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INSIGHT: Read the inspiring address by global FIU chief Ela Franków-Jaśkiewicz to the AML Intelligence ‘Women in FinCrime’ Summit

By <strong>Elżbieta Franków-Jaśkiewicz</strong>
By Elżbieta Franków-Jaśkiewicz

Ela is Chair of MONEYVAL and Vice Chair, Egmont Group of FIUs. She is Head of the International Cooperation Unit, Dept of Financial Information, Ministry of Finance, Poland (Polish FIU). She is a former police officer.

HUNDREDS of women Anti-Financial Crime professionals attended the recent AML Intelligence ‘Women in FinCrime’ Summit which heard from global AFC leaders. Here is an edited extract from the inspiring address by Elżbieta Franków-Jaśkiewicz, Chair of the Council of Europe’s AML assessors, MONEYVAL and vice chair of the Egmont Group:

A 2020 United Nations Report found that almost 90% of men and women hold a bias against females, and there is not a single country in the world with gender equality. That’s what makes events like the AML Intelligence ‘Women in FinCrime’ Summit special and important.

One thing my roles have had in common is that they are still predominantly male-dominated fields.

What we all do know however, is that women bring unique skill sets to their careers that can significantly benefit all fields, but unfortunately, gender equality still needs to be fought for.

Digital transformation

Two critical skills women specifically bring to the workplace are their inherent creativity and flexibility.

These skills pair well with our current need to adapt and swiftly address new and emerging risks from rapidly evolving technology that underpins FinTech’s products and services.

Financial crimes are globally omnipresent, as are the international efforts to combat them. However, the difficulty lies in organized crime’s ability to adapt to changing situations, including new technology, almost immediately.

‘Women bring unique skill sets to their careers that can significantly benefit all fields, but unfortunately, gender equality still needs to be fought for’

In fact, one essential aspect of successful digital transformation is being highly flexible. Reporting entities, financial intelligence units, regulators, law enforcement agencies, and other competent authorities all have a role to play. Given the global scale of financial crime and often limited public resources, it is crucial for FIUs and the private sector to cooperate closely in response to money laundering and terrorist financing threats.

Fostering a culture that values and promotes continuous learning and knowledge sharing can be achieved through engaging with FinTechs to understand how they operate and enhancing capabilities through digital transformation.

Due to FinTech-related financial intelligence, FIUs may start receiving more effective reporting and organize efficient international cooperation. However, the necessary FinTech information to be reported to FIUs needs to be determined. International formatting of information exchanges would be incredibly beneficial.

A current FinCrime threat many will face is the higher anonymity levels that various services in the FinTech industry provide, like virtual assets, making money increasingly difficult to trace. The majority of existing cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, have transparent blockchains. Their transactions can be verified and traced by anyone in the world. This means that the transaction’s sending and receiving addresses could potentially be linked to real identities.

The cryptocurrency Monero or similar new tools, on the other hand, uses various privacy-enhancing technologies to ensure user anonymity. Similar conclusions can be made with peer-2-peer decentralized finance platforms or DeFi.

After exploring cryptocurrency finance, the Egmont Group drew the following conclusions for the FinCrime field to try and protect themselves:

  • Ensure staff are familiar with the technology used for digital currency and have a broad understanding of its functioning and available pitfalls in the organization’s crucial sectors.

FIUs will start experiencing this challenge and others more often with NFTs, the metaverse, and more.

The Egmont Group produced a report on Digital Transformation of AML/CFT for Operational Agencies to assist with leveraging technology to strengthen operational capability and resilience and on FIU – FinTech Cooperation and Associated Cybercrime Typologies and Risks.

‘Another essential skill that helps women succeed in all positions is their ability to cultivate purposeful, genuine, and meaningful relationships’

This was to understand better the FinTech environment, which FinTech are regulated in each jurisdiction, how legislation treats them, what information and how they report it to authorities, and how FIUs use the information. Both reports are available on the Egmont Group website.


Another essential skill that helps women succeed in all positions is their ability to cultivate purposeful, genuine, and meaningful relationships.

As you know, international cooperation is crucial for mitigating and suppressing ML/TF. An Egmont Group strategic goal is to increase the scope and depth of our engagement with international partners, provide unique insights for critical operational and policy debates and improve access to new wisdom and intelligence to enhance Egmont Group initiatives.

By working more closely with AML/CFT stakeholders worldwide, women can use this skill to build these relationships, remove silos, build bridges, and maximize our mutual objectives of reducing crime and recovering assets.

Egmont Group

For a bit of background information, the Egmont Group is the only global organization that facilitates 166 FIUs’ operational cooperation through its secure web platform and, in addition, shares expertise, typology reports, and red flags among its members who are uniquely positioned to collect and analyze sensitive information to add relevant value to law enforcement agencies, prosecution bodies, and security services.

The EG network makes it harder for criminals to collect, move, and use money and other assets for ML/TF purposes. However, the global nature of these crimes and the speed at which money can move across borders, evading detection, makes following the money challenging.

To help overcome obstacles, the Egmont Group develops typologies and reports and pools member FIUs’ experiences to provide red flag indicators and other important feedback to support the private sector’s role in detecting suspicious financial transactions.

‘Sharing our experiences and being vulnerable about our successes AND challenges helps dismantle any conscious or unconscious biases we, as women, may have internalized, paving the way for how future generations show up in the world’

The Egmont Group also provides capacity building through the Egmont Centre of FIU Excellence and Leadership (also known as ECOFEL). Since its establishment in 2018, ECOFEL has supported over 190 jurisdictions by providing innovative technical assistance and specialized training and developing the first unique e-learning platform for FIUs, with nearly 6000 registered users and 16 eLearning courses already developed and launched.


One program I’d like to highlight today is ECOFEL’s Mentorship Program. Mentoring is essential for everyone; however, women mentoring women is significant as we still face different challenges, outside of field-specific ones, that mentoring can help work through, including:

  • Breaking down barriers and stigmas women may face in high-profile leadership roles
  • Inspiring women to join male-dominated fields or positions
  • Getting unique and innovative ideas to the forefront
  • Supporting women as they often must learn how to successfully juggle a full-time career with parenting and personal life, or at least, they are expected to.
  • Guiding women to define what a healthy work-life balance means
  • Influencing women’s mindsets and, in turn, employers, who often set lower expectations for themselves than men would

Outside of gender-specific benefits, mentoring is a two-way process that can be an enriching experience for both the mentee and the mentor and is essential for improving workplace diversity. The ECOFEL Mentorship Program inspires others to pass along their knowledge for the future, expand professional networks, and further develop leadership and communications skills. I encourage organizations to build their own mentorship programs.

A third skill many women possess is the ability to view problems holistically and understand situations without needing to see every part.

This comes in handy since financial crimes are a complex, global problem needing to be addressed through various strategies and are often linked to other predicate offences like corruption, tax fraud, drug trafficking, and human trafficking, with transnational organized criminal networks often involved.


It’s crucial to leverage this current momentum to establish partnerships, encourage subject knowledge training, organize outreach to national and international stakeholders, and improve cooperation by participating in educational and expert meetings with your colleagues and partners, just like we are doing here today.

Also, sharing our experiences and being vulnerable about our successes AND challenges helps dismantle any conscious or unconscious biases we, as women, may have internalized, paving the way for how future generations show up in the world.

This is not the end. As more women enter the workforce and leadership roles, we must encourage and mentor them to realize their potential and use their unique skillset. Once they do, their competence will be undeniable to everyone, including themselves.

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