Q&A: Introducing Amanda Hicks, Chief Compliance Officer at Nucleus365
1. How did you get into the payments sector?
Having previously worked in many high street banks, part of that compliance role was to monitor payments both in and out, which opened me up to the many ways that compliance plays such an important part in AML (Anti Money Laundering). With a decade of expertise in regulatory compliance, risk management, and financial crime prevention I have led transformative projects, from obtaining e-money licences to overseeing comprehensive compliance frameworks.
2. What excites you the most about the payments sector and your work?
No two days are ever the same! To keep up with the ever-changing ways in which criminals try to infiltrate the payments system, it is important to constantly familiarise myself with ongoing industry trends. Threat actors are constantly evolving their tactics, which means we need to be agile and responsive, identifying potential weaknesses that might be exploited and strengthening our defences.
3. What does your role at Nucleus365 entail?
As a member of the Nucleus365 management team, my primary responsibility as Chief Compliance Officer (CCO) is to oversee the company’s compliance with relevant laws, regulatory requirements, and procedures. This requires a unique individual who can provide both leadership and specialised expertise. Achieving a balance between leadership and subject matter knowledge is essential in setting the tone for the company. As CCO, it is crucial for me to earn the respect of the business to influence senior leaders, contribute authoritatively to C-Suite meetings, and address any inappropriate behaviours from other leaders.
In addition to these responsibilities, I play a critical role in making decisions about new senior hires, preparing board papers, attending regulator interviews, and engaging in liaison meetings. Staying informed about regulatory expectations is vital, and I apply my experience to help guide the business in recognising and reinforcing its compliance framework.
On a day-to-day basis, I focus on addressing regulatory or legislative matters that are escalated through the business, presenting reports on compliance operations and business operations from a compliance perspective at team and risk committee meetings, and collaborating with the board. I also manage a team, overseeing leadership aspects such as performance, pay, team size, dynamics, and overall morale.
My role is to balance regulatory requirements with the company’s business objectives while effectively mitigating risks to ensure ongoing compliance. My goal is to ensure the organisation surpasses regulatory compliance benchmarks, fosters stakeholder relationships, and guides the company to new heights in compliance excellence and sustainable growth.
4. What trends do you see emerging in the next few years in the payments industry?
There are three big trends that will shape the future of payments.
The first is Authorised Push Payment (APP) fraud.
As we move into 2024, APP fraud will remain high on the agenda. For Payment Service Providers (PSPs), a key focus will be implementing the new reimbursement requirements from the Payments Systems Regulator (PSR). For any fraudulent transactions made using Faster Payments, PSPs will be obliged to reimburse individuals, charities, and microenterprises within five working days, though the clock can be stopped if they need to gather further information. Most businesses, however, will not be protected by the new rules, so their focus will be on putting in place controls, such as Confirmation of Payee and more robust payment authorisations controls, to combat the risk of APP fraud.
The second is operational resilience and control culture.
From a regulatory perspective, recent operational resilience requirements, such as those issued by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and The Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) in 2022 and the new Consumer Duty from the FCA have increased the focus on service delivery trust in the financial services space. In a now predominantly digital world, end users of banking and payment systems need to have confidence that their online services are reliable and delivered in a timely manner.
And the final trend is the continued evolution of real-time payments.
Real-time payments have made significant strides in recent years – many countries have implemented or are in the process of implementing real-time payment infrastructure, allowing for faster and more convenient transactions. We have already seen an increase in speed, accessibility, and cost-efficiency, but soon we are also likely to see adoption grow more globally and further integration with other services. With this, there is going to be a heightened focus on fraud and cybersecurity, meaning we will see further innovations in authentication methods, encryption, and fraud detection software will be crucial to ensure the safety of these transactions.