Bully boy tactics

I was never bullied at school.  Perhaps I was just lucky, or perhaps the wide range of things to ridicule (my NHS specs, my utter lack of sporting ability, my adoration of Donny Osmond) just blew their little bully minds and they moved on to easier targets.  I was bullied once in the workplace – but as I was freelance, I was able to vote with my feet and choose not to work with him again.  I gave him plenty of metaphorical two-fingered salutes (and one real one, years later, when I spotted him and hid behind a delivery van); he’s lucky it all happened before I became really self-confident, as nowadays he might get a finger in the eye.

Bullying is on my mind because the other day I was talking to an MLRO [Money Laundering Reporting Officer – some of my newest readers are not in the regulated sector, so I should explain] and she asked what she should do about clients who are bullies.  “They bully my fellow directors,” she explained, “Demanding that certain transactions go ahead before we’ve done our proper due diligence, and then the other directors bully me because they’re scared of losing the client.”  Yikes – what a nasty situation.  And so of course we need to ask: what would Donny do?  Being a man of great integrity and tough moral fibre, he would do what needs to be done: tell someone in authority.

For the MLRO, this would probably not be the first step; that would be to explain to her directors why she cannot accede to their demands, and how doing unchecked business is a reputational and regulatory risk that cannot be taken.  But if they still refuse to allow her to do her job, then she will have to report to her regulator that she is being obstructed in the performance of her role as laid down in legislation.  She might also want to poke someone in the eye with her finger.  Just saying.

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5 Responses to Bully boy tactics

  1. Claire says:

    Yes, it’s sad when you are bullied into doing illegal things. All for the sake of money.

  2. Roy McCarthy says:

    Hmm, an in-house accountant being pressured to ‘cook the books’ has recourse to a confidential advisory service via their Institute. I presume employed compliance personnel have no such facility?

  3. Dear Roy
    That’s an interesting solution. MLROs don’t have “an Institute” – they can obtain qualifications (and ongoing membership) via, for instance, ACAMS or the ICA, but these are commercial organisations and not trade bodies or guilds like the ICAEW or the Law Society. Importantly, they do not publish professional standards to which their members must adhere. And although they may well have a confidential advisory service, it would not have the weight of a professional charter behind it. An idea for the future, perhaps….?
    Best wishes from Susan

  4. Graham Thomas says:

    Hi Susan

    A slightly late comment as I’ve been away from the desk for a little while.

    Anyway, I was intrigued by the new thinking of “what would Donny do?”, not least because an earlier post back in January gave us the idea of “the man on the Clapham omnibus”

    It’s all well and good bearing these hypothetical fountains of wisdom in mind but it also gives us a potential problem if we think that Donny and the man on the Clapham omnibus might have different views on a given topic?

    On reflection, I think I’ll stick to my lucky coin before making any big decisions !

    Best wishes

    Graham

  5. Hi Graham
    I can imagine that Donny and the man on the Clapham omnibus might have different views on almost everything – I don’t believe that Clapham is a hotbed of Mormonism, for instance.
    The joy of a lucky coin is that you suddenly know – when the coin is in the air – which option you actually really want!
    Anyway, welcome back to the mad world of AML
    Best wishes from Susan

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