Navigating a field that’s ever-evolving is no easy task. That task becomes even harder when you lack mentors that can relate to your unique journey and identity. But the RegTech community is a friendly one and you don’t have to look very far to find inspiration for your own career. There’s a whole lot of women who have forged their way through male dominated spaces, rising to the top of their teams, and finding success in sometimes unexpected places.
So whether you find yourself at the start of your career or you’re simply looking for that next piece of advice - we want to help. In honour of International Women’s Day, we’ve reached out (and inwards) to a few of our most trusted leaders in RegTech and Fintech to see what advice they have to offer to women paving their own way through these growing industries.
Have your own advice to share or a leader RegTech worth watching? Let us know in the comments!
Lead for Project Financial Crime at the Payments Association
My advice would be to aim high. Emphasise your skills and experience when you apply for a new job or promotion and your willingness to fill gaps if any exist. Women tend to understate their capabilities.
Also, it’s important to learn to blow your own trumpet and take credit for your achievements. It is a competitive world and only you can actively manage your reputation and ensure your project has the right image.
And finally, keep close to those who have respect for your abilities and can act as mentors and support your career moves. Positive role models are important. Most people succeed with a mixture of talent and luck.
Co-Founder & Head of Client Delivery at RegTech Associates
I have worked in male dominated fields my entire career and it can be hard to make yourself heard for fear of being labelled aggressive or domineering - labels that are never attributed negatively to men. In response to this I say don't be afraid to be assertive and to share your thoughts and ideas - they are just as valid as anyone else's.
I remember about 20 years ago, I was told I was really aggressive. At first, I was really upset but then I realised that this meant that people were paying attention to me, to what I was saying and rather than be cowed, I continued to assert myself in order to effect change and make a difference to the organisation I was working for. We are far too concerned about what other people think - be confident, be strident, be open - these are qualities to be proud of.
Product Manager at kompany, a Moody’s Analytics Company
RegTech might look scary for a newcomer, with all the directives, requirements, and regulations, on top of which the tech part must also fit in. From my experience, as a Product Manager in this industry, succeeding in RegTech requests a brave combination of three elements:
- Curiosity. You need to pass the boundaries and always be willing to learn something new, that goes beyond your level of expertise.
- Innovation. Think outside the box when it comes to finding new ways of achieving your goals is not overrated. Especially in RegTech, where time is pressuring.
- Attention to details. It’s not the devil who is in details, but it can be what differentiates you from your competitors.
Founder & CEO at Vespia
I encourage all women in RegTech to be bold and brave and think outside the box. RegTech is becoming a category of its own and slowly breaking free from being purely an enabler of the financial and FinTech sectors. AML (Anti-Money Laundering) awareness is expanding to such industries as eCommerce, art, and NFTs, sharing economy - it is becoming bigger than just regulatory compliance, it is about trust and ensuring trust with your customers and partners. - understanding this will be key to enabling your own longterm success. This is why we can't just think of what is necessary and possible in the scope of today's regulations, but we need to think about how our fresh ideas and solutions will shape the RegTech of the future.
Global Head of Financial Crime Compliance Advisory at Tata Consultancy Services
My advice to future women leaders in compliance and RegTech: regulatory compliance is a very niche, complex and highly dynamic area to work in, and a very prestigious one at the same time. Not surprising then that skills in this domain are and will always remain in high demand. But in order to stay relevant and even ahead of the curve, one must keep learning. Regulations are rapidly changing and technology is witnessing digital innovations at a rapid pace. A contextual understanding of both will ensure you stay at the top of your game.
My advice to women on becoming effective leaders: Leadership, as they say, is about inspiring people to do things they never thought they could. I advise rising women leaders to inspire by example, demonstrate passion and accomplish new milestones, communicate closely with your team to elicit effective feedback, be empathetic – show them that you truly care! A leader is only as good as their team, so invest in coaching those who work with you, bringing out the strengths they are not sure of themselves! Lead from the front, with a clear vision of what you as a team must and can achieve, enabling all to work towards that goal. Trust your people and give them the autonomy to drive initiatives on their own, while providing all the required support to achieve the target.
And while you are at it, create a strong next layer that can support you and grow along with you. The professional graph of working women tends to overlap with their personal one, as responsibilities increase on both sides almost simultaneously. My advice to aspiring women leaders would be to find a balance that can reduce work-life conflict, create a support network, and leverage your organisation’s initiatives that support women in the workplace.
Managing Director (Americas) at kompany, a Moody’s Analytics Company
Many years ago, I attended an event where a Columbia University professor spoke about the research she was doing on gender differences in the workplace. One of the most striking differences was around applying for positions. She said that a woman typically will not vie for a role unless she has nearly 100% of all the requirements. This advice resonated and I would like to pay it forward. Push yourself beyond your comfort zone, apply for (there are valuable lessons to be learned, even if you are rejected) and take on roles where you may not know EVERYTHING, and be vocal about what you want. In short: GO FOR IT!
Regulatory, Payments and FinTech Expert
Do not be put off by the lingo. RegTech, FinTech… it’s not as complex and sophisticated as it sounds. If you like translating legal/customer requirements into simple, practical solutions, and you crave using your creativity as much as your ability to structure, document and monitor frameworks, then you can be successful in either field. What I personally love about this space is that it combines Financial Services, Law and Technology in a way that allows me to continue learning every day, whether it’s financial crime compliance, cyber security or artificial intelligence, I am constantly entering new fields I never dreamt of. And yes, there are a lot of acronyms, but it’s a lot easier than it seems.
COO at kompany, a Moody’s Analytics Company
In financial services compliance there are already quite a lot of women actively involved. It's a good place to be because you're not alone. Sometimes technology is seen as a barrier to joining the industry, but if you’re not from a technology background it shouldn’t be an obstacle, it certainly hasn’t been for me. You don’t have to be a RegTech expert to excel in it. At kompany we have really embraced diversity, bringing together a combination of people from very different backgrounds into the business – from financial services compliance, the IT sector, business information industry and more. There are opportunities for everyone, so don’t rule yourself out without exploring the possibilities.