Understanding Financial Vulnerability: Challenges and Opportunities

Hosted by University of Leeds

In this event, we delve into the issue of financial vulnerability, emphasising the crucial role that technology can play in identifying and supporting those at risk. Our aim is to bridge the gap between social science insights and technological solutions, exploring potential use-cases where digital technology and artificial intelligence can be leveraged to combat financial vulnerability.

This event serves as a platform for stakeholders to engage in meaningful dialogues, exchange innovative ideas, foster relationships that could influence policy and practice, and gain a broader understanding of the environment in which financial vulnerability sits, encompassing consumers, technology, personnel, and institutions.

This event is designed to appeal to a diverse audience, including banks, building societies, regulators, non-profit organisations, as well as the general public. For financial institutions such as banks and building societies, the session offers the opportunity to identify potential innovative applications for existing data to combat financial vulnerability. Regulators may find the insights gleaned from the session valuable for informing future policies. Technology companies and start-ups specialising in AI, machine learning, and digital platforms will discover specific use-cases where their technologies can be applied to real-world financial challenges. Furthermore, the session invites the third sector, non-profit organisations, and the general public to engage and shape the discourse on the opportunities and challenges of using technology to address financial vulnerability.


1. Nabi Omidvar, Associate Professor of AI in Finance, University of Leeds

Nabi Omidvar is an Associate Professor of AI in Finance at Leeds University Business School and School of Computing, University of Leeds. He is an AI expert in high-dimensional optimisation and learning and is a senior member of the IEEE and the chair of the IEEE Computational Intelligence Society's Taskforce on Large-Scale Global Optimisation. Nabi has made several award-winning contributions in AI and leads several projects in financial services including AI-based mortgage analytics, financial performance prediction in legal firms, and credit risk in high-volume lending. In addition to his theoretical work on high-dimensional optimisation and learning, Nabi’s current research interests are in the innovative applications of AI within financial services and a broader exploration of applied AI and AI for social good, reflecting a commitment to harnessing technology for meaningful real-world impact.

2. Helen Lord, CEO, Vulnerability Registration Service

Helen Lord is the CEO of Vulnerability Registration Service (VRS). Helen is the thought-leader on the subject of vulnerability. Helen is involved with media, speaking, educating and advising, and is the VRS’s chief consumer spokesperson. As well as being the industry-leading authority on vulnerability, Helen also has vast knowledge and experience of consumer affairs, fraud and
consumer credit-related issues. Helen has previously worked to help organisations comply with their data protection obligations, particularly in implementing GDPR changes. Helen worked for Experian for 20 years, was their Director of Compliance, Fraud and Consumer Affairs and managed Experian’s consumer-facing team for much of her career. She has headed up a 130+ strong Consumer Help Service team handling credit report and related queries ensuring DataProtection and Consumer Credit Act compliance and set up the UK’s largest credit report monitoring and fraud prevention service and initiated the UK’s first Victim of Fraud Service. Helen has been responsible for developing highly respected education and financial literacy programmes and is a media trained spokesperson on consumer and fraud-related issues.

3. Sasha Pauley, Lead Community Manager in Social Purpose and Sustainability, Yorkshire
Building Society

Sasha leads Yorkshire Building Society’s community investment programme, which is integral to delivering YBS’s purpose-led strategy. The community programme aims to support people with their financial wellbeing. It includes our strategic charity partnerships, Citizens Advice programme, the Yorkshire Building Society Charitable Foundation and our Financial Education
programme Money Minds. Sasha was also involved in developing YBS's Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) strategy, with purpose at its core.

4. Caroline Oliver, Senior Manager – Specialist Servicing, Yorkshire Building Society

Caroline leads the customer facing specialist services in YBS – a function that supports members through some of the most challenging life events people can face. She has responsibility for the Vulnerable Customer Policy & Processes and the intended transformation and optimisation of this area through 2024. Caroline has operational expertise of Vulnerable Customer strategies and pro-active debt-prevention initiatives across multiple sectors, from Financial Services, to the Public Sector, and Utilities.

5. Richard Carter, CEO, Lenvi

6. TBC, TransUnion

AI & Machine Learning, Diversity and Inclusion, Fintech
Understanding Financial Vulnerability: Challenges and Opportunities
28th Sep 2023 12:30pm - 4:30pm
Hosted by University of Leeds
Nexus - University of Leeds, Woodhouse, Leeds, UK

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