Speakers

Robert Scharfe

CEO of the Luxembourg Stock Exchange

Robert Scharfe is the CEO of the Luxembourg Stock Exchange since 2012 and he is a member of the Board of directors of the Federation of European Securities Exchanges as well as the Chairman of the Nomination Committee of the World Federation of Exchanges.

He’s a recognized expert in Capital Markets matters and a specialist in Green finance.

Before joining the Luxembourg Stock Exchange, he spent 35 years in the Banking industry, mostly in Corporate Finance and Financial Markets. Between 2000 and 2012 he was a Member of the Management Board of BGL BNP Paribas in Luxembourg. During that time he also assumed senior responsibilities within Fortis Bank in the areas of Institutional Banking and Global Markets.

During his banking career, he acquired extensive knowledge in International Capital Markets and gained solid experience in Asset Management and Investment Funds.

He holds a Master’s Degree in Economics from the University of Nancy and he is an alumnus of Insead and Stanford Graduate School of Business, Palo Alto.

Pierre Gramegna

Minister of Finance, Luxembourg Government 

Pierre Gramegna was born on 22 April 1958 in Esch-sur-Alzette. 

Pierre Gramegna had first joined the government as Minister of Finance on 4 December 2013, after the legislative elec- tions of 20 October 2013. 

As Minister of Finance, Pierre Gramegna has initiated major reforms to balance the budget and to align Luxembourg’s tax rules with international transparency standards. Thanks to these efforts, Luxembourg’s AAA rating has been consis- tently confirmed by all major rating agencies and, in 2015, the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes upgraded Luxembourg to “largely compliant”. Furthermore, in 2014, Pierre Gramegna established Luxembourg’s sovereign fund for the benefit of future generations. 

Following the legislative elections of 14 October 2018, Pierre Gramegna was re-appointed Minister of Finance on 5 December 2018 in the coalition government formed by the Democratic Party (DP), the Luxembourg Socialist Workers’ Party (LSAP) and the Green Party (déi gréng). 

Pierre Gramegna is also a promoter of the diversification of Luxembourg’s financial centre, in particular with regard to FinTech and sustainable finance. He is the initiator and presi- dent of the LHoFT Foundation, which runs the Luxembourg House of Financial Technology. He has also further developed bilateral relations with China in the financial sector and since he took office, four additional Chinese banks have chosen Luxembourg as their EU hub. 

Regarding his education, following his secondary school studies in Esch-sur-Alzette (classical mathematics section) Pierre Gramegna pursued studies in law and economics at the Université Panthéon- Assas (Paris II), where he was awarded a master’s degree in civil law in 1981 and a degree in economic sciences in 1982. He completed his post-university education with a DEA (post- graduate diploma of advanced studies) in European Union law. He was awarded the title of doctor honoris causa from the Sacred Heart University of Luxembourg. 

H.E. DR Bandar Hajjar

President, IsDB

Dr. Bandar M.H. Hajjar has been President of the Islamic Development Bank since 2016. As development enters a new era, Dr. Hajjar is reimagining the traditional role of a development bank. Through his strategic programme, the IsDB is empowering people for a sustainable future by building global partnerships and driving innovation through a value chain approach to development. Prior to this appointment, he served as Minister of Hajj between 2011- 2016, where he introduced 25 initiatives to develop and enhance the services provided to the Hajj and Umrah performers. 

Doctor Bandar Hajjar was awarded a bachelor's degree with First-Class Honours in Economics and Political Sciences from King Saud University, Riyadh, and a master's degree in Economics from Indiana University, USA. In 1982, he returned to Saudi Arabia, where he worked as a lecturer for four years. In 1986, he attended Loughborough University in the United Kingdom on a scholarship, where he received a Ph.D. in Economics.

Dr. Hajjar is also a Chairman at the Coordinating Council for Monitoring Municipal Elections Dr. Hajjar formed a coordinating council of seven NGOs under the umbrella of the National Society for Human Rights to monitor the first municipal elections held in Saudi Arabia in 2005. The Council deployed approximately 1,500 volunteer citizens to all cities in the Kingdom and issued daily statements in both Arabic and English explaining the election instructions, regulations, and outcomes.

Dr. Hajjar was appointed Acting Minister of Culture and Information in addition to his responsibilities as Minister of Hajj for approximately one month and a half until a new minister of culture and information was in place.

Dr. Hajjar has served as a member of several national and international bodies, including the Board of Trustees of Takaful Charity Organization, which sponsors orphans and needy students, the World Council for Supporting the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), the Disabled Children Association, and the World Islamic Council for Economy and Finance.

Farnam Bidgoli

Head of Sustainable Bonds at HSBC

Farnam Bidgoli is the Head of Sustainable Bonds at HSBC, where she works on providing tailored green, sustainable bonds structuring advice. Her focus is on sustainability, ESG and businesses. Farnam has previously worked as a manager at Sustainalytics, an investment research firm that specialises in environmental, social and governance (ESG).

Following that, she has worked as a senior adviser at Oxford Microfinance Initiative, where she advised on the ACBA Credit Agricole on expansion strategy for its services for female entrepreneurs. She attended the University of Toronto and received a bachelor’s degree in international relations, peace and conflict studies. She also holds an M.B.A from the University of Oxford.

Alex Roussos

Partner at Dentons

Alex joined Dentons as a capital markets partner in October 2013 having previously worked at Norton Rose in Dubai and Clifford Chance in London and Dubai. He is an expert in debt, hybrid and equity-linked capital markets transactions (both conventional and Islamic).

Alex's broad experience has seen him advising governments and government-related entities, all major investment banking clients and large corporate entities across the Middle East on matters including Medium Term Note, convertible bond, hybrid capital and Sukuk issuances and structured finance deals, as well as listings on local and international stock exchanges. Alex is also a leading practitioner in the field of regulatory capital and has acted on some of the most high profile deals in this space in the GCC.

Ummahani Amin

Managing Partner at the Metropolitan Law Firm

Ummahani Amin is the Managing Partner at the Metropolitan Law Firm. Prior to founding the Metropolitan Law Firm, she was the General Counsel to Northbridge Investment and Trust.

Ms Amin’s areas of interest are Intellectual Property Law, Trusts, Capital Market Law, Communication Laws, Environmental Law, Oil and Gas Law, Islamic personal Law and Islamic Financial Laws. She is also qualified as a PPP Expert from the Institute of Public Private Partnership (IP3) Washington.

Ms Amin has significant experience in legal transactions in the areas of Corporate Finance, Privatization, Private Placements and Bonds. She has represented clients in commercial litigation, private wealth management especially in the area of Islamic personal Law.

Ashraf Ammar

Director at PwC Luxembourg

Ashraf Ammar is the director of PwC Luxembourg where he focuses on ethical investment, Islamic finance as well as asset screening when it comes to Environment to Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG). Ashraf is also a founding and board member of the Islamic Finance Professional Association (IFPA). Before this Ashraf worked in Deloitte with a special focus on Cross-Border Tax.

He attended Ain Shams University where he acquired a Bachelor of Commerce and Accounting. He also holds a Masters in Financial Controller and Financial Management from the American Academy for Financial Management.  

Nida Khan

Doctoral Researcher

Nida Khan is the developer of two pioneering technological tools for the Islamic finance industry. She is credited with the development of a new blockchain consensus mechanism, FAST, for high performance blockchains. Her other achievements include developing a decentralized app for crowdfunding of projects by donation in Ethereum, programming a chaincode in Hyperledger for the same, discovery of an anomaly and proposition of a novel mechanism for throughput enhancement in Ethereum. She has also developed a dashboard providing real time values of data changes in smart contract functions and has worked on developing a basic management plane for data-filtering and monitoring of Ethereum smart contracts.

She has dealt with blockchain-based micro-payments and is contributing as a team member of Masdin, an associate team between the University of Luxembourg and Inria, France for management of software-defined infrastructure. Nida joined the Services and Data Management in Distributed Systems group, SEDAN, headed by Dr. Habil Radu State. She is working on the financial applications of blockchain and data analytics under the supervision of Dr. Habil Radu State.

Ron Akram

Head of Advisory Board of Wethaq

Ron Akram is the head of the advisory board of Wethaq, a platform where technologists, lawyers and financial analysts have come together to offer automation and standardisation solutions in Sukuk capital markets. Ron is also the principal of Wharf Capital, where he is an expert in tactical and strategic mandates worldwide. He specialises in Capital Markets, and his past companies include, CitiGroup Global Markets, Credit Suisse and Simmons & Simmons.

Ron has experience in teaching from his time as visiting professor at London Business School. He studied English Law at King’s College London and then went on to study French Law at Université Panthéon Sorbonne in Paris. He also holds a Masters in Finance and Finance Engineering from London Business School.

Zamir Iqbal

Vice President, Finance and CFO, IsDB

Zamir Iqbal is Vice President, Finance, and Chief Financial Officer at the Islamic Development Bank. Previously, he headed World Bank’s Global Islamic Finance Development Center in Istanbul, with earlier assignments in the World Bank Treasury and the Finance and Markets Global Practice. His experience spans the capital markets, asset management and risk management. Islamic finance has been his research focus, and he has co-authored articles and books on Islamic finance on the topics of banking risk, financial inclusion, economic development, financial stability and risk-sharing. He played a central role in the World Bank’s and IsDB’s first global reporting on Islamic finance.

He earned his Ph.D. in international finance from the George Washington University and served as professional faculty at the Carey Business School of Johns Hopkins University.

Sachin Vankalas

General Manager of LuxFlag

Sachin Vankalas is the General Manager of LuxFlag.

Prior to his appointment as a General Manager, Sachin has been leading the operations and sustainability processes at LuxFLAG since 2011, acquiring deep knowledge and expertise in the sustainable investment market. 

Prior to joining LuxFLAG, Sachin worked as an Investment Officer for a Swiss Asset Management firm in Zurich and before as a Rating Analyst in an International Rating Agency. During this time, his professional assignments included institutional assessments, ratings of financial institutions, due diligence missions, portfolio audits and investment projects of about 75 financial institutions across continents.

Sachin attended Harvard University & NYU Stern competing executive programs in Finance and Sustainability and holds a MS in Banking and Finance from the Luxembourg School of Finance. He is a member of the ALFI and ABBL Technical Committees and Working Groups on Responsible Investing and sits on the Boards of multiple organizations active in Sustainable Finance viz. International Climate Finance Accelerator (ICFA), Inclusive Finance Network (InFiNe), and European Microfinance Platform (e-MFP).