The completion of Mrs. Hennie Verbeek-Kusters’ second term as Egmont Group (EG) Chair is bittersweet.
In July 2017, Mrs. Verbeek-Kusters became the first woman to assume the role of EG Chair and graciously stepped in as Interim Chair in January 2020 before being selected for a second term in July 2020. With her leadership, she also elevated women’s roles in the organization, culminating in an all-female leadership team (Chair and Vice-Chairs) under her watch.
Mrs. Verbeek-Kusters also held several vital roles in the organization before becoming EG Chair. Hence, a leadership position was, therefore, a natural continuation and recognition of her previous efforts, always aiming to enhance cooperation among FIUs and the private sector.
She chaired the IT Working Group (WG) and Technical Assistance and Training WG and was involved in restructuring the EG founding principles. Mrs. Verbeek-Kusters has chaired the Steering Group for setting up the Egmont Centre of FIU Excellence and Leadership (ECOFEL) since 2016 and represented the EG Europe I Region from 2019 to 2020.
During her terms as Chair, Mrs. Verbeek-Kusters contributed to anti-money laundering and counter-financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) and saw significant accomplishments for our organization, including:
- Leading the ambitious EG IT Renewal Project efforts to design its own future-proof IT solution allowing FIUs to move from international cooperation to collaboration.
- Placing particular emphasis on attracting more members to the organization from Africa and Asia. During her Chairmanship, the EG membership increased from 156 to 166 FIUs.
- Leading the EG through the COVID-19 pandemic when the organization quickly moved to virtual operations without interrupting international member cooperation.
- Leading the development of a nimble and forward-thinking strategic plan in July 2018, placing FIUs at the center of domestic AML/CFT efforts, and successfully implementing the plan.
- Leading efforts to develop the organization’s first five-year strategy, handing over an ambitious vision and strategic objectives to the next Chair.
She firmly believed in FIUs having a solid voice within the global AML/CFT arena. Mrs. Verbeek-Kusters fostered strategic partnerships with the Financial Action Task Force, leading to joint efforts and in-depth studies on beneficial ownership, digitalization, and trade-based money-laundering, and with the World Customs Organization, elevating cooperation between FIUs and customs authorities.
Under her leadership, the EG became a sought-after presence in international AML/CFT events, remained nimble in anticipating threats, and contributed to global AML/CFT efforts by publishing many reports, compendiums, statements, bulletins, and more.
Mrs. Verbeek-Kusters dedicated thousands of hours of her energy and time to the EG, on top of her job as the Head of FIU-Netherlands. During her tenure as Chair, FIU Netherlands hosted the 26th EG Plenary, where the importance of public-public partnerships for fighting ML/TF was emphasized.
The EG commends Mrs. Verbeek-Kusters for her natural leadership, profound engagement, strategic vision, and dedication to the AML/CFT landscape.