Global Ethical Finance Forum 2017: What we learnt

Sami Hamdi Uncategorized

 

2nd Global Ethical Finance Forum captures critical insights from 300+ ethical finance leaders who converged with the aim of mainstreaming ethical finance

Under the patronage of the Scottish Government and supported by the UK Government, the 2nd edition of GEFF witnessed critical insights from industry leaders, high-impact networking opportunities and supreme thought leadership unfold across two-power packed days.

Edinburgh, Scotland – 14 September 2017: Building on the proceedings of Day 1 that witnessed over 300 key leaders converge with the aim of fostering industry-wide collaboration and mainstreaming ethical finance, the second and final day of the 2nd Global Ethical Finance Forum convened by Middle East Global Advisors in strategic partnership with the Islamic Finance Council UK (UKIFC) witnessed further insights critical for the industry going forward. The Forum was held under the patronage of the Scottish Government, supported by the UK Government and hosted by the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) at its Headquarters in Edinburgh. 

Building upon the legacy of the inaugural Forum held in September 2015, the theme for GEFF 2017 – “Ethical Finance: Merging Profit & Purpose”, is in line with the Forum’s aspiration to serve as a platform of convergence and collaboration across the responsible finance universe, and to forge a vision for a more inclusive and sustainable financial system.

In an exemplary opening keynote address and what was possibly a fitting case study, Jameel Ahmad, Deputy Governor, State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), took the audience on Pakistan’s journey to embracing financial inclusion, wherein he spoke about responsible finance and its pre-requisites and cited some informative statistics highlighting Pakistan’s global recognition in embracing financial inclusion. He further expanded on State Bank of Pakistan’s impressive strategic approach towards responsible finance, in particular strengthening the framework for microfinance consumer protection and the national financial literacy programme being rolled out. He also took into account the obstacles that may pose a hindrance in achieving the goal of effective financial inclusion.

In a scintillating Plenary session that focused on the importance of putting sustainability at the heart of banking practices, Ugo Biggeri, Chair of the Board of Directors, Banca Etica, said, “It is the need of the hour to bring back meaningfulness and reputation to the financial sector. Ethical finance is also about possessing social and environmental goals, ways to measure them, a sound disclosure policy and investment criteria. Through this way, we can certainly narrow the wide gap that presently exists between finance and the real economy and ultimately bring finance closer to people and the planet.”

Expressing his views during the informative panel session on ESG Screens and risk mitigation, Anthony Hobley, CEO, Carbon Tracker Initiative, said, “We need to see a paradigm shift whereby ESG reporting becomes the norm and is just an integral part of any financial decision. For that to happen, it needs to be seen as critical to the management of financial risk and achieving better returns. This goes to the holy grail at Carbon Tracker, how does one translate the environment, climate energy transition risk into quantitative financial risk and opportunity? To achieve this, ESG needs to be much more forward-looking than backward-looking, it must be capable of stress-testing business models against foreseeable risks and transitions and capable of flagging the collapse in valuation we have already seen in US coal European energy utilities.”

Elaborating on the challenges of aligning the financial system with sustainable development, Nurlan Kussainov, CEO, Astana International Financial Centre (AIFC) Authority, stressed, “Within the current business model in the financial services sector, the speculation and arbitration is always based on asymmetric information. People from low-income groups who have less access to the information end up suffering more. With the financial services sector rapidly embracing technology, there is a strong belief that in the near future there will be a reduction in the current communication gap that the sector presently faces. This will bring a very positive impact on to the development of Islamic and ethical finance across the world, helping it to realize its global value proposition.”

In a powerful and fitting closing keynote address, Nigel Kershaw, Chair, The Big Issue, said, “There is a lot of talk about ethical finance and in particular ESG and social impact because it’s talked about primarily by people involved in the financial sector. I believe the democratization of capital is extremely central to what we do. Quite often, the discussion is top-down supply and product-led and for me, it often misses one of the most important social outcomes that is quite often forgotten – that’s the opportunity for ordinary people to invest and save in creating a better place to live for themselves, their families and the community around them. It’s not about mainstreaming ethical finance, it’s all about bringing the mainstream to us.”

GEFF 2017 witnessed a host of sessions tackling the most pertinent issues affecting the ethical finance industry. Leading industry experts analyzed the challenges at hand and focused on coming up with effective suggestions with the ultimate aim of developing a convergence roadmap for the ethical finance industry at large. The core issues that were brought to the fore on Day 2 comprised of the massive potential green bonds harbour, ESG Screens and risk mitigation, the importance of embedding sustainability in banking practices, the challenges of aligning the financial system with sustainable development, an Innovate Showcase wherein entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs showcased innovative ethical finance solutions and an interesting concluding panel session on how to sell financial products based on their values.

The forum took place on the 13th & 14th of September at the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS)’s prestigious Conference Centre in Edinburgh, Scotland. The two-day forum culminated in an exclusive Civic Reception at the historic Edinburgh Castle, hosted by Keith Brown MSP, Cabinet Secretary for the Economy, Jobs & Fair Work, Scottish Government.

To find out more about the 2nd Global Ethical Finance Forum, visit www.geff2017.com

Join the global conversation on Twitter: @GEFF_2017 #GEFF2017 #ProfitxPurpose

 

 

ABOUT THE GLOBAL ETHICAL FINANCE FORUM (GEFF)

 

The Global Ethical Finance Forum is an initiative of Middle East Global Advisors and the UK Islamic Finance Council (IFC), two leading institutions spearheading the agenda of sustainable and inclusive economy and of forging connections with the broader ethical finance industry, encompassing Socially Responsible Investing (SRI), Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG), and Islamic/faith-based Finance.

 

At its inaugural edition in September 2015, the vision ascribed to GEFF was to become a catalyst for an all new encompassing form of inclusive finance that connects key stakeholders from the various ethical finance sectors and facilitates previously untapped opportunities for convergence & collaboration.

 

GEFF 2017 endeavors to play a critical role in enabling stakeholders from the traditional responsible and Islamic finance sectors to forge and nurture new relationships aimed at building cooperation across various sectors and geographies.

 

For more information, visit www.geff2017.com

 

ABOUT MIDDLE EAST GLOBAL ADVISORS

Connecting markets with intelligent insights & strategic execution since 1993

 

Middle East Global Advisors (MEGA) is the leading gateway connectivity and intelligence platform to Islamic finance opportunities in the rapidly developing economic region that stretches all the way from Morocco in the West to Indonesia in the East- The Middle East North Africa Southeast Asia (MENASEA) connection. For 24 years, our exclusive focus on achieving business results for the Islamic finance industry has enabled us to create significant value for the leading players in the Islamic banking, finance and investment markets.

 

Visit us at www.meglobaladvisors.com

 

ABOUT THE ISLAMIC FINANCE COUNCIL UK (UKIFC)

 

The Islamic Finance Council UK (UKIFC) is a specialist advisory and development body focused on promoting and enhancing the global Islamic and ethical finance industry. As a dynamic and forward-thinking not-for-profit the UKIFC Advisory Board brings together seasoned practitioners who are recognised leaders in the Islamic finance market. The UKIFC’s core service areas are: Ethical Finance, Advisory, Training and Awareness and Thought Leadership.

 

For more information, visit www.ukifc.com

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Aanchal Dhawan

Marketing Manager

Middle East Global Advisors

Tel: +971 4 441 4946

Email: aanchal@meglobaladvisors.com

 

 

© Press Release 2017

 

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Sami Hamdi is the Editor-in-Chief of the International Interest. An experienced geopolitical risk consultant, Sami assists blue-chip clients around the world in monitoring and advising on highly volatile business environments.

Sami has extensive experience in the MENA region having been a television reporter and talk-show host for over 10 years. He has reported on key events in the region including the Arab Spring, the fall of Morsi in Egypt, the Houthi crisis in Yemen, as well as the battle of influences between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

In his freetime, Sami is a passionate and stubborn Arsenal fan, and loves travelling. Perhaps a bit too much…