policies and processes that mitigated money laundering risks whilst improving clients experience by speeding up the execution of flagged transactions. It was a challenging but very valuable experience. I knew then I was ready to lead the business through the intricacies of the Compliance landscape.

Interesting! So, what comes easy to you when regulations are involved?

It would probably be technological implementations of AML (Anti-Money Laundering) platforms and controls. 

This involves working with various platforms for tasks like monitoring transactions and onboarding. I find it easy to adapt to new systems, thanks to my past experiences, and make them work effectively.

How have you been able to ensure that Leatherback complies with the rules?

Leatherback is a young startup that provides a wide range of services with worldwide aspirations. 

At times it can be challenging, but we work hard to follow the rules and make sure our company is doing things the right way.  We talk to our team a lot about important rules and set up a system to quickly find and fix any problems that might come up.

In your opinion, why is it essential for companies to be compliant with rules?

There are many reasons why businesses should be compliant with all the relevant rules. These can include mitigating the business risk exposure to Fraud and Money Laundering or ensuring that regulatory reports are always submitted promptly to avoid risking penalties from the regulators. 

However, the most essential reason to remain compliant is to ensure that all customers are treated fairly and that there is enough support to ensure that products and services meet clients' requirements, providing them with the best possible experience.

With your experience, what motivates you to do more?

The constant challenge of keeping up with and staying ahead of evolving regulations inspires me to continually improve and innovate in compliance practices.

What advice would you give rock stars starting out in the field of compliance?

Stay adaptable and proactive in staying up to date with regulatory changes. Embrace challenges as opportunities to grow and showcase your leadership skills. 

Finally, building a strong foundation of knowledge and experience will empower you to excel in this field. 

Metkel Asfaha is a qualified Financial Compliance Professional with a successful career of over 15 years detecting and preventing fraud, money laundering, performing complex fraud investigations, handling high-risk transactions, and developing robust and effective financial compliance frameworks. 

Metkel currently functions as the Global Head of Compliance and MLRO at Leatherback, ensuring regulations and data are in compliance with the modalities set by the regulatory bodies we partner with. Metkel works with his team members to make sure Leatherback stays up-to-date with evolving regulations.

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