Navigating risk and building a Dream Team in Brazil's fintech market
People · 10 May 2023Alex Carril
From technology to local regulations, all the way to customer support, our Risk & Compliance (R&C) teams work across many departments, products, and regions to bring new initiatives to life and make sure our products remain safeguarded for our business and customers. The special agents in R&C sit at the core of Revolut’s performance and provide ongoing expertise so we keep our business on safe ground.
We chatted with Willian Takamura, Head of Regulatory Compliance and Money Laundering Reporting Officer in Brazil, to get an insight into the world of R&C and what goes into launching in a new market.
Tell us about yourself: who are you and how did you join Revolut?
A previous boss once told me I was a resolute problem solver. I think I’m only a father and a husband trying to survive in this chaotic world.
Professionally, I’m a financial regulatory specialist with close to 20 years of experience, two degrees in Law and IT and an MBA in Accounting and Finance. I worked on most of the history of financial regulation in Brazil in the past few years, from the Basel II and III implementation into one big bank, to the fintech boom we’re all aware of.
I joined Revolut in July 2022. Originally, I was contacted to manage Financial Crime Operations. After a few months, I was invited to manage FinCrime Compliance, as Head of Regulatory Compliance and MLRO, the position I’m in today. All of this to achieve the goal of being authorised by the Central Bank of Brazil to offer financial services in this lovely country.
Challenge accepted! I’m here supporting the efforts to launch the Brazil expansion soon.
When you recall your first weeks at Revolut, is there anything that surprised you after you started working here?
I found a very sophisticated state of art in terms of FinCrime and Regulatory controls, better than most of the service providers specialised in these matters. Really a complex, but outstanding process and controls.
Usually in Brazil, most processes and controls are executed manually, with a lot of manual adaptations to manage the day-to-day problems. Due to all this low automation, proving auditors that controls and processes are safe can be very tricky.
I believe with good use of technology, highly integrated with operations, managing FinCrime and Regulatory controls can be easy and more effective, which is what I found working at Revolut. Why is it beneficial? We can be the best of the best in markets where we move to establish new operations. In this way, Revolut is well-prepared to win in Brazil.
What value does Revolut bring to the Brazilian fintech market? What role does the Compliance department play in fulfilling this mission?
Analysing the evolution of financial markets, we have 3 drivers for the future:
- Cross border payment/remittances allowing customers in one country to buy things directly from merchants in other countries
- Financial services embedded, which means financial services being offered in marketplaces, transport apps, and everywhere, which will ultimately replace traditional banking
- The digitalisation of money, which means less money in cash and more smart contracts and digital money, or Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs)
Today, in Brazil, we have fintechs specialising in each one of these drivers, but Revolut has all of these products. It’s also well-positioned to offer these products to Brazilians, making it unmatched in the Brazilian market.
R&C provides intelligence, data, and insights to drive product and business decisions in order to protect the company and comply with internal and external regulations. Moreover, the role of R&C is to help the company adapt products and services for the Brazilian market, to protect users from fraud, and deliver an amazing customer experience.
How would you describe Revolut’s R&C teams? What makes them different from others?
They’re responsible for using a wide range of techniques, methodologies, and technologies to measure, control, and mitigate risk for the company. Our crucial R&C team has a 360 degree view of the business and operations, in order to drive solutions and allow Revolut to be safe, sustainable, and resilient. We view things on a global level, but also adapt conditions locally.
As Head of Regulatory Compliance and MLRO, what is the biggest challenge that you see after the first months of work of the Revolut Brazil team?
Building a Dream Team who can manage the high volume of new regulations and laws, and has a high level of data and technology knowledge. All of this while we work to expand into the Brazilian market.
Who are we looking for to join our team? What do our candidates need to have?
We’re looking for people with the capacity to analyse and manage data, and have great communication skills to explain their findings and drive solutions. Of course, they should also have a great understanding of Brazilian regulation for FinCrime, Regulatory Compliance, or fraud.
The essential attitude is an open mind to the new, different, and uncertain, while understanding the essence of the question. It’s all about finding a good solution and the resilience to continue fighting against the status quo.