Employee Airtime: Get to know our Senior Analyst, Financial Crime Compliance in Melbourne, Briar Mercier
Get to know our Senior Analyst, Financial Crime Compliance, Briar Mercier, based in Melbourne.
Tell us a little about yourself! What’s your background and what motivated you to join Airwallex?
I was born in New Zealand, but grew up abroad, living in Fiji and then in France. I then moved to Melbourne for University, and have been here since - nine years and counting! There’s an incredibly vibrant and diverse energy and atmosphere about this city. I felt it was a place where I could really explore, and coming out of college, felt it was where I wanted to start building my career.
My first encounter with the concept of “fintech” was when I signed up for a Fintech Coding bootcamp at Monash University. Before then, I had actually been focused on studying Language and Literature. But it was during that bootcamp where I became intrigued at the process of creating and enabling a product. It was also during this time when I had my first brush with Airwallex. During bootcamp, Airwallex popped up a few times, and I found the company’s product to be extremely innovative. Looking deeper into the business and team in Melbourne, it also looked like a fun and challenging place to work!
Did you always know that you wanted to have a career in Financial Crime Compliance? What led you to this career?
To be honest, I was never really considering a career in compliance. With my focus on language previously, and then having completed a Masters in Translation and Interpretation, I had my heart set on globetrotting and putting my language skills to work. That was 2019, and unfortunately, COVID soon struck.
With no travel in sight, and after an insightful conversation with a mentor of mine, who happened to be working in the fintech space, I decided to pivot to coding. The rationale there was that learning to code was like learning a new language - and coding was certainly a ‘language’ I knew would be useful! So with that skillset, I looked towards fintech. And while I knew coding wasn’t what I wanted to do, it was enough to tap my interest towards the role technology plays in improving businesses and systems. It was then that I found Airwallex, where I first took in our commercial team, before shifting last December into my role as Senior Analyst in the Financial Crime Compliance’s ANZ team.
What energizes you when you are at work? (And what drains you at work?)
It’s a constant learning curve when you work at a hypergrowth fintech like Airwallex. You are constantly exposed to so many different facets of the business, and are having to find solutions to ensure the business continues to operate in a safe, compliant but also efficient way.
The constant speed and pace is what energizes me, but also challenges me. Being able to work with a global team has presented so many opportunities to learn from my colleagues, all of who bring to the table different perspectives, ideas and insights. I also love that our team has fun! On one occasion, I organized a team social, where each of our colleagues had to dress up in clothes representing their country or culture, and saw outfits from Scotland all the way to China.
Being such a global business, there is certainly the challenge of working across time zones, but we make it work and find ways to stay connected and maintain regular, transparent communication. With Covid restrictions lifting everywhere, it has also been great to have colleagues visit more often, and to go back into the office and meet face-to-face. I do think having in-person interactions is vital. You really get to build a real rapport and further engage with your colleagues that way.
What’s the biggest misconception people have about your job/role?
“Isn’t financial crime and compliance boring.” I have heard this a few too many times, and have to disagree! There are so many elements to this role and it really goes without saying, no two days are the same. Criminals are becoming more creative with the ways they attempt to convert and clean their money within the financial system. This industry is consistently evolving and Financial Crime Compliance (FCC) plays a crucial point in helping to prevent criminal activity.
Airwallex has offices all around the world. Which office(s) would you be most keen to visit?
I recently had the opportunity to spend a month in the Singapore office, it was a great experience and such a fun team to work with. I would be really keen to visit the Hong Kong office next - the view from the office looks amazing and, I hear, they have their own gym! Amsterdam is another office I’d like to visit. I’ve never been and would love to learn more about our business in EMEA.
A fun one to wrap things up - If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?
Not exactly a mainstream superpower, but I would love to be able to communicate with animals. I genuinely think it would be so much fun and such a niche talent!
How to minimise foreign exchange costs in business