Meet our seasoned team of professionals with a passion for ethical finance and who have been active in the sector over the last 20 years.

Our Global Steering Group brings together experienced practitioners with deep knowledge in their areas of expertise, such as banking and law. With their combined knowledge, they represent and lead GEFI and its values on a global stage.

Led by the Global Steering Group, our strong operational team supports their vision with contextual and current knowledge and brings it to life on a daily basis.

 

Global Steering Group


Dame Susan Rice

Susan is the Chair of the GEFI Global Steering Group.

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. At GEFI, Susan oversees the activities as Chair of the Global Steering Group.

David Pitt-Watson

David Pitt-Watson

David is the Chair of the Scottish Taskforce for Green and Sustainable Financial Services

David is a leading thinker and practitioner in responsible investment, and serves as a Member of GEFI’s Global Steering Group and Chair of the Scottish Green Finance Taskforce. Born and 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. At GEFI, David is the Chair of the Scottish Taskforce for Green and Sustainable Financial Services, for which GEFI is the secretariat.

Thom Kenrick

Thom is the Principal Advisor for the Ethical Finance Global Summit.

Thom Kenrick is Head of Social Strategy and Impact at NatWest Group. Part of the Sustainable Banking function, Thom’s team lead and coordinate the bank’s approach to social issues and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Focus areas include financial capability, human rights & modern slavery, vulnerable customers, and ‘controversial’ sectors.  The team also lead and deliver the bank’s flagship MoneySense financial education programme.

Thom is the Chair of NatWest Social & Community Capital, a bank-supported social finance charity which lends money to community businesses and social enterprises. He is also a Trustee of the Coutts Foundation and a Fellow of the RSA. He holds a First Class Master’s degree in Chemical Engineering & European Studies from the University of Edinburgh. At GEFI, with NatWest Group being the host Thom has been guiding the Ethical Finance Global Summit since 2017.

Lord John Alderdice FRCPsych

Lord Alderdice FRCPsych advocates for GEFI’s Edinburgh Finance Declaration.

Lord Alderdice’s professional background is as a clinical and academic physician and psychiatrist. He was a consultant psychiatrist in psychotherapy in Belfast and senior lecturer in psychotherapy at The Queen’s University of Belfast (UK) from 1998 to 2010. He has also been a Visiting Professor, at the Department of Psychiatry and Co-Chairman of the Critical Incidents Analysis Group, at the University of Virginia (USA), and for some years until recently a Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry of the School of Medicine at the University of Maryland in Baltimore (USA). Lord Alderdice’s main focus now is as Director of the Centre for the Resolution of Intractable Conflict (CRIC) established in Harris Manchester College at the University of Oxford where he concentrates, with colleagues in the Department of Politics and International Relations and the School of Anthropology, on analysing, understanding and engaging with the problems of religious fundamentalism, political radicalization and violent community conflict, including the intractable difficulties between First Nation populations and incoming people. At GEFI, John has a critical role in promoting ethical finance and pioneering an Interfaith shared values framework, the world’s first shared values framework towards finance.

Further members

Amy Clarke

Chief Impact Officer for Tribe Impact Capital

Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar

Chairman, Lembaga Tabung Haji Malaysia

Jamison Ervin

Nature for Development, UNDP

Simon Thompson

Chief Executive, Chartered Banker Institute

Dr Hayat Sindi

Founder & CEO of the Institute for Quality

Tariq Shaikh

President RJ Fleming ME

Judith Cruickshank

Regional Managing Director, Scotland & North of England at Royal Bank of Scotland and NatWest

Institutional partners

Operational Team


Managing Director & Co-founder, SDG platform

Omar Shaikh

Co-founder and Senior Advisor, Host of Ethical Finance Roundtable

Graham Burnside

Events

Christine Burt

Chief operating officer and Strategic Initiatives

Chris Tait

SDG Platform and Research

Natalie Jackson

Analyst

Sam Wheldon-Bayes

Research & advisory

Usman Hayat

Senior Advisor

Allan Watt

Chief Digital Officer

Alasdair Currie

Executive support

Kaitlin Letter

Digital Content Creator

Dr Elisabeth Loose

Consultant

Gail Hurley

Consultant

Jon “JB” Beckett

Managing Director & Co-founder, SDG platform

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.

Co-founder and Senior Advisor, Host of Ethical Finance Roundtable

Graham Burnside

Graham is Co-founder and senior advisor of the Global Ethical Finance Initiative. He is host of the Ethical Finance Round Table.

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.

Events

Christine Burt

Christine is GEFI’s events manager.

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.

Chief operating officer and Strategic Initiatives

Chris Tait

Chris is the Chief Operating Officer of GEFI and leads on strategic initiatives.

Chris is an experienced Chartered Institute of Marketing 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.

SDG Platform and Research

Natalie Jackson

Natalie is Executive Manager at GEFI and oversees the SDG Platform and Research.

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.

Analyst

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.

Research & advisory

Usman Hayat

Usman leads on research projects and has an advisory capacity within GEFI.

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).

Senior Advisor

Allan Watt

Allan 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.

Chief Digital Officer

Alasdair Currie

Alasdair leads on GEFI’s digital presentation and output.

Alasdair Currie is the Agency and Creative Lead at MultipliedBy. With 15 years experience across brand, print, web and AV design, his practice is constantly evolving to meet the needs of clients and the community he serves. With a background in marketing, entrepreneurship and innovation, Alasdair seeks to inject intelligence and values in to the creative and communications process. The result is an agency known for well-considered design that makes a difference to the client. His company recently rebranded as Multiplied By to help articulate the exponential impact of providing creativity, intelligence and values-based communication. Alasdair’s creative extends beyond the studio and enjoys creating film, art and audio, including an ongoing two year project to publish a multi-platform music documentary.

Executive support

Kaitlin Letter

Kaitlin has recently joined GEFI with a background in law and human rights. Kaitlin previously worked as a Legal Aid managing her own case-load of humanitarian immigration law cases. With her knowledge of the Spanish language, she provided on-going document and in-person Spanish/English translation services, this is a skill that she has previously used to contribute freelance translation work.

Kaitlin also worked for the Human Rights Council at the Secretariat of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva. At the Human Rights Council, Kaitlin created a database to input and sort data on amendments tabled since the establishment of the Human Rights Council to analyse trends in Council resolutions. She supported Human Rights Officers in the Human Rights Council resolution tabling, editing, and voting procedures for the thirty-eighth session of the Council. Additionally, Kaitlin engaged in media monitoring, transcribed press conferences, updated factsheets, and other outreach materials. Most notably, Kaitlin helped launch and maintained the Human Rights Council Instagram page while drafting posts for the Council’s other social media platforms.

Digital Content Creator

Dr Elisabeth Loose

Dr Elisabeth Loose started her career in journalism, writing various award-winning journalistic features on social issues, such as drug use and online right-wing extremism. Her experience has broadened into digital engagement work, working with a range of charitable initiatives while studying for her PhD at the University of Glasgow.  Her proudest achievement is leading a social media campaign for a mental health charity for young people that was awarded £50,000. All this combined makes Elli well-rounded and versatile in discussions and getting messages across, no matter which medium. Elli has supported many MultipliedBy clients, including The University of Glasgow, The Global Ethical Finance Initiative, Supported, The Community Eating Disorder Charity and Giraffe Perth.

Consultant

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.

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 a campaigner for sustainability, technology and better investment governance.