Empowering Women in Corporate Leadership: A Catalyst for Sustainable Change on International Women’s Day

At the ACi we are proud our membership of women in higher decision-making roles in corporate investigations and litigation has increased by 9% in the last 4 years, making up nearly 20% of our membership overall. Nevertheless, there are still strides to be made in advancing women’s’ positionality in the workplace. In the spirit of International Women’s Day, policies fostering corporate gender diversity, including targets and quotas for women on boards, senior management and executive positions are recognized as crucial initiatives. The recent decision by S&P Global investors to consider gender diversity in evaluating ESG opportunities and risks reflects a positive shift, indicating external pressures for increased female representation in senior roles.

As we celebrate International Women’s Day, it is essential to reflect on the strides made in empowering women in corporate decision-making roles. Despite progress, the journey toward gender equality is ongoing. This article explores the significance of women’s representation in these positions and its profound impact on Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) performance.

A recent article from The Guardian reported a 6% increase in female CEOs in FTSE 350 companies from 2011 to 2024. While this reflects some progress, only 10 out of FTSE 100 CEOs are women. A 2023 report by firm, McKinsey on women in the workplace revealed women in senior management positions are leaving the workforce at a higher rate than men. This illustrates the challenges to sustaining women in high level decision-making roles in the corporate workplace reflected in the roughly 60-40% gender disparity in typical company managerial positions. While roles such as finance directors and chief information officers are emerging as pathways to CEO positions, with a notable increase in women serving on executive committees, there still remains the challenge to maintaining the positive structural organisational changes that will foster an increasing presence of women in high decision-making roles in the corporate world.

In April 2022 the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) set positive diversity targets for listed companies, were women should comprise 40% of company boards and companies should have at least one women in a senior board position. Business Secretary, Kemi Badenoch applauds FTSE 350 companies for surpassing this target, emphasizing the organic nature of this change. The focus now is on sustaining this momentum to achieve equitable leadership which will be reviewed by the FCA in 2025.

Numerous studies, including the 2021 IFC Corporate Governance Report, emphasize the positive correlation between women in leadership roles and enhanced ESG performance. Celebrating the critical mass of around 30% women on company boards, key findings include improved environmental practices, enhanced social performance, and a commitment to ethical conduct.

Studies, such as “Women leaders and Corporate Social Performance,” underscore the importance of achieving a critical mass of women in leadership positions to drive positive ESG change. The theme of 2024’s International Women’s Day #Inspiringinclusion emphasizes the role of women in shaping sustainable corporate practices.

On International Women’s Day, as we celebrate the increasing representation of women in corporate decision-making roles, we recognize not only the strides toward gender equality but also the profound impact on ESG and CSR performance. Companies are encouraged to adopt and implement policies that champion gender diversity, acknowledging the invaluable perspectives and experiences that women bring to board decision-making processes. Empowering women in leadership positions is not just a symbol of equality but a catalyst for sustainable and positive change. This International Women’s Day, let us commit to fostering a corporate landscape where women thrive, contributing to a more inclusive and sustainable future.


Confide Forges Strategic Alliance with ACi to Elevate Industry Standards

Partnership with ACi’s Extensive Network to Enhance Confide’s Market Position and Product Offerings

London, United Kingdom

5 February 2024

Confide, the revolutionary governance, risk, and integrity platform founded by Wirecard whistleblower, Pav Gill, announces a strategic collaboration with the Association of Corporate Investigators (ACi). This alliance positions Confide at the forefront of industry innovation, harnessing ACi’s vast member expertise to significantly enhance its product offerings.

The collaboration with ACi, with its network of seasoned corporate investigators, opens new avenues for Confide to refine and tailor its solutions. By tapping into the deep well of ACi’s practical knowledge and experience, Confide will dramatically improve the functionality and relevance of its products, addressing the current market’s unmet needs.

Pav Gill, CEO & Founder of Confide, states, “Partnering with ACi is a game-changer for us. Besides being an industry-first, it provides an unparalleled opportunity to leverage their extensive network and insights, enabling Confide to revolutionise our offerings and better serve the investigative community and beyond.”

Ashu Sharma, Head of the Advisory Panel at ACi, adds, “Our members’ expertise combined with Confide’s innovative approach will undoubtedly lead to superior products that redefine industry benchmarks. Our joint efforts will drive unprecedented innovation and excellence in the services we provide to our members and the industry at large.”

Through this partnership, Confide aims to not only enhance its existing solutions but also to ideate new, cutting-edge tools that align with the real-world challenges and complexities faced by corporate investigators.

This strategic collaboration with ACi signifies a major leap for Confide in its mission to lead and transform the corporate investigation landscape through collaborative innovation and expertise-driven product development.


Banking Investigators Forum

Ashurst was delighted to host the ACi Banking Investigators Forum on 5th October 2023. We enjoyed insightful discussions between banking investigators and key industry figures to analyse the evolving regulatory challenges and economic pressures experienced by banks. A short summary of key takeaways from these sessions is available here for download, which features a number of the thematic issues identified. 

Members News Research

Member survey 2023

This June we are reaching out to members to see if they’d like to get more involved with building the ACi. As you’re aware, the Executive Committee at ACi are all volunteers, who have full-time in-house investigations roles. The popularity of the Association means we are always on the lookout for subject matter experts who are willing to share knowledge and experience, and for investigations professionals who want to give back to the profession by reaching out to their networks to expand ACi’s mission.


ACi at Relativity Fest London 2023

The Association of Corporate Investigators was out in force yesterday at Relativity Fest London 2023 as we spoke to a lively audience about our work on the development of the new ISO standard for Internal Investigations. Our panel featured Steve YoungAshu Sharma (CFE, CFCS)Hannah Clare (She/Her)William Kelly (CISM, CIPP/US) and the moderator was Simon Scales.
The panel explained how the new standard – ISO 37008 – will give organisations a guide as to how to do investigations properly. It will give investigators and their teams a source of best practice that is accepted globally, enabling them to have the knowledge and certainty that they are performing investigations to internationally accepted standards.
The panel said they have been working with a cohort of 37 countries to develop the standard, which is expected to be published later in 2023. The panel said that working collaboratively with investigators from around the world has been both interesting and rewarding. There was a standing ovation at the end of the session.


ACi Symposium Round Up

On Thursday, 10th November, ACi held its Symposium event in London, after having missed two years due to Covid19. It was great to bring our investigations community back together for a day of learning, networking and sharing experiences. This year, we were kindly hosted by Allen & Overy at its London offices offering fantastic views of the city.

Our expert speakers included:

(Event moderator) Simon Scales, ACi ExCo
(Co-Host) Eve Giles, Allen & Overy
(Co-Host) Steve Young, ACi
Stephen M. Kohn, Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto LLP
Howard Wilkinson, Whistleblower
Mary Eastwood Jones, World Trade Organisation
Tim Roberts, The Risk Advisory Group
Christoph Haid, Schoenherr
Jeffrey Giddings, ACi ExCo
Kieran McPate, Relativity
Benjamin Borsodi, Schellenberg Wittmer
Michael Zimmern, Control Risks
Basha Galvin, ACi
Stephen S., Compass Group
Sarah Henchoz, Allen & Overy
Joanne Taylor, K2 Integrity
Patrick Wellens, ACi ExCo
David Wolfe CPA/CFF, The Global Fund
Sam Tate, RPC
Ray Massie, Epiq
Ashu Sharma (CFE, CFCS), ACi ExCo
Manu Hanspal, Compass Group
Trevor D., Haleon
Amanda Raad, Ropes & Gray LLP
Jonathan Brown, Ankura
Bryn Parry-Jones MBE, Lloyds Bank
Alexander Moss, ACi ExCo
Jules Colborne-Baber, Deloitte
Deirdre Carwood, Deloitte
Polly Sprenger, Addleshaw Goddard
Rebecca Chalkley, Red Lion Chambers

Delegates discussed a range of topical investigations subjects – from the rise in prevalence of ESG investigations to questioning whether the human element of investigations will have disappeared completely in ten years’ time. Delegates also reflected on the challenges posed by C-Suite investigations and shared best practices for conducting interviews.

Once again, our MC Simon Scales had the delegates chuckling away with his engaging and witty moderating style.

Feedback from attendees has been fantastic. Here are just a few comments we received:

“Excellent sessions, great panels, really good quality discussions and well held together by a brilliant Chairman.”

“The most tailored and relevant event for corporate investigators I have been to.”

“…it was warm and authentic. People on panels were not overly corporate and despite the large audience seemed comfortable to discuss ‘warts and all’. Also, no question was deemed off limits.”

You can read our full event programme here. Thank you to everyone involved especially our hosts, Eve Giles and Sarah Henchoz, and the rest of the Allen & Overy team. Thanks also to our sponsors Deloitte, Schoenherr, Addleshaw Goddard, Relativity, Ankura, Control Risks, Epiq, K2Integrity and Risk Advisory.

Finally, a special thanks to our MC Simon Scales, to our panellists, and – not least of all – to the delegates who made it such a worthwhile event.

We look forward to seeing everyone next year.


Investigating Sexual Misconduct Workshop Round Up

On Friday, 14th October 2022 we held the first part of our Investigating Sexual Misconduct workshop, hosted by Ropes & Gray at their London offices.

Our expert speakers included:

Amanda Raad, Ropes & Gray

Ruby Moshenska, safeguarding consultant

Sharon Tan, Mishcon de Reya

Basha Galvin, ACi

Delegates discussed how corporate investigators can manage complainants, witnesses and employees accused of wrongdoing in a culturally sensitive way, including duty of care to all parties concerned. There was a focus on how to respond to complex sexual misconduct allegations using trauma-informed approaches as part of a robust response, the role bias can play in an investigation, employment law implications and how sexual misconduct investigations link to wider organisation culture discussions.

Feedback from attendees has been fantastic. Here are just a few comments we received:

“A very helpful and thoughtful review of trauma informed approaches.”

“A rarely discussed topic.”

“Practical tips on interviews with complainants/Subject of Concern.”

Thank you to our expert panel speakers and our host, Amanda Raad, and the rest of the Ropes & Gray team. We look forward to our part two of this workshop coming to you in 2023.


Immersive Investigations Training Workshop – London Round Up

On Thursday, 29th September, we held our immersive investigations training workshop, hosted by RPC at their London offices overlooking Tower Bridge.

Our expert speakers included:

Manu Hanspal, Head of EMEA, ACi

Stephen Storey, Compass Group

Sam Tate, RPC

Kelly Thomson, RPC

Jon Bartley, RPC

Ching Liu, Control Risks

Lorna Van Oss, Control Risks

Adam Garside, Control Risks

Delegates were guided through a case study and discussed managing & planning an investigation, identifying and interpreting evidence, managing Whistleblowers and recent legislation, E-discovery, forensic IT and legality of material obtained, establishing investigative conclusions and investigation findings.

Feedback from attendees has been fantastic. Here are just a few comments we received:

“Fantastic inputs from all presenters, very informative tips and shared best practices. I would definitely join next sessions and will recommend ACI events to my investigator colleagues.”

“Excellent, really learnt a lot and loved hearing from different perspectives.”

“Great event. Very good Q & A throughout with good engagement.”

Thank you to our expert panel speakers and our host, RPC. We look forward to launching more immersive investigations training workshops in the future.


Announcing our new partnership with Ankura

ACi is delighted to announce a new partnership with Ankura Consulting Group LLC, an independent advisory firm offering expertise in the areas of change, risk disputes, finance, performance, distress and transformation.

Speaking of the partnership, Steve Young, CEO, ACi said, “As the ACi grows it is important that we find organisations to work with who understand our mission and want to make a contribution to the advancement of the corporate investigations professsion. I am delighted that in Ankura we have found not only expertise but the passion to make a difference.”

“Ankura are delighted to partner with the Association of Corporate Investigators. It’s a fantastic organisation, facilitating knowledge sharing amongst the investigation community. In an era where investigators need to grapple with issues as diverse as fraud, corruption, conflicts of interest, human rights abuses in the supply chain, harassment, bullying and unethical behaviour of every kind imaginable, this has never been more important. We look forward to sharing best practices with members and learning from their wealth of experience.”

The Ankura team consists of more than 1,700 professionals in more than 35 offices globally who are leaders in their respective fields and areas of expertise. Its global Risk, Forensics & Compliance practice includes accountants, investigators and former regulators, alongside expertise in gathering intelligence, asset tracing, data analytics, cyber response and the collection, analysis and review of electronic data sources wherever they exist worldwide.

We have an upcoming webinar, sponsored by Ankura, on Bring Your Own Device (BOYD) Investigations. Click here to find out more.


Banking Investigators Forum Round up

On Thursday, 26th May ACi proudly hosted its first Banking Investigators Forum event, kindly sponsored by Forensic Risk Alliance. The event was attended by banking investigators from 80 different banks and covered a range of issues, all of which had been selected by delegates as points of interest.

Our prestigious speakers included:

  • Colin Bell, CEO, HSBC
  • Stephen M Kohn, Managing Partner, Kohn & Kohn LLP
  • Jonathan Shatford, Head of Investigations, JP Morgan EMEA
  • Madalina Florea, Head of SM?MRT Investigations, Lloyds Banking Group
  • Michael Delf, Global Employee Conduct Director, Citibank
  • Charlie Steele, Partner, FRA
  • Dave Francis, Head of Litigation & Investigations, NatWest Bank Plc
  • Lorene Wiggin, Managing Investigator, NatWest Bank Plc
  • Gerben Schreurs, Partner, FRA
  • Jamie Brown, Executive Director, Head of Fraud Intelligence and Investigations, Standard Chartered Bank
  • Paul Carroll, Manager, Fraud Inestigations, Intelligence & Policy, TSB
  • Ronan Guckian, Deputy Head, Financial Crime Unit, KBC Bank
  • Magdalena Boskik, Head of RegTech and Crypto Compliance Services, Sygnum Bank
  • Katerina Androutsou, RegTech & Crypto Compliance Services, Sygnum Bank
  • Robert Clarke, Managing Director, Global Head of Investigations, Citibank
  • Cecillie Fjellhoy, romance scam victim

During the day, delegates grappled with a range of issues such as whether investigative interviews should always be recorded, the current crypto landscape and what it means for investigators, and skills and tools that investigators should have for successful outcomes.

The day was ably managed by Simon Scales who had the delegates giggling in their seats with his engaging and witty moderating style.

Feedback from attendees has been outstanding. For example one delegate said,

“The event was run really efficiently, the venue was excellent but mostly important the speakers and subject matter was just brilliant. Often I see people on their phones at lot at these events catching up with emails etc but as I looked around, like myself everyone was listening intently. It really was one of the best conferences I have attended in many years (ignoring the pandemic). Thanks to everyone involved, with a little special mention to Simon who I thought was amazing as an MC.Already looking forward to the next one, please keep my details within your database. I will be selling the events for you as I speak with all of my bank investigator contacts throughout the whole industry. So many of them would have benefitted and enjoyed yesterday.”

You can read our event programme here. Thank you to everyone involved especially our sponsor Trevor Wiles and the FRA team, Simon Scales, our speakers and not least of all the delegation who made it such a special event.

We look forward to seeing everyone next year.