Janet began her career in trading rooms in The City of London processing FX trades manually. In her 30s, she had a spell as a Consultant at a technology firm. She noticed all her jobs at the time started to become automated so it made sense to her to work for technical houses. That led to her work at Barclays in Canary Wharf where she was based for many years in equity finance. She took the opportunity to move to Singapore - Barclays was opening a global software development centre there and she managed diverse teams of 11 different nationalities. This meant a family move which was originally thought to be for six to twelve months and Janet and her family stayed there for 8 years.
A trip to New Zealand to watch the rugby led to another family move after her stint in Singapore. When they moved to New Zealand, Janet felt she had to re-invent herself and she went back into project management, her former background. For the past 8 years, Janet has been delivering regulatory projects in retail banking in New Zealand.
In the webinar, Janet explained that regulation still has many manual processes with lots of Excel spreadsheets. Having a technology background and working in the regulatory space, her aim was to shift away from manual solutions and she spends time convincing teams that technology is the way forward for organisations to shift from a reactive regulatory environment to one that is much more proactive. She also gave specific regulatory projects she has delivered including the Financial Markets Conduct Act in New Zealand, regulations around consumer credit, AML and GDPR.
About 18 months ago, Janet began a project-based Masters in Technological Futures and selected RegTech as her chosen subject. This supports her passion to change the way regulatory change is managed, making it simpler and easier to get it right in the first place. Interestingly, she observed many of her perceptions about the industry have evolved as a result of this study, including the positive way in which New Zealand’s five regulatory bodies have changed in the way they collaborate with stakeholders. As Janet’s proof of concept, she is developing a centralised communications platform that anyone can go to understand what they need to know.
In terms of diversity, Janet explained how the work hard play hard environment in London in the 1980s was a special time. She explained that she has been used to being the minority as a female in technology in banking. Do listen to how the Pirelli calendar and wolf whistles culture of dealing rooms in London was not what she found in Singapore and then, fast forward to her time in New Zealand, where she feels women have more of a voice now…albeit there is still more progress to be made around diversity in the workplace.
This is a fascinating conversation and you can hear more from Sarah and Janet by watching the webinar below: