About RFI

The RFI Foundation - the industry body for the responsible finance sector.

The RFI Foundation has been established with the aim of bringing together various forms of responsible finance practices, encouraging consensus as the basis for convergence between standards, practices and regulations. To do so in an effective manner, financial services must find and share the a guiding principle for financial services is that they are most beneficial when the best ideas are incorporated from various many forms of responsible finance, including Islamic finance.

After the financial crisis, it was apparent that the link between risk and reward had been broken and needed to be rebuilt with ethics and morals at its heart. The financial crisis illustrated in stark fashion that ethics and business are not adversaries and that ultimately they need each other.

It is within this context that ‘responsible’ finance practices can play a powerful role in shaping the future of the global economy. There are various definitions and practices encapsulating the ‘responsible’ finance sector. These include sustainable, responsible and impact investing (SRI), environmental, social and governance (ESG) and Islamic finance, which is a form of financial intermediation in which funds are raised and applied using asset-based methods or partnerships in accordance with Islamic law instead of lending and borrowing.

The guiding principle that is shared among all forms of responsible finance is an appreciation that financial services can be a force, and indeed are necessary for sustainable development.

A major opportunity for the RFI is to expand responsible finance by incorporating the positive screening strengths of the SRI industry with the governance and regulatory advances of Islamic finance, and thereby engage asset owners and institutional investors who drive financial services development in a more coherent and unified approach.




Vision

To integrate principles and solutions of the socially responsible banking, insurance and investment (‘responsible finance’) sectors, including the ethical and socially responsible principles of Islamic finance, into the global economic system to support equitable, inclusive and sustainable economic development.


Mission

To identify a neutral, nonpartisan and universal value proposition that encourages convergence of responsible finance practices. By highlighting the shared standards around principles that govern the sector, Islamic finance will further contribute to a more diverse and representative thinking around the growth, trajectory and development of responsible finance.




Objectives

The key objectives of the RFI that will help it move towards its vision and achieve its mission are to:

  • CONNECT the various forms of responsible finance and Islamic finance through dialogue, sharing best practices and common action plans around universal principles.
  • CONVERGE to build consensus in practices between the various forms of responsible finance and Islamic finance.
  • CHAMPION the perspectives and solutions of socially responsible finance for sustainable development.
  • ENGAGE with institutional investors and asset owners to enhance scale.

  • EXPAND The RFI’s capability and reach through the sharing of skills.


Governance

The RFI has been established with the encouragement of individuals and institutions that support the global financial system. It has adopted a dual-tier governance structure, Council of Advisors and Board of Trustees, to ensure that the institution benefits from expert, pertinent and timely direction from senior veterans of the industry.

The RFI’s day-to-day governance is guided by a Board of Trustees made up of individuals with significant experience in the financial industry. The RFI’s Board of Trustees report to the Council of Advisors who ratify Trustees’ actions and set the RFI’s strategic vision.

The RFI seeks to embed the spirit of cooperation in its own relationship with existing institutions to ensure effective management of its own resources.



Council of Advisors

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The Council of Advisors is the supreme body that advises the Board of Trustees on the strategic direction of the RFI. The Council advises the Board on critical development issues and on the legal aspects, reforms and resources, both political and technical that are required to promote partnerships and alliances between the various member institutions. The Chairperson of the Board of Trustees is an ex officio member of the Council of Advisors.

 

Dr. Zeti Akhtar Aziz

Dr. Zeti Akhtar Aziz was appointed Governor of Bank Negara Malaysia in May 2000. At the central bank, Dr. Zeti had an important role in successfully managing the repair and resolution of the financial system during the Asian financial crisis and the consequent strong recovery of the Malaysian economy. In the decade that followed, she also had an important role in the reform and transformation of the Malaysian financial system, including overseeing the modernisation and enactment of ten major pieces of legislation for the financial sector. This period also saw the progressive liberalisation of the Malaysian financial system.

In the Asian region, Dr. Zeti has been actively involved in strengthening cooperation and financial integration. In 2006, she chaired the taskforce of the Executives' Meeting of East Asia-Pacific Central Banks that prepared the report for the future direction of central bank financial cooperation in the region, which continues today. A founding member of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) Asian Consultative Council, she was also the first co-chair of the Financial Stability Board Regional Consultative Group for Asia. Dr. Zeti also participates extensively in international fora in many parts of the world, including acting as the voice of emerging economies in highlighting their role in the global economy. Dr. Zeti was a member of the Commission of Experts of the President of the United Nations General Assembly on Reforms of the International Monetary and Financial System in 2009, a high-level taskforce established to examine reforms following the global financial crisis. She is currently the chair of the BIS Central Bank Governance Group, where she has been a member since 2001.

Dr. Zeti has also had an extensive role in the global development of Islamic finance, being part of the group of Governors that established the Islamic Financial Services Board and the International Islamic Liquidity Management Corporation. She headed a taskforce that prepared a report identifying the building blocks that would further strengthen the institutional arrangements for financial stability in the Islamic financial system. Dr. Zeti also had a significant role in the development of talent in the Islamic financial services industry, including the establishment of the International Centre for Education in Islamic Finance, the first global university dedicated to Islamic finance.

For two decades, Dr. Zeti has been involved in the financial inclusion agenda at both the national and international levels, aimed at increasing the potential for more balanced economic growth.

Dr. Zeti received her Bachelor of Economics from the University of Malaya and her PhD in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania.


HRH Emir Muhammadu Sanusi II

His Royal Highness Emir Muhammadu Sanusi II was born into the Fulani Torodbe (Sullubawa) clan of Kano, Nigeria and was crowned on the 8th of June 2014 as the Emir of Kano, succeeding his late great-uncle Dr. Ado Bayero.

HRH Sanusi was a successful banker and was a former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria. He was a career banker and ranking Fulani nobleman. The global financial intelliegence magazine, The Banker, published by the Financial Times, has conferred on Sanusi two awards, the global award for Central Bank Governor of the Year, as well as for Central Bank Governor of the Year for Africa for 2011. The TIME magazine also listed Sanusi in its TIMES 100 list of most influential people of 2011.

He was highly respected before joining the central bank, having served as the chief executive of First Bank FIRSTBA.LG. Prior to that, he served as chief risk officer at First Bank and at United Bank for Africa (UBA), two of the country's largest lenders.

HRH Sanusi won an international reputation as a reformer following the bail-out of nine lenders just weeks after taking office at the helm of the central bank, a move which many bankers say saved the financial sector in sub-Saharan Africa's second biggest economy from the brink of collapse.

He sent shockwaves through the corporate establishment, sacking the chiefs of eight of the banks and felling pillars of Nigeria's financial aristocracy who had long seen themselves as beyond the reach of the regulators in doing so.

HRH Sanusi gained degrees in economics and Islamic law from Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria, northern Nigeria, where he also taught economics before going into banking in 1985.

He has regularly spoken out about the need to fight corruption not only in the financial sector but in the political system in Nigeria, winning him as many enemies at home as he has friends in the international investment community.


Professor Simon Archer

Simon Archer is a Visiting Professor at the ICMA Centre, Henley Business School, University of Reading, UK, with particular responsibility for Islamic Finance, and Adjunct Professor at INCEIF, Kuala Lumpur. Previously, he was Professor of Financial Management at the University of Surrey, after being Midland Bank Professor of Financial Sector Accounting at the University of Wales, Bangor. After studies in Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Oxford University, he qualified as a Chartered Accountant with Arthur Andersen in London and then moved to Price Waterhouse in Paris, where he became Partner in charge of Management Consultancy Services. Since beginning an academic career, Professor Archer undertaken numerous consultancy assignments, including acting as consultant to the Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI) and the Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB). He has been a Visiting Professor at a number of universities and business schools, including IIUM in Malaysia, Bordeaux, Metz, Paris-Dauphine, HEC and EAP-ESCP in France, Copenhagen Business School in Denmark, and Frankfurt and Koblenz in Germany. Professor Archer is the author and co-editor of a considerable number of works and academic papers on international accounting and on issues in Islamic finance, including Islamic Finance: Innovation and Growth (Euromoney Publications, 2002) with Rifaat Ahmed Abdel Karim, Islamic Finance: the Regulatory Challenge (John Wiley Asia, 2007) and Islamic Finance: the New Regulatory Challenge (John Wiley Asia, 2013) with Rifaat Ahmed Abdel Karim and Takaful Islamic Insurance: Concepts and Regulatory Issues (John Wiley Asia, 2009) with Rifaat Ahmed Abdel Karim and Volker Nienhaus. In 2010, Professor Archer received an award from the Central Bank of Bahrain and Kuwait Finance House, Bahrain for his “outstanding contribution to the Islamic Financial Services Industry”.


Professor Datuk Rifaat Ahmed Abdel Karim

Professor Rifaat has an international reputation as a leader and authority in the Islamic financial services industry (IFSI) at both at the professional and the academic levels. He has played a pioneering role in the development of Islamic finance. His leadership in the setting of accounting, auditing, governance, Shari’ah and regulatory standards, as well as in the development of high quality short-term financial instruments to facilitate liquidity management for Islamic financial institutions, has been highly instrumental in establishing the position of the IFSI in the mainstream of global financial services.

Professor Rifaat has served as the inaugural Secretary-General at both the Accounting and Auditing Organisation for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI) and the Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB). During his terms in office at the AAOIFI and the IFSB, Professor Rifaat played a key role in the conception and development of standards and guidelines for the IFSI which have been a key catalyst in the establishment and integration of the IFSI within mainstream global financial services.

During the period October 2012 to December 2016, Professor Rifaat assumed the position of Chief Executive Officer of the International Islamic Liquidity Management Corporation (IILM), an international organisation established in October 2010 by central banks, monetary agencies and multilateral development organisations to facilitate liquidity management for Islamic financial institutions.

Professor Rifaat's contribution to the IFSI has been recognized by the many prestigious international awards that he has received during his career over three decades, which has been dedicated to high achievement in professional activities, as well as in research and academic work. These awards notably include the (inaugural) 2004 Euromoney Outstanding Contribution in the Development of Islamic Finance, the 2010 Islamic Development Bank Prize in Islamic Banking and Finance and the Royal Award for Islamic Finance 2016. In 2010, the King of Malaysia awarded Professor Rifaat the Royal Malaysian Honorary Award of Darjah Kebesaran Panglima Jasa Negara (P.J.N.), which carries the title "Datuk."


Board of Trustees

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The Trustees will be legally responsible for the overall management of the RFI, and they are expected to perform their responsibilities subject to the fiduciary duties of care, loyalty and support to this non-profit organization. The Trustees will consult and present their views on current issues and economic matters affecting and influencing the Islamic and responsible finance and investment industry.

A white paper will be issued after each annual general meeting to collate and address the issues raised by board members and will set priorities for the Islamic and responsible finance and investment industry.


Professor Datuk Rifaat Ahmed Abdel Karim, Chairperson / Permanent Trustee

Professor Rifaat has an international reputation as a leader and authority in the Islamic financial services industry (IFSI) at both at the professional and the academic levels. He has played a pioneering role in the development of Islamic finance. His leadership in the setting of accounting, auditing, governance, Shari’ah and regulatory standards, as well as in the development of high quality short-term financial instruments to facilitate liquidity management for Islamic financial institutions, has been highly instrumental in establishing the position of the IFSI in the mainstream of global financial services.

Professor Rifaat has served as the inaugural Secretary-General at both the Accounting and Auditing Organisation for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI) and the Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB). During his terms in office at the AAOIFI and the IFSB, Professor Rifaat played a key role in the conception and development of standards and guidelines for the IFSI which have been a key catalyst in the establishment and integration of the IFSI within mainstream global financial services.

During the period October 2012 to December 2016, Professor Rifaat assumed the position of Chief Executive Officer of the International Islamic Liquidity Management Corporation (IILM), an international organisation established in October 2010 by central banks, monetary agencies and multilateral development organisations to facilitate liquidity management for Islamic financial institutions.

Professor Rifaat's contribution to the IFSI has been recognized by the many prestigious international awards that he has received during his career over three decades, which has been dedicated to high achievement in professional activities, as well as in research and academic work. These awards notably include the (inaugural) 2004 Euromoney Outstanding Contribution in the Development of Islamic Finance, the 2010 Islamic Development Bank Prize in Islamic Banking and Finance and the Royal Award for Islamic Finance 2016. In 2010, the King of Malaysia awarded Professor Rifaat the Royal Malaysian Honorary Award of Darjah Kebesaran Panglima Jasa Negara (P.J.N.), which carries the title "Datuk."


Dr. Sayd Farook, Co-Vice Chairperson / Permanent Trustee

Dr. Sayd Farook is a veteran C-suite professional with a strong knowledge management and strategy execution track record.

Sayd is the founding Vice Chairperson of the RFI Foundation, a London based non-profit backed by financial industry leaders promoting the convergence and expansion of responsible finance practices. Sayd is also an Advisor to the Executive Office of HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

Most recently, Sayd served as the Vice Chairman and CEO of Middle East Global Advisors, a leading intelligence and connectivity platform and a Projects Advisor to the Dubai Islamic Economy Development Center, Government of Dubai.

Previously, he was the Global Head Islamic Capital Markets at Thomson Reuters, where he advised and served large corporates, multilaterals and governments in the Middle East, North Africa and South East Asia.

During the duration of his five year leadership stint at Thomson Reuters where he oversaw the Islamic markets strategy, he conceived and led his 25 strong team to achieve a number of industry firsts besides growing and leading a profitable and highly visible business. He also advises and produces a number of research based insights for government entities in the GCC including Dubai, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia such as the Dubai Islamic Economy Development Center, The Executive Office, Central Bank of Bahrain, Economic Development Board Bahrain, Tadawul Saudi Arabia and the Islamic Development Bank.

Prior to his role at Thomson Reuters, Dr. Sayd was a legal and structuring advisor at Dar Al Istithmar, a boutique advisory firm based in Oxford and owned by Deutsche Bank, Oxford Center for Islamic Studies and Saudi Bin Laden Group.

Prior to this, he led the growth and innovation strategy at the Centre for Islamic Finance at the Bahrain Institute of Banking and Finance.

Sayd has advised, taught and drafted standards for regulators and universities throughout his career and sits on the editorial advisory board for two prominent blind peer reviewed academic journals. Dr. Sayd has a Doctorate in Financial Economics (specifically focusing on Islamic banking and risk management), a first class Honours in Business and a Law Degree (LLM) from the University of Technology Sydney. He is also a fellow Certified Islamic Professional Accountant (CIPA).


Ms. Sarah Marten, Co-Vice Chairperson / Permanent Trustee

Sarah Marten was the Commercial MD for International Herald Tribune (New York Times Media Group) covering Middle East, Africa, Central Asian Republics and Turkey from 1986 – 2009. She moved to head up the Global Sponsorship sales for Conferences for IHT from 2009 and was involved with events in China, India, Russia and Europe. Prior to IHT she was Commercial Director at Institutional Investor for Eastern and Central Europe, Russia and India.

Sarah established Camel5 Ltd in 2004, a publishing company that has produced quarterly magazines for Saudi Arabian Investment Authority and Qatar Financial Centre for a number of years. She left IHT in 2011 to focus on expanding this business. The company produces in-house magazines for companies in Middle East. Camel5 Ltd has a highly respected editorial board that has access to institutions worldwide and a pool of writers that include leading commentators and contributors to global financial news networks.


Mr. Daud Vicary Abdullah

Daud Vicary Abdullah is the President and Chief Executive Officer of INCEIF, The Global University of Islamic Finance. He has been in the finance and consulting industry for over 41 years, with significant experience in Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East. Since 2002, he has focused exclusively on Islamic finance where he has contributed to a number of books on the subject and has co-authored a book on Islamic finance entitled “Islamic Finance: Why it makes sense.” He is also a frequent speaker and commentator on matters relating to Islamic finance.

Prior to INCEIF, Daud was the Global Islamic Finance Leader with Deloitte. He was also previously Acting CEO of Asian Finance Bank, an Islamic bank based in Malaysia, and was the first Managing Director of Hong Leong Islamic Bank.

He is a Chartered Islamic Finance Professional (CIFP), a Distinguished Fellow of the Islamic Banking and Finance Institute of Malaysia (IBFIM) and a former Board member (2003 – 2007) of the Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI).

Currently, Daud is a member of the Global Group in Islamic Finance & Investment (Global IFIG), under the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, UK; a member of the Steering Committee for The Royal Awards for Islamic Finance (RAIF), a member of the Islamic Finance Committee at the Malaysia Institute of Accountants (MIA) and a Senior Advisor for University of East London’s Islamic Finance and Banking Advisory Board.


Mr. Abdulla Al Awar

Abdulla Mohammed Al Awar is the CEO of Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre.

Prior to his current role, Al Awar was the CEO of Dubai International Financial Centre for the period from 2009 to 2012. During his overall 8-year tenure with DIFC that saw him hold various executive positions, he leveraged his exceptional skills in strategic planning, operational management and financial control to help develop DIFC into a global financial hub.

Under his strategic leadership, DIFC was ranked as the leading financial centre in the region for the years 2009-2012, demonstrating an average 13% client growth year on year and improving the organization's efficiency and performance.

Al Awar has served as member of several committees and boards in Dubai including the Economic Committee of the Executive Council of Dubai, Dubai Free Zones Council, Bourse Dubai and the Investment Committee of the Emirates NBD Real Estate Fund.Al Awar holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration from the University of Colorado at Boulder, US. He has also graduated from the Mohammed Bin Rashid Program for Leadership Development, an executive education program, through affiliation with Cranfield University, UK, IMD and INSEAD.


Mr. Hasan Al-Jabri

Hasan Al-Jabri has been a major player in investment banking and corporate finance in the MENA region for over 30 years holding leading positions in two of the region’s most influential financial institutions; NCB Group and SAMBA. His achievements have driven these institutions to become leaders in corporate finance, corporate banking and investment management. He currently leads SEDCO Capital that manages and advises on investments both locally and internationally in a diverse range of asset classes whilst ensuring that all these investments comply with the challenging Shari’a guidelines, spearheading the way into ethical investment solutions.

Hasan's continuous passion has been focused on financial dignity and job creation. Accordingly he worked on founding several organizations that open doors to young Saudis to start their own business. He was also part of the team that helped develop the financial literacy program for Saudis (Riyali) in addition to establishing a microfinance bank in Syria.

Mr. Aljabri is a member of the Global Islamic Finance and Investment Group and member of HOPE International advisory board, and board member of Saudi Foras Investment Company. Hasan was the Chairman of the World Presidents Organization Chapter in Saudi and was previously the chairman of the YPO for the Saudi chapter and a founding board member of the Gulf SOL.

He is a BSC graduate of the American University of Beirut and an Executive Management Program graduate of Columbia University


Dr. Mohd. Daud Bakar

Dr. Mohd. Daud Bakar is the Founder and Group Chairman of Amanie Advisors, a global boutique Shariah advisory firm with offices located worldwide, and International Institute of Islamic Finance Inc. (IIIF). He currently sits as a Chairman of the Shariah Advisory Council at the Central Bank of Malaysia, the Securities Commission of Malaysia, the Labuan Financial Services Authority and the International Islamic Liquidity Management Corporation (IILM). He is also a Shariah board member of various financial institutions, including the National Bank of Oman (Oman), Noor Islamic Bank (Dubai), Amundi Asset Management (France), Morgan Stanley (Dubai), Bank of London and Middle East (London), BNP Paribas (Bahrain), Bank Al Khair (Bahrain), Islamic Bank of Asia (Singapore), Dow Jones Islamic Market Index (New York), Financial Guidance (USA), amongst many others.

Prior to this; he was the Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the International Islamic University Malaysia. He received his first degree in Shariah from University of Kuwait in 1988 and obtained his PhD from University of St. Andrews, United Kingdom in 1993. In 2002, he completed his external Bachelor of Jurisprudence at University of Malaya. He has published a number of articles in various academic journals and has made many presentations in various conferences both local and overseas. On the recognition side, DrMohdDaud has been honored with “The Asset Triple A Industry Leadership Award” at The Asset Triple A Islamic Finance Award 2014 by The Asset magazine and been named as the “Most Outstanding Individual”, awarded by His Majesty, the King of Malaysia, in conjunction with the national-level Prophet Muhammad's birthday 2014.


Mr. Sultan Choudhury

Sultan Choudhury is Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Director at Al Rayan Bank PLC, formerly known as Islamic Bank of Britain (IBB). The Bank’s longest-serving employee, Mr Choudhury joined the Bank when it was formed in 2004 and was part of the founding management team of Western Europe’s first authorised Islamic Bank.

Since then Mr Choudhury has set up Al Rayan Bank’s Head Office operations and Branch Network. He has also led the development and implementation of its full product range and service delivery channels. As a result, Al Rayan Bank now offers the largest range of Islamic retail financial products in the UK and has attracted over 50,000 customers. Most recently, Mr Choudhury successfully oversaw the Bank’s acquisition by Masraf Al Rayan QSC (Al Rayan), a Qatar-based Islamic bank.

Mr. Choudhury is a member of various community and advisory groups and has contributed significantly to the development of Islamic Financial Services in the UK.

Mr. Choudhury previously held roles at Charles Schwab Europe, Barclays Private Bank and Deloitte. A Chartered Accountant (ACA), he holds a BA (Hons) in Economics & Econometrics from University of Nottingham and an MBA with distinction (University of Aston). Mr Choudhury is also a Chartered Member of the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment for whom he sits on the Employer Panel for the Islamic Finance Qualification.


Ms. Stella Cox CBE

Stella Cox is Managing Director of DDCAP Group and its wholly owned subsidiaries DD&Co Limited and DDGI Limited. Stella and her team are responsible for DDCAP’s Islamic financial sector clients and market activities. DD&Co is a leading provider of asset facilitation services to the Islamic wholesale markets. DDGI has invested, for its own account, in a number of Islamic financial services initiatives and was a founder shareholder in Islamic Bank of Britain (now Al Rayan Bank).

Previously she was a Director of Dresdner Kleinwort Benson Limited (“KB”) where she had responsibility for Middle Eastern institutional relationships and product development for KB’s Islamic clients. Stella’s team managed assets aggregating over US$2bn and extended over US$250mn of finance to their clients through Sharia’a compliant structures. Whilst with the Bank, Stella was involved in structuring The Islamic Fund, the first Sharia’a compliant global equity product, launched in 1986. She was also a Director of the Al Meezan Commodity Fund plc, a joint venture initiative with an IslamicBank that invested in non-ferrous metals traded on the London Metal Exchange.

From 2007-2009 Stella served as an Independent Non-Executive Director of Gatehouse Bank, a UK Islamic investment bank.

On 13th March 2013, the UK Government launched the first Islamic Finance Task Force. The ministerial led Task Force was established to refocus on Islamic Finance and the UK proposition. In addition to the 4 Ministers, Stella was one of a small group of non-ministerial industry experts within the Task Force and acted as practitioner lead for the regulatory workstream. With support from the Task Force, the UK Government announced plans at the World Islamic Economic Forum in October 2013 in London to launch an inaugural sovereign Sukuk in the near future, culminating in the successful £200mn issuance in June 2014. Subsequently, Stella has been appointed Chair of the Islamic Finance Market Advisory Group recently established by TheCityUK.

Stella is a Fellow of the Institute of Islamic Banking and Insurance in the United Kingdom and has served on its Board of Governors within the Islamic Banking Group. Previously, Stella was a member of HM Treasury Islamic Finance Experts Group, where she was part of the Market Standardisation sub-group. Stella was also a member of the Working Group established by the Central Bank of Bahrain (formerly the Bahrain Monetary Authority) with the purpose of developing procedures and documentation for Islamic commodity trading and she assisted the DIFC Islamic Advisory Committee with its work on selected strategic development initiatives. Stella served as a member of the Islamic Financial Services Board Money Market Task Force on Markets and Instruments for Sharia’a Compliant Liquidity Management and now represents DDCAP on the Market and Product Development Committee (MPDC) of the International Islamic Financial Market.

Stella speaks regularly at international conferences and has contributed to many publications including Islamic Banker, Euromoney, Institutional Investor, Islamic Finance News, Arab Banker and New Horizon. She was co-author of Structuring Islamic Finance Transactions published by Euromoney Books and in 2006 co-authored the Islamic Finance Qualification (IFQ) jointly offered by the UK Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment and the EcoleSuperieure des Affaires in Lebanon, contributing the Islamic Asset and Fund Management module. In addition, Stella also continues to support education initiatives in the market and is a member of the University of East London’s Islamic Finance and Banking Advisory Board and a visiting lecturer at Durham University Islamic Finance Summer School.

In December 2008, Stella was awarded for ‘Outstanding Contribution to Islamic Finance in the UK’ at the IREF Summit.

Stella has been appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the Queen’s 90th Birthday Honours List.


Mr. Brandon Davies

Brandon Davies is Non-executive Chairman of Euro Merchant Holdings a prospective new bank in the City of London, a board director of Shariah Supply Chain Finance Limited and the CEO and Chairman of dRisk.biz Limited a company which encompasses his publishing and training interests.

Brandon holds a degree in economics from University College London. He is a member of the Financial Markets Group at the London School of Economics (LSE), and is on advisory councils for several “think tanks” including the CSFI and Long Finance. He lectures extensively on subjects in banking and risk management and has written numerous papers and articles and six books on these subjects for organisations such as GARP, ACCA, Cass Business School, Central Banking, the LSE, Lombard Street Research and the Financial Times. He currently runs the British Bankers Association’s workshops for bank board directors.

Until September 2014 he was Non-executive Chairman of Premier European Capital Limited, a private equity company and prior to this he was senior independent non- executive director (SINED) of Gatehouse Bank plc (an Islamic Bank in London) and SINED of Oceanic Bank in London. Until December 2009 Brandon was Managing Director of the Global Association of Risk Professionals Risk Academy, which he joined after retiring from Barclays Bank where he was treasurer of retail banking and a member of the banks executive committee. Prior to this appointment he was Head of Structured Products at Barclays Capital and Managing Director of Financial Engineering at BZW. Brandon retired from Barclays in March 2004 after a career spanning 32 years.


Mr. Rafe Haneef

Rafe became the Chief Executive Officer of CIMB Islamic Bank Berhad on 4th January 2016 and is in charge of the CIMB Group's Islamic banking and finance franchise. CIMB Islamic operates as a parallel franchise to the Group’s conventional operations and covers Islamic wholesale banking, Islamic consumer banking, Islamic commercial banking and Islamic asset management and investment.

Rafe has 20 years of experience covering a range of businesses and functional roles gained from three global banks, an international asset management company and a legal firm, at various financial centers including London, Dubai and Kuala Lumpur.

He read Law at the International Islamic University Malaysia and also holds an LL.M degree from the Harvard Law School. He was admitted to the Malaysian Bar in 1995 and qualified for the New York State Bar in 1997.

Rafe first joined HSBC Investment Bank plc, London in 1999 and thereafter HSBC Financial Services Middle East, Dubai where he set up the global sukuk business in 2001. Subsequently, he became the Global Head of Islamic Finance business at ABN AMRO Dubai in 2004 covering both consumer and corporate businesses. In 2006, he moved back to Malaysia with Citigroup Asia as the Regional Head for Islamic banking, Asia Pacific. He later joined HSBC Amanah in 2010 as the CEO, Malaysia and Managing Director of Global Markets, ASP.

He was previously the Head of Islamic Banking for Citigroup Asia based in Kuala Lumpur. He was responsible for developing Malaysia as a regional Islamic finance hub for Citigroup and spread its Islamic business footprint across the region.

Prior to joining Citigroup, he established the Global Islamic Finance Department at ABN AMRO based in Dubai and was in charge of the Islamic wholesale and retail businesses for the group. Prior to that he was with HSBC Amanah in London & Dubai focusing on Islamically-structured cross-border transactions and the Sukuk market.

He was also a managing director at Fajr Capital, a Dubai-based Islamic investment company, looking at principal investments in the Islamic financial sector.

Rafe Haneef read law and Shariah at the International Islamic University in Malaysia. He was admitted to the Malaysian Bar and was practicing law in Malaysia specialising in Islamic finance. He then pursued his Master of Laws at Harvard Law School and subsequently qualified to the New York Bar.


Professor Datuk Dr. Mohd Azmi Omar

Professor Datuk Dr. Mohd Azmi Omar is the Director General of the Islamic Research and Training Institute (IRTI), an organisation of the Islamic Development Bank Group. Prior to joining IRTI, he was the Deputy Rector in charge of academic and research at the International Islamic University Malaysia. During his tenure, a number of milestones were achieved, among which was the establishment of the Institute of Islamic Banking and Finance as a center of excellence at the university.

Professor Azmi is an active researcher and speaker on Islamic Economics and Finance and co-authored a textbook titled Introduction to Islamic Capital Markets. He holds a Doctorate in Finance from Bangor University, Wales, United Kingdom; a Master of Business Administration; and a Bachelor of Science (Finance) degree from the Northern Illinois University, United States of America. He was the Shari'ah adviser to Bank Kerjasama Rakyat Malaysia Berhad and Amanah Ikhtiar Malaysia.


Mr. Omar Selim

Omar Selim is the founder of Arabesque and its Chief Executive Officer. Mr Selim has 20 years’ experience in international investment banking, having held senior positions at UBS, Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse.

He joined Barclays in 2004, where he was responsible for a multibillion dollar revenue budget and over a thousand staff.

In 2012, he initiated the values based asset management project at Barclays, originating the concept and developing it into Arabesque, in cooperation with professors from the universities of Stanford, Oxford, Cambridge, Maastricht, and Fraunhofer. Arabesque was established in June 2013 through a management buy-out from Barclays.

Led by founder and CEO, Omar Selim, Arabesque is headquartered in London and has a large research hub in Frankfurt, together with an advisory board of highly respected industry leaders and academics.

Prior Positions
• Member of Barclays Capital’s European Management Committee
• Head of Global Markets for the European time zone
• Chief Executive and Chairman for a number of regions
• Member of Barclays Bank’s Swiss Supervisory Board


Professor Talal Yassine OAM

Talal Yassine is the Managing Director of Crescent Wealth and an Adjunct Professor within the Business School, Western Sydney University.

After 10 years at PricewaterhouseCoopers as a Director and Strategist, Talal joined investment firm Babcock & Brown Ltd in the Corporate Finance Group and later in the Technical Real Estate Division. Later Talal held leadership positions in Better Place Australia.

Talal serves as the Chairman of Quay Capital, the Australian Arab Dialogue Limited, and as the Patron of the Crescent Institute Ltd. He also serves on the Board of the Whitlam Institute Ltd.

Talal has previously served on the Board of Australia Post, Sydney Ports, Macquarie University and as the Chairman of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade, Council of Australian Arab Relations.

Talal holds a Master of Laws, a Master of Business Administration and several undergraduate degrees.

On Australia Day 2010, Talal was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for his service to business and to the community through a range of education, health and multicultural organisations.



Staff

 

Blake Goud, Chief Executive Officer

Blake Goud is the CEO of the RFI Foundation, a position he has held since the organization’s incorporation. He was the Chief Research Officer for ME Global Advisors where he focused on MENA financial sector development and the growth of the Islamic economy. He was responsible for leading ME Global Advisors' research efforts as well as advising on the content of the events organized by ME Global Advisors. His primary area of interest global Islamic banking, capital markets and opportunities to increase financial inclusion in Islamic finance through crowdfunding and microfinance.

Blake has nearly a decade experience researching Islamic finance and working in the financial sector in a compliance and investment officer role for a small US-based investment advisor and broker-dealer. He was the Community Leader for the Thomson Reuters Islamic Finance Gateway from 2012 to 2015. At Thomson Reuters, he conducted research and analysis on the Islamic finance and Islamic economy sectors, set discussion points for large-scale events and one-on-one sessions with leaders of the Islamic finance industry. He drafted white papers following events including the IILM roundtables in London, UK and Washington, DC and was a principal author of the GIES 2013 Review following the Global Islamic Economy Summit organized in collaboration with the Dubai Chamber of Commerce & Industry and the Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre.

His published research includes papers on Islamic microfinance, renewable energy microfinance and public finance using the esham structure to develop a flexible alternative for tax increment finance. He received his B.A. in Economics from Reed College in 2003.


Tawfique Al-Mubarak, Research Analyst

Tawfique Al-Mubarak is a Research Analyst at the RFI Foundation, with an interest in topics relating to Shariah and environmental issues in Islamic Finance, Maqasid al-Shariah, contemporary fiqh, hiyal, and Islamic microfinance. He obtained his Bachelors degree in Islamic Revealed Knowledge & Heritage (B. IRK) from the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM), and went on to complete his first M.A. in Islamic Banking, Finance and Management from the University of Gloucestershire in UK, and a second M.A. in Islamic Studies (Contemporary Islamic Jurisprudence) from the Hamad bin Khalifa University in the State of Qatar.

He has published on Islamic microfinance, hiyal in Islamic financial transactions, maqasid al-Shari’ah in Islamic finance, and currently working on Sustainable and Responsible Investment (SRI) policies and environmental impacts in Islamic finance.


Bader Allabadi, Junior Research Analyst

Bader Allabadi is a Junior Research Analyst with the RFI Foundation. He is a recent graduate from Portland State University with a Bachelors of Science in Finance and is a candidate for a Masters of Business Administration. His previous academic research work includes identifying and prioritizing stakeholder effects on Monsanto, who are known for their agrochemical biotechnology engineering, and Applied Hedging on Oil Markets, understanding the issues associated with designing and executing hedging strategies using information from the oil markets.

Bader’s keen interest on up-and-coming investment trends has landed him a position with RFI on October 2016. His previous work experience includes a summer internship with The Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development where he worked with the technical department as a Financial Analyst Intern.