Meet Isabella Chase, Senior Policy Advisor at TRM and former Senior Research Fellow at Royal United Services Institute

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Meet Isabella Chase, Senior Policy Advisor at TRM and former Senior Research Fellow at Royal United Services Institute

This month, TRM welcomed Isabella Chase to its policy team, bringing a wealth of knowledge on financial crime and UK policy from her tenure at Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) and ComplyAdvantage. 

While at RUSI, Ms. Chase led a research cluster on Financial Crime Futures, which was tasked with assessing the role of technology in compliance, evolving AML and CFT policy frameworks and how inclusive financial integrity can be achieved.

Having dedicated her career thus far to researching innovative policy responses to financial crime, Ms. Chase brings with her to TRM an intricate understanding of the UK and EU regulatory frameworks around financial crime.

What will you be doing at TRM? 

I’m really excited to be joining the regulatory affairs and policy team here at TRM. There is so much going on with respect to changing regulatory frameworks for both digital assets and wider economic crime and I hope to help inform the conversation with insights from TRM’s leading technology.

In my role as part of TRM’s policy team, I will be spending a large amount of my time ensuring that TRM’s product team is well-versed on UK and EU regulatory requirements in order to continue adapting our tool to help our clients meet the growing number of regulatory obligations. 

With my focus centered on the UK and EU, on a day-to-day basis I will be helping clients anticipate what possible regulatory changes could mean for them, and collaborating with our growing crypto industry here in the UK to help policy makers create a clear understanding of the risks and opportunities of this industry.

I am especially excited to work with TRM’s global investigations team and ensure that their insights and research into emerging trends and threats are fed directly to clients and regulators, in order to assist in sharing knowledge about how the crypto ecosystem works and how to best combat illicit activity within the space. 

How do you see the UK regulatory landscape changing over the next few years in relation to policies aimed at digital assets?

Much like many other countries, the UK government faces no small feat in setting up the appropriate framework and controls to define its regulatory response to digital assets. Recently, the new government has affirmed its ambition to transform the UK into a hub for digital assets. Critical to this plan’s success is the outlining of a clear legislative framework.  

At present, the Law Commission is consulting on the legal status of digital assets, the outcome of which will lay the groundwork for how digital assets are protected under UK law. So will  the UK’s Financial Services and Markets Bill which is currently moving through Parliament. 

One of the next important steps for the UK to position itself as an attractive hub for digital assets is ensuring that the appropriate financial crime controls are in place within the sector to protect its integrity.. The UK’s next Economic Crime Act, as well as the second Economic Crime Plan (both due this autumn) will define the response to economic crime that utilizes digital assets for years to come. 

More broadly, how do you see the EU regulatory landscape changing over the next few years in relation to policies aimed at digital assets?

In terms of financial crime, the next few years are going to be transformational for the EU. The Anti-Money Laundering Authority (AMLA) will be established in the next year and has been tasked with creating the rulebook for the implementation of the bloc’s first anti-money laundering regulation. This rulebook will set out exactly how digital asset providers will have to implement anti-money laundering and counter terrorist financing controls in Europe which I’m sure will be subject to lot of debate. In addition, the EU will implement and operationalise the Travel Rule via its Wire Transfer Regulation. 

In the background of all these changes will be the conclusion of the scandals that initiated the above changes. European banks that failed to effectively curtail money laundering will likely face significant fines which will reinforce the need for the new regulations. All in all, it will be a busy few years for the EU as significant changes to their anti-financial crime architecture come to fruition. 

Based on your experience, what are the benefits of public and private sector collaboration as well as cross-sectoral collaboration when tackling far-reaching issues such as financial crime within digital assets?

Public-private collaboration is incredibly important when tackling financial crime, particularly as no one sector has a full view of the threat landscape. By bringing together public and private actors, we can obtain a much richer view of how criminals are exploiting regulated sectors and can thus respond in a more effective manner. Furthermore, the digital assets space is truly global, so creating cross border public private partnerships to quickly share intelligence will also be crucial for tackling crime. 

Public-private collaboration is especially vital in the digital asset space where the private sector can bring capabilities and knowledge that might not otherwise be available to public sector actors, such as advanced blockchain tracing and analytics expertise. 

What excites you most when thinking about the future of TRM or the industry as a whole? 

Digital assets will play a key role in the future of finance, and ensuring that bad actors aren’t profiting from this is really important. With this in mind, I’m really excited to be part of a company that is working to make the wider crypto economy safer by reducing crime.

From my experience, I’ve observed that a collaborative approach between industry and governments is the best way to achieve this goal. In my role, I hope to help drive this forward by informing the regulatory and policy response to digital assets so that financial crime is limited whilst innovation is not.

I’m incredibly excited to be joining TRM at such a critical period in the world of digital assets, whose unique characteristics create both opportunities and challenges for how we think about anti-financial crime compliance and ultimately, its effectiveness. 

For more about to crypto policy landscape in the UK, watch our recent TRM Talks & read our recap here: Since the release of this TRM Talks, the UK announced in August that crypto asset providers will now need to report suspected breaches of the UK sanctions regime to the Office for Sanctions Implementation (OFSI). 

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