Q&A with Kym Routledge, Head of Financial Crime
We sat down with Kym Routledge, our Head of Financial Crime, to discuss her role at BCB Group and the challenges facing the crypto industry.
Q: Describe your job role at BCB Group.
Kym: My job is to lead and facilitate a fantastically, talented team of AML specialists as they safeguard BCB Group against ML/TF risks posed throughout the lifecycle of our client relationships.
As a ‘dissectologist’, I mitigate ML/TF risks for the firm by discovering/ piecing the correct/best components together such as; function controls, well placed reg tech, industry knowledge sharing, buy-in from the firm and talented analysts. Each carefully placed component means we don’t just meet our regulatory requirements, but we’re also able to look ahead to what safeguarding the firm, employees and our clients looks like against the ever present and never decreasing ML/TF risks.
Q: What does a typical work day look like for you?
Kym: Well there is no such thing as a typical day in AML or BCB for that matter!
There are always lots of meetings that enable me to make decisions and get things done! Alongside team catch ups, learning, client reviews, audits, partner bank queries, creating and reviewing new processes, reviewing/tweaking controls, reviewing escalations, client calls…and a minimum of 20k steps!
Q: Why did you choose to go into this industry?
Kym: I have been working in finance for 20 years. I want to use my experience to make a real difference to the future evolution of finance, banking and payments. If that means being brave and operating at the coal face of change and leading the charge in educating others in the industry as to how to deliver AML best practice in this space, then I am up for the challenge.
Q: What are the major themes that you’re seeing come out of the crypto industry at the moment from a financial crime perspective?
Kym: Firstly the crypto industry is faced with the same challenges as TradFi, meaning regardless of technology and industry, financial crime exhibits consistent patterns of behaviour from bad actors and at BCB we are no stranger to seeing this. So we still see red flags around the source of funds and wealth, complex ‘masked’ ownership and behaviours that are indicative of layering and obfuscation.
Combating fraud also remains absolutely critical. We are seeing a rise in APP fraud typologies such as “pig butchering” a variation of the well-known romance scam category as fraudsters turn their attention to the sector. In essence the underlying behaviour of financial criminals remains consistent for both crypto and TradFi.
Q: What do you think the biggest challenges facing the industry are right now and how do you think BCB Group is addressing those challenges?
Kym: A lack of uniformed approach to regulation to help foster growth across the industry! Only specific aspects of the crypto space are currently regulated which leaves lots of room for bad actors to make their mark and lack of robust controls leaves genuine clients falling foul to their play.
BCB Group proactively addresses these challenges through a two-fold approach:
- Building trusted partnerships: BCB Group positions itself as a top-tier provider for legitimate companies within the crypto industry. We offer payment rail provision services that enable these companies to conduct their business activities seamlessly. Our strategic position at the intersection of traditional finance and the crypto ecosystem allows us to build robust and reliable infrastructure, fostering a secure environment for the emerging crypto industry to scale and innovate. This is achieved through a platform that prioritises scrutiny and trustworthiness.
- Stringent Controls: BCB Group maintains stringent controls and imposes high barriers to entry. We meticulously vet and service only those customers and entities that meet our rigorous quality standards, ensuring the highest level of security and compliance.
So in summary, BCB Group is actively addressing the challenges facing the industry by offering trusted services and enforcing stringent controls. It’s crucial to acknowledge that for crypto to flourish, it must embrace regulation, and standardised regulation and directives, such as MICA in Europe, are instrumental in facilitating this growth.
Q: What is your favourite thing about working at BCB Group?
Kym: My team of legends! I’m fortunate to be surrounded by a fantastic, dynamic and enthusiastic team who make my job easy, well easier. In fact the whole BCB team is welcoming, innovative and disciplined, so my favourite thing is definitely the people!
Q: If you had to describe BCB Group in one word, what would it be?
Q: What do you think makes BCB Group unique?
Kym: Its people and vision.
Q: What are your interests outside of BCB Group?
Kym: There are too many to list as I never sit still or have a spare moment!
I’m interested in balance.
I like the finer and fun things in life…travel, dining out, adrenaline sports, clothes etc but I also care about leaving a better planet and society for the future generations so when I treat myself to a holiday or that new VB dress, I must in turn restore the balance of what I’ve taken/used/received. I do this by calculating what ‘I owe’ and then paying back by planting ‘X’ trees/give ‘X’ hours back to the community/make a donation/grow ‘X’ lb of veg etc etc …just the sheer calculations and planning of all that takes a lot of time and research! It’s “Kym’s offset lifestyle!” …and I’m a frustrated screenwriter!