“In a world where you are expected to wait for opportunities and a seat at the table, make sure you create your own.” — Lebogang Thobakgale

Lebogang Thobakgale



Organisation / Company

Absa Group and serving at Absip


Lebogang Thobakgale, 34, is extremely self-motivated. She believes nobody should wait for a seat at any table — rather create that seat for yourself. She is also intentional and meticulous in her dealings with people and her work, which benefits her career choice. She’s a financial crime assurance manager for Absa and an NEC member for the Association of Black Securities and Investment Professionals (Absip). As an auditor, Lebogang has become increasingly involved in monitoring, but she also teaches. She helps financial services with their learning and development strategies, and has passed on her knowledge about financial crime compliance on a number of platforms such as Tshwane FM. She’s hosted a conference on digital assets and sanctions compliance and has had discussions with the finance minister and the treasury; some of her insights on greylisting were mentioned in the budget speech. Lebogang says that compliance, like many other fields, is becoming increasingly technologically driven, and that we are all affected by financial crimes. Lebogang advocates for a proactive approach to curb risks, through data optimisation and preempting situations, and says she has to stay on her toes because the field is changing so fast.



PGD (Compliance Management), University of Johannesburg

Bcom Honours, (Internal Audit), University of Pretoria

Bcom (Internal Audit), University of Pretoria


As I navigated through my financial crime compliance (FCC) journey, I realised the gaps and lack of knowledge on what  FCC entails, and how the man in the street can adversely be affected by it. In view of being intentional about teaching and sharing my skills in the FCC industry, I am proud that I have thus far achieved.
I provided insights on greylisting on Tshwane FM, primarily focusing on awareness for the audience. I wrote two pieces on greylisting for last year’s budget speech, which can be found on the Absip website. I have engaged with the minister of finance and the national treasury team on improving technical compliance to assist with successfully getting off the greylist.

I engaged in the Collective Insights (CFA) round table on the greylist, and regulatory changes affecting the financial industry as a whole, and I hosted a conference on digital assets and sanctions compliance, where I gave a presentation on sanctions compliance.

I have quite a number of projects lined up for this year rolling out to next year on continued updates on the greylist, changes of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) standards and continuously promoting the work that we are all collectively liable for in curbing financial crime; mostly, it boils down to awareness. 
The biggest impact from an Absip perspective has also been engaging in transformation conversations about the financial industry. I facilitated a podcast on the “legitimacy” of transformation, and particularly delved into the concept of “creative compliance”. I am proud of engaging with various financial services sectors on their learning and development strategies, and assisting in the overall financial inclusion strategy which we have. This has been made successful through various programmes and partnerships we have held and facilitated. I have also provided insights on the Market Surveillance Code of Conduct, from a compliance and thought leadership perspective.
A lot is still to be done from a diversity and equity point of view, and there are more engagements awaiting my intervention.


My approach is to be tactical and intentional with anyone I engage with. I first introspect on what I need, write it down, meditate on it, then only then do I do my research on people who have done something similar to what I want, and then I intentionally approach them for advice and guidance. My engagement with these identified people is always based on the goal at hand, and if they pass on that knowledge I call it a blessing. I absorb as much as possible, but with filters. Filters are very important in such engagements, as some people project their fears, challenges, successes and failures onto you.