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« Brand of brothers | Main | Step change »
Monday
Sep262011

The City's most influential women

WORDS YASMINE CHINWALA / PHOTOGRAPHY PHILIP SINDEN

In the wake of a global financial crisis, in which the sector was criticised for macho risk-taking, there have been increasing calls for greater representation of women at the highest levels of decision-making. Banks have a long way to go – Financial News found that, of the 220 bankers on executive committees at 20 of the biggest investment banks, only 17 are women. But the industry has taken note and momentum is building to identify and support female talent to follow in the footsteps of those listed on the fifth annual FN100 list of the most influential women in European financial markets. From a list of 250 nominees, assessed for their influence, leadership of their company and market sector, and career performance, a final 100 were selected, eight of whom we profile here. To read profiles of all the FN100 Influential Women, visit efinancialnews.com/fn100

ANA HAURIE

GROUP MANAGING DIRECTOR, DEXLON CAPITA

Haurie openly admits that she was ‘a lousy employee’ so she plotted a course to be her own boss. Ten years ago, she started running the advisory business at newly founded alternative investment specialist Dexion, and was promoted to lead the group in 2006. Since inception, Dexion has raised nearly $1 trillion in assets, and in the past year Haurie has worked on deals for some of Europe’s biggest hedge funds, including GSO Capital Partners, Brevan Howard and BlueCrest Capital Management. She is now intent on broadening Dexion’s activities, and by the end of this year hopes to have a boutique investment banking capability in place. Her longer term plans are to grow Dexion’s distribution platform beyond hedge funds into private equity, infrastructure and renewables. She says the best piece of advice she has been given is: ‘Don’t be afraid of making mistakes and relish change.’

KAY SWINBURNE, MEP

COORDINATOR OF THE ECONOMIC AND MONETARY AFFAIRS COMMITTEE

The forthcoming review of the markets in financial instruments directive is set to have the biggest impact on financial markets since Big Bang in 1986. Swinburne’s influence over Mifid II reaches far and wide. Her report on the subject, drawing on market operators, participants and regulators, has shaped the European Commission’s thinking and she will continue to feed into the legislative process. Born and raised in Aberystwyth, Wales, Swinburne has a PhD in medical research and worked in corporate finance. When she became an MEP in June 2009, it was the first time since 1918 the Conservatives had won the largest share of the vote in Wales, which Swinburne says is a highlight of her career. In her constituency, she ‘spends a lot of time in wellies’, and spent the summer talking to farmers about reforms to the Common Agricultural Policy and protecting the local bee population.

 

ALISON ROSE

HEAD OF EMEA CORPORATE COVERAGE AND CLIENT MANAGEMENT, GLOBAL BANKING AND MARKETS, RBS

RBS is three years into its five-year turnaround plan, but for Rose it has been business as usual. She leads a team of 300 staff and is responsible for coverage of more than 600 corporate clients as well as financial sponsors and infrastructure finance, globally. She is among the bank’s top executives and a member of RBS’s global banking management committee, Emea executive committee and board-level credit approver authority. Coming from a military family, Rose learnt a lot from moving every year. She is driving the bank’s diversity initiative and, as a mother of two, says it’s important not to ‘sweat the small stuff’, nor to feel guilty about your kids while you are working and vice versa. She is taking inspiration from Letters from Leaders: Personal Advice for Tomorrow's Leaders from the World's Most Influential People, compiled by Henry O Dormann.

BRONWYN CURTIS

CHAIRMAN OF GLOBAL RESEARCH, HSBC

Curtis joined HSBC three years ago with a remit to address the voice of its research. Drawing on her experience as European managing editor of Bloomberg, she has pushed to raise the profile of HSBC’s research both within the bank and to its clients by producing analysis quickly and using multimedia to increase accessibility. When HSBC’s chief executive Stuart Gulliver presented the bank’s strategic review in May, it was informed by her team’s research, particularly reports focused on changing dynamics in emerging markets. One of a handful of top female executives who support boardroom quotas, this year Curtis became a co-sponsor of HSBC’s diversity programme. She previously worked in senior roles at Deutsche Bank and Nomura and is an economic commentator on television. She was awarded an OBE for services to business economics in 2008.

DIANA CHAN

CHIEF EXECUTIVE, EUROCCP

At the age of two, Chan left communist China on a fishing boat with her grandmother in search of a better life in Hong Kong. After graduating, she went straight into the world of finance, first at JP Morgan and then at Citigroup. She joined EuroCCP in 2007, growing it from a start-up to an established clearing house with a team of 30. EuroCCP is well positioned to benefit from important new interoperability rules, for which Chan has been actively lobbying for several years. By allowing market participants to choose their preferred clearer when trading on an exchange, the rules will encourage competition and reduce clearing costs. EuroCCP has already been selected as the preferred clearer by several banks and trading venues, and is expected to pick up more custom. In her spare time, Chan enjoys cooking, turning her hand to ‘new and delicious things that have a high ratio of pleasure to effort’.

 

LISA RABBE

HEAD OF PUBLIC POLICY FOR EUROPE, THE MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA CREDIT SUISSE

While many girls dream of being a ballerina, Rabbe, whose parents were both dancers, decided at the age of 12 that the ballet was not for her. Instead she is proud to have built a career in public policy without working for the government. She started the public policy group at Goldman Sachs 18 years ago, just as EU banking regulation came into existence, and joined Credit Suisse last year. Rabbe describes EU rulemaking as ‘three-dimensional chess’, with conflicting nationalities, political parties and perspectives. Her role involves advocacy on behalf of the bank as well as a pivotal role advising senior management on the bank’s strategic response to rapidly changing regulation. At the top of her agenda is the review of Mifid and initiatives to end ‘too big to fail’. In her spare time, Rabbe enjoys Russian literature and, of course, the ballet.

DÖRTE HÖPPNER

SECRETARY GENERAL, EUROPEAN PRIVATE EQUITY AND VENTURE CAPITAL ASSOCIATION

Höppner is the new kid on the block in the EU. She took over at EVCA, the private equity industry’s trade body, this year, having led Germany’s buyout association BVK since 2007. Armed with a guidebook and The History of Belgium, she has been shuttling back and forth from Berlin, where her family live, to Brussels, her weekday home, and getting stuck into EU politics. Her priority is ensuring the right regulatory framework for the buyout industry and hammering out the technical details of the alternative investment fund managers directive. She is a seasoned lobbyist – last year she was involved in an effort to fight moves in Germany to prevent foreigners buying more than a quarter of local companies, and has been a vocal critic of Germany’s tax regime. Höppner previously worked in public relations for the German Institute for Economic Research, and was also a journalist.

POLINA KURDYAVKO

SENIOR PORTFOLIO MANAGER, BLUEBAY ASSET MANAGEMENT

Of Armenian descent, Kurdyavko grew up in Moscow, but she is a far cry from the Russian princesses strutting around Chelsea. With no connections to help her get a foot in the corporate door, she was inspired to work hard, learn and persevere by her ‘driven and optimistic’ mother. She began teaching English to fund her education at the age of 14, then went to the US as a dishwasher to perfect her English and worked as a travel agent in Paris to learn French. Kurdyavko got her break in fund management at Alliance Capital, where she worked full time while she continued studying for a Master’s degree. She moved to London in 2001 and joined BlueBay in 2005 as a credit analyst. In 2008 she launched the firm’s emerging market corporate bond fund with just $20m. It is now one of the largest funds in the sector at $5bn. To unwind, Kurdyavko enjoys reading poetry, as she finds it ‘soothing and beautiful’.

PHOTOGRAPHER'S ASSISTANT
James McNaught
HAIR & MAKE-UP
Caroline Sims at DWM Management, assisted by Lucy Flower