Faisal is a qualified chartered accountant with 23+ years of global experience specializing in financial crime compliance, anti-money laundering, tax advisory, and auditing. He started his career with 6+ years at KPMG, followed by 8+ years at PwC London, and gathered 3+ years of industry experience with HSBC Middle East and London offices as a Director and Global Head for Client Due Diligence for AML Compliance. Since early 2016, he has been running his consulting practice in the UAE, initially in partnership with a Kuwait-based firm, and established his sole proprietorship entities, AKW Tax Reclaim Accounting and Consultancy and AKW Consultants, in January and February 2018, respectively. Faisal has led several turnkey AML compliance remediation projects for various institutions, including banks, finance companies, money exchanges, and DNFBPs. He is also a recognized subject matter expert on AML compliance and an accredited compliance and banking trainer at the London Institute of Banking and Finance. He received the “KYC Guru” award in 2020 and the “Best Compliance Team” award in 2021 for establishing the AML Compliance Framework for the first UAE cryptocurrency trading company in DMCC, Dubai.

Career Highlights
  • Acted as a subject matter expert lead for writing the AML and Sanctions Global Standards for HSBC Bank USA in 2012 while supporting the bank to improve their AML Framework globally to meet the US deferred prosecution agreement requirements.
  • Established the AML KYC and CDD functions in the Middle East and North Africa for HSBC Bank.
  • Led the Global Client Due Diligence team of 300+ AML specialists across 22 countries for HSBC Bank in 2015.
  • Set up the AML sanctions framework and monitoring mechanism for large money exchanges.
  • Developed AML policies and procedures and delivered training and coaching to more than 300 DNFBPs in the UAE since 2021.
  • Led KYC remediation for a UAE Tier 1 bank in 2016, leading a team of 24 consultants to remediate 700,000+ retail banking customers’ due diligence.
  • Conducted compliance monitoring and testing for large Kuwait, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia banks.
  • Led a delegation of AML specialists to Afghanistan in 2016 to design a program for the banking sector to meet the FATF requirements.
  • Responsible Sourcing and supply chain training for the gold and precious metals sector in his capacity as the DMCC-accredited UAE Good Delivery Auditor.
  • Speaker at the UAE Corporate Tax Forum panel discussion held in Dubai on September 15, 2022, and February 15, 2023.
  • Panellist at the US-MENA Private Sector Dialogue 2022 conference at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (NYFED) in New York City on October 12, 2022, discussed the importance of public-private partnerships (PPP), country-level national risk assessments and MER, and the adoption of Ultimate Beneficial Ownership standards, including the relevance of DNFBP sectors and how these sectors can engage with the banks to support the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing.

Our Team

Kenneth Khalkho – Director, Sustainability, and Responsible business

Kenneth is an experienced non-financial auditor, consultant, trainer, and investigator with almost 27 years of multi-sectoral experience in India. He has worked on numerous national and international engagements across industries including retail, manufacturing, metal and
mining, financial institutions, energy, pharmaceuticals, auto and auto components, IT and ITES, health, agriculture, education, government, and not-for-profit. His broad range of skills includes AML, corporate governance, business ethics and integrity, fraud investigation, and
risk assessment, social audit and social impact assessment, research and monitoring, SDG, ESG, EHS, CSR advisory, supply chain compliance, and integrity, skill development and training, and teaching.

Manali Chopra – Director, Accounting, Audit, and tax

An experienced Chartered Accountant with 14+ years in the consulting industry with expertise in tax, management, audit, financial analysis, statutory compliance, and consulting An effective communicator and negotiator with strong analytical, problem-solving, and
leadership skills.
Leading a team of qualified Chartered Accountants, Accredited Chartered Accountants, and Lawyers, and actively involved in business development. In addition to leading the VAT consulting team at AKW, Manali has performed VAT health checks, VAT process audits,
excise tax compliance reviews, and fronted tax audits conducted by the UAE Federal Tax Authority for UAE-based companies, as well as corporate tax, impact assessments, and transfer pricing services. Furthermore, Manali has extensive experience in taxation, accounting, and auditing, as well as anti-money laundering compliance. Moreover, she is responsible for leading AML compliance engagements for DNFBPs in the United Arab Emirates.

Michael Wharton – Director, Business Consulting

Michael Wharton is a seasoned strategy and technology consultant who has worked on several algorithmic modelling and experimental systems. His passion for problem-solving led him to find a management and educational consultancy. His key competencies are in business strategy, technology consulting, education, Ed-tech, blockchain, crypto, NFTs, global taxation, and operational management. He has led several strategic acquisitions across multiple industries including IT, Financial Services Sector, Healthcare, and FMCG Companies. Michael played an instrumental role in nurturing the growth of AKW Consultants in the UAE since 2018

Sadi Ahmad – Director, Compliance

Sadi completed his education at University College London and started his career working at the London Centre for Nanotechnology. He has set up several start-ups, achieving tremendous success. He specializes in legal and compliance consulting, and for the past 6 years, he has led several engagements across Asia Pacific, the UK, Europe, and Africa, advising banks, non-banking finance companies, the insurance sector, and other financial institutions, the gold and precious metals industry, and the real estate sector on legal, regulatory, and compliance matters, including AML/CFT, sustainability, responsible sourcing, supply chain, and cryptocurrency compliance.

Shomayle Ahmad Faruqi – Director, Cybersecurity and IT Solutions

Mr. Shomayle is a cybersecurity architect and researcher with more than a decade of experience.
He completed his Bachelor of Technology in Computer Science and worked with multiple organizations like KPMG, Deloitte, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Genesys, OTIS Elevators, SHELL, HCL, and Pine Labs amongst others. His areas of experience include cyber security in banking and finance, services, products, AI, IoT, and embedded systems.

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