Our work


GEFI oversees, organises and coordinates a series of programmes and has select partnerships (Efx.global, UKIFC, SDG Tartan and EFH). We operate across five principal areas.

Strategic Campaigns

Research & Advisory

Capacity Building

Practical Solutions

Our events, both in-person and virtual, are where we, our partners and stakeholders deliver the best of their insights. Join us and share your perspective.

Updates


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Our team


Senior Adviser

Allan Watt

Executive Manager

Chris Tait

Member, Global Steering Group.

Gail Hurley

Co-founder & Senior Adviser

Graham Burnside

Executive Manager

Natalie Jackson

Managing Director & Co-founder

Omar Shaikh

Project Executive

Sam Wheldon-Bayes

Chair, Global Steering Group

Dame Susan Rice

Consultant

Jon “JB” Beckett

David Pitt-Watson
Member, Global Steering Group & Chair, Scottish Green Finance Taskforce

David Pitt-Watson_

Consultant

Usman Hayat

Events Manager

Christine Burt

Senior Adviser

Allan Watt

Allan Watt is a senior adviser to Global Ethical Finance with wide experience in public, private and voluntary sectors in the UK and overseas.  He has been UK Chief Executive and also Scotland Director for the Prince’s Trust which helps young people into work or education and provides microfinance and start-up mentoring. Allan spent thirteen years at RBS with responsibility for communication, sponsorship, marketing and CSR activities in Edinburgh-based global roles and for three years in Hong Kong, as a member of the RBS Asia Pacific executive management team. This included work on affordable finance, lending in disadvantaged areas and impact investing.

Earlier in his career, he worked for the Scottish Development Agency and as Development Director for the Wise Group, a UK wide social enterprise. Most recently he has been carrying out interim work and consulting roles, including a year as Communications Director for Abellio, a Dutch-owned UK transport operator. Allan has been an advisor to the UK Government on employment and financial inclusion and has been a board member for a number of community, charitable and trade bodies.

Executive Manager

Chris Tait

Chris is an experienced Chartered Institute of Marketig and PRINCE 2 qualified marketing, business development and project manager. Specialising in B2B marketing, Chris has occupied roles, across the UK, within the construction, facilities management, education, professional and financial services sectors. During his time at a Scottish law firm Chris developed an interest and expertise in ethical finance and he has since helped to grow the Ethical Finance Round Table series into winners of the prestigious EFICA Awards.

Member, Global Steering Group.

Gail Hurley

Gail is an international development and sustainable finance professional and is currently Director of Advisory at Finance Earth, an impact investment firm that mobilises private investment in the environment, climate actions and communities. Gail was previously a Consultant with GEFI and has also held senior advisory roles at the United Nations, including with the World Food Programme (WFP) and UNDP where she worked to develop innovative finance mechanisms like social impact bonds and debt-for-development swaps. Gail has also worked as a researcher on development finance, and served as a Fellow with Development Initiatives,  a leading development organisation in the UK. She is an author and contributor to multiple research papers on development finance. Gail holds advanced degrees in development studies and economics and also serves as an Ambassador to the non-profit organisation Tobacco Free Portfolios.

Co-founder & Senior Adviser

Graham Burnside

Graham is a recognised expert in banking and finance law, specialising in particular in structured finance and capital markets, along with debt trading and financial product documentation. He pioneered the legal development of Islamic finance within Scotland on which he is now considered the country’s leading expert, having structured and documented the first (and so far only) Islamic mortgage products operating under Scots law and the first fully Sharia-compliant commercial real estate financing in Scotland. He is a member of the Advisory Board of the Islamic Finance Council UK. The latest edition of Chambers & Partners Guide to the legal profession conferred on Graham the accolade of “Senior Statesman” in banking and finance law in Scotland, the only lawyer so recognised.

Executive Manager

Natalie Jackson

Natalie has over 10 years of experience working in finance and is passionate about how finance can be used to deliver social and environmental impact. Her career started at EY in 2010, in the corporate finance department, where she qualified as at Chartered Accountant. She has spent extended periods of time working with social enterprises in Africa and has assisted entrepreneurs in the Global South through the Grow Movement and Kiva. Natalie was one of the finalists in the One Young CA competition and nominated as one of ICAS’s top Accountants under 35 in the field of Sustainability & Corporate Responsibility. She has spent the last 6 years working in project finance with a focus on education, infrastructure and renewable energy projects. Natalie currently sits on the Social Growth Fund Board at Social Investment Scotland, advising on the disbursement of £17m of funding to Scottish Social Enterprises.

Managing Director & Co-founder

Omar Shaikh

Omar is the Director and Co-founder of the Global Ethical Finance Initiative (GEFI). A Chartered Accountant by profession, he specialises in ethical/responsible finance, Islamic finance and private equity. He has extensive experience in financial services, has advised multiple governments and regulators on financial inclusion policy and for over 15 years has been a leading advocate for ethical and responsible finance. His background includes working with EY London where he was former Head of Islamic finance.

Omar launched the award-winning Edinburgh Ethical Finance Round Table series, a platform that led to the inception of the Ethical Finance Hub and GEFI. Through his work he has established a number of initiatives, including the Ethical Finance Summit (a major conference), the finance for nature project with UNDP creating innovative financing structures for the SDGs and the interfaith Edinburgh Finance Declaration. GEFI has recently launched the Path to COP26 campaign, bringing together stakeholders to advance climate finance ahead of the crucial 2021 Glasgow summit.

Omar received a BAcc from the University of Glasgow, is a member of ICAS and holds select board advisory roles including with the Prince’s Trust Scotland and supporting Glasgow Museums on preserving South Asian Heritage in Scotland.

Project Executive

Sam Wheldon-Bayes

Sam is a researcher and economist with interests in the intersection of environment, finance and economy. He has previously worked as a researcher for Lord Robert Skidelsky, producing a MOOC on the philosophy of economics, as well as a book entitled ‘What’s Wrong With Economics’, an accessible summary of recent academic debates in economics, as well as being a member of campaign group Rethinking Economics.

Chair, Global Steering Group

Dame Susan Rice

Dame Susan Rice, a Chartered Banker, chairs the Banking Standards Board and was founding chair of the Chartered Banker: Professional Standards Board. She also chairs Scottish Water, Business Stream and the Scottish Fiscal Commission, Scotland’s independent economic and fiscal forecaster.  In addition, she is Senior Independent Director of J Sainsbury, and of the North American Income Trust. The first woman to head a UK clearing bank, she was Chief Executive and Chairman of Lloyds TSB Scotland plc, then Managing Director of Lloyds Banking Group.  She was previously a Non-Executive Director of the Bank of England and energy company SSE. She has helped develop approaches to social finance in the US and UK, led work on cultural and ethical standards for bankers, chaired Scotland’s 2020 Climate Group and now works with P-CAN. Previously, she was Senior Vice President at NatWest Bancorp in New York and, earlier in her career, a Dean at Yale and Colgate Universities in America and a published medical researcher.

Consultant

Jon “JB” Beckett

JB is an experienced investment professional, writer, non-executive director, trainer and guest lecturer. He is the author of ‘New Fund Order’, a controversial and outspoken ex-investment gatekeeper and emeritus member of the Association of Professional Fund Investors. JB has long been campaigner for sustainability, technology and better investment governance.

David Pitt-Watson

Member, Global Steering Group & Chair, Scottish Green Finance Taskforce

David Pitt-Watson_

David is a leading thinker & practitioner in responsible investment, and serves as a Member of GEFI’s Global Steering Group and Chair of the Scottish Green Finance Taskforce. Born & brought up in Scotland, he was co-founder, and CEO of Hermes Focus Funds & Equity Ownership Service. These became the largest responsible investment group of any fund manager in the world.  Throughout his career he has been deeply involved in policy, particularly in the field of corporate governance and financial market regulation. He has led numerous initiatives to improve the performance of the financial system.

Consultant

Usman Hayat

Usman Hayat, CFA, FRM writes about sustainable, responsible, and impact investing and Islamic finance. Having worked for CFA Institute as a content director, he is the lead author of three significant publications for CFA Institute, “Environmental, Social, and Governance Issues in Investing: A Guide for Investment Professionals;” the literature review, “Islamic Finance: Ethics, Concepts, Practice;” and the research report “Sustainable, Responsible, and Impact Investing and Islamic Finance: Similarities and Differences.”

He is interested in online learning and has directed three e-courses for CFA Institute: “ESG-100,” “Islamic Finance Quiz,” and “Residual Income Equity Valuation.” The other topics he writes about are macroeconomics and behavioral finance. He has experience working in securities regulation and as an independent consultant. His qualifications include the CFA charter, the FRM designation, an MBA, and an MA in development economics. He has served as a content director at CFA Institute. He is a former executive director at the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) and former CEO of the Audit Oversight Board (Pakistan).

Events Manager

Christine Burt

Christine holds a BA (Honours) degree from Queen Margaret University in Events Management and joined the Global Ethical Finance Initiative as their Event Manager in March 2022. Christine previously worked for the oldest Royal Surgical College based in Edinburgh, leading their Surgical Examinations team to organise and deliver a wide portfolio of career-permissive examinations for trainees both in the UK and internationally.