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Government leaders on the power of transparency

Chip Thresher  Director, Government Affairs

Chip Thresher  Director, Government Affairs

What are the crucial issues facing government leaders today? Their solutions?

Thomson Reuters recently joined with the Atlantic Council, a leading Washington, D.C. think tank, to present a six-part speaker series entitled “The Power of Transparency.” The series featured top government leaders who are working to increase transparency in their respective fields through initiatives that combat corruption and terrorism, strengthen the rule of law, expand market access, promote financial and economic stability, and advance innovation. Each speaker addressed key audiences about these crucial issues through keynote remarks and in-depth, interactive sessions that discussed and forged solutions toward these ongoing challenges.

The role of transparency in fighting corruption in financial systems

DANIEL GLASER, Former US Treasury Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing
Daniel Glaser
Former U.S. Treasury Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing

Assistant Secretary Glaser spoke on the importance of customer due diligence and the often-difficult task of identifying the beneficial owner, an issue Treasury is committed to working with Congress to address. The discussion dove deeper into the challenges associated with stopping illicit financial transactions, the role of increasingly diverse financial vehicles including digital currencies and crowdfunding, and the tireless work to disrupt ISIL finances.

“In order for these relationships to be truly transparent, financial institutions also need to know who is ultimately behind an account, that is, who is the ‘beneficial owner.’ ”

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The role of transparency in global prosperity and sustainable economic opportunity


CATHERINE NOVELLI, Former Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment
Catherine Novelli
Former Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment

Under Secretary Novelli remarked on transparency as a critical part of economic diplomacy efforts. She focused on three areas of transparency: fiscal transparency, bureaucratic transparency and stakeholder transparency. Fiscal transparency includes providing reliable information on government revenues and spending to legislatures, markets, civil society and citizens. Bureaucratic transparency covers the extent to which government regulations are clear, accessible and consistently applied. Stakeholder transparency refers to the process governments follow when writing regulations, highlighting the need for key stakeholders – and the public at large – to help shape how rules are crafted.

“One of the crucial elements of sustainable economic growth and job creation – and of a vibrant and entrepreneurial private sector – is transparent  governance.”

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The role of transparency in strengthening intelligence

MARCEL LETTRE, Former Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence
Marcel Lettre
Former Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence

Under Secretary Lettre focused on two major themes: transparency into intelligence and transparency within intelligence. Transparency into intelligence refers to the intelligence community’s more recent efforts of informing the public of their activities. Transparency within intelligence refers to both the improved integration among the various sections of the intelligence community to drive national security operations as well as the establishment of public/private relationships to accomplish missions.

“The Department of Defense’s ability to adapt to future technological, organizational and cultural changes will be decisive for the defense of the nation.”

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The role of transparency in advancing geospatial intelligence

ROBERT CARDILLO, Director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA)
Robert Cardillo
Director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA)

Director Cardillo emphasized transparency as a critical part of geospatial intelligence and the importance of working with the private sector and other partners to succeed in today’s world. He remarked on an information revolution in the availability, accuracy and quantity of geospatial information in both the classified and unclassified realms. As a result, the geospatial environment has grown more transparent, more complex and more connected by the day. He also touched on the growing role of public-private partnerships in NGA as well as the challenges facing NGA right now and how transparency and integration may help to solve some of those challenges: looking at the balance of classified and public intelligence, private sector involvement and the importance of not just providing intelligence but providing trusted intelligence in today’s political climate.

“We have to find a way to succeed in the open, and we can’t do that alone; we need to do it with you.”

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The role of transparency in preventing future financial crisis

DR. RICHARD BERNER, Director of the Office of Financial Research (OFR)
Dr. Richard Berner
Director of the Office of Financial Research (OFR)

Director Berner spoke to transparency and its position squarely in OFR’s wheelhouse of promoting financial stability. He focused specifically on improving the quality, scope and accessibility of financial data – the three essential pieces needed to create transparency in the financial market. The discussion turned to what the OFR is doing to fill the data gaps it’s concerned about as well as other challenges such as risks from overseas markets and emerging technology – including the growing need to consider cybersecurity risk.

“Good data are essential for making good policy decisions and managing financial risks.”

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The power of transparency to increase economic resilience

CHRISTINE LAGARDE, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF)
Christine Lagarde
Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF)

Ms. Lagarde explored a wide range of topics related to the IMF’s mandate to support financial system stability and economic growth, and to assist increasing employment across 189 member countries. While “perfection is not of this world,” she explained that by systematically assessing data, policies and bills, the IMF can avoid opining on movements or slogans as it works to promote global economic and financial stability. After addressing questions on Greece and noting that the Asian financial crisis brought out the importance of transparency, Lagarde emphasized that “corruption leads to so many other issues including terrorism.” As a result, technology is increasingly needed to support good governance.

“We live in a society where clearly there is this appetite for information, data, and we cannot just hide the good work that we do, we have to share it.”

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About the series

The Power of Transparency speaker series sponsored by Thomson Reuters and Atlantic CouncilThe “Power of Transparency” speaker series serves as an example of Thomson Reuters commitment to engaging with government to promote transparency and expose corruption. With leadership at the highest levels, from CEO Jim Smith’s role as co-chair of the World Economic Forum’s Partnering Against Corruption Initiative (PACI) to the company’s leadership in the civil society and industry event, Tackling Corruption Together as part of the UK’s international Anti-Corruption Summit, Thomson Reuters champions the use of data to combat corruption and help government and industry leverage technology to create a more transparent world.

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