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Navigating the waters of international sanctions

Madara is certain that anti-money laundering (AML) and compliance are areas in which she wants to build her professional career. “It is a really interesting area, which is evolving fast. There’s a lot of potentials, and anyone with strong experience in AML and compliance will not have trouble finding a good job in the financial industry,” says Madara

Tell us about your journey in SEB

When I finished secondary school I already knew I wanted to work in finance. I joined SEB three and a half years ago. My first steps into the banking field began in FX and Money Market Trade confirmation team and after two years in this team I felt ready to move towards the compliance area, so I applied for a position in the screening team, started working as a bank operations specialist and after a while, I was promoted to my current role.

Please tell us about your current responsibilities

Our team is responsible for screening transactions originated by our customers in Scandinavia, Germany, Poland, the UK and other countries against international and local sanctions lists. We are responsible for making sure that SEB is not processing any transactions involving people or companies which are included in sanctions lists as well as to prevent frauds, money laundering, financing of terrorism and other activities that are considered illegal.
There are multiple IT systems which are filtering all transactions through a set of different parameters to identify potentially suspicious transactions. Such transactions are then reviewed by our team and either released if the investigation shows that the transaction is clean, or frozen and reported if there are serious reasons to suspect that sanctioned entities are involved.

We are also responsible for screening our client portfolios to make sure we are not cooperating with sanctioned private individuals or companies. On top of it all, we are also screening the publicly available information to identify potential risks about clients in our portfolios. So we have quite a lot of important tasks.

What do you like best about your job?

I like the process of investigating suspicious transactions, uncovering more details and preventing bad things from happening. It involves a lot of responsibility, especially nowadays when banks are supervised very tightly. Requirements and regulations are changing almost every day, there are updates on sanction lists, so there’s a lot we need to know and keep track of.

What are the things that motivate you?

During this time of the global pandemic, I appreciate the fact that I am working in a stable company. For example, I haven’t had to worry a single day about losing my job.Stability and certainty about tomorrow are important for me. SEB also provides many opportunities for growth, both horizontally as an expert and vertically as a leader.
SEB is an international company, so if you prove yourself as a valued expert, you apply can get a position in Sweden or any other country where SEB is present. No doubt, the remuneration package is important as well.

What are your professional ambitions?

I see my future in AML and compliance area, definitely would like to broaden my knowledge in the sanctions field, maybe one day to consult at the SEB group level!