A TIC Co Journey With Jerome Cookson

Jerome Cookson, Chief Operating Officer, The TIC Company


What has the journey looked like for you in becoming the Chief Operating Officer with TICC.nz?


It’s been a roller coaster of emotions and experiences getting to the position I’m in now; balancing a young family with high pressure roles has not been without its challenges, however having strong work/life balance and driven teams behind me always made the goal achievable. I always have the mantra being “if I fail , then my family fails and that ain’t happening”


Is this something you’ve consciously worked towards, or saw as an opportunity to gain more experience in the AML sector?


Having worked in Finance Operational roles for over 7yrs, predominantly supporting customer experience, it was inevitable that AML/ CFT would be a major factor and learning along the way. I’ve always understood the importance of the Act and more importantly the “why” and installed this in the teams we built. I wouldn’t say I consciously worked towards a career in Operational Compliance but am certainly relishing and enjoying the opportunity.


What are some of the biggest challenges, in your opinion, businesses face with AML & CFT? And how does this differ to the banking, finance sector?


There are two big challenges for business (including the finance sectors):

  • One is ensuring the customer experience is not impacted when requesting information for verification. It can be an intrusive part of on-boarding so making sure the expectation is set up front and again the “why” is very important;

  • Secondly, its understanding and communicating (internally) your company’s risk assessment along with risk appetite, different sectors will have different frameworks and having these regularly reviewed and ensuring they’re aligned to process is vital.

Do you think there is a lack of understanding or confusion with AML & CFT?


As we come into the new digital age AML / CFT will become a household factor for everyone, but I do think there is still an element of confusion or even resistance around verification. In my opinion, decentralising one’s information and giving the responsibility back to the consumer, will not only enable them to understand what information is public about them but will ultimately install the power back to allow the management of data, in turn, less confusion.


And what can those in the industry do better, in your opinion?


Inadvertently answered this above but, industries understanding the benefits of decentralisation to them is also a major part in this potential step.


What are or is the biggest positive change you’ve seen?


I think it would be the wider appreciation of AML and inadvertently the acceptance by the general public. It’s also encouraging to see the regulators embrace more digital channels.


What are your top tips/ suggestions for those looking to further their journey in this sector?


Be open minded. Don’t assume because you may enter a company at a lower level than expected or not in your desired area, that you can’t or won’t learn anything - there’s learnings in all paths and all these will build the best foundation to where you want to be.


Now let’s get a little personal.


1. Favourite eating place?


There’s a little spot out west Called “Sozo Coffee Shop” who roast and make great coffee, they also do simple good low cost meals that are top notch, recommend you check them out.


2. Chill time – what works for you? And hey, let’s be honest here – no judgement. .


I’m an active relaxer so playing football is a major de-stress along with walks with the family etc. of course in simpler times travel would also be up there.


3. What are clear traits that make you great at what you do?


You’d have to ask my teams for that one but being personable and having a calm approach has always steered me well, I guess.