In 2019, Nathalie Fournier earned her Certificate in Trade Finance Compliance (CTFC) after successful completion of the qualification’s course of studies and examination. The CTFC certification programme is jointly developed and administered by The London Institute of Banking & Finance (LIBF), Coastline Solutions, and the Institute of International Banking Law & Practice (IIBLP).
Fournier is Team Manager of Trade Finance Operations at Fédération des Caisses Desjardins du Québec, Canada. Following notification of her achievement, Fournier agreed to be interviewed about her CTFC experience.
DCW: What was your motivation for pursuing CTFC?
NF: My goal was to deepen my knowledge and have a more structured approach in my decision-making. In my position, I’m in contact with clients, account managers, and compliance officers. I wanted to be more confident in my actions and my advice.
DCW: How did you prepare for the exam?
NF: I followed the recommended plan: Every week (or almost!) I watched the videos and then read the chapter in question. Halfway through, I did the practice exam to assess the knowledge I had acquired. In the last few weeks before the evaluation date, I did the exam again to identify the harder topics so that I could focus on them. I took a few days off work before the exam to do an in-depth review.
DCW: In your banking career you have achieved several professional certifications, including CAMS. Compared to CAMS, in what ways did the CTFC certification programme challenge you and your skill sets differently?
NF: CAMS certification is different. While I liked the CAMS certification, I think it’s more for people who work in the compliance field. CTFC certification, in my opinion, is more useful for people who work in international trade operations. The reference guide for CTFC was written by Professor James E. Byrne, an authority on that subject. The themes and the examples he uses are comparable to the situations we experience daily. DCW: In a past conversation, you’ve said that compliance has become a daily reality of operations. How so? Can you give a vivid example of how things have changed from, say, 10 years ago?
NF: One of the examples that comes to mind is certainly the relationships with correspondents and SWIFT keys. Ten years ago, compliance duties were not as complex as they are now. Today, we must juggle with compliance duties and ever-narrowing conditions while meeting our customers’ expectations. Our customers ask us to be efficient and quick while simultaneously, compliance checks are time-consuming.
DCW: Mindful of this transformed environment for trade operations, any advice for people looking to get into the field?
NF: To succeed, you must be curious and have the desire to better yourself every day. You must develop a network within the financial institution but also with partners and correspondents. I would encourage you to get certifications and to participate in the various conferences available. By increasing your skills and developing your influence network, you can become essential experts for your customers. ■