The power of diversity in governance, risk and AML


Picture: Alexia Farrugia, Managing Director, Actaco Financial

As we celebrate Women’s Day, it’s an opportune moment to reflect on the journey of empowerment and inspiration that many women undertake in various fields. For me, this journey has been intricately woven with my profession and the founding and growth of Actaco Financial, a boutique firm specialising in governance, risk management, and Anti Money Laundering (AML) services.

I founded the firm seven years ago in what was initially conceived as a consultancy, partly also because it was well aligned to my young family’s needs and time commitments. I was leveraging on my many years of experience in financial services and my risk management qualifications, at a time when the combination of the two was in short supply. My background in business, experience in financial operations and many years working in the regulated financial markets proved to be a successful formula in providing clients with well-informed insight whether I sat on a board of directors, provided risk management services or implemented AML/CFT procedures.

A few years ago, I often sat in rooms where I was either the only woman or amongst few others. Having been brought up in a sizeable family of very strongly opiniated people, I had no qualms about being the only woman in the room. I firmly believe in knowledge and being well informed on the subject matter at hand. I enjoy studying and learning from other people. Perhaps, sometimes, I ask too many questions. My thirst for knowledge led me to be amongst the first women in Malta to obtain the Chartered Director qualification by the Institute of Directors, U.K.. It was also this enthusiasm to provide the best possible service to clients that did not leave any space for considering if my gender makes any difference at all. These traits were and still remain the foundation of Actaco Financial.

What sets Actaco Financial apart is not just its expertise in navigating complex regulatory landscapes and providing bespoke solutions to individual clients but also its commitment to fostering an inclusive and empowering workplace culture.

Actaco Financial boasts a diverse team comprising six talented women and three equally capable men. Although we strongly believe in the benefits of diversity in terms of gender, age and background, the gender-imbalance partially underscores the immense potential and capabilities of women in driving innovation and success.

We naturally believe in empowering women and men by being the platform where each member of the team feels comfortable to express themselves and excel professionally. Whether it’s through leadership roles, client interactions, or thought leadership initiatives, every member of our team, regardless of gender, is encouraged to contribute their unique insights and perspectives.

Our journey at Actaco Financial has been marked by a relentless pursuit of personal and professional growth. We invest in continuous learning and development opportunities for all employees, empowering them to stay ahead of industry trends and regulatory changes. This commitment to growth not only enhances our expertise but also strengthens our ability to deliver exceptional services to our clients.

Amidst our professional endeavours, we understand the importance of maintaining a sense of balance. Actaco Financial prioritises work-life balance, recognizing that happy and fulfilled team members are essential for long-term success. Whether it’s flexible working arrangements, wellness programs, or opportunities for personal development, we strive to create an environment where everyone can thrive, both personally and professionally so that we lead fulfilling lives even outside the office.

As we reflect on our journey this Women’s Day, we are immensely proud of the progress we’ve made in championing gender equality and empowerment within Actaco Financial. Through our commitment to diversity, continuous growth, and fostering a supportive workplace culture, we hope to inspire other organisations to follow suit and create more inclusive environments where women can thrive.

Actaco Financial’s journey in governance, risk management, and AML services is not just about delivering exceptional, personalised solutions to clients but also about empowering women to reach their full potential. Together we hope to continue to break barriers, challenge stereotypes, and create a future where every woman has the opportunity to succeed.

On that note I would like to let the Actaco Financial team share their thoughts on our journey and our commitment to fostering the potential and capabilities of women in driving business success

Nikita Golubovic  “In the journey of women working alongside women, there’s a simple truth: we’re stronger when we lift each other up. Together, as we enjoy the ride, making our collective story uniquely empowering.”

Natalia Burca – “If you ask women, whether they prefer working with men or women, the vast majority will choose men. I used to have the same opinion until I started working at Actaco in 2018. Never have I been happier about the atmosphere and colleagues”

Baris Ozkaranfil – “Our office environment, predominantly composed of talented women, defies conventional stereotypes by fostering a harmonious and professional atmosphere free from unnecessary conflicts or drama.”

Ina Dzeba – “In our mostly female and female-led office, it’s all about feeling good and working together. We value each other, get inspired, and feel empowered to do our best. We support and encourage one another, creating a friendly atmosphere where success is something we share and celebrate as a team.”

Cristina Piccolo – “Since the first day I stepped into the office, I have felt very much welcomed by all my colleagues. The immediately perceived atmosphere was of a very professional and dedicated team.  I was not afraid of the stereotypes revolving around women-led workplaces when I decided to accept the offer and in fact, later, I was not disappointed to find out that all my colleagues were very friendly and professional individuals ready to help me onboard in my new journey at Actaco.”

Alexia Farrugia: As founder and director of Actaco Financial, I strongly believe in living by these words of Aristotle “Excellence is never an accident. It is the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction, skilful execution and the vision to see the obstacles as opportunities”.

I thank the women and men who share my enthusiasm on a daily basis.