This regular feature includes brief interviews with various ACFE members from the UK and Europe sharing their views on fraud. This month's interview is with Jasper Sembie, CFE, a London-based business development manager for Link Brazil.
What do your job duties involve?
I work for an international currency trade and remittance company with branches and agents in in the UK, U.S. and Brazil. With further international expansion comes increased exposure to several risk factors including currency, counterparty, agency and regulatory risks. My role as the Business Development Manager – Risk entails ensuring that strong controls and due diligence are in place to prevent and mitigate the aforementioned risks that come with expansion into new regions and new business relations. So basically, I handle the risk side of customer relationship management. Recently, I was also appointed Money Laundering Reporting Officer (MLRO) — a compliance function that relies heavily on the detection and reporting of red flags through Know Your Customer (KYC) and Customer Due Diligence (CDD).
How did you hear about the ACFE?
I became interested in fraud just after getting my current job, where I first became exposed to high volume transaction processing. It was out of caution that I sought knowledge in fraud prevention and detection. I got to know about the ACFE while searching online for a course on fraud prevention and control. The CFE program appeared to be the most specialised and globally recognised option. So I went for it and that was a great decision!
How will being a CFE assist with your work?
Being a practicing risk manager, what I have learnt from the CFE (exam curriculum) and currently gain from the available ACFE member resources will continue to be of great benefit to me in my work. Before becoming a CFE, I had only general knowledge of fraud — that which came from my accounting and auditing experience. Studying for the exam has heightened my knowledge in the specifics as per the four sections — Financial Transactions & Fraud Schemes, Law, Investigation, and Fraud Prevention & Deterrence.
Also, the CFE designation is a respected credential that indicates specialised knowledge in fraud prevention, detection and investigation. Furthermore, I am already benefiting from networking with fellow CFEs all over the world through various forums. I gain from the insight and knowledge shared by experienced CFEs in the exchange of ideas and opinions.
Operating in the financial sector and as an Authorised Payment Institution in particular, the total risk is heightened by our (industry-wide) vulnerability to fraud through the use of shell companies and trusts. Most notably, criminals including money launderers often try to initiate placement of illicit funds via remittances and apparent ‘commercial payments’. Being a CFE, I am now more aware of the typologies of fraud most likely to affect my work environment. I am also more aware of the psychology of fraudsters and I am more sensitive of fraud indicators. I also share this awareness across my colleagues in related functions.
How much study time did you take?
In preparing for the exam, I used the CFE Exam Prep Course, which is the ACFE’s official Exam review/preparation tool. Studying for at least two hours a day, it took me four weeks to complete the Prep Course and an additional week of practicing mock Exams. I am sure my Exam preparation would have been longer if not for my prior knowledge of auditing and accounting; and more so, if not for the streamlined Prep Course, which is truly Exam focused.