Interview with Amy Han: a Compliance and Risk Perspective on Blockchain-based Payment Platforms and their Adoption
Team Spotlight & Power Hour Episode 17 features Amy Han - AVP Compliance & Risk at WadzPay. Hear from her on what is coming next for WadzPay and her thoughts about Blockchain–based payment platforms and their adoption from a compliance & risk perspective:
Interview with Amy Han: Blockchain - based payment platforms from a compliance and risk perspective
How did you get started in your career? What makes you passionate about this work?
I have always been in the financial industry throughout my career path. The first time I was directly involved in compliance work was working on compliance projects for a local law firm. I was also a banking KYC officer when I was tasked to understand all the AML/CFT requirements.
I became interested in compliance and realised I could be good at it when I helped a Taiwanese Bank set up its wealth management business. I worked closely with the consultant setting up all the policies and procedures and liaising with the regulators on the approval and audit processes. That was when I decided to pursue compliance as my career path.
A good compliance officer requires education, experience, knowledge and personal qualities. Since working in this area, I have genuinely enjoyed it. In this space, developing strong analytical skills and continuously updating your knowledge is critical, and I'm passionate about that.
Perhaps run us through what a day in the life of ¬WadzPay's AVP – Compliance and Risk looks like?
My every day is exciting, challenging and BUSY.
I will usually start my day with news updates about the industries, especially on new developments in regulatory requirements. After that, I will move on to specific tasks my team has worked on. WadzPay is applying for a license in Singapore, UAE, and other markets. Our team's focus is to ensure that our policies and procedures align with each of the region's requirements and have been implemented accordingly.
Between those tasks, there will usually be meetings with various departments to discuss anything involving compliance, such as new products/development with the product team or infosec implementations with the IT division, etc. I feel fulfilled daily as there is no waste of any second.
What advice would you give to women who want to start a tech career?
I always used to call myself an IT dinosaur. But the one thing I realised after working for WadzPay in the blockchain space was that humans have the full potential to learn anything if they want to.
You don't have to be a coder to work in a tech company. Talents with other skills and specialities play important roles nowadays in tech companies. For example, as virtual assets space becomes more and more regulated, tech companies hire compliance specialists. I'm sure there are many female compliance professionals out there.
In my view, regardless you are male or female, success in the tech industry is going to come down to the same factors:
• Firstly, Know your stuff. Irrespective of whether your knowledge is in computer science or finance, you need to be good at what you do, deliver and create value as a team player. This is the universal rule among all industries for you to succeed;
• Secondly, continuous learning. The tech space is a fast-evolving space. To be good at what you do, you must keep up-to-date with industry development, be agile and adapt to changes. Being able to identify gaps and providing corresponding solutions will be significantly valued;
• Lastly, as women, we need to be confident and be ourselves. Don't be shy about giving constructive advice or asking questions. But of course, you must do your extensive homework to ask the right questions and help design solutions. I think that's how you gain respect from your other male colleagues.
I'm sure many women have read Sheryl Sandberg's "Lean In" book. I got inspired many years ago, and I am still. Making the best decisions out of all choices we have, the sky is the limit.
What are your favourite weekend activities?
Spending quality time with the kids. I love all activities that involve the kids. You can bond, communicate, and exchange ideas with them. You know kids grow up so fast, and you don't want to miss out on any chapter of their development, both mentally and physically.
Is there any sport you like and wish you could be a pro?
Yoga? I genuinely enjoy my regular yoga classes and wish to master them better, especially the meditation part, which calms you down and refreshes your mind.
What is the most challenging and also the best part of your role?
I've been in this role with WadzPay for six months, and wow! The landscape is evolving so fast, like no other sector. Almost every week, new regulations or amendments will emerge from a region. It is challenging for a growing company like ours to keep track of these changes, especially when you want to operate in a global format.
The most challenging part of my role is to cover all different regions in terms of their complex and constantly evolving regulatory landscape and communicate it well with our business unit so that they can grow the business and build our products in a compliant way.
But the most challenging part could also be the best part. I can work with diverse teams across multiple locations and learn about different cultures and business practices. I'm delighted to be able to make a meaningful impact on WadzPay, by helping ensure that it operates ethically and responsibly.
What value do you bring to WadzPay?
I think it combines my experience, the business acumen developed all these years, my compliance knowledge, and most importantly, my problem-solving, communication skills and learning ability.
How about your department's objective?
To get a license? And I think, most importantly, to cultivate the compliance mindset and ethical culture and ultimately enhance WadzPay's overall risk management capabilities.
What is your opinion about blockchain-based payment platforms and their adoption from a compliance and risk perspective?
Blockchain-based payment platforms increase transparency and control of transactions, reducing fraud risk, human error, and costs and improving efficiency. However, blockchain payment companies like WadzPay had chosen the thorny path of integrating the old with the new world.
By that, I mean building bridges and solving regulatory and technological challenges between fiat and virtual assets. The Integration poses both a challenge and an advance for the regulators and the industry players. Compliance in this space, therefore, needs to develop effective compliance and risk management strategies accordingly.
Some say the global layoffs recently are not because of market conditions but factors like lack of good planning and calculating the risk; what's your thought on this?
Global layoffs could be because of various factors, including market conditions, company-specific issues, broader economic trends and factors out of the company's control, such as the covid-19 pandemic. And different industries might have various reasons. However, companies need to be proactive, plan well in advance, and be flexible in their approach to risk management, which can help the company navigate through all these challenges.