Comprising industry luminaries recognized for their deep market expertise and contribution to the global Islamic finance sector, the IFN Advisory Board provides strategic advice to IFN management and serves as an instrumental conduit between IFN and the Islamic finance industry at large. Key sectors of the Islamic finance industry are represented by these industry veterans who hail from a diverse geography and draw from decades-worth of invaluable industry experience.
Abdulkader Thomas Chief Executive Officer, SHAPE Knowledge Services (Kuwait)
Abdulkader Thomas is the president and CEO of SHAPE for Economic Consulting doing business as SHAPE Knowledge Services, Kuwait. Abdulkader has over 30 years of diversified financial services experience and his background includes capital markets, real estate finance and trade finance. Abdulkader has served in various international banks and dealt with regulatory authorities for Islamic products in different countries. He consults for and trains financial institutions, regulators and businesses about Islamic finance.
Along with his team at SHAPE, Abdulkader works on projects that include launching de novo Islamic banks and Islamic banking windows, funds, Sukuk, regulations, policies and procedures including Shariah policies, Shariah compliance, product development and structuring. Clients include a diversified universe of financial institutions and regulators from North America, the MENA region, Southeast Asia, Africa, America and Europe.
Abdulkader is a member of the International Advisory Committee for Islamic Capital Markets at the Securities Commission Malaysia and is the moderator of the IFN Asia and Saudi Arabia Issuers and Investors Forums in Kuala Lumpur and Riyadh respectively.
Abdulkader is a director of Alkhabeer Capital (Jeddah) where he also serves as a member of the audit committee. He is the chairman of Alkhabeer International (Bahrain), a subsidiary of Alkhabeer Capital. He also serves as a technical expert on the Shariah boards of Bank Muscat Meethaq and University Bank (US). He is the chairman of the Advisory Committee of Experts for Sterling Bank (Nigeria).
A graduate of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy in international trade, Abdulkader earned a Bachelor of Arts (Honors) degree in Arabic and Islamic studies from the University of Chicago. He has worked in Bahrain (Citibank and Credit Lyonnais), New York (United Bank of Kuwait), London (Islamic Investment Banking Unit of the United Bank of Kuwait), Washington DC (Guidance Financial) and Los Angeles (Sumitomo Bank).
Abdulkader is a frequent speaker on Islamic financial and banking matters. He has co-authored or edited several works in the field including, among others, ‘Structuring Islamic Financial Transactions’ with Stella Cox and Bryan Kraty; and ‘Islamic Bonds: Your Guide to Issuing, Structuring and Investing in Sukuk’ with Nathif Adam.
Celia De Anca Director, Saudi-Spanish Center for Islamic Economics and Finance, IE Business School (Spain)
Dr Celia de Anca is currently the director of the Saudi–Spanish Center for Islamic Economics and Finance and the Center for Diversity at IE University, where she is also a professor of diversity and Islamic finance. She was previously the director of corporate programs at the Euro–Arab Management School in Granada. She has worked for the Fundación Cooperación Internacional y Promoción Ibero–América Europa and at the International Division of Banco de Santander.
Dr Celia has a Master’s degree from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy (Boston) and from Universidad Politécnica de Madrid. She also holds a degree and PhD from Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, with a comparative thesis on Islamic, ethical/ecological investment funds and the London market.
Dr Celia is the author of ‘Beyond Tribalism’ (Palgrave McMillan 2012) and the co-author of ‘Managing Diversity in the Global Organization’ (Macmillan 2007). She has had articles published in specialized journals, in addition to regular articles in the press. She was an external advisor of Merrill Lynch’s Diversity & Inclusion Council up to 2009 and a member of the Executive Committee of IE Business School from 2006 to 2016. She is a member of the Ethics Committee of InverCaixa’s Ethics Fund in Spain and a member of the International Scientific Committee of Euromed University in Marseille, France. She is also a member of the Finance Accreditation Agency’s accreditation panel for Islamic finance (Malaysia) since 2017.
Hajara Adeola Managing Director, Lotus Capital (Nigeria)
Hajara Adeola is the managing director of Lotus Capital, a Nigerian pioneer in Shariah compliant asset management, private wealth management advisory services and financial advisory services. She joined Lotus Capital from UBS Warburg where she was a director heading the London Islamic Finance Desk. Prior to joining UBS, she was a convertible bond research analyst at BNP Paribas, London.
Hajara began her career as a consultant at Andersen Consulting (now Accenture). From there, she joined ARM Investment Managers as a pioneer staff member and rose to vice-president and head of the Research and Financial Advisory Units. In all, she has over 25 years of international experience in research and analysis, investment management and corporate finance.
Hajara holds a Master of Science degree in finance from Durham University where she majored in Islamic finance. She also holds an MBA in international management from Exeter University and a Bachelor of Science degree in pharmacology from King’s College, London.
Hajara was the first president of the Fund Managers Association of Nigeria and is a West African fellow of the Aspen Leadership Initiative. She is also the chairperson of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)’s non-interest capital market 10-year master plan committee, a member of the SEC Capital Market Master Plan Implementation Council, a member of the Nigeria Stock Exchange Fixed Income Products Advisory Committee and a director of the Aliko Dangote Foundation.
Dr Hayat Sindi Chief Advisor to the President, Islamic Development Bank (Saudi Arabia)
Dr Hayat Sindi is one of the world’s leading biotechnologists and a global champion of science and technology. She is a pioneering and inspirational female leader, working to improve the lives of people around the world, through her resolute belief in the power of science, technology and innovation to solve the greatest development challenges.
Dr Hayat’s remarkable career includes co-founding and co-inventing ‘Diagnostics For All’ — a program to create affordable diagnostic devices for millions of people in impoverished regions. The first woman from the Gulf to obtain a PhD in biotechnology from the University of Cambridge, she is driven by a passion to develop entrepreneurial ecosystems that can transcend existing gaps between education and opportunity. This led to her launching i2, the institute for imagination and ingenuity, in 2011. Through fellowships, training programs and mentorships, i2 seeks to empower and inspire the next generation of innovators so that they may realize their dreams and ultimately contribute to the world. She has also invented a low-cost diagnostic tool for early detection of breast cancer by converting light into sound, and holds nine patents.
In 2017, Dr Hayat was appointed the chief scientific advisor to the president of the IsDB. In this role, she has put science, technology and innovation at the heart of the IsDB’s work, where they are powerful drivers of economic growth and sustainable development.
Dr Hayat is frequently sought out as a commentator by international media outlets due to her passion and knowledge for entrepreneurialism and innovation in developing countries. Her inspired vision for an empowered youth through science, technology and innovation has contributed to her being chosen for a host of prestigious awards, including being in Newsweek’s list of ‘150 Women Who Shake the World’ and CEO Magazine’s list of ‘100 Most Powerful Arab Women’, among others.
Dr Hurriyah El Islamy Executive Board Member, BPKH (Indonesia)
Dr Hurriyah El Islamy is the winner of the Best National and Global Islamic Finance Proponent award (Bank Indonesia 2018) and the Anugerah Tokoh Alumni UIAM award and she currently serves on the executive board of Badan Pengelola Keuangan Haji Indonesia and the IsDB’s APIF Supervisory Committee. She is an IMF expert in Islamic finance, a Finance Accreditation Agency-certified assessor, an AAOIFI master trainer, a Shariah board member and strategic advisor of Islamic Fintech Alliance and was the head of professional development in AAOIFI prior to which she served as a member AAOIFI’s Shariah Central Board Working Group.
With over two decades of experience globally, Dr Hurriyah has served, among others, as the director and group head of Shariah and governance and group legal – Islamic banking and capital markets of CIMB Group; the director and head of legal of Capinnova Investment Bank; the head of anti-money laundering compliance and legal counsel of Kuwait Finance House Bahrain; and the chairperson of the Audit and Legal Committees of the Bahrain Associations of Banks.
Dr Hurriyah was trained in leadership in general counsel (2019) and negotiation and leadership (2012) in Harvard Law School, received multiple academic awards including from the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow and graduated as the best overall Bachelor of Laws student from International Islamic University Malaysia. She has written multiple publications in several disciplines and has been providing advice and consultancy to regulators and/or entities in several jurisdictions on Islamic finance-related matters.
Issam Al Tawari Founder and Managing Partner, Newbury Consulting (Kuwait)
Issam Al Tawari is currently the founder and managing partner of Newbury Economic Consulting which is focused on debt capital market advisory and providing SME infrastructure support. He was the founder, chairman and managing director of Rasameel Structured Finance Company, a capital markets-focused investment company supervised by the Capital Markets Authority and the Central Bank of Kuwait, and the chairman of Rasameel Investment Bank, a Dubai-based, Dubai International Financial Centre-regulated bank. His latest area of interest is the development of Islamic debt capital markets.
Issam has served on the board of directors of a number of companies and funds. He is currently an independent member of the board of directors at Alkhabeer Capital, a Jeddah-based investment company, and an independent executive committee member at Saudi Refinance Company, a Riyadh-based investment company . He was also the ex-chairman of Ain Takaful Insurance Company in Kuwait; the ex-chairman of Binaá & Namaá (Sorooh) Investment Company, specializing in financing build-operate-transfer projects; and a co-founder of Ritaj Investment Company. He regularly speaks at Islamic banking industry conferences and seminars.
Issam is a member of the Kuwait Islamic Economic Society and was a member of the Young Arab Leaders Association. In addition, he is an alumnus of both Harvard Business School and Henley Management College and received his doctorate from Durham University Business School, England in 2020, an MBA with distinction from the University of Hull also in England in 1998 and a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics and business administration from Kuwait University in 1987.
Noripah Kamso Former Chairman, Bank Kerjasama Rakyat (Malaysia)
Noripah Kamso is the chairman of Bank Kerjasama Rakyat Malaysia. While she was the co-chair of the Islamic Finance Council at the Malaysia–US Chamber of Commerce (based in Washington DC), she was also a visiting fellow in Islamic finance at the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies for academic year 2016–17. In 2015, she was a global practitioner in residence at the Center for Global Citizenship of Principal Financial Group in the US where in this role, she was attached to Drake University, Des Moines, Iowa.
Noripah joined CIMB Group in Malaysia from 1993 to 2014 and held various key positions including as the former advisor of CIMB Islamic. As the founding CEO of CIMB-Principal Islamic Asset Management since 2008, she had successfully established a global platform for the firm to extend its reach to the UK, Europe, the GCC, Asia, the US and Australia. She pioneered the listing of the world’s first regional ASEAN exchange-traded fund, CIMB ASEAN 40 ETF, which was listed in Singapore in 2007.
Sohail Jaffer Managing Director, Genesis Consulting sarl-s (Luxembourg)
Sohail Essa Jaffer is an experienced international Islamic finance executive with a successful track record of new business development in Europe and the growth markets. He is one of the pioneers of promoting the growth of the cross-border Takaful business and Shariah compliant investments, and later on established a scalable bancaTakaful business in multiple growth markets including the GCC,Malaysia and Pakistan. He was also one of the first movers to embrace the use of digital applications to enhance the customer journey, improve sales advisor productivity and enhance the overall customer experience.
Sohail also promoted industry thought leadership in Takaful, Shariah compliant asset management and the Sukuk business. He is a former chairman of the Alternative Investment Management Association (1997 to 2000), a former member of the Association of the Luxembourg Fund Industry/Luxembourg for Finance Islamic Finance Working Groups in Luxembourg and a past member of the Gulf Bond and Sukuk Association in Dubai. Sohail has also contributed to many trade publications and has a strong international industry network with institutional investors, regulators, service providers, standard-setting bodies like the IFSB, AAOIFI and trade associations. He recently joined the Institute of Directors in Luxembourg with a view to learning more about corporate governance.
Dr Sutan Emir Hidayat Director of Islamic Economy Supporting Ecosystem, National Committee for Islamic Economy and Finance (Indonesia)
Dr Sutan Emir Hidayat is one of the directors of the executive management of National Committee for Islamic Economy and Finance (Indonesia) (KNEKS) of the Republic of Indonesia. He and his team at KNEKS supplied data to many global Islamic economic and financial report publishers in 2019. As a result, Indonesia’s ranking rose significantly in those reports.
Dr Sutan obtained his PhD in Islamic banking and finance from International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) and was an associate professor and head of the Business School at the University College of Bahrain.
Dr Sutan has published quite a significant number of research papers in reputable international journals and is an associate editor for the Journal of Islamic Financial Studies and the editor for many other journals. He has also published several books, including some by renowned publishers such as Springer. He regularly contributes articles in Islamic Finance news and other magazines and newspapers.
Tariq Al-Rifai Chief Executive Officer, Quorum Centre for Strategic Studies (UK)
Tariq Al Rifai has been involved in the Islamic banking and finance sector for over 20 years and is viewed as a leading authority on Islamic investments, private equity and Sukuk. He has written for prestigious publications and is the author of ‘Islamic Finance and the New Financial System: An Ethical Approach to Preventing Future Financial Crises’, published by Wiley in April 2015.
Tariq is often quoted in print and electronic media, including The Financial Times, Bloomberg and Reuters. He has also appeared as a guest on Bloomberg Television, CNBC Arabia, Sky News Arabia and is a regular guest on Al-Arabiya Business Channel.
Since 2018, Tariq has been an advisor to the United Nations Development Programme on Kuwait economic policy. More recently, he served as the head of research and investor relations at Kuwait Finance House in Kuwait, one of the largest Islamic financial institutions in the world. He also served as the global director of Islamic indices at S&P Dow Jones Indices (Dubai) and as the vice-president of UIB Capital, a Chicago-based private equity firm, which managed a US$300 million Shariah compliant investment portfolio.
Previously, Tariq was a partner in the London office of The International Investor, a Kuwait-based investment bank, where he was responsible for building distribution relationships with financial institutions in Europe and the Middle East. He also was the vice-president and manager of HSBC Bank’s Islamic Finance Program in New York. In 1996, Tariq founded Failaka Advisors, which was the first-ever organization to monitor and publish research on Islamic funds.
Tariq holds an MBA from DePaul University in Chicago and a Bachelor’s degree in international finance from St Cloud State University in Minnesota.
Yavar Moini Senior Investment Officer, IFC (MENA)
Yavar Moini has over 25 years of banking experience with international, supranational and regional institutions, primarily in the GCC and Pakistan. He was recently appointed as the senior investment officer for the IFC and will focus on the MENA region. His past experience includes working as a consultant specializing in Islamic finance and financial sector development for the World Bank in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Libya, Bangladesh, the Philippines and Malaysia. His work has focused on developing Islamic finance architecture, savings mobilization instruments, debt capital markets and fintech.
Prior to the World Bank, Yavar was the head of structured solutions at Bank Alfalah (Pakistan) and he has also been the director for Islamic banking at the State Bank of Pakistan. Previously, he was the global head of Islamic finance at Morgan Stanley Dubai and also headed Islamic banking at the National Bank of Dubai (now ENBD). In addition, he has led and developed the Islamic Financial Services Group at EY Bahrain and also serves as an adjunct professor of Islamic finance at the IE Business School (Madrid).
Yavar has an MBA from the Stern Business School, New York University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Warwick.