Telling the truth about SME life today

First Women in Finance: 2012 shortlists

Held in association with ICAEW, here are our First Women of Finance 2012:

Susan Dunn has not only created a successful business, Harbour Litigation Funding; she’s created a whole new industry. Litigation funding provides financial backing to litigation claimants such as individuals and SMEs, which might not otherwise be able to afford to pursue their claim. (Harbour takes a share of the proceeds only if the claim is successful.) It’s a service that’s opened up access to justice to many small businesses and individuals. Creating the business, and the sector, involved convincing the Civil Justice Council and the wider legal profession to accept such an innovation in legal funding. Susan has subsequently created the Association of Litigation Funders and its voluntary code of conduct. She is one of very few senior women in litigation. But her ambitions know few bounds: in the future, she wants to position Harbour as the top provider in the international market.

In the historically male-dominated oil and gas sector, Jann Brown has risen from group tax manager to managing director and CFO at Cairn Energy, the FTSE 250 exploration and production business. She’s steered the business through huge corporate and industry changes, including floating Cairn India on the Bombay Stock Exchange (raising $2bn) and then, in December 2011, completing the sale of that business to Vedanta Resources, yielding net proceeds to Cairn of $5.4bn. At the same time, she retains a positive, empowering management style. Says CEO Simon Thomson, “her open-door policy is appreciated not only be her direct reports, but by all employees.

Responsible for the largest revenue business within Credit Suisse’s investment banking department globally, Marisa Drew is one of the bank’s most senior women in Europe; one of the most senior women in Credit Suisse globally; and one of the most senior women working in investment banking. By establishing the leveraged finance origination group in 2003, Marisa was an industry pioneer, and now manages a highly visible, risk-oriented business in a constant state of change. She uses her profile and influence to promote diversity, challenge conventional thinking, mentor, and prod the industry into better marketing itself to women. She created the industry-wide Competitor Diversity Forum and believes that barriers to women’s success in banking can, and should, be solved through increased flexibility in working environments and greater use of communications technology.

Gina Miller is an all-too-rare female entrepreneur in investment management. Back in 1994, she set up one of the first marketing agencies focused on retail financial services, Sway. She also founded the retail investment industry’s flagship event portfolio, The Senate Programme, which she sold to Incisive Media in 2006. Today she is co-founder of investment firm, SCM Private, investing solely in exchange-traded funds. She is a passionate campaigner for transparency in investment and spearheads the True and Fair campaign, which exposes hidden charges foisted on savers. She also runs the Miller Philanthropy Foundation and in 2010 established the SCM Ladies Investment Club.

Lesley Wan is head of legal for Lloyds Banking Group’s £30bn mainstream property portfolio and played an key role in steering integration of Lloyds TSB and HboS. She is regarded as a trailblazer in real estate finance, having introduced and promoted a market-wide standard facility agreement for real estate finance issues, which has been endorsed by the Loan Market Association. She has also created a forum for in-house property lawyers from the main banks to discuss and debate the issues they face. She is about to launch an innovative diversity programme that will give disadvantaged children from London an insight into the City, and encourage them to apply for high-achieving jobs. 

Winners of the First Women Awards 2012 will be announced at an amazing awards ceremony on June 28, 2012 at the Grand Connaught Rooms, hosted by BBC presenter Clare Balding. 

First Women Awards supporters include: BAE Systems, Benenden Healthcare Society, Centrica, COINS, Harvey Nash, ICAEW, the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Land Rover and the Financial Mail.


Related Stories

Most Read


If you enjoyed this article,
why not join our newsletter?

We promise only quality content, tailored to suit what our readers like to see!