Critics often complain that the compliance profession is something of a closed-shop for white, middle-class men who have worked for decades in the financial services sector, and dominate the top tiers of senior management in the field. This kind of characterisation is not wholly fair, of course.


Increasing amounts of women are developing sustainable and successful careers in the industry, as too are those coming from a Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic (BAME) background. But most in the industry will admit that there is still a distance to go.

The industry also continues to be siloed in other ways, with financial services compliance still seen by many in the field as a ‘career for life’ that requires little input from other professional perspectives. This preconception has been challenged over the last decade too, by an influx of staff from public sector backgrounds such as law enforcement and intelligence, and increasing numbers of technically savvy individuals who work with data and advanced platforms. The rise of fintech has also played a role, bringing a wider range of young, talented individuals who want to challenge the ‘group think’ of pre-existing approaches into the field.

In this session, our panellists will discuss the practical value that a diversity of skills and experience can bring to the execution of compliance and risk management, and consider the challenges that come with building and sustaining diverse teams. The panel will also identify good practice from both within and beyond the sector, to help firms get the best out of their people, whatever their backgrounds.


• Tamara Kahn, Executive Director, International Compliance Association and Wilmington Plc


• Bénédicte Nolens, Head of BIS Innovation Hub, Hong Kong Centre

• Janet Adams, Chief Operating Officer, SingularityNET

• Bukola Adisa, Founder, Career Masterclass 

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