September 14, 2020
After 10 long years of debate and refinement, The Netherlands’ new pension reform has been agreed upon. The new sweeping measures make up the most significant pension reform change the country has ever seen, and it will all come into effect on January 1st, 2026. But don’t let the six-year lead time lull you into a false sense of security – to comply with these new measures, you’ll need every day you can get.
So, just how big of a job will it be to meet these reforms’ requirements? Read more
August 26, 2020
The Three Lines of Defence model for managing risk isn’t without its flaws. In previous blogs, we’ve shared some of our insights into what those shortcomings are and our ideas on how to improve upon them. But in working towards making the Three Lines of Defence model as efficient as possible, next to the need for data analytics skills, we can’t ignore the people-driven nature of the system.
Frequently, people are hired based solely on their experience and hard skills, but the job is as much as about having people skills and being a strong communicator as it is about having expertise. The most extensive knowledge is meaningless if it can’t be communicated with clarity, conviction and consideration. Challenging and support (see CP EBA and IIA update on 3LoD) of the First Line cannot be effective without well developed people skills.
So, how can you ensure that you have the right people on your teams? Read more
July 20, 2020
The twelve Agile principles – created to help solve IT challenges – have been around for nearly two decades now, inspiring many process frameworks, like SCRUM. The agile principles are still as relevant as ever by using people-focused communication, embracing changing requirements, creating trusted and empowered teams. They’ve done well to allow for more creativity, more flexibility, and end-result products that more closely align with a solution that the client wants. This all sounds perfectly ideal – and in some industries it absolutely is but:
How are these Agile principles applied in the context of regulatory compliance, and is it working? Read more
July 1, 2020
The regulatory change cycle can be exhausting and relentless. With insufficient time, money, and resources to implement meaningful, structural solutions, our clients often feel like they’re being held for ransom by the system; that they’re only barely making compliance deadlines with one-off, band-aid solutions that leave their teams exhausted and no more prepared to meet the next change.
But the regulatory change cycle doesn’t have to be a vicious one. Read more
June 17, 2020
The full impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on our world will likely only truly be understood once we’re past it – but it shouldn’t stop us from gathering the learnings we have now and adapting the best we can. Recently, the European Banking Authority published a paper entitled “The EU Banking Sector: First Insights into the Covid-19 Impacts” to shed some light on the ever-evolving situation.
So, what are our main takeaways from this report? Read more
June 3, 2020
We’ve always been passionate about the financial industry’s role in combating climate change and working towards a more sustainable, greener economy. We work hard to help our clients understand and navigate increasing regulatory requirements and recommendations regarding this green shift, as well as leverage and create opportunities within its context. Since Sustainability and Climate Risk in finance are increasingly hot and relevant topics, we would like to share our knowledge on these subjects with as many of you as possible: we’re putting on a Webinar! Read more
May 20, 2020
In such uncertain times, we’re delighted to share some exciting, positive news with you. We’re proud and happy to say that we’re welcoming a new partner into our ranks, Carola Steenmeijer.
Carola is a true risk and regulatory professional, and brings an impressive 20+ years of experience with her in financial services to ACE, with her primary focus on banking.
Though Carola earned her degree in Economics and Finance in the 90s at Amsterdam Free University, she has consistently continued her education, including various leadership programs and, most recently, the Executive Innovation Program at the Singularity University of Silicon Valley.
Carola leant her know-how to KPGM for most of her career, working there for a total of 22 years. With her combination of hard skills and her outspoken, can-do attitude, she quickly made partner and even served on the Advisory Leadership Team.
From there, Carola decided to go solo and, for the last three years, has been the owner of her own firm, Steenhart Consulting. There Carola advised her clients in the financial sector on strategic risk issues while connecting traditional risk methodologies with social contribution and technological innovations. She is also a member of the Advisory Board Holland Financial Network and was Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the KLM Cabin Crew Pension fund. Since September 2019, Carola has also been a member of the Board of the KLM General Pension Fund. And recently, she accepted the role of independent chairperson of the NOC*NSF’s expert panel advising on the allocation of the Corona fund.
Needless to say, Carola’s education and professional background are very well-suited to help ACE grow and optimize – but it’s not just Carola’s black and white skills that we’re excited about. It’s also her drive for solving complex problems, with diplomacy and creativity, and her seemingly limitless interpersonal skills. Carola finds solutions that work while balancing conflicting parties.
Aligned philosophy. Carola firmly believes and is driven by her desire to use her knowledge and skills to do some good – by realizing projects that truly make an impact.
She is an advocate for increasing social projects and sustainability – and of course, these subjects are very important to ACE as well – and Carola knows there is room at ACE to pursue these interests and that she will be supported.
On top of that, Carola is looking forward to the social aspects of leading a team. She enjoys developing people, helping them learn, and creating harmonious and efficient team dynamics for a fun, high-performance work environment.
If you’re interested in learning more about Carola or about ACE in general, feel free to reach out.
As always, thanks for reading,
May 6, 2020
It’s no secret that COVID-19 has been thoroughly disruptive to the financial industries on a global scale. To combat its adverse effects on the economy many regulatory exceptions have been made, and deadlines pushed. It’s been fascinating and somewhat uplifting to see the various factions of our industry work quickly and work together to make the best of a trying time. However, in such trying times, we’re also seeing forces working that are trying to take advantage of this complicated situation we find ourselves in: criminals.
Financial institutions are obliged to flag and investigate unusual financial behaviors of their customers. But what happens in a time crisis to some typical “unusual behaviors”? They might become more common. An increased amount of people, for example, might take out larger and more frequent quantities of cash – we see an influx in this as well during natural disasters. During this COVID-19 crisis, we’ve seen a massive surge in online shopping, while everyone tries to keep to their homes and away from crowded stores as much as possible. We also see more extensive use of cryptocurrencies.
Transaction monitoring systems have been calibrated to flag some of these COVID-era normal behaviors, and this might result in creating an increased number of false positives that would make the detection of actually suspicious transaction behavior more complicated. What’s more, some COVID-era suspicious behaviors used to be totally normal and are therefore not being flagged. A restaurant or a bar, for example, in a country practicing lockdown and social distancing measures, most likely doesn’t have the same type and pattern of transactions now, as it did pre-COVID. If it is, it might be a red flag worth investigating, possibly indicating money laundering.
At the same time, the use of online banking platforms has increased, leaving everyone more vulnerable to an increased risk of identity theft and phishing. This means that financial institutions that rely on online banking and onboarding need to strengthen the measures and controls to minimize the risks of identity theft and phishing.
All these changed and new-normal behaviors might make systems more vulnerable to these and other types of financial crime. It’s essential to take a look at how you can ensure or even reinforce your existing security. Of course, with all the changes that COVID has also brought us, from an operational level, many businesses are facing challenges due to home-working, resulting in a potential decrease of available resources.
Now more than ever it is important to follow FATF’s recommendation to adopt a risk based approach. It’s crucial right now to adapt to this new normal. We can help you assess the impact of COVID-19 and define improved measures in the detection and prevention of financial crime, as well as help on an operational level. Helping to ensure that due diligence and ongoing monitoring are being carried out effectively, correctly, and in a manner that reflects this new normal we all find ourselves in.
As always, thanks for reading and get in touch if you’d like to know more. Until then, stay safe,
April 22, 2020
As the COVID-19 virus continues to shake our way of life to its core, the financial industries continue to respond. From relaxing some regulations to postponing deadlines, many entities have taken courageous, quick, and drastic action with one goal in mind: to keep international economies afloat as much as physically possible.
April 8, 2020
There is a reason you’re most likely reading this blog from home – the COVID-19 virus is sweeping the globe, creating an unprecedented international pandemic. Its effects can be felt in every aspect of our lives, and the financial industry is by no means any different. Luckily, there are a few measures to help the economy stay afloat during such a trying time.