Interview with risk, fraud & compliance professional Stacey Hitter

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Savarsity student aims to give South African students to different career choices. A part of this is interviewing people in different careers to give our readers an idea of what to expect should they decide to follow a certain career path. In today interview, we talk to Stacey Hitter about her Career in risk, fraud and compliance in tech and financial organisations.

career in fraud, risk and compliance
Fraud & Risk Analyst Stacey Hitter

1. Tell us a little about yourself, your background and career of choice


My name is Stacey Hitter I am from a suburb called Elsies River in Cape Town. I matriculated at Cravenby Secondary school my passion has always been performing arts and I had this big dream of studying drama at UCT after school. I started job hunting in order to save money towards studying performing arts, I always wanted to join the banking industry and I was lucky enough to get a job at a bank as a Sales and Service Consultant, I was in the branch for a year and a half and then got promoted to the Business Center, I did everything from administration, customer service, collections, fraud and risk reviews, sales, I did a short stint in ATM Fraud Investigations as well, it was an amazing opportunity and I was surrounded with great mentors, after 4 and a half years at the bank an amazing opportunity came up I joined the E-commerce sector as an Investigations Specialist and after 8 months I got a position at another financial industry as a Credit Monitoring Officer in the Credit Operations department and started out in Assessment Audit which then became Manager Review, I then joined the Digital Currency Industry as a Fraud and Risk analyst.

2. What made you decide on a career in fraud and risk?


I am an analytical person who is investigative by nature. I was lucky to be in a versatile role where I could do a bit of everything to finally realize what my passion in the corporate world is, I believe when you love what you do, you will never have to work a day in your life.

3. What qualities does one need and what does someone need to study to work and fraud and risk?


You need to be able to be analytical, assertive and focused, you need to have an eye for detail and you need to be able to deep dive. I would also say you need to be creative when it comes to collecting information. I studied Credit Management at CPUT Cape Town as it covers everything I enjoyed Banking in South Africa, Credit management, (credit assessments, collections, customer service, Debt Restructuring, Economics, Fraud, Economics, Introduction to Financial Management, Financial Statements and Ratio Analyses, Factoring, Law of contract, Credit Insurance, Securities, Credit Agreements Act, Usury Act, Magistrates Court Act, Exports, Transition from supervisor to manager, performance measurement, control measures and staff management, Accounts receivable financing, Financial management and ratio analysis, analysis of financial statements, Socio-economic factors and their influence in assessment, administration and collections, Cash flow and Cash flow projections and forecasting, Detailed study of insolvency, including the Companies Act, the Agricultural Credit Act and case law, Detailed study of the legal system and the various courts, Detailed study of various acts with application on the provision of credit services and the rights of the individual.) I then also registered for my CFE.

There are different courses available I would say studying Credit management or obtaining a Higher Certificate in Forensics Examination would be ideal however there are so many different courses to choose from, I did research and then decided what would be best for me, so I would encourage everyone to do as much research before selecting a course.

4. What challenges did you face during your studies and how did you overcome them?


My biggest challenge was working shifts and studying luckily I had a very supportive manager and team and was allowed to take study leave when needed, I was actually very lucky to be able to study after being in the industry for 5 years as that helped me a lot with my assignments and modules.


5. What challenges have you faced in the industry, what can one expect?


It was very challenging moving from banking to E-commerce it's a total different level of doing risk reviews and fraud investigations however with the right training and mentors it became easy and I really learned a lot, also it's not always easy to distinguish between soft and hard fraud as soft fraud has a lot of false positives, there are times fraud accounts can slip through without you noticing, it's always important to follow your gut and deep dive if need be and document previous fraud cases and modus operandi used as it will be easy for you and your team to distinguish if faced with a similar case in the future

6. What are the different career paths within fraud and risk and what sorts of companies/industries can one work in?


The different career paths would be Audit, Accounting auditor, Fraud analyst, Risk analyst, Governance Risk management and Compliance, Forensics Investigator, Anti-Money Laundering Officer.

The best opportunities are usually in the Banking, Financial Services, E- commerce, Insurance and Fintech industry

7. Any last words for people considering a career in fraud and risk


It is a very rewarding field, Information gathering and data analyses is very important, always make sure to check all cases twice, make sure you have attention to detail and don't forget the smallest detail, make a checklist if need be. Find a structure that works for you and create a standard operating procedure if one is not in place yet. Also document cases and share it with your team so that when faced with a similar case it would be easy to reference the action taken.

I hope the information helps.

You can find Stacey on LinkedIn

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