Darren Gatcum is an Adjudicator and POCA Representative at the Financial Ombudsman Service and has completed numerous ICA qualifications, as well as seeking our in-house training for team members at his organisation.
Working in the City in the heart of international trade and insurance, Darren knows that knowledge is not only power; it enables him to approach his role with confidence.
Darren has an impressive eight ICA qualifications on his CV, and his appetite for knowledge is growing daily as he is currently undertaking a ninth – yes, ninth – ICA Certificate! Darren is a huge advocate of ICA qualifications (as you will soon find out), and discusses his eagerness to learn more in this short interview.
Hi Darren! Thank you for your time today. What has led you to undertake ICA qualifications, not only for yourself but your firm too?
In a nutshell, we wanted to increase our compliance knowledge – not just me, but my team too – and at the same time undertake a recognised qualification. Initially, we at the Financial Ombudsman Service looked at deploying the ICA Certificate in Compliance as the knowledge around conduct risk and the team was fairly junior. While we undertake a number of internal CBT, the appetite for external accreditation was a priority.
At that time, I was appointed the POCA advisor for the insurance team, so I decided to study for the ICA Certificate in Anti Money Laundering, while my team who dealt with complaint resolution found the ICA Certificate in Compliance the most relevant. I discovered that the ICA Certificate in Anti Money Laundering was massively complementary to the ICA Certificate in Managing Sanctions Risk; a course that I had already completed.
I think it’s fair to say that you have studied a few qualifications with us! What have you enjoyed the most about the qualifications that you have undertaken so far?
On the sanctions course, I learnt about how firms combat the financing of terrorism. I wanted to know more about this topic, so I signed up for the Combating the Financing of Terrorism course. I found this certificate very interesting and the workshop engaging. In the seminar, the tutor, Pekka Dare, was incredibly knowledgeable and could bring the subject to life with examples. I learnt how various terrorist organisations fund their operations around the world and how firms can put policies and procedures in place to stop the funding of these operations. At the workshop, it was great to mix and discuss compliance issues with other students from other organisations. I enjoyed the course, and I obtained a distinction in the exam.
I mentioned previously that I work in insurance, and as we all know, there had been some recent bribery prosecutions reported in the press relating to insurance companies and brokers. Accordingly, I wanted to learn more about this topic and so signed up for the ICA Certificate in Anti Corruption. This course gave me a good understanding of how bribery and corruption affect firms and the policies and procedures that need to be in place to protect firms from being prosecuted under various pieces of legislation. After passing the ICA Certificate in Anti Corruption, I was eager to sign up for another course!
Do you think that there are benefits to undertaking the qualifications?
I work in London which is the heart of international trade. I have always been interested in international trade after completing an international trade law course at university. So, as is my usual method of approaching my professional life, I decided to sign up for the ICA Specialist Certificate in Trade Based Money Laundering course. This course opened my eyes to the way criminals and terrorists use goods to transfer value across international borders and the red flags that banks need to be aware of to stop the flow of funds. This certification also made me aware of the issues that I need to think about when considering any international trade transactions. I enjoyed this course, and I obtained a distinction in the exam.
Following on from my previous course, I decided to sign up for the ICA Specialist Certificate in Money Laundering Risk in Capital Markets. This gave me some fantastic insight into various financial products such as derivatives, Swaps, shares, etc. as well as how criminals use these products to launder money. It also gave me a better understanding of how the global markets work as well as the compliance risks that face financial institutions. After completing this course, it whetted my appetite to sign up for another anti money laundering course.
I next decided to study for the certificate in Money Laundering Risk in Private Banking. I am currently on this course. I am learning a vast amount about the risks faced by high-net-worth individuals and PEPs.
I think it’s fair to say that the certificates have opened my eyes (and that of the wider team) to compliance and have increased our appetite to learn more. In my view, one certificate leads onto another certificate. The certificates have given me the knowledge and the confidence to discuss these topics with other compliance colleagues. I now have a list of certificates I want to complete this year. Once I feel the time is right, I will study for the advanced certificates!
What is your personal view on the ICA qualification learning experience? What’s your favourite thing about them?
All the tutors at the workshops and the ICA events have encouraged me to learn more and have been very helpful. In particular, Andy Clarke has been very supportive and has inspired me to do more reading.
The workshops are well organised. We enjoy the workshops as it allows you to network with different members of the team who you would not necessarily interact with, but that impact on your day-to-day responsibilities. At these workshops, the tutors then reinforce the theory side of the course with practical examples.
All the trainers are experts in their field and have a great deal of practical experience. As a result, the trainers bring the topic alive by giving real-life examples. During the workshops, the trainers engage everyone in the room and make it an enjoyable learning experience.
I think it’s fair to say that the certificates are very interesting and enjoyable. The chapters have a logical structure, by taking you on a journey from introducing the topic right the way through to a detailed analysis, and there are plenty of live examples which brings the subject to life.
Plus, the courses are very accessible. All the reading materials, i.e. the manual etc., are on the website and once you’ve signed up for a course and logged on you can start reading and learning a topic straight away. For example, when you contact International Compliance Training and want to study for a certificate, you get access to the materials within minutes.
You can also study at your own pace and take the exam when you are ready which is nice, especially when you’re working in a high pressured role.
What has made you want to study for SO many ICA qualifications?
Personal development! Of course, I want to get a broader understanding of the compliance risks that face financial institutions. I’ve found them all very interesting and have enjoyed studying for them all.
Any advice for other students thinking of studying with International Compliance Training?
Most of my colleagues feel that having an ICA certificate(s) will help them in their compliance careers.
Are you interested in studying for an ICA course but would like to see for yourself what it's like studying with us before you make a decision? Access ourcourse demofor theICA Certificate in AML for a taste of what it's like to study with us.
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