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Compliance from a different angle

Working in compliance can be fascinating, and no day will be like the next. Well, at least at PrimeiroPay, and here is why.

It’s time to meet another member of the PrimeiroPay family – Christiana Ellina is our Director of Compliance & Head of AML. Here, she tells us what makes compliance so fascinating, what her biggest challenges are – and why she loves working at PrimeiroPay! 

Q. So Christiana, why did you choose compliance? What interested you about the work?

A. I come from a financial services background, working first in external auditing as a Qualified Chartered Accountant and then as an Internal Auditor at a multinational bank. My experience spans Finance, Governance, Compliance and Risk Management. This has given me an in-depth understanding of the importance of regulations and how processes, policies and procedures play a key role in driving a business to fulfil its external obligations and achieving its growth goals. Shifting from auditing the compliance function to executing that role myself seemed like a natural progression. 

The role at PrimeiroPay came up at just the right moment. It was an exciting opportunity, where I would gain hands-on experience and also contribute back to the company. And what interested me about the work was seeing compliance from a different angle and a different business perspective. PrimeiroPay is a fast-growing payment service provider whose processes are still being shaped and evolving, compared to the traditional banking environment that I came from, where procedures are more mature and established.

Q.  What do you most enjoy about your work as a Compliance Officer?

A. The thought-provoking and collaborative nature of the role along with the challenges it brings that always keeps it interesting! Day in day out, there is always something different going on, and no two days are ever the same. This is a dynamic and multifaceted role that brings me great satisfaction. I love knowing that I play a key role in helping the company reach its goals and build trust with its stakeholders. The job also involves continuous learning, a high level of interaction and plenty of teamwork with others during the workday – aspects which I find very appealing and key to a ‘growth mindset’.

Q. What have been your biggest challenges at work?

A. Understanding the regulatory framework in the context of PrimeiroPay’s unique payment solution and the countries it operates in was one of my first priorities and challenges since I joined. It was crucial for me as a first step to grasp those requirements and be able to link them back to existing processes to build a complete operational flow, aligned to the continuously evolving country-specific payment and financial regulations.

Leading the revision of our Global Anti-Money Laundering (AML) & Counter-Terrorist Financing Manual was also a major challenge and at the same time, a great opportunity. An opportunity to take a deep dive into our compliance processes, including our AML Risk Assessment Tool,  Know-Your-Customer procedures and the Transaction Monitoring Programme. Streamlining the AML processes, tailoring them to reflect the specific needs of the markets and countries we operate in, and also ensuring that they fit our business model and customer industry profiles, was a pretty significant undertaking. We have a great team here, and we take a very pragmatic approach, so I was very happy with the results of the revision. Seeing the effective application of this project and the meaningful results it produces has been very fulfilling.

Q. Why did you choose PrimeiroPay?

A. There are many reasons why I wanted to join PrimeiroPay. It has a very diverse culture and a pleasant environment. There are lovely people from around the world to interact and team up with. It has given me a fantastic opportunity to join a growing company that operates in a different region (LATAM) and market to the ones I used to work in previously. This really is a great workplace where you can learn new things, share your knowledge and grow with the company. 

In addition, coming from big firms where things tend to be more bureaucratic and in most cases you only get to know the people you work with day to day, I love the fact that despite its fast-growing speed, PrimeiroPay still feels like a family. Everyone here works as a team, and it’s nice knowing there is always someone there if you need help. I am really glad to be part of this family – and that’s what PrimeiroPay is to me.

Q.        What are you looking forward to next year? 

A. It has been a great, great experience so far! I am looking forward to many more challenging opportunities to contribute to the company’s success as much as I can. I am also looking forward to our PSD2 license and the company’s European and LATAM expansion, through which we will keep serving our clients with flexibility and adaptability at the forefront. 

We are hiring! Want to join us? Check out our open positions.

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