Global Government Fintech Lab 2024 speakers

KEYNOTE ADDRESS Neale Richmond

Minister of State, Department of Finance, Ireland

Neale was appointed as minister of state at the Department of Finance with special responsibility for financial services, credit unions and insurance on 10 April 2024. He previously served as minister of state at the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment with special responsibility for business, employment and retail, and the Department of Social Protection, since January 2023. Much of his work at the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment was with businesses, workers, their representative bodies and state agencies to ensure that the economic recovery and growth extends to all parts of the country. He worked closely with the small- and medium-sized enterprise (SME) sector, including retail, on building resilience and on the transition to the green and digital economies. Before this, he was elected as a TD (Teachta Dála) for Dublin Rathdown in the 2020 general election (a TD is a member of Dáil Éireann, the lower house of the Oireachtas – the Irish Parliament). In 2016 he was elected to Seanad Éireann, on the Labour Panel, where he was the Fine Gael spokesperson on European affairs and chair of the Seanad special select committee on the withdrawal of the UK from the European Union (EU). Neale served for seven years on Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council (he was first elected in 2009 and re-elected in 2014). Neale served for two years as a member of the EU’s Committee of the Regions, leading the Irish delegation, acting as rapporteur on the opinion on a more responsible trade and investment policy. He holds a BA in History and an MA in Politics from University College Dublin (UC). He lives in Stepaside with his wife and their two children.

SPEAKERS (listed alphabetically by surname)

Parma Bains

Financial Sector Expert, Monetary & Capital Markets Department, International Monetary Fund (IMF)

Parma is a financial sector expert within the International Monetary Fund (IMF)’s Monetary & Capital Markets Department. He specialises in the regulation of fintech, providing global technical assistance, conducting financial sector assessments, and developing policy and analysis on topics including ‘BigTech’, sandboxes and innovation hubs, crypto-assets including stablecoins, and blockchain consensus mechanisms. He is a member of the Financial Stability Board (FSB) Crypto Asset Working Group. He joined the IMF from the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) where he was part of a small team that launched the world’s first dedicated fintech regulatory unit, ‘Project Innovate’, and worked across several functions. Parma authored the FCA’s ‘Guidance on Crypto Assets’ and was a member of the ‘UK Cryptoasset Taskforce’ and the ‘IOSCO Fintech Network’ (International Organisation of Securities Commissions). Parma has also spent time with the US Department of Justice’s Anti-Trust Division and Deutsche Bank.

Steve Barr

Global Industry Advisor, Microsoft Worldwide Public Sector

Steve has more than 30 years’ business/IT experience and provided thought leadership and programme delivery across all sectors of the UK public sector covering central government, defence, education, health, local and regional government. He has delivered many keynotes and spoke at events on business-led innovation, using technology as the enabler for business transformation, sustainability, securit and user/citizen experience. He has extensive industry knowledge across tax and customs from 30-plus years working for and with the UK’s HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). He has written white papers on subjects including digital customs of the future, post-pandemic hybrid working, cloud security and government sustainability.

Charlie Boundy

Chief Data Officer, Companies House, United Kingdom

Charlie joined Companies House – an executive agency of the UK’s Department for Business and Trade – in 2023 in the newly created role of chief data officer. The role is focused on delivering the organisation’s vision for maximising the value of its data, including for combatting economic crime and inspiring trust. Prior to Companies House he led advanced analytics and data science in the UK’s Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) and, before that, delivered several data-driven change programmes in retail, utilities, telcos insurance and other parts of government. He has a breadth of knowledge across data disciplines including strategy, analytics, engineering and governance, plus the use of data for counter fraud, customer experience and operational performance. 

Dina Buse

Deputy Director, Financial Market Policy Department & Head, Credit Institution and Payment Services Policy Division, Ministry of Finance, Latvia

For the past eight years Dina has focused on the development of financial sector regulation, including banking sector regulation, resolution, payment services and fintech policy. She has 15 years’ experience across innovation, financial engineering instruments and small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) support programmes. She was a panellist in a Global Government Fintech webinar on blockchain bonds on 23 March 2023. Dina was also a speaker at the Global Government Fintech Lab 2023.

Karen Cullen

Head, International Financial Services Unit & Fintech Steering Group, Department of Finance, Ireland

Karen supports the minister in the development and implementation of the ‘Ireland for Finance’ strategy to promote Ireland as an international financial services centre. This is a whole-of-government approach, with collaboration between the public sector and industry, to drive the growth and development of the sector in Ireland. She is also head of the fintech steering group. Karen spoke at the inaugural Global Government Fintech Lab in Tallinn, Estonia, in June 2022.
INTERVIEW Ireland finance department’s fintech lynchpin: interview with Karen Cullen (published 16 September 2021)

Denise Delaney

Head, Supervisory Risk and Horizontal Division, Central Bank of Ireland

Denise is head of the Supervisory Risk and Horizontal Division within the Financial Regulation: Policy and Risk Directorate at the Central Bank of Ireland. She is responsible for leading the development, execution and coordination of innovation strategy and policy, including the Central Bank’s approach to engagement with innovators, via its Innovation Hub and new Innovation Sandbox Programme. She is also responsible for the implementation of the central bank’s approach to engagement with stakeholders, including via the annual Financial System Conference and via the Financial Industry Forum. She also leads on supervisory risk in the central bank. Denise joined the central bank in 2004. During her time at the central bank, she has worked in areas including consumer protection policy, conduct supervision, consumer information and financial education. In 2014/15, she was on secondment to the European Banking Authority, working in its Consumer Protection, Financial Innovation and Payments Unit. Prior to the central bank, she worked in the financial services sector. Denise was also a speaker at the Global Government Fintech Lab 2023.

Lee Edmonds

Head of Payments Services – Financial Services, Crown Commercial Service, United Kingdom

Lee has worked in the UK public sector for 22 years over two spells, previously working within the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) and Cabinet Office. He currently heads the Payments Services area of the UK’s Crown Commercial Service (CCS). His work focuses on developing effective procurement routes for the public sector to access non-core banking payments services, ranging from e-purchasing cards to grant funding administration, enabling more than £3bn of public sector money to be spent efficiently. He has recently led the development of a Dynamic Purchasing System (DPS) for digital payments services featuring a range of open banking-driven solutions that are expected to drive both public sector efficiency and citizen engagement. Lee is also passionate about his work within Government Commercial Function (GCF) leading a ‘Social Mobility Outreach Programme’, promoting opportunities within government while developing life-skills in partnership with financial services sector organisations, in areas such as credit and money management for students from disadvantaged backgrounds. 

Moad Fahmi CFA

Senior Advisor – Supervision (Financial Technology), Bermuda Monetary Authority

Moad leads a team responsible for regulatory authorisation and supervision efforts under the Digital Asset Business Act 2018. His team is also responsible for instigating and advancing fintech innovation, as well as developing the digital asset regime in Bermuda, one of the world’s first jurisdictions with a regulatory framework for digital assets. Before joining the Bermuda Monetary Authority in August 2018, Moad worked in Quebec (Canada) as director – fintech and innovation at the Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF). Moad was also a speaker at the Global Government Fintech Lab 2023.

Dominik Freudenthaler

Fintech Expert, Federal Ministry of Finance, Austria

Dominik is a member (and former acting chairperson) of Austria’s Regulatory Sandbox Advisory Board (housed in the ministry) and delegate of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) experts group on finance and digitalisation. He joined the Ministry of Finance in 2012 and has held different positions in the directorate for economic policy, financial markets and customs duties. Since autumn 2023 he has had lead regulatory responsibility for the Austrian pension funds sector. He has previously worked as an adviser to director-general Harald Waiglein and worked in the unit for legal affairs of banks and the capital market. He has also been a seconded adviser in a technical mission of the World Bank (FinSAC) in the Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) region. Dominik was responsible for the transposition of the European Union (EU)’s Payments Services Directive 2 (PSD2) and bank recovery and resolution framework in Austria. Currently, he is engaged with transposition of the EU’s Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) and a revision of the law on the audit oversight authority. Dominik was also a speaker at the Global Government Fintech Lab 2023.

Sofie Østerkjærhuus Jensen

Head of Company Supervision, Danish Business Authority

Sofie is head of company supervision at the Danish Business Authority, which sits under the Ministry of Industry, Business and Financial Affairs. Her team’s most important function is ensuring access to accurate data in the Central Business Register (CVR) – the government’s register of information about businesses in Denmark and Greenland – while preventing money laundering, financial crime and fraud involving Danish companies. Sofie has worked in company regulation for more than 10 years, mostly focused on compliance and preventing financial crime and fraud. During the past six years she has spearheaded the transformation of company supervision from a small team (undertaking relatively minimal checks) into one of the Danish Business Authority’s largest supervision areas. This evolution has been driven by adopting a data-driven and risk-based approach, using ‘near real-time’ machine-learning models to conduct checks during the CVR registration process. Her team’s efforts are focused on refining and enhancing its models and use of technologies for greater efficiency and effectiveness to contribute to the of the Danish Business Authority’s overarching objectives.

FIRESIDE CHAT Bernie Kelly

Chief Executive Officer, National Shared Services Office, Ireland

Bernie is chief executive at Ireland’s National Shared Service Office (NSSO), which leads the provision of shared services of human resources, payroll administration, and finance and accounting shared services administration to government departments and public service bodies (PSBs). With more than 20 years’ experience in the medical device and technology sectors at Cambridge Diagnostics, Nortel Networks and Avaya, she most recently held the role of assistant secretary for finance management shared services since joining the NSSO in 2017. Bernie is an experienced senior leader in operations and transformational leadership in shared services and finance in Ireland and EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa), as well as global order-to-cash operations, global forecasting and outlook management, cross-functional transformational projects, statutory control accounting, financial planning and analysis, treasury management and management accounting. As a CIMA accountant, Bernie has previously served on the CIMA Council of Ireland and as chair of the Western Area branch.

Marine Krasovska

Head, Fintech Supervision Department, Latvijas Banka (Latvia’s central bank), Latvia

Marine became head of the fintech supervision department at Latvijas Banka (Latvia’s central bank) on 1 January 2023 after the integration of the Baltic state’s Financial and Capital Market Commission – where she was director of the financial innovation department – into the central bank. She had been in that role since 2020. Her current position includes a focus on payment institutions/e-money institutions; crowdfunding; the development of the fintech environment; ICT risks’ supervision in financial sector; and the implementation of SupTech and RegTech solutions. A co-founder of a fintech start-up, she has also worked for Baltic banks Luminor, DNB and SEB. Marine spoke at the inaugural Global Government Fintech Lab in Tallinn, Estonia, in June 2022 and at the Global Government Fintech Lab 2023.

Mari-Liis Kukk

Head, Innovation Department, Estonian Financial Supervision and Resolution Authority

As head of Estonian Financial Supervision and Resolution Authority (Finantsinspektsioon)’s Innovation Department, Mari-Liis leads the work of the authority’s Innovation Hub and Regulatory Sandbox. These initiatives are aimed at helping fintech companies to understand how their solution may fit the regulatory environment. She is a member of several EU-level working groups that deal with financial innovation, including European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA)’s Digital Finance Standing Committee. She has a PhD in Economics and Finance from Tallinn University of Technology and her academic research focuses on the role of fintech companies in building a novel financial sector. She has co-authored three editions of the Estonian FinTech Report. Mari-Liis spoke at the inaugural Global Government Fintech Lab in Tallinn in June 2022 and at the Global Government Fintech Lab 2023.

Alessandro Moricca

Chief Executive, PagoPA (operator of national e-payments platform), Italy

Alessandro began as chief executive of PagoPA – a company wholly-owned by the state, through the Ministry of Economy and Finance, that operates a platform for e-payments to the European Union (EU) member state’s public administration, as well as a growing number of other platforms/services – in January 2023. He has previously held top roles in the private sector, for example, operating as chief financial officer of international business travel management companies (including CWT and, more recently, BCD Travel). He has a degree in Economics and Business from La Sapienza University (Rome) and a Masters in Business Administration from SDA Bocconi in Milan. 2024 is his first time at the Global Government Fintech Lab.
INTERVIEW Payments plus: an interview with Alessandro Moricca on ‘creating a digital ecosystem’ in Italy (published 28 February 2024)

Peter Oakes

Founder, Fintech Ireland and non-executive director at regulated fintech companies

Peter is well-known in Ireland’s fintech community, having established the free Fintech
Ireland network – which promotes, supports and maps the indigenous and international fintech ecosystem – in 2014. Peter is also a non-executive director of a number of global fintech companies in the investment services and payments sectors. He is a regular speaker and ‘MC’ at events and contributes to media on fintech and RegTech (regulatory technology) topics. Peter has also recently established the MiCAReady.com project (MiCAR is the European Union’s Markets in Crypto-Assets Regulation). He has previously held senior roles at regulators including the Central Bank of Ireland, the (now) UK Financial Conduct Authority and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission. Peter is qualified as a solicitor in Ireland, the UK and Australia. Peter was also a speaker at the Global Government Fintech Lab 2023.

Sudhanshu Prasad

Chief General Manager, Reserve Bank of India

Sudhanshu heads the oversight function in the RBI’s Department of Payment and Settlement Systems. This includes on-site and off-site monitoring of Clearing Corporation of India, National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), Card Payment Networks, non-bank Prepaid Payment Instrument Issuers and other entities authorised by the central bank. He has been instrumental in ensuring implementation of safety and security measures in the payments ecosystem. He has also played a key role in the creation of the Central Payments Fraud Information Registry and the creation of a comprehensive Digital Payments Index (RBI-DPI), a first of its kind across the world, to capture the extent of payments digitisation across India. Sudhanshu joined RBI in 1997. A career central banker, he also has extensive experience in the banking regulation and supervision space, as well as rural credit and foreign exchange aspects. Internationally he represents the RBI on various international working groups and has been a part of cross-jurisdictional teams conducting PFMI (principles for financial market infrastructures) assessments of various jurisdictions. He is a post-graduate in geology and loves travelling and driving.

Robert Rampre

Undersecretary, Insurance and Capital Market Division, Ministry of Finance, Slovenia

Robert has worked in the Ministry of Finance’s Insurance and Capital Market and Banking Division since 2021, focusing on the adoption of European Union (EU) digital finance regulation. As a member of a team dedicated to implementing the Capital Market Development Strategy of Slovenia 2023-2030, he is focused on the digitalisation of the Slovenian capital market. He is also involved with public authorities’ ‘Developing a Fintech Roadmap in Slovenia’ initiative, which primarily aims to steer regulatory and supervisory authorities’ actions towards private-sector fintech developments; and is co-chair in an inter-governmental working group seeking to establish conditions for a digital market platform for SMEs on distributed-ledger technology (DLT). He previously worked in Washington DC as advisor to an executive director of the World Bank, where he participated in projects including ‘Learning Coin’, an initiative launched with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to better understand blockchain and crypto.

Sandy Sancaster

Head of Government and Strategic Accounts, ClearBank

Sandy is responsible for managing ClearBank’s relationships within the government sector and driving its growth for the bank. He has more than 20 years’ experience within the financial sector, working across multiple disciplines, including revenue, product, operations, customer services and compliance. Sandy joined ClearBank in 2016, at the point of its inception. Prior to this, he was a business development manager for financial software and systems. He held roles at Voice Commerce Group Ltd (CashFlows) and White Eagle Europe, where he was operations and product development director, responsible for relationships with key partners, including Mastercard, Visa, PayPoint and the Post Office.

Mai Santamaria

Principal, Shareholding and Financial Advisory Division, Department of Finance, Ireland

Mai leads the Financial Advisory team in Ireland’s Department of Finance. This team carries out research to input into emerging and new areas of financial services and technology, advising and recommending policy. Mai led the Market in Crypto Assets Regulation (MiCA) negotiations for Ireland with the European Commission. She is also a bureau member of the OECD’s Committee in Financial Markets and member of its Ad-Hoc Expert Group in Digital Finance. Recipient of the Public Servant of the Year Award at Ireland’s National Fintech Awards 2023, she was a member of the BlockchainIreland advisory board for two years (2018-2020); organised an Irish government-wide public services blockchain hackathon in 2019; was a co-founder of BlockW; and co-chair of BGIN (Blockchain Governance Initiative Network). Prior to joining the Department of Finance, Mai worked in finance executive roles in the banking and insurance sectors for more than 20 years. In 2021 she published a World Economic Forum paper on the use of stablecoins for cross-border aid and, in 2017, co-authored a Department of Finance virtual currencies and blockchain discussion paper. She is a native of Barcelona and a Fellow Chartered Accountant in Ireland. Mai was also a speaker at the Global Government Fintech Lab 2023.

Jon Reidar Testad

Senior Advisor for Digitalisation and Innovation, Department of Digitalisation and Analysis, Financial Supervisory Authority of Norway

Jon joined the Norwegian FSA in early 2019. Except for a period as acting head of IT, he has been leader of innovation for most of the time, working on the implementation and management of robotic process automation (RPA) and artificial intelligence (AI). Central to his work has been creating a digital culture through interdisciplinary collaboration. In addition, he is initiator and driver of a Nordic collaboration group for AI (with representation from Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Iceland). Jon started his career more than 15 years ago in what could then be called a fintech company, Nordnet – now one of Norway’s largest securities companies. He subsequently worked within the financial sector with a focus on online-based services.

Diego Villafáñez Sagardoy

Digital Finance Co-ordinator, Department of Digital and Sustainable Finance, Spanish Treasury

Diego is focused on national and European Union (EU) legislation on digital finance, from payments and crypto-assets to cybersecurity. During the recent Spanish presidency of the EU Council (second half of 2023), Diego chaired working groups on the digital euro and payments package. He is also a member of the Financial Stability Board (FSB) working group on crypto-assets. He was previously an advisor to the Treasury secretary-general, dealing with matters related to analysis of monetary policy, money markets, the banking sector, financial stability and European fiscal rules. Diego is a career civil servant belonging to the High Corps of State Economists and Trade Experts. Diego also works as a Professor of Macroeconomics at the Universidad Pontificia Comillas (Madrid). Prior to joining the civil service, Diego worked as an academic assistant at the College of Europe in Bruges, Belgium. Diego holds a Masters degree in European Economics from the College of Europe, as well as a Double Bachelor Degree in Law and Business Administration from the University of Valladolid.

Siobhan Benita

Event Moderator, Global Government Fintech & Global Government Forum

Siobhan is a former senior civil servant in the UK, with more than 15 years’ Whitehall experience. She worked in many major delivery departments, including Transport, Environment, Health and Local Government. She also had senior roles at the heart of government in the Cabinet Office and HM Treasury, including supporting the then Cabinet Secretary, Lord O’Donnell, to lead work on civil service reform and strategy. Siobhan left to run as an independent candidate in the Mayor of London election. She subsequently joined her alma mater, Warwick University, as chief strategy officer of Warwick in London and co-director of the Warwick Policy Lab. Siobhan also introduced and moderated sessions at the first two Global Government Fintech Labs (Estonia 2022 and Ireland 2023).

Ian Hall

Editor, Global Government Fintech

Ian has edited Global Government Fintech since the title launched (as a sister title of Global Government Forum) in September 2020. He is former UK director for the pan-European media network Euractiv (2011-2018), editor of Public Affairs News (2007-2011) and news editor of PR Week (2000-2007). He was shortlisted for ‘Editor of the Year’ at the British Society of Magazine Editors (BSME) Awards in 2010. He began his career in Bulgaria at English-language weekly the Sofia Echo. Ian also introduced and moderated sessions at the first two Global Government Fintech Labs (Estonia 2022 and Ireland 2023).

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