Sustainable Finance Summit

Dubai, UAE, DIFC, Atrium; Tuesday 28th February 2023
8:30-9:00am GST - Registration, networking and breakfast
9:00-11:15am GST - Summit


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

The first in the series will take place in Dubai at DIFC on 28 February at 9:00 until 11:15am GST. The summit will cover:

  1. what COP28 means for finance
  2. delivering net zero
  3. unlocking Islamic finance

Confirmed Speakers and Biographies


Head of Sustainability & Information Governance, Zurich Insurance

Nadia Boumeziout

Provost and Vice Principal, Heriot-Watt University Dubai

Dame Heather McGregor

Director & Co-founder, Global Ethical Finance Initiative

Omar Shaikh

Head of Islamic Finance, London Stock Exchange Group

Mustafa Adil

Head of Wholesale Banking, UAE, ING

Sebastian Frederiks

Head of Climate Economics and Data, NatWest Group

Dr Maria Carvalho

CEO, Gatehouse Bank

Charles Haresnape

CIO, Franklin Templeton Global Sukuk MENA Fixed Income

Dino Kronfol

Chief Executive, Chartered Banker Institute

Simon Thompson

Advisory Board Member, UKIFC

Sultan Choudhury

Chief operating officer and Strategic Initiatives

Chris Tait

Chief Risk Officer, Head of Research, Sedco Capital

Christian Gueckel

Head of Sustainability & Information Governance, Zurich Insurance

Nadia Boumeziout

Nadia is a globally minded and multilingual change agent, working extensively in sustainability, ESG, governance, and strategic communications. Her core strength centers on analysing problems and find solutions for success while monitoring performance metrics and making sure key performance indicators are achieved. She also has a strong background in stakeholder engagement to help grow our business. She is a Member of the Dubai Sustainable Finance Working Group at DIFC.

Provost and Vice Principal, Heriot-Watt University Dubai

Dame Heather McGregor

Professor Dame Heather J. McGregor is the Provost and Vice Principal of Heriot-Watt University Dubai. Professor McGregor was previously the Executive Dean of the Edinburgh Business School, having held the post since 2016. Her earlier career was in investment banking, and she has spent 17 years as an entrepreneur leading her own executive search firm prior to her move into higher education.

Professor Dame McGregor is an experienced writer and broadcaster, including writing for the Financial Times for 17 years. She was the founder of the Taylor Bennett Foundation, which works to promote diversity in the communications industry, and a founding member of the steering committee of the 30% Club, which works to raise the representation of women at senior levels within publicly listed companies.

Professor Heather McGregor, CBE, Provost and Vice-Principal Heriot-Watt Dubai campus has been made a Dame of the British Empire in the New Year’s Honours.

The Honour has been bestowed onto Professor McGregor for services to education and business and heritage in Scotland. She is among the first to be recognised with the title Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) by King Charles III.

Director & Co-founder, Global Ethical Finance Initiative

Omar Shaikh

Omar is the Managing Director of the Global Ethical Finance Initiative (GEFI). A Chartered Accountant by profession, he specialises in ethical finance, Islamic finance and private equity. He has extensive experience in financial services, has advised multiple governments on their capital markets, banking, pension and insurance regulation and is a regular speaker at ethical finance conference and events. Omar’s background includes working with EY where he was a Subject Matter Expert for Islamic finance.

Through his work at developmental body UKIFC, 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. Since 2018, GEFI has convened and connected stakeholders from across finance, government, business and the third sector to promote finance for positive change. As well as further building the Ethical Finance Round Table series, GEFI has established a number of events and campaigns, including the Ethical Finance Summit (a major conference), the Finance for Nature Series with UNEP and UNDP, the interfaith Edinburgh Finance Declaration, the unique Radical Old Idea platform and the Path to COP26 campaign, bringing together stakeholders to advance climate finance ahead of the crucial 2021 Glasgow summit.

Head of Islamic Finance, London Stock Exchange Group

Mustafa Adil

Mr. Mustafa Adil is the Head of Islamic Finance, Data & Analytics, for the London Stock Exchange Group. He is responsible for leading the Islamic finance and Islamic markets business for the organisation, providing knowledge solutions and bespoke services to support the continued growth and increasing depth of the Islamic finance industry. He works in collaboration with government entities, multilateral organisations and leading financial institutions to support them in fulfilling their aspirations and executing their strategies in the Islamic markets space. These include the delivery of content solutions, research, consulting services and market engagement. He also spearheads the development of new initiatives or services that meet the increasingly sophisticated needs of the industry across markets. Prior to the acquisition by London Stock Exchange Group, Mustafa was the Head of Islamic Finance for Refinitiv and for Thomson Reuters. Mustafa has also served as a leading consultant in the Islamic Financial Services team at Ernst & Young, providing advisory services to some of the leading Islamic financial institutions in the GCC and globally. He is a qualified Chartered Accountant from the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England & Wales and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from Imperial College in London.

Head of Wholesale Banking, UAE, ING

Sebastian Frederiks

Sebastian Frederiks is the Head of Wholesale Banking Middle East for ING. Sebastian has nearly 20 years’ experience in financial institutions, 14 years of which have been spent in the Middle East. He joined ING in 2018 to lead its Financial Institutions business in the Middle East. Before that, he worked at Standard Chartered Bank, First Abu Dhabi Bank and Al Hilal Bank.

Head of Climate Economics and Data, NatWest Group

Dr Maria Carvalho

Maria works in the Climate Strategy team of NatWest Group to develop financial solutions to help our clients get to net zero. She has over 13 years of experience researching and advising governments, international institutions, and the private sector in addressing climate challenges amid rapid technological and societal change. She has worked previously for New Energy Finance (in the carbon markets team), and Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics and Political Science, where she also got her Master’s and PhD in environmental policy and regulation.

CEO, Gatehouse Bank

Charles Haresnape

Charles became Chief Executive Officer of Gatehouse Bank in May 2017.

He has developed the Bank’s strategy to extend its offering, developing award-winning propositions to support homebuyers, landlords and savers. This complements Gatehouse’s established expertise in the UK Build to Rent sector and Commercial Real Estate Finance.

In 2019, Charles received a Special Award (Leadership Role) at the Global Islamic Finance Awards. The award recognised Charles’ support for initiatives which raise the profile of ethical, Shariah-complaint banking in the UK and Gatehouse Bank’s growing presence in the UK banking market.

Prior to joining Gatehouse, Charles was Group Managing Director at Aldermore Bank from January 2011, where he was responsible for residential and commercial mortgages, as well as property development finance.  Before joining Aldermore, Charles was with Connells, one of the UK’s largest estate agency groups, where he was Group Mortgage Services Director.

Earlier in his career, Charles was responsible for intermediary mortgage lending at both NatWest and RBS, plus the branch mortgage sales force within NatWest.  He has also held roles at a number of other household names in the UK banking and building society sectors, including Nationwide where he was a senior executive, responsible for mortgage sales and portfolio acquisitions.

CIO, Franklin Templeton Global Sukuk MENA Fixed Income

Dino Kronfol

Dino Kronfol is the chief investment officer for Franklin Templeton Fixed Income in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Mr. Kronfol is responsible for managing the investment process, research, and performance of the Global Sukuk and MENA Fixed Income teams, and leads portfolio management for FTSF Global Sukuk Fund and FTIF GCC Bond Fund.

Mr. Kronfol has over 24 years of experience in the financial services industry. He is one of the founding partners, a board member of Franklin Templeton (ME), formerly Algebra Capital, and a ESG ambassador for the firm.

Prior to his current role, Mr. Kronfol was the head of debt, capital markets, and fund manager for SHUAA Capital. He also was previously with Middle East Capital Group (MECG). Mr. Kronfol joined Franklin Templeton in 2006 as managing director and head of fixed income.

Mr. Kronfol holds a bachelor of arts in business administration and an MBA from the American University of Beirut. He won the first Failaka Islamic Award for “The Best Sukuk Fund” in 2010, the first Employee Provident Fund of Malaysia (EPF) Award for “Best Global Sukuk Portfolio Manager” in 2014 and 2019, and the MENA Fund Manager Award for “Outstanding Achievement by an Individual” in 2016. Franklin GCC Bond fund won the Mountain View Fund Award 2019 in the Bond Funds Global category.

Chief Executive, Chartered Banker Institute

Simon Thompson

Simon Thompson was appointed as Chief Executive of the Chartered Banker Institute, the oldest institute of bankers in the world, in 2007. Simon was recently appointed as the first Chair of the Global Banking Education Standards Committee, and is a former Vice-President of the European Bank Training Network.  He is the editor of Green Finance: Principles and Practice – the world’s first practitioner guide to green finance.

Advisory Board Member, UKIFC

Sultan Choudhury

Sultan Choudhury has 26 years of experience in professional and financial services (Deloitte, Charles Schwab and Barclays, Al Rayan Bank). Sultan played an instrumental role as part of the founding management team that obtained Western Europe’s first authorised Islamic banking licence. He was the CEO of Al Rayan Bank for 8 years driving a technology and distribution led turnaround of a loss-making business to profitability and scaling up to achieve exponential growth through a real estate financing strategy building the balance sheet to £2bn.

Sultan is a Chartered Accountant (FCA). He holds a BA (Hons) in Economics & Econometrics from the University of Nottingham and an MBA with distinction and Hon D.Sc. from Aston University. He is also a Chartered Member of the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment and a Board advisor to the UK Islamic Finance Council.

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.

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.