Developing a sixth sense

Grace conversating with a colleague
CDD analist
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Grace, CDD Analist Thematic Investigations & Quick Response

Every day is different for Grace Timmermans. She works as a CDD analyst in the Thematic Investigations & Quick Response team which is part of the Global Intelligence & Response (GI&R) department. Using thematic investigations, she maps out cash flows of organized crime, among other things. In addition, she must be able to respond quickly and appropriately to events in the media and society.

“My schedule can already change in the morning,” says Timmermans, “For example, recently the media revealed financial abuses, which we as Quick Response Team have to deal with immediately. In addition to this type of work, which requires a quick approach, I am working on several thematic studies. Partly I do that independently, partly with a team of experts.”

"Everyone gets the space to develop their own expertise" 


“All my colleagues are passionate about their work. You can really express your interests, and you are able to create room for this in your work. For example, if you like working with data, you can work with data scientists to see how you can further improve the research. It doesn't matter if you are a junior or senior, everyone is willing to share all knowledge and relevant information is continuously shared with each other. We continue to keep each other well-informed of all developments so that we grow as a team and can fulfil our role optimally.”

The teams from GI&R employ colleagues with specialist CDD within various fields of expertise. The composition of people with diverse backgrounds ensures that a good approach can be quickly devised for projects and investigations. “That's right,” Grace agrees, “in my team everyone gets the space to develop their own expertise. Together, we have all the knowledge needed to make a research or project a success. We need analysts who are strong in content and people who can connect and keep the bigger picture in mind. The great thing is that with a group of such different characters, you can still work together very well and learn from each other.”

Grace working with a colleague

Thematic research

“Our team investigates phenomena such as drug trafficking, human trafficking and trade-based money laundering,” explains Grace, “and we also work closely with teams investigating specific clients when necessary. These investigations can be very complex. Legal proceedings may follow, in which case we will work closely with the legal department. I myself have worked on several cases where such legal proceedings have led to national media coverage. The fact that I have been able to work on investigations with such impact gives me an enormous kick. It makes my work versatile and challenging.”

“In addition, we react quickly to relevant media reports that may pose risks to the bank by investigating the situation almost immediately and determining the impact on the bank. This is then communicated to senior management to keep them well informed. Ultimately, our investigations can lead to changes in the bank's policies. We are not an investigative agency. We are a bank. We do seek cooperation with other banks and government agencies where possible. By acting together, we can ensure that abuses in the financial sector are better addressed. This social impact drives our entire team. We all feel that we have to do our bit every day to make the world a better place.”

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Sixth sense

“Once you come to work for CDD, you don't look at the world in the same way, although you have to be able to put it into perspective. It is more like developing a sixth sense for your surroundings. You are just a little more alert to what you see and hear. You use common sense and do proper research before jumping to conclusions.”

“We have an important role in preventing crime. For example, a customer operating in a certain industry may not be aware of the risks that automatically come with the industry. Together with the account manager, we inform that customer about this. Or we have discussions with industrial organizations and umbrella bodies to create awareness of the financial risks involved in a particular sector. That is the social role of the bank.”