Team Q&A: Álvaro Javier Sáez Moreno 

Get to know our Head of Anti-Financial Crime / MLRO – Álvaro Javier Sáez Moreno

Álvaro Javier Sáez Moreno  

Head of Anti-Financial Crime / MLRO  

Álvaro is Neo’s Head of Anti-Financial Crime / MLRO and is responsible for establishing and maintaining Neo’s compliance framework. He joined the team in 2023.

Learn more below

1. Tell us a bit about yourself.  

I’m currently living in Madrid, but I come from a small town in Jaén (Andalucía) called Andújar. I studied Economics at the University of Granada and had the opportunity to spend a year at University College Dublin as part of the Erasmus programme. 
My professional journey has been with international consulting firms, always connected to the financial sector. However, I’ve long wanted to be part of a fintech startup operating in a global environment where I could contribute to building something from within. So, over a year ago, I joined Neo, and it’s been an exciting and fulfilling experience!

2. Tell us about your role at Neo

At Neo, I spearhead our regulatory compliance framework, covering everything from AML/CFT, transaction monitoring, KYC/KYB, and EDD processes, to anti-fraud efforts, corporate defence, ABC, internal whistleblowing systems, and more. This entails setting the strategic direction for our financial crime compliance program, developing and implementing policies and procedures, and ensuring Neo complies with all relevant regulations.
My responsibilities also include acting as the main point of contact with regulatory bodies on financial crime matters, overseeing transaction monitoring systems to identify and report suspicious activities, and conducting investigations into potential breaches of regulations and internal policies. Additionally, I maintain a culture of compliance within the organisation, ensuring that every team member understands the importance of our compliance efforts.
In essence, my role focuses on safeguarding Neo’s integrity while supporting our growth and innovation. It’s a challenging yet highly rewarding experience, and I am proud to be part of this committed team.

3. What leadership skills and qualities are important in your position at Neo?

First and foremost, strategic thinking is essential. I need to formulate and implement long-term strategies that align with our overall goals and regulatory requirements. Communication skills are also vital, as I must effectively convey information and expectations to both internal teams and external stakeholders.

Team management is key, too. It’s important to lead and inspire a dedicated team of compliance professionals, building and managing the team to ensure we meet our objectives. When it comes to decision-making and problem-solving, the ability to make informed decisions under pressure and tackle compliance challenges effectively is critical.
Integrity and ethical judgment are non-negotiable in this role. Upholding strong ethical standards and maintaining the integrity of Neo is a core responsibility.
Lastly, adaptability and innovation play a big role. Implementing new technologies and approaches to enhance our compliance processes ensures we stay ahead in a constantly evolving landscape.
In short, it’s about leading with vision, integrity, and excellence, all while staying agile and innovative. At Neo, we don’t just follow the rules; we set the standard.

4. How has the treasury landscape changed during your time in the industry and at Neo? 

Many changes have taken place in recent years, but the biggest above all is the remarkable transformation in the role of corporate treasury. Treasurers are embracing digital transformation like never before, driven by rapid technological advancements, significant economic shifts and modern risk management practices.
At the heart of this transformation is technology. Automation, artificial intelligence and real-time analytics are now used to handle tasks that were once done manually. This means processes like liquidity management, payments automation, and foreign exchange (FX) trading have become faster and more efficient.
Financial management has also become more strategic. With persistent inflation and high interest rates, there’s a big push to optimise working capital and manage cash conversion cycles effectively. This shift focuses on maximising available funds and cutting costs without major disruptions. Treasurers now need to have a clear, real-time view of their cash flow to make quick, informed decisions.
Lastly, cybersecurity and preventing financial crime have become major concerns as treasury functions become more digital. There’s a lot more collaboration between treasury departments and financial institutions to tackle these issues. Together, they’re working hard to secure financial transactions, protect sensitive data and maintain the integrity of the financial system.

5. How do you see it changing in the next 5-10 years?

Looking ahead, I see several key changes in the treasury landscape. There will be a greater emphasis on real-time data and analytics, with increased automation and AI integration being gamechangers. Access to high-quality data will help businesses improve performance and achieve operational synergies. 
Bearing in mind that blockchain and cryptocurrencies will become increasingly integrated into treasury operations, Treasury departments  will need to develop new strategies for managing digital assets.
Regulatory compliance will also evolve, requiring adaptation to new AML, KYC, international sanctions, data privacy, and security standards. This evolution will be interconnected with new legislative and technical developments like the digital euro, PSD3, MiCA, or eIDAS2, to name a few examples. 

As globalisation and cross-border transactions add complexity to treasury management, treasurers will need to navigate varying regulations, currency fluctuations, and geopolitical risks. Enhanced tools for FX trading and international payments, along with diversifying bank partners and implementing fund safeguarding measures, will be essential for managing these complexities effectively.
Without a doubt, the future of treasury involves embracing innovation, remaining agile, and leveraging new technologies to stay ahead. It’s going to be an exciting ride, and I believe Neo will have a significant role to play in this journey!