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Leaders in FinCrime respond to request for greater gender diversity

Following the introduction of a campaign by AML Intelligence, there has been an increase in calls this week for women to be represented in the highest levels of global fincrime agencies and strategy.

The campaign comes after the meeting on financial crime held in Singapore last month, where women were hardly present.

Photographs from the conference, according to AML Intelligence reporter and digital editor Elizabeth Hearst, demonstrated how poorly women were represented at the top table in the Anti-Financial Crime (AFC) industry. Regarding the conference photo of groups of suit-clad men ascending the summit stairway, Elizabeth said, "Honestly this photograph could have been taken 50 years ago."

Her comments at the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and Interpol "FIRE" (FATF Interpol Roundtable Engagement) event in Singapore generated a significant amount of discussion on social media and calls and emails to the AML Intelligence offices.

Elizabeth asserted in her editorial that both organizations need to address the gender gap right away and develop a plan to guarantee that women are fairly represented at the top levels.

The majority of readers and commenters on social media supported her demands.

"By all accounts this FATF/INTERPOL event was a good step forward in fighting financial crime and well done to all," Patricia Sullivan, global head of financial crime and compliance business control and oversight at Deutsche Bank, said, "but indeed it is hard not to notice the gender diversity disparity."

"Truthfully if you brought together the Global Heads of FinCrime at the major banks for a photo now it would look similar. Same for many of our partner groups," she continued.

"Don’t get me wrong there are and have been some outstanding women leading FinCrime programmes and agencies… So how do we change this photo for upcoming years, grow the bench, and make sure the ladder is not pulled up behind?"

"When organising events/panels proactively seek diverse reps, if you are invitee, ask/recommend others to join, mentor juniors in your team, insist on diverse hiring panels/diverse final shortlist for open roles in your organisations. We can make a difference together ," she added.

"When a picture tells more than one story – it’s up to the audience to decide what they see," according to Charmian Simmons, Financial Crime and Compliance Expert at BAE Systems Digital Intelligence.

"There are so many amazing and smart women working in this field, at various management levels. Perhaps it is time for the AFC industry to do what Banking has been doing – greater gender equality in senior roles ," Charmian continued.

Just 14% of the FinCrime and Compliance area was occupied by women, which Sujata Dasgupta, Global Head of Financial Crime Compliance Advisory at TCS, said was "way below the industry average" and that "this number needs to increase."

"It is about time women in the industry appear on various platforms with the immense talent that is present," Sarah Tariq, Specialist Advisor for AFC & Compliance, noted.

Shiraz Inbar, AML & Compliance Manager at KPMG, remarked, "Where are all the women indeed?"

"As a woman working in the AML and Compliance sphere, this is more than upsetting, especially where there are so many great, talented, and smart women out there doing the exact same work and leading the financial industry to global recognition and achievements," she said.

"Whilst a picture speaks a thousand words, (and it struck me too when I saw it but I was closer to the front! I don’t remember anyone pushing or shoving either) most of those men were in listening mode at least in Day 1 which makes a change!" said John Cusack, Chair of the Global Coalition to Fight Financial Crime, who attended the event.

"I agree we must do much better, but at least the photo wasn’t stage managed, except for the front line," he continued.

"If I wanted to do a shout out to the many amazing senior women in fighting financial crime, I could name a 100 off the bat, but I agree, more thought needs to go into messaging and support for all the talents. Good call out," Mr. Cusack remarked.



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