November 30, 2023

Nasdaq’s Darren Innes on Fighting Financial Crime Through Education and Awareness

On Tuesday, Nasdaq announced its partnership with U.K.-based charity TRIBE Freedom Foundation, a community focused on fighting human trafficking and modern slavery. Nasdaq will support TRIBE Freedom Foundation in the creation of TRIBE Survivor Financial Empowerment Programme, a centralized portal, including content, practical tools and educational financial literacy material tailored for financial institutions and survivor support organizations to support survivors.

Darren Innes, Head of AML Automated Investigations, Nasdaq

We spoke with Darren Innes, head of Nasdaq’s Anti-Money Laundering business, to learn more.

This morning you announced Nasdaq’s partnership with TRIBE Freedom Foundation. Can you tell us more about how the partnership came to life?

Our partnership with TRIBE actually started well over a year ago. The Anti-Money Laundering (AML) team at Nasdaq was still relatively new, and I wanted to get us all together for some type of team-building exercise – but I also really wanted it to have meaning.

I just so happened to be watching a program on adventure running at the time and thought, “well, that could be fun.” But we needed a way for this to relate to our core mission of fighting financial crime. That’s where TRIBE came in. TRIBE’s mission is to raise funds to fight modern slavery and end human trafficking, and one of the ways that they do this is through long-distance runs. They had a Relay Across Scotland set to take place in June, where teams of eight would need to run 140 miles in 24 hours. I knew it was perfect.

Between Nasdaq and two other organizations we encouraged to participate, we were able to raise about 18,000 pounds, which was a huge success. From there, we continued to engage with TRIBE to determine additional ways we would work together to drive long-term survivor impact.

Good luck to the Nasdaq team on their run to support Tribe Foundation's Tribe Relay

Can you tell us more about how Nasdaq and TRIBE Freedom Foundation will work together?

Our partnership with TRIBE is something I’m particularly proud that Nasdaq is doing. Nasdaq and TRIBE will be working together to create the TRIBE Survivor Financial Empowerment Programme – a centralized portal, including content, practical tools and educational financial literacy material tailored for financial institutions and survivor support organizations to create long-term impact and aid for survivors.

Why is financial literacy and awareness so important to Nasdaq and to you?

This is a great question, and there are actually a couple of reasons:

  1. One reason is that over one-third (36%) of financial industry employees think that their organization has no influence at all in combating Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking (MSHT)*. This is a common misconception, and it’s really important that we are able to raise awareness in financial and capital markets industries about MSHT and show how anti-financial-crime efforts can be impactful in fighting these types of activities. This includes the role that financial services play and the actions that can be taken to break the cycle.
  2. Another reason is that individuals become increasingly vulnerable to modern slavery when they are financially insecure and have limited access to services and knowledge about the transactions they are entering into. As such, we believe it is essential to promote and drive financial literacy amongst survivors by equipping financial institutions and frontline charities with useful tools to help survivors access bank accounts and learn foundational financial literacy skills in order for them to create financial stability to live freely and independently.

What is the ultimate goal of this partnership? Where do you see this evolving in the future?

First and foremost, we want to help survivors of MSHT and empower them to gain access to the wider financial ecosystem to set them up for long-term success. In many cases, victims have issues at the most foundational levels of the financial ecosystem. Without proper identification and documentation, sometimes they aren’t even able to set up a bank account or figure out how to access their own finances. So, importantly, we must help drive financial literacy for survivors and victims in this position.

Secondly, we want to ensure that the broader financial services industry is well-educated and well-equipped to address these issues in the future. In order to effectively combat financial crime and help the victims of these types of crime, we must work together as an industry to make a real difference.

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