Previous KEYNOTE SPEAKERS 2016
Principal, Capital Group Private Markets
Umur Hursever is a Principal with Capital Group Private Markets with primary responsibility for Emerging Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Prior to joining the Private Markets team in 2010, Umur worked for 10 years at private equity group CCMP Capital and its predecessor JPMorgan Partners in London, focusing on growth capital and LBO investments across Europe. Prior to that, he worked in the mergers & acquisitions group of Salomon Brothers (now part of Citi) in New York and London. Umur holds a BA in economics and mathematics from Macalester College, MN, USA.
Chief Operating Officer, Cobalt Underwriting
James is a director and founder of the Cobalt Group.
He is a Chartered Accountant whose knowledge and expertise of the Shariah finance industry proves him with a unique perspective of both the banking and insurance sectors. James has developed key relationships with Shariah scholars and industry peers at Shariah financial institutions.
His experience has involved working for some of the leading accounting and banking organisations in the world where he has worked both in UK and in international markets, including Dubai, Paris and Johannesburg.
He has held senior roles in organisations as diverse as Arab Bank Group, Flemings, JP Morgan Chase, Gatehouse Bank and KPMG. He qualified with Deloitte here in London.
Ali Abdul Aziz
Senior Manager - Banking & Capital Markets Group, Deloitte UK
Ali is a Senior Manager within the Banking & Capital Markets (B&CM) group at Deloitte LLP in the United Kingdom. He is based in the London office and over the span of his career has provided professional audit and advisory services to flagship clients. During his career, Ali has worked extensively on clients with global operations and outreach. Ali leads the audit of the global banking and markets divisions for large financial institutions and is consulted regularly by clients for judgements on key accounting policies. He has served small to mid-sized entities as well as major clients including U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) registrants.
He is a founding member of the Deloitte UK Middle East Banking Network and is also a key member of the Deloitte Islamic Finance Network. Ali provides a wide range of advisory services to Islamic finance clients such as advising on responses to regulatory investigations, impact assessment of new accounting standards, due diligence engagements, process and controls reviews for key business cycles and external audit services.
Ali is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England & Wales (ICAEW) and also holds a Master’s degree in Accounting and Finance from the London School of Economics.
Partner, Shakespeare Martineau
Nick is part of the Banking Group at Shakespeare Martineau. The group works closely with its property colleagues on behalf of various Islamic banks in providing finance for the purchase and development of properties in the UK. This includes not only home purchase plans and the funding of buy to let investments, but also development and commercial finance. Nick is also involved in advising Islamic banks on other issues relating to the provision of non property finance and regulation. This fits well with his non Islamic finance practice which includes companies servicing consumer loans, the purchase of portfolios of equipment leases, the funding of car fleets and advising on derivatives and any other type of finance that none of his colleagues want to touch. Nick’s background, having read politics and economics at university and after training as a lawyer with a small firm, involved working for the Revenue Solicitor’s office and then in the Tax Department at Slaughter and May where he started advising on the commercial side of transactions particularly the purchase, sale and financing of equipment leasing companies and portfolios. He was a partner at DLA Piper and its predecessors for 18 years, initially in the Tax Department and then in Banking before joining Martineau in 2010. Outside work, Nick is involved in his local church as a licensed lay minister which provides a good background for advising on Islamic finance.
Founding partner in Monument Partners ,creator of IconicShift mentoring. Founder of Firstdirect and Egg. Ex CEO Mercury
Mike Harris was the creator of the world’s first telephone bank (Firstdirect) and the world’s first serious internet banking play (Egg). He has also been a leader in the Telecoms, Internet and Cyber Security sectors as: Chief Executive of Mercury Communications (which was the world’s first fully integrated telecoms companyand also responsible for ending BT’s monopoly in the highly regulated telecoms sector), Chairman of mobile phone company One2One (during its launch of the world’s first digital GSM network) and Chairman of digital identity company Garlik until its sale to Experian in late 2011.
Mike has also been a regular speaker on strategy, leadership and innovation at the mid career MBA course at MIT (from 1996 to 2008) and Chairman of the Innovation Board at Royal Bank of Scotland (from 2005 until March 2009), where he supervised the establishment of a group wide innovation programme. Since 2011 he has helped early stage companies in several different sectors achieve growth momentum, through a proprietary mentoring programme he has developed called IconicShift.
Founder and Chairman, Canada’s Ansar Housing Islamic home financing co-operative
Mr Pervez Nasim is a bachelor of commerce and a certified management accountant (CPA). He is a founding member and chair of the board of the Islamic Co-operative Housing Corporation Ltd., first Interest-Free Home Ownership and Investment project in North America, and for that he has been volunteering his time since its inception in 1980 in Toronto. Mr Pervez Nasim is also chairman and CEO of Ansar Co-operative Housing Corporation and a number of Ansar Financial Group of Companies that organized the 3rd International Islamic Banking, Finance & Insurance (Takaful) Conference held in Ottawa, Canada in May 2007. Ansar Financial Group Companies are managing investments in excess of $85m on Interest-free basis in various projects and joint ventures in Canada. Mr Pervez Nasim is also chairman and CEO of first Interest-free Public Company in North America known as Ansar Financial and Development Corporation. This company is expected to be listed in a Stock Exchange in Canada early next year. Mr Pervez Nasim was employed by the Ministry of Finance in Canada, from where he took early retirement in 2004 after twenty-seven years of service, so that he can devote more time to the various Islamic financing and investment projects.
Managing Director and Co-Head of Investment Banking, Rasmala PLC
Harris Irfan is Managing Director and Co-Head of Investment Banking at Rasmala PLC, a boutique investment bank with offices in London and the Middle East. He is the author of the critically acclaimed best-seller Heaven’s Bankers: Inside the Hidden World of Islamic Finance.
An investment banker with over 20 years’ experience in London and the Middle East spanning corporate and project finance, capital markets, structured products and private equity, he was the co-founder of Deutsche Bank’s world leading Islamic finance team where he led some of the most ground-breaking deals in the industry. He was subsequently appointed CEO of a Deutsche subsidiary providing Islamic finance consulting services, which he successfully restructured and turned around during the financial crisis, before moving to Barclays where he was appointed global head of Islamic finance for the group. He then founded Islamic finance advisory firm Cordoba Capital, now a Rasmala group company.
He regularly speaks as an Islamic finance industry expert with the BBC, CNN, Sky News, CNBC, Bloomberg, Reuters and the Financial Times. He has a degree in Physics from the University of Oxford.
Executive Board Member, The Islamic Finance Council UK
Omar Shaikh is a Chartered Accountant by profession and specialises in Islamic finance and private equity. He leads the IFC’s activities in the arena of government policy advisory. Omar has been at the forefront of establishing the UK Government’s strategy for making the City a leading Western hub for Islamic finance through the UKTI, HM Treasury Committees and Mansion House trade delegations. He has lectured at various global conferences and universities and is involved in development initiatives relating to waqf , shariah governance and Islamic microfinance. Omar background includes working with Ernst & Young where he was recognised as the UK firms Subject Matter Expert for Islamic finance and successfully led the build out of the Islamic finance offering within the UK office. At EY he also worked with the UK Private Equity team and the multi-award winning EY Islamic Financial Services Group in Bahrain.
Tarig Khalil Osman
Managing Director, United Insurance
Tarig Khalil Osman is the Managing Director at United Insurance, one of the leading Takaful companies in Sudan. He is directly responsible for the investment portfolio and was part of the development of the first partnership agreement; the construction of the headquarters project and the operation and management of the facility. He was directly involved in all major investment decisions that have contributed to the highest surplus dividends as well as shareholder profits distribution in the company history. Mr. Osman is also directly involved in Islamic finance as shareholder and board member at the Saudi Sudanese Bank.
Mr. Osman is a major shareholder and Director of Khalil Osman Investment Company (KOI), a family investment company that has investments in Hotels, Aviation, & Agriculture sectors. KOI is the largest private shareholder at United Insurance.
Founder, Halal Gems
Zohra Khaku runs Halal Gems, the curated guide to halal dining. Its interactive magazine app has reached the Top 10 on Apple’s App Store in 18 countries. Free to download, its mission is to ‘find and showcase the best halal food across the world’.
She also produces and presents her own TV show in the UK, The Curious Foodie, on BMTV (Sky Channel 845). Her passion is transparency in the food chain, and she encourages people to ask ‘What’s in my food?’.
Zohra’s background is in strategy and innovation, across the telecoms, media, technology, entertainment and non-profit sectors. She holds an MBA from Cambridge University, and lives in London, England.
CIO, Asia Frontier’s AFC Iraq Fund
Ahmed Tabaqchali is an experienced Capital Markets professional with over 22 years experiences in US and MENA markets. Currently a board member of the Credit Bank of Iraq. He is a former Executive Director of NBK Capital, the investment banking arm of the National Bank of Kuwait as head of Brokerage. Prior to these roles Ahmed was Managing Director and Head of International Institutional Sales at WR Hambrecht + Co. based in London, New York and San Francisco. This followed on from roles as a Managing Director at KeyBanc in London and before that Director & Head of Capital Markets & Institutional Sales at Jefferies Int’l in London. He started his career at Dean Witter Int’l in London. Ahmed has an M. Sc. in Mathematics from Oxford University in the UK, a B.Sc. (Hons, 1st class) in Mathematics from Victoria University in New Zealand and a B.Sc. in Mathematics from Canterbury University in New Zealand. Ahmed is an Iraqi & a British national.
Chairman & CEO, IPS
Waheed Qaiser (WQ) has held executive management positions at Citibank, HSBC, UBS, IIBU, IBB, QCC and is currently Chairman & CEO of Inclusive Payment Solutions (a Sharia compliant card platform) & President of Maxim Corporate Finance LLP. WQ is Co-Founder of first Islamic bank in UK licensed in 2004. WQ was head of the First Islamic window of a British bank. WQ is a conventional & Islamic banker, a Management Professional, having led Operations, Retail/Private banking, Investment banking, and various areas of Islamic banking in Global Financial Institutions. WQ is founding member of the Bank of England working party on Islamic mortgages that brought the constitutional amendment on double stamp duty for Islamic mortgages in the UK. WQ is a founding member UK technical group at The Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment “CISI” for Islamic Finance Qualification (IFQ) and sits on corporate finance committee and “corporate finance qualifications assessment Board” at CISI. WQ co-authored a book on Islamic retail Banking & Finance – Global challenges published by Euro-money. WQ has chaired and spoken at over 100 conferences and summits globally on topics covering conventional banking, Islamic banking and other subjects. WQ was awarded with “Honorary Professor” by EECSA Kazakhstan.
Director - Healthcare and Consumer, Actis
A life journey spanning five countries in four continents and a passion for entrepreneurial investing defined Hichem’s career aspirations: to leverage the tremendous investment opportunity in growth markets.
Hichem joined Actis in 2010, taking on responsibility for originating, executing and managing transactions in Africa. Prior to that, he worked as an Associate at JP Morgan Asia IRR Opportunity fund in Hong Kong. He started his career in JP Morgan as an M&A Analyst in London.
Hichem was drawn to Actis by its people, strong track record and heritage. “When I meet with entrepreneurs across growth markets, the Actis name adds huge credibility.” He believes that Actis is more global than any other growth markets private equity fund. Personally, he thinks that Actis gives him the support and encouragement needed to make ideas happen.
Hichem holds an MBA from Wharton Business School where he was a Palmer scholar, Engineering Degrees from Ecole Polytechnique, Ecole National des Ponts and Chaussées and a Masters from Sciences-Po in France.
Director – Lead Analyst, FI Insurance, Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services
David Anthony is a Director of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services group in London, and currently specializes in Middle Eastern insurance markets.
He joined Standard & Poor’s in March 1994, heading the Interactive Insurance
Ratings team until 1999, and then becoming European Regional Practice Leader for Insurance Criteria, a position he held until 2006.
David has been involved in insurance and reinsurance for 25 years, in a ratings context with Standard & Poor’s in London and with Moody’s Investors Service in New York, and also with Citibank N.A., London, where he was European Insurance Risk Manager and Senior Relationship Manager (V.P.) for Nordic insurance. Prior to this, he was involved in international corporate and correspondent banking, working with Lloyd’s Bank International, Al Saudi Banque and Credit Lyonnais in London, Brussels, Antwerp, Dubai, Bahrain, Cairo, Alexandria and Paris.
David holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Birmingham and a Master’s degree – MSc. (Econ.) – in Economic History from the University of London.
Founder, The Halal Dining Club
Siddika Jaffer is a strategy and marketing consultant by background and has close to twenty years experience in advising multi-national companies on consumer trends and new product and market opportunities, including a stint at chocolate giant Cadbury’s. She obtained a First Class Honours degree in Business Management from Kings College London and a Masters in Innovation (Dean’s List) at Singapore Management University. She is extremely passionate about food quality and loves to explore new cultures and cuisines at home and when she travels. She has traveled to over 30 countries and she believes more halal diners are actively looking for new food experiences but often struggle with the lack of halal choices open to them. Her mission is to make leading a halal lifestyle easy and rewarding.
Matt. A. Chandran
Chief Executive Officer, iGene Sdn. Bhd.
Fondly known as Matt, he is an entrepreneur with interest in Management, Biotechnology and Informatics. Founded INFOVALLEY in year 2000 and since has held the position of Chief Executive Officer of INFOVALLEY Group focusing on incubating a number of highly innovative technologies in Life Sciences. iGene, an initiative born out of INFOVALLEY has offices in Malaysia, United Kingdom and Australia. iGene Global is structured with Management Headquarter in Kuala Lumpur and Global Business Office in Sheffield. It has broad interest in forensic medical sciences and technologies, continuously generating new ideas and translating it into meaningful technologies and services with high impact applications. His current passion is in finding a framework that will bring the best of management, science and technology in innovation and business value creation.
During his employment years, Matt served METACORP BHD. as the Research and Development Chemist in 1992 and held many other senior positions before being promoted to the position of Factory Manager. Subsequently, Matt worked as the Regional Business Manager (Chemical Sector) for Peregrine Direct Investment, Hong Kong. During his tenure with Peregrine, he was based in a few international locations serving Peregrine’s interest. His last position as an employee was with UCB Chemicals Asia Pacific as the Regional Manager for specialty chemicals business units.
Matt received the Inventor of the Year award in 1995 for leading a team of scientists from METACORP and PETRONAS Research and Scientific Services for research and development of a zinc based catalysts for natural gas treatment. He holds a Bachelors Degree in Biochemistry & Chemistry.
Yasir Al Qhazi
CIO, Elaf Bank
Chairman of the Board, HalalBooking.com
A dentist and now entrepreneur, Noman is the Co Founder of the Haloodies (halal foodies) food brand, and set up the Halal Food Festival with his business partner. His family have been involved in the halal industry for 40 years and he previously worked as a halal auditor at the Halal Food Authority but business was always his passion.
Noman has key relationships with a number of meat producers in Europe and with buyers in retail and wholesale in the UK and abroad. Noman is also well connected with trade bodies and UKTI, has spoken nationally and internationally on halal topics. He was nominated for Entrepreneur of the Year at the 2015 British Muslim Awards. He is recently married, enjoys football and F1 but his real passion is to grow Haloodies to be a globally leading halal brand.
Partner, Citi Partners
Nash is a Chartered Accountant and Chartered Tax Adviser. He specialises in structuring transactions and funds having previously worked at PricewaterhouseCoopers and Ernst & Young where he accumulated considerable experience structuring real estate transactions including closing real estate funds, tax planning and transaction advisory.
Nash recently designed and implemented the structure for a significant real estate development in central London. The transaction won the 2014 Euromoney Islamic Finance Award for the best global real estate deal.
He has presented at numerous international conferences. Passionate about promoting the dialogue between SMEs/Entrepreneurs and central government, Nash contributes to a cross-parliamentary working group and also currently serves as the Honorary Assistant Treasurer of the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), having previously served as the Honorary Treasurer of the Conservative Party Muslim Forum. He co-ordinates the annual British delegation led by the MCB to the World Islamic Economic Forums.
Nash is a Mathematics graduate from the University of Manchester. He lives in London with his wife and four children.
Senior Expert, Securities and Exchange Organization of Iran (SEO)
As a senior expert in Securities and Exchange organization I am responsible for making studies in structuring new financial products an as in Iran, the financial instruments should follow Shariah rules and regulations, I should provide recommendations in this area. Currently I supervise the new mechanism for financial instruments and institutions in Iranian capital market and definitely in banking system in order to realize new products trends. Making studies in global financial markets with emphasis on Islamic ones is a good facilitator.
Moreover, due to my interest in English language, I provide simultaneous interpretation services. I was the simultaneous interpreter for some high ranking professionals including Iranian minister of finance and parliament member as well as international bankers during some seminars and conferences.
Senior Analyst – Responsible Investing, Aberdeen Asset Management
Jamie Govan is a Senior Analyst – Responsible Investing on Aberdeen’s Stewardship team. Jamie joined Aberdeen’s Global Equity Team in 2008 to support the SRI research capability and development of ESG analysis on investment holdings. Jamie’s current work within the Stewardship Team includes researching and engaging with companies to better understand how they manage their material ESG and financial risks and how they integrate risk and opportunity management across group culture and strategy. His role also entails promoting ESG integration across asset classes and communicating Aberdeen’s efforts in this space to a wider audience. Jamie graduated with a BA (Hons) in Accountancy and Law from the University of Glasgow.
Rabih El Fadel
Managing Director, ZEF Concepts
Rabih El Fadel has a unique understanding of sustainability, with over 15 years experience in Low energy buildings and master plan designs, Low carbon emission initiatives, including energy buildings passive design, efficient systems, renewable energy, building management system calculation methodology.
Rabih’s 28 years experience encompasses project design, Project management and development, technical implementation and management of Environmental Design, sustainability framework (Energy, Water, Waste, Internal environmental quality, renewable energy, solar passive design) for projects in Europe, Middle-East, USA and Africa.
Prof. M. Iqbal Asaria
Associate, Afkar Consulting
Mohamed Iqbal Asaria was a member of the working party set up by the Governor of The Bank of England to look into issues relating to the introduction of Islamic financial products in the UK. He was previously a resource person on International Financial Institutions and GATT/WTO for the Third World Network. He provided specialist advice on International financial flows, multi-lateral lending and international trade (1985 – 1995); and served as Chairman of the influential World Bank – NGO Committee (1985 – 1990).
He is a Fellow of the Chartered Association of Certified Accountants and a graduate of the Victoria University of Manchester where he also completed his masters in Economics (Accounting & Finance). He was awarded the CBE in the 2005 Queen’s honours list for services to international development.
Iqbal has advised several financial institutions in the UK and overseas on Islamic financial services. Since 2005, he has been Special Advisor on Business & Economic Affairs to the Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain.
Iqbal teaches post graduate courses in Islamic Finance, Banking and Insurance at several leading universities including CASS Business School, CASS Executive MBA program in Dubai,Aston Business School and Bangor Business School.
For the last eight years Iqbal has been the convenor of the annual International Takaful Summit and is a leading thought leader in the Takaful industry.
Sheikh Bilal Khan
Co-Chairman and Partner, Dome Adviser
Sheikh Bilal Khan is Co-Chairman and Partner at Dome Adviser. He is the recipient of multiple industry awards and recognitions including being a Freeman of the City of London. Sheikh Bilal holds an MBA with various executive board positions. He was invited to feature in the television series ‘Secrets of Success’ as part of 20 London-based personalities which is now showing on British Airways Inflight. Sheikh Bilal has recently been shortlisted as one of eight Positive Role Models for Race, Religion and Faith at the National Diversity Awards 2016.
In his government business ambassadorial role as UK Government Department for International Trade (DIT) Catalyst and Adviser to the City of London Corporation, Sheikh Bilal is promoting UK excellence internationally and the City of London in particular as a leading Islamic Finance hub. He serves as Senior Adviser to the All Party Parliamentary Group for Islamic Finance and is also a member of the Advisory Board of the Middle East Association. Sheikh Bilal is often quoted in the mainstream and pan-Arab media as well as regularly speaking at international conferences.
Sheikh Bilal is Vice Chairman of the International Panel of Mosaic (The Prince’s Charities) which conducts the International Leadership Program for young leaders from 80 countries in addition to acting as Judge for the DIT Sirius Programme for graduate entrepreneurs. He is uniquely positioned as both a ‘Magic Circle’ English qualified lawyer and an award-winning Shari’ah Scholar. Sheikh Bilal also serves on the Shari’ah Standards Review Committee of the Accounting and Auditing Organisation for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI) and the Takaful Panel of ICMIF after his prolonged Shari’ah education and training at Darul Uloom Karachi in Pakistan and thereafter gaining many years of experience structuring and drafting first-of-their-kind Shari’ah-compliant financial products.
Dr. Farid Khan
Chairman, Protein Technologies Ltd
Dr. Farid Khan is a exceptional science-based entrepreneur and innovator. Over the last four years, he has founded a number of innovative businesses. He has developed technologies and therapies for diseases in the developed and the developing world. Dr. Khan has also pioneered the engineering of bioreactors for biofuels, biofertilisers and treatment of contaminated water. Dr. Khan has discovered drugs for Alzheimer’s Disease, malaria, rare diseases and produced novel medication adherence devices, biosensers and imaging agents for cancer diagnosis and treatment. He has secured £multi-million funds from private and public sources, formed key interdisciplinary collaborations with industry, academic institutions and charities including stakeholders in the UK’s healthcare agenda. A visionary leader and respected scientist, with deep knowledge in the engineering & Life Sciences sector gained through business and strong links with the bio-pharmaceutical, agri-technology and clean-technology industry, both internationally and in the UK. He has been independently acknowledged as a leader in the UK’s healthcare business community and has a proven track record of innovation.
Professor of Finance, Cass Business School
Having gained a BSc in Accounting and Finance, Meziane Lasfer won a scholarship towards a master’s degree and followed this up with Diploma in Accounting and Finance, MBA and PhD in Finance from the LSE and the University of Bath, UK. Meziane started as a research fellow in November 1990 at City University Business School. He was soon promoted to a personal chair. He has directed the Cass Business School PhD programme and MSc Finance course, and he was Associate Dean for Research and Knowledge Transfer. He published widely in the areas of corproate finance and asset management and he is ranked amongt the top 20 top researchers in Europe and 2nd with a UK PhD*. He teaches Finance courses to MBA, MSc and PhD students and to executives in the UK (e.g., Goldman Sachs, KPMG, Lloyds-TSB, Deloitte) and abroad (e.g., Thales – France, PT communicacos – Portugal, Kemira – Finland). His outstanding teaching performance led him to win the First Dean’s Prize for Teaching Excellence in 1998, and in 2003, 2006 and 2008. He was external examiner at London Business School, London School of Economics, Birmingham Business School and Cranfield School of Management. His previous and current visiting professor positions include HEC Paris, University Paris Dauphine, EDHEC Business School in Nice, and Catolica University in Lisbon. Meziane’s research interests include dividend policy, capital structure, taxation, asset sales, corporate governance, managerial ownership, pension fund investments, trading by insiders and institutions, and fundamentals of stock returns. He has published widely in top international academic journals such as Journal of Finance, Journal of Finance and Quantitative Analysis, Journal of Banking and Finance, Journal of Corporate Finance, Financial Management, European Financial Management, and National Tax Journal. His research was widely reported in the press and was sponsored by the National Association of Pension Funds (NAPF), the Finance Lease Association (FLA), Morley Asset Management, the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), Donaldsons and Land Securities-Trillium. He is on the editorial board of a number of journals. He was an external consultant at the Financial Services Authority (FSA).
CEO, Simply Ethical
Faizal is the Founder and CEO of Simply Ethical, a UK FCA regulated entity committed to providing Sharia Compliant and Ethical financial products and services to private and corporate clients. Given the provision and accessibility of such investments and finance is limited in the UK and Europe generally, Faizal is passionate about developing and growing this sector. For example, Simply Ethical will soon be launching an online solution for retail clients so that they can save and invest in an ethical, sharia compliant and cost effective way in a variety of tax wrappers such as pensions, ISA’s and Junior ISA’s. Another example is that SME’s need access to non interest bearing forms of finance to grow their businesses – Faizal has created a sister entity called Simply Capital Partners that is committed to connecting investors with good quality businesses that are raising capital. Faizal has recently authored a book entitled “Mastering Islamic Finance” published by Pearsons and regularly provides training to other professionals on Islamic Finance.