Speakers » Anne Shere Wallwork

Anne Shere Wallwork

Senior Counselor for Strategic Policy, Office of Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes, U.S. Department of the Treasury


Digital Legal Identity as a Lynchpin for Financial Inclusion, Social Services, and Protecting the Financial System from Abuse

  • Legal (a.k.a. official) identity is an essential lynchpin for financial inclusion, economic development, and anti-money laundering/counter financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) safeguards;
  • Both developing and developed countries face gaps in providing legal identity to citizens and residents;  
  • We are poised at a watershed moment that presents unique opportunities to create digital identity solutions that address critical financial inclusion and AML/CFT needs. We have been brought to this inflection point by the convergence of three factors: The rise of the digital economy; the global focus on financial inclusion and on protecting the financial system against illicit finance abuse; and the development of new technologies that can be used to provide robust legal identity solutions for persons anywhere in the world.

Full synopsis
‘Legal identity’ refers to the set of characteristics the state recognizes a person can legally use to identify himself/herself when officially interacting with government, regulated institutions, and other legal and natural persons. It is distinct from ‘citizenship’, which has a broader bundle of associated rights.

Proof of legal identity is a prerequisite for access to a wide range of basic rights and services, including regulated financial services. Developing nations often do not have adequate official identification, registration and documentation systems, and only a small portion of their populations have an official, government-issued identity. Worldwide, approximately 1.5 billion people – mostly in Africa and Asia, and disproportionately women and children – do not have certified official identity.

In developed countries, most – but not all – people have a legal identity based on official registration and documentation, but developed countries generally do not have efficient mechanisms for authenticating legal identity in a way that allows individual identification to be portable.

Digital technology advances can now support the development of portable digital identification products and services that can meet the customer identification and verification requirements of financial institutions and facilitate access to a range of financial products and services at reasonable cost.

Anne Shere Wallwork is Senior Counselor for Strategic Policy in Treasury’s Office of Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes (TFFC), where she is charged with identifying and developing strategies to address emerging and persistent money laundering and terrorist financing threats involving new technologies, while also facilitating financial inclusion and innovation.

From October 2007 to March 2012, Ms Wallwork served as TFFC’s Senior Counselor for Asia, and had primary responsibility for AML/CFT policy issues involving that region. She served as the Treasury Department’s Senior Representative to National Counter-Terrorism Center (NCTC) from July, 2006 to November 2007, and was Deputy Director of Strategic Policy for Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes from April 2004 to July 2006.  She helped lead the U.S. Government’s efforts to develop a comprehensive strategic approach to combating kleptocracy; helped drive the U.S. Government’s international efforts to trace and repatriate Iraqi assets worldwide; and chaired several interagency working groups that sought to recover the proceeds of foreign official corruption, including Liberian and Haitian assets.

A graduate of Yale Law School and Wellesley College, before coming to Treasury, Ms Wallwork practiced law at Miller, Cassidy, Larroca & Lewin in Washington, DC and was a consultant for the World Bank.

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