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#espresso with Vitalijus Stankevič: "I like my profession because of the constant dynamics and broad approach"

23 Feb 2021PayRay

Compliance requires a very wide range of legal and economic knowledge and competencies and is not limited to understanding the relevant legislation or risk analysis – for these reasons, Vitalijus Stankevič, Chief Compliance Officer at PayRay, discovered and fell in love with this new area of work. The expert seeks to create an effective culture of compliance in the bank, while in his spare time he is interested in no less dynamic activities: he is involved in activities ranging from acrobatic yoga to the development of emotional intelligence and the application of artificial intelligence in everyday life.

What was your professional journey up until PayRay? Which of your achievements do you find the most important? What do you like most about the profession you are in? Even during my studies, I knew that I would link my career path with the financial market. After graduating from economics studies in Great Britain and France and returning to Lithuania, I discovered an unfamiliar field that was still developing here and there was a relatively small number specialists involved in it. Compliance was intriguing in that it required a very wide range of legal and economic knowledge and competencies, and the work itself was not limited to understanding legal acts or risk analysis. It is like a symbiosis between ensuring the requirements of legal acts and their practical implementation in companies, where business needs, model, growth opportunities must be taken into account, while ensuring that the relevant laws and other legal acts are not violated. Throughout my career, I have had the opportunity to gain knowledge and competencies not only in the private but also in the public sector, which has provided me with a broader understanding of how each side sees compliance requirements and how to find synergies in order to meet those needs. Prior to PayRay, I had the opportunity to work with a highly dynamic financial market and pass on knowledge, advising market participants on compliance issues and helping to implement appropriate processes to enable companies to grow. That is why I like my profession – the constant dynamics, the need for a broad approach and flexibility, opportunities for continuous learning and improvement, the challenges that arise – all of this is similar to adjusting the two-way movement and finding balance.

What are some of the most common myths about your profession? How do you go about debunking them? I believe that anyone working in the field of compliance has at least once been confronted with the statement that “compliance is a huge cost to the company and at the same time it is a slowdown/burden of the business”. This myth is partly explained by the fact that although the culture of compliance in Lithuania and its importance in companies is growing, it remains a new thing compared to other European countries, where the formation of a culture of compliance in companies has become understandable and unquestionable. This way thinking may also stem from a lack of communication in companies about the importance of compliance, the associated risks and consequences. Even when that is done, the focus is placed on financial fines and sanctions, without paying too much attention on such important matters as the company’s reputation, image, credibility. This myth is easy to debunk not only by formally stating what will be violated or what will not comply with the requirements of the legislation, but also by clearly communicating why it is necessary from a practical point of view, as well as identifying all emerging risks and consequences for business and its development.

What are your responsibilities at PayRay? I will start working at PayRay as the person responsible for the bank's compliance and I will strive to ensure that the company complies with all the requirements of laws and regulations, I will develop the effective implementation of the compliance program. To be honest, this position also includes effective cooperation with colleagues from sales, risk management and internal audit departments, consulting the bank's employees on compliance issues, involvement in projects for the development of new products and services and assessing the company's development opportunities and related compliance. Also, part of my mission is to create an effective compliance culture and an understanding of its importance in the bank.

What goals are the priority for you and PayRay? In my opinion, our common goal with PayRay is improvement and growth. I am convinced that working together will ensure not only personal development and professional growth, but also help the company to achieve its goals, grow and expand by becoming a professional, innovative and well-known bank not only in Lithuania, but also in other European countries. Another of my goals is to ensure effective communication and cooperation between the bank's divisions and employees. This will allow the bank to achieve its overall goals by maintaining a positive work atmosphere.

What is the professional moto/approach you follow? Love what you do, and if you undertake to do something, do it well. I am one of those people who do not jump straight into their work without refining the task or without acquiring proper knowledge or competencies, otherwise the result will be of poor quality. I always look responsibly at the tasks entrusted to me, so I first delve into the specifics and requirements of the task, evaluate the necessary steps and provide a clear and high-quality answer or result. I am open to all views, so I always take into consideration the views of those around me when dealing with an important issue.

What professional advice do you give to your colleagues most often? Do not be afraid to speak openly, because effective communication is one of the most important aspects of the company, ensuring not only the achievement of common goals, but also the creation of a positive and motivating environment. I also always stress that we are all constantly learning, so do not be afraid to ask for help if there are any uncertainties or problems. In difficult situations at work or in case of heavy workload, I advise everyone to calm down and determine the order of priorities at work.

What are your work habits? How do you start your day? What helps you focus? I start the day with an exercise that tones up and energizes me. Then, while drinking coffee, I review my e-mail, calendar, appointments, put together a preliminary daily plan and priority work, while also dedicating time for ad hoc work. I also try to spend some time in the morning talking to colleagues, because maintaining interrelations is important.

How do you like to spend your free time? What hobbies do you have? What helps you relax and recharge your batteries for the work you do? My free time is very active and it allows me to relax and recharge my batteries for further work. I engage in a wide range of activities – sports, yoga, acrobatic yoga and air gymnastics, photography and renovation of old furniture. I also adore traveling to other countries, but at the moment, given the situation in the world, I like to go hiking in Lithuania as well.

What ideas or things are you most interested in at the moment? At the moment, I am interested in three things that are also becoming a kind of hobby. First of all, it is self-knowledge and self-analysis, psychological aspects of society, communication, development of emotional intelligence. Secondly, I am interested in artificial intelligence and its application in everyday life. The pandemic has also sparked my interest in the tourism sector and investment activities.

Espresso or cappuccino? Espresso doppio. I am a coffee lover and I think it is best to start the day and recharge with the right amount of energy while enjoying a strong, expressive-tasting espresso.

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