Clemson University policy studies Ph.D. candidate Chikezie Isiguzo has earned a global fellowship that will help him in efforts to fight and prevent financial crime.
The fellowship comes from the Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists (ACAMS), the world’s largest organization of anti-money laundering professionals.
The award allowed Isiguzo to earn a Certified Anti-Money Laundering FinTech Compliance Associate (CAFCA) certification and gain access to financial technology resources, professional development, and networking opportunities in digital finance.
Isiguzo was one of only 30 recipients to receive the fellowship and chance to earn CAFCA certification.
“I am excited to be among the first to receive this certification, which will not only advance my career but also help me with resources relevant for my research going forward,” Isiguzo said. “My goal is to work alongside the professionals who lend their skills and knowledge to support a safer financial system.”
According to a 2020 PricewatershouseCoopers Global Economic Crime and Fraud Survey, 47 percent of more than 5,000 companies polled experienced financial crime over a 24-month time frame. With the frequency of financial crime, ACAMS developed the certification to provide global compliance training as well as training for the creation of policies to safeguard against or respond to crime.
The certification program covers financial governance, guidance and regulation; payment screening and transaction monitoring; financial investigations, inquiries and reporting; and anti-financial crime strategies.
Isiguzo chose to fight against financial crime because of the devastation he has seen from it during his 15-year career in financial system regulation. Throughout his time with the Central Bank of Nigeria, he worked in various roles such as bank examiner and fraud and forensic specialist. In these positions, he supervised financial institutions in Nigeria as well as Nigerian financial institutions in other countries to ensure a safe and sound financial system.
“I have seen good ideas fail, consumers hurt, and resources lost because of avoidable policy and regulatory compliance gaps,” Isiguzo said.
Because of the failures he has seen throughout his career, he has focused his Ph.D. research on exploring the factors that influence digital currency innovations and how they affect the financial system.
“As a policy researcher, I hope to promote evidence-based policies in financial regulation to support decision-makers as they navigate changes driven by technology and innovation,” Isiguzo said.
After working 15 years and earning a master’s degree from Carnegie Mellon University, Isiguzo enrolled in the Clemson program, an interdisciplinary program in the Department of Political Science.
“Chikezie is one of our best Ph.D. students. He has wide-ranging academic and professional interests,” said Laura Olson, policy studies program director. “I am certain he will be a leading shaper of public policy for decades to come.”
After Isiguzo completes his doctorate, he plans to continue research in digital currencies to help shape policies in the digital financial field.
The policy studies program is one of two graduate programs in the Department of Political Science, along with the Master of Public Administration program. The programs attract students from around the world like Isiguzo who are interested in diverse policy areas such as public management, agriculture, economic development, entrepreneurship, the environment, national and cybersecurity, health and finance.
“Our graduate programs aim to provide students like Chikezie a platform of interdisciplinary coursework and experiences so that they will be prepared to take on the grand policy problems our countries and regions face in the 21st century,” said Lori Dickes, the department’s associate department chair and graduate program director.
The Department of Political Science is part of the University’s College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences (CBSHS). Established in July 2016, CBSHS is a 21st-century, land-grant college that combines work in seven disciplines – Communication; Nursing; Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management; Political Science; Psychology; Public Health Sciences; and Sociology, Anthropology and Criminal Justice – to further its mission in “building people and communities” in South Carolina and beyond.
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