My name is Isaac Massias, and I am 62 years old AND still working.
My working life, proper, started when I was 17 years old. I was about to leave secondary school in Gibraltar and had no idea what to do workwise. Higher education was clearly not on my radar.
I walked into the careers office at school and a booklet advertising for Police work caught my eye. I decided to give it a go and applied to join the then Gibraltar Police Force.
Much to the initial opposition of my family who were concerned that the job was too dangerous.
Being only 17 meant I could only join as a Police Cadet as one needs to be 18 before becoming a Police Constable.
I joined as a Police Cadet and went through training school after a short spell attached to a uniformed ‘Shift’. At the time we had regular visits of the Royal Navy fleet and night duty was always very busy. It was my first experience of real violence with drunken brawls breaking out regularly and prisoners streaming into Central Police Station, the Police headquarters in the town centre.
After I turned 18, I became a fully-fledged Constable and served in Uniformed operations, CID and then the Drug Squad for 11 years, where I was promoted to Detective Sergeant in 1988.
I was later promoted to Inspector in 1996 and went back to uniformed policing in charge of a shift of around 25 men and women. I later moved to Support Services, Marine Section and then onto the Gibraltar Coordinating Centre for Intelligence and Drugs, in which I was overall responsible for Interpol Gibraltar and the Financial Intelligence Unit.
In 2010 I completed a 3-year Masters in Enterprise Management from Durham University. Having no A-Levels and successfully completing a Masters was something which I would not have thought possible but there I was receiving my Masters from the University Chancellor and famous journalist and author, Bill Bryson.
It was my time in charge of the Financial Intelligence Unit that gave me a taster of what was to come next.
All regulated firms such as banks, law firms, trust and company service providers require training compliance staff and a Money Laundering Reporting Officer (MLRO).
I quickly learnt that compliance was becoming more and more onerous even back in 2004. Colleagues abroad were preparing for retirement from the Police and undertaking courses such as the International Diploma in AML, offered by the International Compliance Association. This is a 9-month degree level course at the end of which I had to take a 3 and a quarter hour exam, for the first time after many years. A very daunting prospect.
I successfully completed this and in 2015, aged 53, I decided to move on from the Royal Gibraltar Police. I accepted a job offer from Hassans Law Firm where I served for over 7 years as a Risk and Compliance Officer and the Deputy MLRO.
I continued undertaking training by way of seminars, webinars and conferences and in 2022 I decided to start my own compliance consultancy firm, Veracity Compliance Consultancy Limited.
Learning, as you can see from the above, is or should be a continuous lifelong process.
“Man’s mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.”
— Oliver Wendell Holmes