Sustainable Finance Summit 2

Venue: Atrium, DIFC, Dubai
Date: Wednesday 7 June
Time: 9:00 until 11:15am GST
8:30-9:00am GST - registration, networking & breakfast
9:00-11:15am GST - Summit


GEFI in partnership with DIFC are hosting the Path to COP28 – Sustainable Finance Summit Series.

The second Summit in the series will take place in Dubai at DIFC on 7 June at 9:00 until 11:15am GST. The summit will cover:

  1. Financing the just transition
  2. Countdown to COP28 – Climate-aware investing
  3. How sustainable finance can help decarbonise the real economy
  4. Understanding how to finance nature

Confirmed Speakers and Biographies


Partner, PwC

Amal Larhlid

Professor in Practice for Sustainable Finance, London School of Economics

Nick Robins

Relationship Manager, UK, Principles for Responsible Investment

Yulia Bull

Group Head ESG, Emirates NBD

Vijay Bains

Head of Stewardship, Sustainability and Impact, Martin Currie

David Sheasby

Chief Risk Officer, Head of Research, Sedco Capital

Christian Gueckel

Secretary General, Global Alliance for a Sustainable Planet

Satya Tripathi

Chief Operating Officer, DIFC Authority

Alya Al Zarouni

Chief Strategy, Innovation and Ventures Officer, DIFC

Christian Kunz

Partner and Head of Investments and Retirement, IMEA, Mercer

Robert Ansari

Partner, Accuracy

David Chollet

Head of ESG & Climate Indexes, MSCI

Sebastien Lieblich

CFA, Head of Sustainable Fixed Income, Federated Hermes Limited

Mitch Reznick

Counsel - Corporate, Finance and Investment, King & Spalding

Asal Saghari

President, CISI UAE National Advisory Committee

Peter Smith

Partner, PwC

Amal Larhlid

Amal spent the last 25 years working with governments and International institutions to design and implement public policy. Over the last 10 years, she led this area for PwC UK. She also developed the ESG value proposition for tax, legal and people from scratch.

Amal’s clients include government departments across the world and a range of international development and finance institutions, including the European Commission, EuropeAid, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the World Bank, and the Islamic Development Bank. She also works with multinational companies as well as private businesses to navigate the regulatory and tax changes driven by ESG and net zero, andmake the most of green grants and funding.

Prior to joining PwC she worked at the OECD as a Senior Policy Advisor and led the dissemination of OECD best practice in different areas of public policy. Before that she spent ten years at the Moroccan Finance Ministry as the Chief Inspector in charge of monitoring public expenditures on education and social development.

Amal leads teams to deliver international projects on public policy, implementation support and capacity building in the areas of taxation, domestic resource mobilisation, public financial management, climate change and ESG, economic development and reducing the informal economy. Amal is also fluent in English, French and Arabic.

Education:

PhD studies in PFM -University Paris 1 Sorbonne-Pantheon, Paris (France)

Masters in European Policy, Public Administration and International Relations

Masters in Public Policy and Governance

Bachelor’s degree in Information Science

Professor in Practice for Sustainable Finance, London School of Economics

Nick Robins

Nick joined the Grantham Research Institute in February 2018 as Professor in Practice for Sustainable Finance. Nick leads the sustainable finance research theme. The focus of his work is on how to mobilise finance for climate action in ways that support a just transition, promoting the role of central banks and regulators in achieving sustainable development and investigating how the financial system can support the restoration of nature.

Nick is author of The Road to Net Zero Finance for the UK’s Climate Change Committee and co-founder of the Financing the Just Transition Alliance and is also a Commissioner on Scotland’s Just Transition Commission. He leads the finance platform for the Place-based Climate Action Network, and is co-chair of the International Network for  Sustainable Finance Policy Insights, Research and Exchange (INSPIRE).

From 2014 to 2018, Nick was co-director of UN Environment’s Inquiry into a Sustainable Finance System. As part of this, Nick established the Sustainable Insurance Forum of regulators and the Financial Centres for Sustainability network, as well as leading country activities in Brazil, the EU, India, Italy and the UK.

Before joining UNEP, he was Head of the Climate Change Centre of Excellence at HSBC. Prior to HSBC, Nick was head of Sustainable and Responsible Investment (SRI) funds at Henderson Global Investors. Nick has also worked at the International Institute for Environment and Development, the European Commission and the Business Council for Sustainable Development.

Nick is co-founder of Carbon Tracker and also co-founder of Planet Tracker. Nick has published widely and is the author of The Corporation that Changed the World: How the East India Company Shaped the Modern Multinational‘ (2005) and co-editor of Sustainable Investing: the Art of Long-Term Performance (2008). He is currently working on an ecological history of England and a book on finance, climate change and justice. He has a BA in History from Cambridge University and an MSc in International Relations from LSE.

Relationship Manager, UK, Principles for Responsible Investment

Yulia Bull

Yulia Bull is a Senior Responsible Investment Manager within the UK & Ireland RI Ecosystems team at the PRI and has been part of the team since July 2022. The team’s remit is to support signatories in progressing their practices, engage in regional policy debate and regulatory change, and build strong responsible investment ecosystems, by focusing on convening investors, policy makers and other stakeholders.

Yulia has 10+ years of experience working with institutional investors, consultancy firms and organisations engaged in ESG policy and standard setting. Yulia joined the PRI in 2010 and led PRI’s work in Canada between 2013 and 2016, in the Nordics between 2013 and 2020 before PRI appointed a local team, and undertook grass-roots work into the emerging Central & Eastern Europe and CIS regions between 2017 and 2021.

Yulia came to the PRI from Pensions Investment Research Consultants (PIRC) where she worked in a proxy voting team conducting analysis of companies’ corporate governance practices and consideration of social and environmental issues into their business strategies. Yulia worked for Deloitte in Moscow between 2005 and 2008 before pursuing her postgraduate degree in London, where she graduated from the Kingston University Business School in 2009 with an MA in Corporate Communications.

Group Head ESG, Emirates NBD

Vijay Bains

Vijay is the first-ever Chief Sustainability Officer (CSO), Group Head of ESG at Emirates NBD Bank, Head Office.

Prior to joining ENBD, Vijay was at KPMG in the UK where he has worked across Sustainability, advising client on Sustainable Finance, ESG Strategy, ESG Regulations. He has held roles across other leading organizations like Ernst and Young, Lloyds Banking Group and the European Bank of Reconstruction & Development.

Vijay has extensive experience building and implementing ESG strategies and teams. He has designed and marketed sustainability loans and green bonds, while advising on sustainability for IPOs, as well as designing and building ESG finance products such as mortgages, loans, and insurances

Vijay brings over 15+ years of sustainability experience to the role across the Middle East, UK, Europe, and North America. Vijay is responsible for the end-to-end ESG strategy including the introduction of more sustainable practices, policies, and outcomes across Emirates NBD Group.

He is not only responsible to increase the Bank’s sustainable finance offerings, investments, provide customers with greater advisory services to support their net-zero transition but also be responsible for the Corporate Governance requirements too. Vijay will significantly increase Emirates NBD Bank’s sustainability investments across the organization.

Head of Stewardship, Sustainability and Impact, Martin Currie

David Sheasby

David is Head of the Stewardship, Sustainability & Impact team at Martin Currie. He joined Martin Currie in 2004 as a portfolio manager in our global team. Since 2015 has been fully dedicated to his role as Head of Stewardship and Sustainability, overseeing the integration of ESG and active ownership into our process, working with our investment teams to ensure continued best practice and has ownership of our policies, strategy and execution in this key area. He is also co-chair of the Franklin Templeton Stewardship and Sustainability Council.

Prior to Martin Currie, David was a senior portfolio manager for Aegon Asset Management (formerly Scottish Equitable) for 16 years covering global equities, developing and directing Aegon’s global strategy. During his time with Aegon, David headed its global equity, emerging markets and European teams.

David has a Securities Institute Diploma and is a Fellow of the Securities Institute.

Chief Risk Officer, Head of Research, Sedco Capital

Christian Gueckel

Christian Gueckel is the Chief Risk Officer at SEDCO Capital and heads risk management and responsible investments. Christian is a member of SEDCO Capital’s Investment Committee, Management Committee, Risk and Compliance Committee and Cyclical Asset Allocation Committee. He joined SEDCO Capital as Head of Research in 2014. Prior to joining SEDCO Capital, Christian was head of the asset class hedge funds and portfolio manager for a single-family office in Zurich, Switzerland.

Christian has almost 20 years of professional experience in portfolio management, capital markets and risk management roles (Swiss family office, Man Group, HSBC Trinkaus & Burkhardt, Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein (now Commerzbank), Sparkasse). Christian holds a master degree from Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg, an MBA from Colorado State University and completed the CFA, FRM, CAIA, FDP and ERP degrees.

Secretary General, Global Alliance for a Sustainable Planet

Satya Tripathi

Satya S. Tripathi is Secretary-General of the Global Alliance for a Sustainable Planet. A development economist, lawyer and changemaker with over 40 years of varied experience, Mr. Tripathi is the Chancellor of Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences – the world’s largest academic institution dedicated exclusively to indigenous people and cultures. He is also a Senior Distinguished Fellow on Innovative Finance at the World Agroforestry Centre. He has served with the UN for more than two decades in key positions across the planet and was most recently the UN Assistant Secretary-General, Head of New York Office at UN Environment and Secretary of the UN Environment Management Group. His other strategic engagements with the UN include: Head of Human Rights Investigations for the UN in post-war Bosnia (UNMIBH); Chair of the Committees on Laws, Treaties and Administrative matters for the UN-mediated Cyprus unification talks in 2004; UN Recovery Coordinator for Aceh and Nias where he facilitated international cooperation and funding of over US$ 7 billion for post-tsunami recovery efforts in support of the government and affected populations; and Executive Head of UNORCID, a UN System Office established by the UN Secretary General in 2011 to facilitate the implementation of a US$ 1 Billion REDD+ partnership between Indonesia, Norway and other stakeholders. Mr. Tripathi was instrumental in establishing the Tropical Landscapes Finance Facility (TLFF) in Indonesia in 2016 and the Sustainable India Finance Facility (SIFF) in 2017 to leverage ‘private finance for public good’ at mega-scale to achieve transformative social and environmental impact for millions of people in developing countries. He previously served on the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Forests.

Chief Operating Officer, DIFC Authority

Alya Al Zarouni

As the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the DIFC Authority (DIFCA), Alya is responsible for setting the strategic direction of DIFCA’s operations and client experience. She brings more than 20 years of experience in developing and delivering technology-driven business services and solutions, providing outstanding client service, and driving internal efficiency through policy, process and digital transformation. Prior to her appointment as the COO, Alya assumed multiple roles across different functions in DIFCA and has led the transformation of DIFC services since 2010.
Alya was appointed as Board Member of the World Alliance of International Financial Centers (WAIFC) in 2023, an association registered in Belgium representing 19 leading international financial centres across four continents.
She has also been serving as a board member of Hawkamah: The Institute for Corporate Governance for over three years and led the DIFC Academy since its inception until 2022.
In terms of her education, Alya was at the top of her class and earned both her BSc in Computer Science and MBA from the American University of Sharjah. She has an LLM in International Business Law from the University of Paris II Pantheon Assas (Magna Cum Laude). She is a graduate of the prestigious Mohammed bin Rashid Center for Leadership Development, completing both the Young Leaders Programme and the Dubai Leaders Programme.

Chief Strategy, Innovation and Ventures Officer, DIFC

Christian Kunz

Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), the leading global financial center for the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region is a well-established platform for driving the future of finance and the development of regional economies.

With over 4000 companies, over 600 Fintech and Innovation firms, a community of over 31,000 employees and a market size of over USD 700 billion, DIFC is fully focused to drive the Future of Finance in line with its Strategy 2030 and vision.

In my capacity as Chief Strategy, Innovation and Ventures Officer of DIFC Authority, I am responsible to develop and continuously evolve the strategic agenda and initiatives of DIFC in line with the UAE’s commitment to innovation and development of future economies.

As part of this vision, I will be further developing DIFC’s core and future of finance proposition and leading a number of initiatives to move the innovation agenda towards a broader conversation about the future of finance.

My previous experience lies at the intersection of Financial Services, Technology and Innovation. I have been leading the Fintech and New (Digital) Business Building practice for McKinsey & Company in the Middle East.

Besides developing future of finance strategies, I have built-up several digital Fintech ventures following a venture building model applying Agile, Design Thinking and Lean Start-up principles. I have also led several digital and analytics transformations of large banks and insurance businesses across the Middle East and Europe.

I am here to shape the future of finance in the region to unleash the positive potential of it on individuals, businesses and the economy

Partner and Head of Investments and Retirement, IMEA, Mercer

Robert Ansari

Robert Ansari is a Partner and the Head of Investments and Retirement, IMEA. He is responsible for setting and driving Mercer’s strategy and initiatives, specifically the delivery of retirement services, investment consulting and investment solutions throughout the region.

Prior to joining Mercer, Robert was the Head of MSCI (formerly Morgan Stanley Capital International) for the Middle East, responsible for all aspects of coverage and business strategy for the MSCI business.

Robert is a regular speaker at global conferences, industry events and round tables. He has published several articles and undertaken live TV broadcasts on topics related to regional capital markets and market classification.

Robert received his undergraduate degree in Medical Biochemistry from Brunel University in London and his postgraduate degree in Molecular Genetics from Cambridge University.

Partner, Accuracy

David Chollet

David Chollet has 17 years experience in financial management, risk management, securitization and asset valuation. David Chollet started his career at BNP Paribas in the planning department in charge of financial engineering.

After 5 years within the BNP Paribas group, he entered Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank to manage Risk quantitative team.

He subsequently entered the Securitisation Front Office team and participated in numerous Pan-European operations of ABS, CLO, CDO and Covered Bond. In particular, he structured different structured credit transactions issued on the market including infrastructure transaction, PPP and asset financing.

Head of ESG & Climate Indexes, MSCI

Sebastien Lieblich

Sebastien Lieblich is a Managing Director and Head of Indexed  Licensing and ESG & Climate Indexes within MSCI. He also serves as the Head of Index Products in the EMEA region. As Head of Index Licensing, Mr. Lieblich is in charge of MSCI’s global index licensing/asset-based fee (ABF) business across different indexed wrappers such as Exchange Traded Funds,

Segregated Mandates, Futures & Options, etc. In particular, his responsibilities include the continuous monitoring and

understanding of the evolving global ABF eco system, the definition and execution of MSCI’s ABF product roadmap and commercial strategy as well as engaging with strategic MSCI clients globally to foster and nurture commercial relationship.

More recently, Mr. Lieblich took on the role of Head of ESG & Climate Indexes globally. As part of his expanded role, he also focuses on further expanding MSCI’s footprint across ESG and Climate indexing by defining and executing agile commercial strategies as well as innovative product development roadmaps while accounting for regional and investor segment specificities.

Finally, Mr. Lieblich is also the Head of Index Products in EMEA in charge of further developing the MSCI Index franchise across the region.

Mr. Lieblich joined MSCI in 2001 in Geneva. Prior to joining the Index Products team in 2021, he held different roles within the Index Research organization that have focused on index rebalancing, market analysis, index creation and methodology development. Most recently, he led the global Index Solutions team and served as chairman of the MSCI Equity Index Committee and secretary of the MSCI Index Policy Committee.

Mr. Lieblich earned a MSc in Economics from the University of Lausanne in Switzerland and he is a CFA Charter holder.

CFA, Head of Sustainable Fixed Income, Federated Hermes Limited

Mitch Reznick

Mitch joined in February 2010 as Head of Research on the Credit team before becoming Co-Head of Credit from 2012 to 2019. In 2019, in addition to his role of Head of Research, he became Head of Sustainable Fixed Income and co-manager of the Federated Hermes SDG Engagement High Yield Credit Fund. Prior to this he was Co-Head of Credit Research for the global credit team at Fortis Investments. Other roles at Fortis include portfolio manager of European high yield funds, based in London, and senior credit analyst, based in Paris. Before this he worked as an associate analyst in the leveraged finance group at Moody’s Investors Service in New York.

Mitch is currently working toward a Master’s degree in Sustainable Leadership at Cambridge University.  He previously earned a Master’s degree in International Affairs at Columbia University in New York City and a Bachelor’s degree in History at Pitzer College, one of the Claremont Colleges in California. He is a CFA charterholder and the founder and Co-Chair of the Federated Hermes Sustainability Investment Centre.  Among his current and former advocacy roles are: founding board member of the European Leveraged Finance Association (ELFA); Co-Chair of the Credit Risk and Ratings Advisory Committee at the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI); workstream member CFO Coalition for the SDGs of the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC); (former) member the Target Setting workstream at the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change; (former) member and co-chair of the Capital Markets Advisory Committee of the IFRS Foundation; (former) member of the Sovereign Working Group (PRI); (former) workstream member of the UK-China Green Finance Task Force; and (former) Green Finance Advisory of the City of London.

Counsel - Corporate, Finance and Investment, King & Spalding

Asal Saghari

Asal is an English-qualified banking and investment finance counsel based in our Dubai office. With over 15 years’ experience leading on advanced international financing transactions, Asal represents clients on complex conventional and Shari’ah-compliant financings.

Asal acts for borrowers and lenders on a wide range of cross-border banking and finance transactions, with a focus on cross-border investments, having previously practiced in London and Frankfurt. She specialises in European outbound Islamic finance transactions, advising on critical client investments in corporate and real estate assets across the UAE, Saudi Arabia and the wider EMEA region. Her portfolio includes corporate financings, traditional and alternative Shari’ah-compliant financings and debt restructurings.

Asal is ranked by The Legal 500 EMEA as a “key lawyer” in Islamic finance and is part of the King & Spalding practice that repeatedly receives respected market accolades. Recent examples include the 2022 IFN Awards Insolvency and Restructuring Firm of the Year, the Real Estate Team of the Year Award at the Middle East Legal Awards 2022, Project Finance International’s 2020 Middle East & Africa Solar Deal of the Year, and the IFN Commodity Deal of the Year 2022.

Asal is a prominent thought leader, speaking at industry events and contributing thought leadership pieces on critical legal issues as well as diversity and inclusion in the profession. She has been a member of various King & Spalding global task forces on issues such as Covid-19, Libor and ESG.

Prior to joining King & Spalding, Asal practiced as a lawyer in the London office of a “Magic Circle” law firm.

President, CISI UAE National Advisory Committee

Peter Smith

Peter is President of the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment’s UAE National Advisory Committee, and a member of the Emirates Securities and Commodities Authority’s Capital Markets Advisory Council. Internationally, Peter is a member of the International Association of Insurance Supervisors’ Policy Development Committee. He represents the DFSA as a member of the steering body of the Global Financial Innovation Network (GFIN), which brings together like-minded regulators to work on innovation in financial services.

Highlights from our first summit

28th February 2023


Relive the first in our Sustainable Finance Summit Series. The event was a magnificent success with over 500 registrants committed to the role of finance in the delivery of  UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

The first instalment covered what COP28 means for finance, delivering net zero and unlocking Islamic finance. The event also included partner insights and the launch of the  Global Islamic Finance Retail Banking Survey report.