Lisa Quest: Combatting Terrorist Funding and Money Laundering for a Better World

Lisa Quest
Lisa Quest

Money laundering and terrorist funding are two of the biggest problems of our modern world. Often the laundered money reaches in the hands of criminal organizations or terrorists, which in return threatens the idea of free and peaceful world. Meet, Lisa Quest, the Partner- Co Head of Anti-Financial Crime, EMEA. Lisa works with national crime agencies and governments’ ministries of finance and justice.  One of the key aspects of her role is acting as a subject matter expert between various governments and financial services firms at the highest level possible to prevent the flow of illicit money through the sector.

For businesses, that means helping them understand and navigate the ever-evolving landscape of financial regulations. For regulators, it means providing them with a deep understanding of how aspects of financial markets operate, assisting government watchdogs to be much more effective at achieving their objectives. As the Co-head of the Anti-Financial Crime platform, currently she is conducting ground-breaking research and publishing numerous white papers on the topic. Lisa is also helping governments across Europe to design and setup more effective national frameworks to combat Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing, including how they can work more effectively within the public sector, leverage agile technology delivery and create high-functioning public/private partnerships to share information and reduce the flow of funds to criminal activities.

In an interview with CIO Look, Lisa Quest has shared few key pointers, regarding her role at Oliver Wyman.

Below are the highlights of the interview:

Kindly take us through your journey on becoming a proficient leader.

I started at Oliver Wyman after college because I wanted to have an impact on major companies early in my career. Since then, I’ve had the opportunity to advise private equity clients on financial services, while returning to academia at the London School of Economics and spreading time across charitable commitments. The ability to invest time in very different endeavours and to work with different types people has been really helpful in stretching my view of the world, shaping my way of thinking, and ultimately in finding ways to tackle some of the corporate world’s most pressing problems.

How do you diversify your organization’s offerings to entice the target audience?

We customise our offering to each individual and institution we work with, whether it is in the public or private sector. For example, we are advising government agencies and companies at the forefront of economic crime reform and shaping the global agenda on how they can work together in responding to this important threat area across a broad range of issues covering digital transformation in KYC and Transaction Monitoring, Organizational Effectiveness and regulatory engagement.

How do you strategize your game plans to tackle the competition in the market?

We differentiate based on depth of knowledge in the area and our ability to work alongside our clients to implement the changes required.  Instead of thinking of interesting solutions and throwing them over the fence to be implemented, we work hand-in-hand to make sure they’re fully developed and will actually have an impact.

What is some of the best advice you’ve received as a businesswoman?

Every business woman should find her unique style and not bow to the pressures placed on women in the industry to conform to a particular set of standards or archetypes of what it means to be a business person.  There are so many different paths you can take and you’ll be most successful and happy if you are true to your own authentic style.

As per your opinion, what roadblocks or challenges were faced by you in a corporate business? And how did you overcome them?

One of the biggest challenges is navigating a system that was not designed to suit a non-standard career path that balances both family priorities as well as other areas of interest.  Bending the corporate machinery to fit your own personal lifestyle and preferences is difficult. But I’ve found the system more willing to bend than I had initially thought when I have been clear about my priorities and boundaries.  What made a real difference for me was finding the right sponsors who have helped me shape and accelerate my career on my own terms.

Have you in any ways contributed towards the cause of women empowerment?

Formally, I am the Executive Sponsor of our Women in Oliver Wyman network for the UK & Ireland and a member of our UK & Ireland leadership team.  However, I think I contribute the most toward the cause of women empowerment by mentoring and sponsoring women.  Being able to help someone on something that really accelerates her career at a pivotal point in time can have tremendous impact. It is also very personally rewarding.

What are your future endeavors/objectives and where do you see yourself in the near future?

In the near future, I see myself continuing to help the public sector in our fight against financial crime and in the development of more effective government models and regulators.