24 April 2019 ... min. read Listen

Julia Berehulya

Attempts at money laundering, fraud and funding terrorism are all big risks for a bank

Preventing the financial system from falling victim to criminality – that’s what Julia Berehulya is involved in on a daily basis. As Compliance Expert Awareness & Integrity at ING, she makes her colleagues aware of the risks and advises on how to minimise them.

“I first developed an interest in financial-economic crime (FEC) while studying for my degree in criminology, and it intensified when I started my career at one of the ‘Big Four’ accounting firms. Attempts at money laundering, fraud and funding terrorism are all big risks for a bank; we have to remain on high alert and know how to avoid the risks.”


“I work in the Compliance tribe. The squads in the tribe advise, monitor and support the business in relation to compliance: making sure the company sticks to the rules. I’m also part of the Awareness & Integrity chapter which is aimed at making colleagues aware of the importance of integrity in that context. Our chapter does things like design campaigns to actively encourage people to report suspicious situations, for example, and we’ve developed a ‘Know Your Customer’ toolkit which makes it easier to monitor customers.”

The need to challenge people

“I help people to think about how to improve existing processes and how to set up new ones. I also monitor whether the current systems are effective. The compliance role is mainly about challenging people. We’re always asking critical questions: ‘Why do you do this or that? How do you know for sure that what you do is also effective? Prove it!’ To do this job, you need to be curious and have a strong backbone. It’s very important to communicate with the business clearly so that they understand your point of view. Our critical approach might seem annoying for colleagues, but everyone within the bank now understands that FEC is a big risk.”

“People in the business increasingly ask us for our advice, such as when they’re developing a new customer proposition. In that case, we’re involved early on and everything is organised properly right from the start. Besides that, we work on a number of large-scale thematic reviews each year, which is when we thoroughly re-evaluate specific processes. And if we have our own ideas for projects we want to tackle, we’re free to do so.”

On the Lioness committee

“I’m very happy that I moved to ING. I’m learning so much here, not only about my own specialist area but also about other disciplines because I see so many different parts of the bank… and also thanks to my role on the committee of Lioness, ING’s women’s network. I joined the committee because women are still grossly under-represented in the top layer of organisations. I want every woman to believe in herself and exude confidence. I know from my own experience how, as a non-Dutch woman, you have to work twice as hard to prove yourself and achieve your goals. I’ve always grabbed every opportunity with both hands. Through Lioness I stimulate other women to do the same!”

About Julia

Julia studied criminology at VU in Amsterdam. After graduating she first worked for a small financial/legal organisation and then for Deloitte. She joined ING in March 2018. Julia loves travelling and designing and making clothes.

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