Irina Piloyan, AML & KYC Coordinator, BidX1 Spain

Tell us a little bit about you.

My name is Irina Piloyan and I oversee Compliance & Regulation at BidX1 Spain. I grew up in Armenia, where my father was a quantity surveyor for the military and my mother was a nurse at the military hospital. Much of my early life was spent on an army base! I moved to Spain in 2002, and I’ve been here ever since. 


Tell us a little bit about your career prior to joining BidX1.

I studied Engineering at the National University of Economics in Armenia and after graduation I started working for the Customs Office in Gyumri.

However, even from a very young age, I had always known that I would leave Armenia eventually. In 2002, when I was 28, I moved to Madrid. I didn’t speak any Spanish when I arrived, so I took a job in childcare and started a part-time language course. 

Two years later, I got a job at a company called Geoban, which manages transactions for Santander Group. This was the start of a long journey in the Banking sector, which spanned more than two decades. 

At one point, I was transferred to the AML & CFT department (Anti-Money Laundering & Countering the Financing of Terrorism). It was very challenging, but also an incredible learning experience, and I quickly realised that this was what I wanted to do for the long-term. Following my time in banking, I held similar roles in several real estate companies, an experience which led me to BidX1, which I joined in September 2019.


Why did you want to work at BidX1? 

When I saw that BidX1 were hiring for an AML/KYC Coordinator, I didn’t hesitate. Although I had worked in the real estate industry for several years, this was a new challenge – an international company with a multicultural team, and a vision to improve the way properties are bought and sold. 

I knew it would be an exciting step forward for me in my professional life, and I was delighted to be offered the position. 


What are your main priorities and goals in your role? 

We specialise in high-value online transactions, which means that security and compliance are always top of mind for us. In a nutshell, I am responsible for ensuring that the property transaction process is carried out in accordance with the relevant laws and regulations, both at EU and national level. The prevention of money laundering is a core element of that. 

Attention to detail, vigilance, and keeping up-to-date with the changing regulatory and legal environment are crucial in this role. Teamwork is also key; it’s important that all the different functions at BidX1 collaborate effectively. 


What’s a typical day for you? 

I’m a fairly active person, and I like to make the most of my day, so I generally get to work very early. My day-to-day work involves validating the origin of funds, ensuring traceability, and making sure that operations run smoothly. I also take French and English classes, so it can be busy!

When I get home, I try to disconnect by doing things I enjoy – DIY, gardening, walks in nature. I firmly believe that a balance between work and leisure is important during the week, and that people should switch off in the evenings as well as at weekends.


What are some of the challenges you face in your work? 

It’s important to be vigilant in my role; I need to be alert so that I don’t miss any detail. You can’t really afford to have a relaxed day when it comes to AML or compliance!


How did your role change during the Covid-19 pandemic? 

My role doesn’t require me to be in the office – to be honest, I could do my job from the BidX1 office on Orense Street or from Japan! However, the lack of contact with colleagues wasn't easy. The good thing is that we all supported each other during that period, and everyone has been sensitive to the challenges that their colleagues might be facing.   


If your team were asked about you, what do you think they would say? 

Well, you’d probably be better to ask them that question! To be honest, I think they would say that I am a perfectionist, someone who is meticulous in her work. I’m also that way in my personal life; it’s a personality trait!


Who are your role models? Who inspires you?

I am inspired by people who are able to reinvent themselves, and those who strive to achieve their goals – particularly when it means leaving family and friends behind and starting from scratch. I know from my own experience how hard this separation can be, and the challenges of adapting to a society with a different culture and language to your own. 

Although I have to say, I think that Armenians are quite similar to Spaniards in many ways – we are generally cheerful and like to have a good time!


What do you like most about working at BidX1?

BidX1 has provided me with an incredible opportunity to grow both personally and professionally, and there are further avenues for growth ahead. The people are also wonderful – there is a lovely atmosphere here, and it’s great to be able to collaborate with people from so many different countries and backgrounds.  


What do you enjoy most about your role? 

I like that it’s quite varied, encompassing all the different elements of AML/CFT – from approving bidders before an auction to the analysis of transactions, providing training for the teams, as well as any necessary reporting on suspicious transactions. It may sound boring from the outside, but I love it!


What have been your highlights in the business over the last year? 

BidX1 is a very fast-moving company. Every auction brings a sense of excitement and a shot of adrenalin. Auction days are generally the highlights – a lot can happen in just a few hours!

Despite the strange circumstances over the past two years, we’ve had lots of new people join the Spanish team and we’ve also introduced many new initiatives – that kind of momentum is a real motivator. 


What is your most embarrassing work story? 

Definitely the first day of my first job in Spain. I was so nervous that I hardly slept the night before and the next morning, I didn’t notice that I had put my blouse on inside out. I walked around all morning with a giant label sticking out. Not exactly starting off on the right foot! 


Connect with Irina on LinkedIn here. Follow BidX1 on LinkedIn here.