Meet Hannah Evans – Office Manager, FCS Compliance – Art Division

In this interview, FCS PR Director, Alison Blease introduces you to Hannah Evans – Office Manager, FCS Compliance – Art Division.

Hannah Evans is the newest recruit to the FCS Compliance Art Division.  She joined in August last year and splits her time between FCS and PAIAM (Professional Advisors to the International Art Market) – the non-profit membership organisation for art professionals around the world.

Hello Hannah! I am really curious to learn more about what brought you to FCS as I believe you came from one of the most highly regulated sectors out there.

Hello!  I did.  I come from the world of finance and used to work as an assistant relationship manager for a Swiss private bank. Before that, I worked for a stockbroking firm, and my role was always client-focused – looking after the ‘day to day’ transactions including trading, payments FX, and margin management. 

It was a responsible job and as you say, highly regulated.  Being anti-money laundering (AML) compliant was an everyday part of our working life.  I not only carried out AML and extensive source of wealth checks on our clients, but because I worked directly with clients receiving orders and placing trades, I was AML checked myself.  As part of this I needed to update my AML compliance training each year; log a number of hours of CPD (Continuing Professional Development) and be re-screened every two years to be compliant.

Sounds like the perfect training ground for the work you do now.

Yes, it was. I know from first-hand experience what our clients need to do to ensure that they are compliant.  Towards the end of my time there, I traveled to the bank’s regional offices, training new recruits on best practice – again a good skillset I am able to draw upon in my current role.

I believe this was around this time that you started working for PAIAM?

It was. By this time I was working part-time as a contractor for the bank and picked up the role with PAIAM in September 2019. 

At PAIAM I look after the administration of the membership and organise events in the UK and the US and this is where I first came across Rena Neville – Head of FCS Compliance Art Division – who was one of our panelists at an annual conference in 2022.

I now split my time between the two companies.  So I effectively have one foot in the art world and the other in AML compliance.

The art world is a little behind the property market when it comes to AML and I am guessing a long way behind the banks?

This is very true.  I was surprised that AML had not been a part of the art world before now, especially given the nature of introducing a client and receiving commissions.  That said, the UK market has adapted quickly. 

Tell me about your role at FCS?

As Office Manager, I do a little bit of everything. But essentially, providing support to the Art Division consultants when needed. Once they have started the process with a client, I assist with drafting policy documents.

I love the structure of the job, the admin side of things, but also the flexibility of the role, essentially providing help wherever it is needed. This is a position that had not existed before, and I have been able to make it my own. 

It has been interesting too to work with the property division of FCS.  As you mentioned the property sector is a little further down the line when it comes to AML compliance and there is quite a lot the art world can learn from the transition process that the property sector went through.

The art fair season is always a busy time for you – in both jobs.  The second half of any year is always going to be especially busy for you work-wise. 

Yes, the art fair season is huge.  And FCS does a lot of outreach work ahead of it starting. We work with clients looking to trade at fairs who need to ensure that they are compliant before they set up shop. We even organise last-minute AML training if needed.  And because the team attends the fairs too, it is an opportunity to meet both existing and prospective clients and to talk through their needs or concerns.

This neatly brings me to the end of the interview, what is your top tip to an AMP who is concerned about AML compliance?

My top tip would be to say to any AMP, do not hide from this, it is not going away. This year, the art world has been very much on HMRC’s radar. They have definitely raised their game and we have seen more interventions than ever before. The art world can no longer call itself the new kid on the block, they simply have no choice but to step up.

And finally get the right help, by talking to the right people!

Thank you Hannah, it hass been fascinating.

Thank you!