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Thought leader insights

How RiskConnect 2018 connected risk and compliance professionals across the payments ecosystem

Wednesday 19 December 2018 | 08:06 AM CET

RiskConnect is the networking conference dedicated to the unsung heroes of the payments industry: the risk professionals, who routinely ferret out fraudsters and expose dubious merchants.

On 29-30 November 2018, thought leaders and industry experts came together in Frankfurt to discuss the newest challenges facing the industry - and provide hands-on knowledge you can use in your daily work. RiskConnect is organised by Web Shield, one of the leading onboarding, underwriting and monitoring solution providers.

After the event, we sat with Web Shield’s CEO and great event moderator, Christian Chmiel, to find out more about the conference and his thoughts on the risk management industry.

Could you please tell us more about the RiskConnect event? What was its starting point and who is this event addressed to?

The first ideas for RiskConnect actually came from Web Shield Academy participants. At the time, we were organising courses on underwriting high-risk businesses. In the feedback we received suggestions for a dedicated conference tackling a variety of topics relevant to underwriters. We thought this was a great idea and got to work developing the first speaker line-up and agenda.

True to its roots in the Web Shield Academy, RiskConnect is aimed at risk, compliance and anti-fraud professionals in the acquiring space, with a strong focus on education and networking. We wanted to get away from shallow sales pitches and deliver something with more substance to benefit the industry as a whole.

Luckily, after the first conference in 2017, we received very positive feedback from attendees, which encouraged us to continue into 2018 - and RiskConnect 2019 is already in the working.

Returning to RiskConnect’s 2018 edition, can you please share with our readers what where your event’s key takeaways?

Once again, we saw how networking is crucial for our community. This really sets apart the risk and compliance community from more commercially oriented groups. With the sheer amount of data that has to be made sense of as well as stronger privacy regulations which can have the unintentional side effect of creating blind spots for fraudsters, this has become more important than ever. In the spirit of cooperation and education, we had the ETA as well as Card-Not-Present on stage, who both maintain their own initiatives of knowledge sharing.

Apart from this, one mainstay of RiskConnect were regulation updates directly from the credit card associations. Visa and Mastercard laid out recent changes and plans for the future. Delegates also had the opportunity to ask questions or engage the speakers in the networking breaks to clarify specific points.

Knowing what rules to follow is important, but how they are eventually enforced is equally, if not more, important. For that purpose, we once again had speakers representing national regulators and law enforcement on stage, who gave delegates their insights into how regulations are put into practice.

When it comes to a literal takeaway, we of course had the newest issue of our "Fundamentals of Card-Not-Present Merchant Acceptance" series for all delegates to take home. This time, the topic was best practices for merchant monitoring.

All in all, we tried to give our audience a diverse speaker line-up from various backgrounds to connect the different perspectives in the ecosystem. This, for me, was the most important takeaway: every risk professional in this space does have a role to play, and when we work together, everybody wins.

What are the plans for RiskConnect in 2019? Can you give us a glimpse of what the event will look like next year?

As RiskConnect aims to be relevant, we have to react to current trends in the industry. Of course I can't be sure, but I foresee negative option marketing and recreational drugs becoming even more hot button issues in the future. The problem is that our industry never stays still and something new could be just around the corner. We will keep working hard to find speakers who are knowledgeable about the current topics affecting our space the most.

As for the scale, we are of course planning to grow our attendance, but we also plan to keep it community-focused. That’s why the number of delegates will still be limited to make sure all are able to connect during the two days.

One thing I can assure you is that RiskConnect will still stick with its educational focus – to provide professionals with knowledge and stay away from commercial sales pitches. The other thing I can tell you with confidence that we will have a new edition of “Fundamental of Card-not-present Merchant Acceptance” as a giveaway. The topic is still a secret, but it will be something crucial for any underwriter.

Underwriting in the spot light – What trends do you foresee as “the hot topics” of 2019, from a risk manager’s perspective?

In our estimation, 2019 will see an escalation both in fraud schemes and regulatory actions. As mentioned, I believe Deceptive Marketing Practices and Recreational Drugs will be among the big topics for next year, along with Cryptocurrency and its impact on the regulatory landscape - over which much ink will continue to be spilled. Aside from that, we should also keep a close eye on marketplaces and subscription-based billing models which have recently seen stronger regulation by the card schemes.

About Christian Chmiel

Christian A. Chmiel, the CEO and founder of Web Shield, is responsible for the development and implementation of investigation techniques to identify fraudulent or brand damaging online merchants. He is also a lecturer at the Web Shield Academy and published several books in the fields of fraud, investigations and accounting.

 

About Web Shield

Web Shield equips the payments industry with tools that protect businesses from merchants involved in illegal or non-compliant activities. Their highly precise solutions provide acquirers, PSPs and other financial organisations with the information they need to make valuable decisions about prospective clients, and alert them when existing clients behave dubiously. With Web Shield, you keep your business out of risky situations, saving time and money.

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