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GC Spotlight: Dominique Simon, General Counsel at Wirex.

We are excited to launch a new series called the GC Spotlight. Customer centricity is one of our core values.  With this in mind, we want to hear from our customers on how they work and what drives them.  This month, we spoke to Dominique Simon, General Counsel of Wirex, on how he is dealing with the changes brought on by Covid-19 and his take on the future of his industry in this environment. 

Dominique Simon is the General Counsel of Wirex. Dominique's legal experience stretches across compliance, corporate governance, and financial regulatory matters including blockchain and fintech. He's worked with SAP SE, Barclays, Deutsche Bank, and Standard Chartered Bank, among others on international compliance and regulatory issues. 

1. What have been your biggest challenges over the last few months?

Communication, without a doubt, has been one of the biggest challenges over the past few months. Internally, of course, we've had to adapt to the pandemic situation and prolonged working from home arrangements, which can have an effect not just on productivity and collaboration, but on our social connection with our colleagues as well. But we've also had challenges communicating with regulators and other government bodies, some of whom were perhaps not as well equipped as others to transition quickly to a different working style. 

2. What are your key priorities – as the GC of Wirex - for the next year? 

Our priorities have remained focused on fueling the exponential growth Wirex is experiencing, both organically and systematically as we expand operations into new regions. We've also had more time to develop the Legal Department and prioritise long-term planning and preparation, build in more processes, and take more responsibility in executing key business projects in the pipeline.

3. Has your role in your organisation changed / is it changing? If so, in what way?

My role in Wirex has been unique as I accepted responsibilities as the MLRO for the Wirex Group for an interim time. I've also been based in Singapore since December 2019 to help our expansion in APAC. Since then we've brought on an APAC Managing Director in Singapore and our Head of Compliance has taken on the role of MLRO, although I remain APAC MLRO. We've also been growing the Legal function at Wirex so it's been great to work with a wider team, while also getting involved in other areas of the business. Overall I think this helps me better understand the Wirex business and add more value as GC. 

4. What are your thoughts on, or experiences with, legal technology and how do you envisage it changing the way you work?

We actually don't use significant legal technology in our day-to-day at Wirex Legal, just because we don't have for example a large number of contracts to process. Most of our time is probably spent navigating complex and grey-area financial regulations, which cannot easily be supplemented with legal technology services. But I am optimistic legal technology will make legal services more accessible on a large scale. 

5. Do you employ performance metrics and/or think about the use of data relating to your legal department? If not, would you consider doing so in the future?

Yes, Wirex uses the Objective and Key Results (OKR) framework for our goal-setting and performance metrics. We also track all legal requests to evaluate Legal workload and resource needs on a quarterly basis. 

6. Are there any specific changes, developments or trends that you expect (or hope) to see in the financial services/payments industry?

Like many, I expect to see an acceleration in the adoption of digital technologies and currencies due to the pandemic situation. Payments platforms like Wirex are uniquely positioned to meet some of the financial challenges of the pandemic situation. Ultimately, I think we will see a level of customer trust shift from traditional banks to payments platforms like Wirex, and I think those financial companies that will do well will be the ones that can earn customer trust by providing an excellent level of customer service, user experience and level of innovation.