Gareth Evans, swapped the Royal Airforce for crypto exchangeGareth Evans moved to the Isle of Man in 2016 after deciding on a career change. Having formerly worked in the Royal Airforce Police,
Gareth used his experience and skills to move into the compliance profession after relocating to the Island. He now works as a Money Laundering Reporting Office for a start-up crypto currency exchange.
Choosing the Isle of Man
I moved to the Isle of Man in April 2016. I was previously in the Royal Airforce Police and had decided to change careers and move into the financial services industry. My wife already had family on the Island and given the Island’s reputation as a well-regarded financial services centre, it seemed like a great place to start.
Making the switch to compliance
I was able to use my skills and experience from the military to retrain in the areas of risk and compliance, a profession that had always appealed to me. I started applying for roles in the Isle of Man and it was soon apparent the Island has no shortage of jobs in risk and compliance. I was fortunate enough to secure a role with a local Trust and Corporate Service Provider and the rest they say is history.
The compliance profession in the Isle of Man
As there are so many different types of regulated financial services in the Isle of Man, compliance professionals can afford to be picky when deciding what industry they want to go into. Due to the nature of my role, it is adaptable, and provided you are willing to learn a new product (be that crypto services, insurance, trusts, or banking), the skills you have in compliance and risk are very transferable.
Many organisations on the Island often subsidise or fully fund compliance staff through further professional qualifications, and I recently had the opportunity to complete a course via distance learning with the University of Law.
The compliance industry here is underpinned by a supportive network of professional associations and groups, including the Alliance of Isle of Man Compliance Professionals, and we’ve had several compliance accrediting bodies, including the International Compliance Association, come to the Island to deliver face to face training.
A rewarding career in compliance
After several years within the industry, I’ve had the opportunity to work across many areas of compliance and risk, and now work for a start-up crypto exchange as a Money Laundering Reporting Officer. My role is to make sure that the company has suitable controls in place to mitigate the risk of being used to launder the proceeds of crime. My role is very rewarding, not only am I protecting my employer from regulatory failings but assist Law Enforcement in their investigations and protecting the Isle of Man’s standing as a reputable place to do business. Every day is different and has new challenges, but ultimately it is very fulfilling.
Great work-life balance
Due to the nature of my work, it’s more of a work hard, play hard way of life. There are occasions where I will have to work late, or the odd weekend, but the Isle of Man lifestyle affords me the opportunity to compensate for this. For a small Island, it packs a punch as there’s such a wide variety of activities, clubs, and outdoor pursuits available, geared up to all ages and interest. I spend my free time taking long walks on the various beaches with my wife, our new-born daughter, and our dog. Sometimes I’ll go fishing or indoor climbing and have recently taken up martial arts with a local jujitsu gym, something I have not done in 20 years. When I’m feeling adventurous, I’ll take the motorbike out on the Island’s back roads, and on occasion the TT Course!
A little-known gem in the middle of the Irish Sea
The Isle of Man really is a great place to live and work. Both my wife and I enjoy successful careers which would not have been possible if we were in the UK. My wife has a job which would only be available in London, an area we couldn’t have afforded having just left the military. The Island is exceptionally safe, with excellent education and healthcare systems, and we feel both fortunate and grateful in the knowledge that our daughter will grow up in a such special place.
The Island has a wonderful food and drink scene – Victory Café on the Mountain Road is a standout – no pie will ever compare again! There’s plenty of independent retailers and hospitality venues too, my favourite is Bottle Monkey, a lovely little shop in Douglas that sells every kind of craft beer.
The Island is quite quirky in its traditions and customs, but that makes it all the more interesting, and a pretty remarkable place to live. Good food, good company, good friends, nice weather – the Isle of Man is a little-known gem in the middle of the Irish Sea waiting to be discovered.