The CEO and Founder of Hala Bou Alwan Consultancy talks about protecting governments, regulators, firms and individuals from financial crimes, cybercrimes, human rights breaches, and human trafficking
Tell us about your educational and academic background
I am a Lawyer by profession, and member of the Lebanese Lawyers Bar association. I hold an LLB from the Lebanese University, School of Law and Political Sciences. I also hold a dual LLM degree from Universite La Sagesse Lebanon, specialised in Artificial Intelligence, expert and data processing systems, financial and cybercrimes. I hold an ELLM from Boston University USA in International Business Law and have recently decided to pursue my PHD.
Can you share some research studies that you have undertaken?
I am passionate towards writing, analytics and research. I have published plenty of business articles, studies and research papers in both Arabic and English about financial and cybercrimes, human rights, compliance and corporate governance, communication, FinTech risks and the gaming industry. In addition to this, academically, I’ve published articles and research studies with Boston University and Cambridge University in these areas. I have written a book on AI and how it can facilitate labour law requirements, published in association with Universite La Sagesse.
You are also a public speaker?
Yes I believe knowledge is there to be shared with others, otherwise it loses its value. I speak at many regulatory and thought leadership events, seminars, symposiums, conferences, webinars, and podcasts, whether it’s on financial crimes, cybersecurity, FinTech, AI, corporate governance, compliance or CSR issues across the globe. I enjoy doing this because I learn a lot as well and it’s so rewarding to listen to new concepts, diverse ideas and hear different perspectives of experts.
Tell us about your professional background
I started my career with the United Nations, UNDP, with a project at the Ministry of Economy and Trade in Lebanon, where I was responsible for IP breaches detection. Then I joined the Lawyers Bar Association and trained at my fathers' law firm. I worked as a full time lawyer until I moved to Dubai and joined BLOM Bank France as their Head of Compliance and Money Laundering. Then joined a DIFC consultancy firm TSME as a compliance consultant authorised by the DFSA. Afterwards I joined Thomson Reuters as Head of Governance, Risk and Compliance Advisory and Education for MENA and Asia. In 2015 I was given the role of Global Head of financial crimes leading the emerging markets. In 2018 I established my own firm Hala Bou Alwan Consultancy.
Tel us about the Hala Bou Alwan Consultancy (HBA)? What made you set it up and what are the areas of focus?
When I left Lebanon in 2006, it made me think about setting up my own firm. Prior to this I worked five years at my father's firm – the Raja Bou Alwan Law firm in Lebanon. I learnt from him the meaning of education and legal practice. He has inspired me to help and protect others and have these as a priority, way before money. I wanted to utilise my expertise and learnings in a consultancy firm with a focus on advisory and trainings on protecting regulators, governments, firms and individuals from fnancial crimes, cybercrimes risks, human rights breaches, human trafficking and much more. I am enjoying the journey .
You also believe in volunteerism?
I try my best whenever I have time to volunteer with non-profit and human rights, CSR organisations. It is so rewarding seeing the outcome, such as the smile on a kids face. I aim to always find time and the right genuine organisations to volunteer for. I fight for human rights, equality, fairness and justice, diversity and inclusion.
When you are not working or volunteering, what do you do?
I spend quality time with my son Sami who loves volunteering as well and very recently delivered eight art courses that made many kids happy. I have amazing friends and family who I spend great times with. My main regular hobbies are salsa, swimming and fitness training.