The future is here. Long gone are the days when eCommerce was seen as a goal to work toward over the next 10 or 15 years. As the pandemic drastically accelerated this need, brick-and-mortar operations are quietly taking the backseat as businesses pivot toward digital operations to fulfill their growth projections.
However, this sharp upward digital trend is leaving some business operators feeling like they’re stuck between a rock and a hard place. With a frictionless customer experience and the need to remain compliant at opposing ends, modernizing processes is the only way out.
Fortunately for Philippe Panneton, SVP of Risk and Underwriting at Nuvei, he enjoys solving the complexities of making these parts fit together. Working for a global payments company, Philippe understands the importance of enabling growth while protecting his business and customers from fraud.
Read on to learn how Philippe’s approach to the digital economy, the customer experience and digital identity has allowed him to excel as a Champion of Trust.
Philippe is a risk professional with over 20 years of experience in the financial industry, specializing Risk management, Recoveries and Customer Due Diligence.
With merchant applications at the root of his work, Philippe is passionate about finding innovative ways to help bring applications to life and watching those businesses grow.
Self-described as motivated and meticulous, it’s only natural that these qualities contributed to Philippe’s leadership influence in the workplace and as a Champion of Trust.
How do you balance the tension between doing the appropriate amount of due diligence while also making sure your customers have a good experience?
I think that’s always the tightrope that we walk. We want to be as frictionless as possible when it comes to our customers because we want to provide them with a seamless experience with as few human touches as possible.
You can be a best-in-class sales organization but then you need to stand up the operations to support that. And we do that by shifting from people validating things to processes or APIs validating things.
We can’t just rely anymore on paper or pictures of documents. Those things are great but everything is error-prone when you have people trying to visually validate things and making those decisions.
We’ve engaged technology partners to help us scale, to bring us the expertise in regions where we were lacking and to connect us to APIs, data sources and validation sources in areas where we didn’t have any.
So if we can tap into databases that allow us to validate addresses, search public records, find unique beneficial owners and make sure that all of those things are in check, then customers will never have to speak to anybody and they can be onboarded in minutes as opposed to hours or days.
So we go from being a department that costs money to a department that helps generate money.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced on your compliance career journey and how did you overcome it?
Traditionally, any sales-driven organization is going to view risk or underwriting as a blocker. We’re the gatekeepers of the business. But it’s our job to protect shareholder value and the business from bad actors. We have to say no sometimes, and the challenge is selling the fact that we’re saying no for the right reason.
So the biggest challenge that I’ve had has been to shift that perception inside our business from seeing risk and underwriting as blockers to being value adders. And how we shifted that perception has been through persistence, repetition and having the numbers to back us up.
At that point, it’s no longer about blocking revenue, you are contributing to the bottom line. So we go from being a department that costs money to a department that helps generate money.
It’s impossible for us to know everything when it comes to risk or compliance because this field evolves so quickly.
What skill sets, approaches or traits do you think are needed to be successful in this field?
I think to be successful in any field, you need to have a passion. But to be successful in this field, you not only need to be passionate but you also need to be curious. You need to always want to learn new things and constantly be seeking out opportunities to be taught.
It’s impossible for us to know everything when it comes to risk or compliance because this field evolves so quickly. So as long as you stay curious, driven and passionate, you’ve got the basic ingredients that you need to succeed in this business.
How do you use a digital identity to make sure things are secure, but also pursue opportunities that are good for your company and your customers?
I don’t remember where I read this but I think it’s something like 1.1 billion people in the world currently can’t be verified. They don’t have any actual form of identification outside of their local communities.
That means you’ve got one out of eight people in the world now that can’t open a bank account, may not have access to healthcare or can’t travel outside of their local jurisdiction. And that’s scary. All these things that we take for granted are things other people don’t have access to.
My take on digital identity is that it’s the future and it needs to happen for very humane reasons. The sooner folks in our field embrace the value of digital identity and the trust that comes with digital identity, the healthier the ecosystem will be.
We talk a lot about the payments ecosystem and how everyone who’s involved from the card schemes down to the end-users have a responsibility to ensure that ecosystem is healthy. I think that digital identity and trust are going to be the key to ensuring the global marketplace is safe and secure as it expands.
Countries have borders but digital transactions don’t. And if our digital transactions don’t, then neither should our IDs.
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