American Express Careers

Associate Counsel – Financial Services Regulation EMEA

Madrid, Spain

Job Description

Position Summary

  • This role is for a junior or mid-level lawyer to join the General Counsel’s Organization (GCO) to act as an associate counsel for financial services regulation for American Express in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region, with a specific focus on Spain and the EU
  • Supporting all lines of business within American Express in the EMEA region. As well as the Spain regulatory environment, also focusing on European regulation and local regulatory matters in other European countries. Key business areas relevant to this role include card issuing, merchant acquiring and 3-party card schemes
  • Interfacing with other GCO lawyers, business personnel, Compliance, Operational Risk, Government Affairs, external bodies and regulators
  • The ideal candidate would be someone who has some experience in payments regulatory matters and/or has demonstrated an aptitude for interpreting and applying technically complex regulation. You will need to be confident and able to work closely with business clients on a day to day basis managing conflicting priorities and tight deadlines
  • You will also need to be confident in interacting with and helping American Express to deepen its relations with local regulators in Spain
  • Based either in Madrid or London in the EMEA Regulatory team, which comprises both competition and financial services lawyers, responsible for dealing with payments systems regulation and leading a Centre of Excellence on this globally. You will report directly to the lead financial services regulatory lawyer in the team


Primary Responsibilities

  • Regulatory support with an emphasis on financial services and payments regulatory matters in Spain and EMEA generally
  • Supporting compliance with the requirements of key payments legislation such as the revised Payment Services Directive (PSD2). Advising generally on licensing, prudential regulation, ongoing governance and conduct regulation under the regimes established by PSD2, Interchange Fee Regulation and the AML Directives.  Responding to consultations on such payments regulatory matters 
  • Assisting closely in the implementation of Amex’s European regulatory strategy to respond to Brexit, particularly in Spain
  • Playing a key role on licensing matters – advising on applications for new authorisations, variation of existing licences, relinquishing licences, passporting submissions, appointment of agents.  Advising on cross-border structures, passporting and arrangements with third parties (group companies and external partners), including outsourcing and agency arrangements
  • Advising on Bank of Spain (BoS) authorisation and supervision generally, assisting with regulatory reviews and inspections and responding to requests for information. Supporting Compliance and business leaders in managing BoS and other regulatory relationships
  • Monitoring regulatory developments at Spain, EU and national level relating to financial services, payment services, and payment schemes through internal, external and desktop resources and reporting these developments internally.  Assisting lobbying efforts at EU and national level to ensure regulation is proportionately tailored according to different business models. Assisting in the development of American Express strategy in response to and anticipation of regulatory developments in the payments industry
  • Advising on AML, counter-terrorist finance, anti-corruption and financial sanctions legislation and helping to develop American Express policy, strategy and approach in these critical areas
  • Advising on management of potential regulatory breaches or compliance failures
  • Supporting regulatory aspects and overall strategy on re-organisation projects, structuring considerations, new product launches and new market entry
  • Briefing colleagues and clients on significant developments and projects.  Preparing and supporting with delivery of internal training as appropriate.
  • Requesting, obtaining and finalising legal opinions/advice from outside counsel as needed and managing related budgets
  • Supporting projects, assisting more senior lawyers and potentially supervising paralegals
  • Attending relevant training courses
  • Supporting the work of the Global Payments Systems Regulation Centre of Excellence, as required

Offer of employment with American Express is conditioned upon the successful completion of a background verification check, subject to applicable laws and regulations.


Required skills:

  • Qualified to practice law and provide legal advice in an EU jurisdiction with ability and willingness to qualify in Spain (if not already so qualified). 1 to 5 years’ post-qualification experience ideally in financial services regulation matters
  • Familiarity with one or more of the following areas would be helpful payment services, payment schemes, e-money, AML, FSMA. Willingness to learn and become expert in these fields
  • Fluency in Spanish and English
  • Solid drafting, research and negotiation/influencing skills
  • Solid analytical skills and high attention to detail

Required Personal Attributes

  • High engagement – passionate about payments and regulatory matters
  • Skilled at multi-tasking - able to manage and prioritise a wide variety of matters and client contacts at once
  • Commercial focus – able to interpret and apply regulation in a practical, hands-on, common sense manner
  • Communication skills – personable, able to communicate clearly, concisely, effectively and persuasively with clients, all levels of business, legal management and external regulators. Prepared to take the lead and make appropriate recommendations to management. Comfortable with speaking up in meetings and briefing stakeholders orally and in writing
  • Process-management skills  strong knowledge-management and organisational skills, and willingness to help identify and implement improvements in work process to enhance efficiency and productivity
  • Adaptability  able and willing to work both as part of a team and independently, under supervision of more senior lawyer where appropriate
  • Willingness to learn and grow  willing to learn business sectors relevant to American Express as well as the applicable regulatory environment and to leverage experience gained in this position to expand skill set for future career growth at American Express
  • Strong relationship focus – able to build solid working relationships with clients, colleagues and external parties. Enjoys getting to know people
  • Commitment to integrity and American Express values, with high personal work standards
  • Strategic thinker with good analytical skills, attention to detail even under time pressure
  • Intellectually strong  rapid grasp of key issues.

Why American Express?

There’s a difference between having a job and making a difference.


American Express has been making a difference in people’s lives for over 160 years, backing them in moments big and small, granting access, tools, and resources to take on their biggest challenges and reap the greatest rewards.


We’ve also made a difference in the lives of our people, providing a culture of learning and collaboration, and helping them with what they need to succeed and thrive. We have their backs as they grow their skills, conquer new challenges, or even take time to spend with their family or community. And when they’re ready to take on a new career path, we’re right there with them, giving them the guidance and momentum into the best future they envision.


Because we believe that the best way to back our customers is to back our people.


The powerful backing of American Express.

Don’t make a difference without it.

Don’t live life without it.


Proud to be recognized by Great Place to Work España  Ranked 3rd of overall Best Companies and No. 1 for Wellness & Wellbeing

ReqID: 19001817
Schedule (Full-Time/Part-Time): Full-time
Date Posted: Jan 29, 2019, 7:40:16 AM