Re-generating finance with the next generation


Thirty years in financial services is a long time, a bigger number than the ages of many of my most respected colleagues. The older my career gets however, the keener I am to interact with and cater for younger people, particularly those who have had less birthdays than I have had work anniversaries!

For the last few years, I’ve dedicated my work increasingly to advocating sustainable investment, which in the context of this article refers to long term investment in companies whose products, services and culture aim in some way to mitigate the major problems that humankind is faced with.

You might ask how relevant investment is for young people, many of whom will be repaying student debt, saving for a mortgage and/or struggling with high rents. Typically, young people are not the investors that we encounter day to day in the financial advice profession. They are often however, the people for whom the money is invested.

They reap what we sow

When it comes to investing sustainably, its clear that younger people are likely to reap greater benefit over time from any positive social and environmental outcomes that an investment might generate. Conversely, they are also more likely to suffer if we fail to limit rising temperatures, sea levels, pollution, social instability and nature loss.  This is not because these are future problems, they very much affect people of all ages and nationalities today.   Unless we act to address them however, they will become increasingly serious, reducing quality of life and life choices in years when young people should be maturing and prospering.

The hard reality is that, not only is the seriousness of the situation is growing, the window of opportunity to tackle the problem is ever shrinking.   By the time young people have greater hold on the reins of capital and finance, it will be too late to make the urgent changes required to ensure a sustainable economic and social system and a planet on which we can all survive and thrive.

Common ground

I first started working with private investors in the late 90’s, when I was entering my thirties and a Mum of one.  It wasn’t easy winning the confidence of clients who were 30 years older than me and expecting to receive advice from a man with grey hair and a BMW. I tended to talk about the benefits of saving for the next generation a lot, my small child and their grandchildren being our main common ground.

Building a legacy for children and grandchildren is one of the most consistent aims that older investors have. Advisers are tasked with finding ways of passing money on tax efficiently and methods that ensure that young Jack and Jessica don’t “blow the money” irresponsibly.

It could really make a difference if we factored in:

  1. how to pass the wealth on not just tax efficiently but also carbon efficiently and
  2. how to avoid irresponsible investing, as well as irresponsible spending.

A gift without giving

Advisers also help their clients decide whether they can afford to gift money to their family, without putting their own financial security at risk.  Where the investor needs to retain their money for their personal needs, perhaps to provide retirement income or pay for elderly care, a gift can still be indirectly given to younger generations. By holding companies whose goods, services and behaviours generate a positive long term environmental and/or social benefit, the investment potentially pays it forward, as well as providing a financial return.

A new wave of investors

Whilst young people may not be the big investors now, the financial services industry has been keeping an eye out for their imminent arrival over the years to come, anticipating the days when they inherit from the Gen Z’s and the Baby Boomers.

Not all those who inherit will seek financial advice, as there are options and trends available to them that their parents and grandparents would never have considered – think cryptocurrency and investing via a  mobile phone app.  Those young people who do engage with personal financial advice and planning are likely to make some waves.  They will be far more comfortable with digital solutions and more ready to ask why we do things a certain way in the world of finance.  A service that educates and empowers them will be attractive, over one that simply tells them that this is the way things are done.

Whilst recent consumer surveys contest the view that older generations are less interested in sustainable investing, younger people are more likely to seek to align their money with their personal values, to express what these are and to react more strongly to investments that do not fit with their moral compass or beliefs.

The forward-thinking personal finance firms will be thinking ahead about whether their current products and services, their marketing, even the language they use will make younger generations feel at ease and want to engage.

Meant to be a mentor

Until I found my fascination for sustainable finance, I was working as a manager in a broader financial planning role. One of the more enjoyable aspects of that job was the chance to act as a mentor for graduates, who were relatively new to financial services and looking to develop and progress.

It was rewarding to see them progress rapidly either into a client-facing advice role or a skilled technical support function.  I also greatly appreciated the ability to witness how they set out to make their mark and to learn from the mentoring at times, as well as teach. The phrase “there’s no i in team” is used a lot in the office, but there is an e-a-m for “every age matters!”

The future of finance

A few weeks back, the 2050 climate group offered some fellow sustainable finance advocates and I the chance to present to an audience of under thirties about sustainable investing and the direction of travel for sustainable finance.  We covered the ghosts of finance past, big commissions, pension mis-selling, the credit crunch (ouch, ouch and ouch again). We highlighted the pioneers of the present, some of them young people themselves (such as Georgia Stewart and her team at Tumelo Bring investing to life | Tumelo | Bring investing to life). Our final slide was an appeal to the audience to come and engage with the world of finance, to modernise, energise and reshape it, whether as investors or as workers.  We pointed out that increasingly there is opportunity for them to use their voices, both directly and via their money.   We called on them to ask the right questions and to expect high standards.

There was a lot of energy in the Zoom room for that final 33slide and apparently “we made finance interesting for the first time ever”.

I would re-iterate that invitation to young people to come and pick up the baton and invigorate the industry. No need to hang around for 30 odd years like I have, but bring your ideas and skills and a little positive disruption. The industry doesn’t just need mathematicians and economists, it needs great communicators, thinkers, designers, psychologists, marketing and IT professionals.

The finance industry has both a huge responsibility and opportunity to make a positive impact on the environment and society by directing where the money goes appropriately.  We should not overlook the fact that it is ripe for an internal reset. There are some people and organisations already working to foster change, such as NextGen planners and The Verve Group The Verve Group | Financial Services. But not as you know it. (, encouraging diversity, accessibility and innovation.  The financial planning profession remains however an aging population and now is an opportune moment for young people to join it.  It’s a great space in which to transform from learner to leader in much, much less than thirty years!


Rebecca Kowalski

Director, Overstory Finance

Press Release: Net Zero Transitions Roadmap Launched Ahead of COP26

A roadmap for pension providers to transition to net zero has been unveiled ahead of COP26.

The roadmap has been published by the Scotland-based Global Ethical Finance Initiative (GEFI) to provide practical steps for pension providers to start taking action now in tackling climate change.

As well as being a useful resource for private pension providers, it is also being sent to all local government pension schemes in Scotland, with several having already engaged with GEFI about the move to net zero.

The transition roadmap has been compiled with input from GEFI’s key partners, including abrdn, who have made climate change mitigation a ‘top priority’.

GEFI believes pension providers should use the power of their investments to drive change in the companies they invest in. This means active engagement with investee companies and voting out directors of major polluters with no transition plans.

Divestment cannot be the primary strategy as this just moves the problem elsewhere and buying carbon offsets should be a ‘last resort’ to deal with residual greenhouse gas emissions – with decarbonisation being the primary focus.

The transition roadmap includes a range of practical steps and actions pension providers can take to overcome the biggest challenges identified by GEFI research: reliable data on emissions, knowledge and expertise of pension fund staff and trustees prioritising climate change. The roadmap also helps pension providers to navigate the plethora of tools, initiatives and frameworks that have been developed in relation to net zero. Pension providers should take action now on tackling climate change and delivering net zero by 2050.

However, the responsibility for net zero cannot be left solely at the door of pension providers. Every company, investors and the whole of society should be pushing for a net zero-carbon future.

Natalie Jackson, executive manager of the Global Ethical Finance Initiative, said: “The eyes of the world being on Glasgow at COP26 presents a great opportunity for Scottish pension providers to demonstrate leadership in taking action on climate change to ensure net zero is delivered by 2050. "Our net zero pension workstream is a direct call to pension providers to increase emissions transparency and develop a tangible strategy to set and/or deliver on net zero commitments, and the roadmap provides a credible set of actions to enable them to do this. "Pension providers need to start taking action to combat climate change now, before it’s too late.”



  • Both the Policy Positioning Paper and the Transition Roadmap can be downloaded here:
  • A photo of Natalie Jackson for publication is available here.
  • More information on the Global Ethical Finance Initiative is available here:
  • If you would like to find out more about GEFI’s net zero pensions workstream and how GEFI can assist you on your net zero journey please contact Natalie Jackson (
  • Contact: Alan Roden at or 07753 904 531

Embedding the Sustainable Development Goals into commercial, financial products across asset classes

The Global Ethical Finance Initiative (GEFI) will be launching its SDG Financial Products Platform at COP26, showcasing financial products that are aligned to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The platform will partner with select financial institutions to grow the ecosystem of SDG aligned financial products across a range of asset classes.  

GEFI has been working in sustainable finance for over a decade and has historically focused on advocacy and raising awareness through capacity building and events. We are now moving to deliver practical, private sector led-solutions to drive real change in financial institutions on SDG alignment.  

With COP26 coming to Glasgow in November, there has been a lot of momentum around financial institutions taking action on climate change. There has been an explosion of pledges, frameworks and tools that assist financial institutions in setting and delivering on net zero by 2050. Collective action and enabling initiatives are essential to achieve net zero by 2050 and now is the time for financial institutions to leverage the work that has been done around net zero by 2050 to take action to achieve the SDGs by the earlier deadline of 2030.  

One of the seventeen SDGs is focused on climate action, but there are a further sixteen goals such as ending poverty, improving health, reducing inequality and spurring economic growth that all require immediate action. We need to tackle climate change to make sure there is a sustainable future for our planet, but we also need to achieve the SDGs to ensure that there is shared peace and prosperity for the people and planet, now and into the future. There are challenges to be overcome in private sector integration of the SDGs such as how do we measure and report on impact? How do we consider the holistic impact of a project on the SDGs? Is SDG alignment really driving positive change? These are complex issues and require collective thought and action across financial institutions. 

GEFI believes that this next decade needs to be one of action, there must be a system change to align financial institutions to the SDGs and enabling initiatives need to be developed to support this.  

To facilitate action in financial institutions, GEFI is launching its SDG Financial Products Platform at COP26. The platform is based on the belief that private sector led solutions are required to deliver the SDGs. If the SDGs are to be delivered by 2030, the SDGs need to be embedded in private-sector financial products across asset classes.  

The platform partners with select financial institutions to showcase innovative products that are aligned to the SDGs. The platform and partners work together throughout the product lifecycle to share learnings and build the ecosystem of SDG aligned financial products. In a market of increasing virtue signalling, financial products listed on the platform are prequalified. The platform only partners with financial institutions that demonstrate a genuine commitment to the SDGs and have embedded the SDGs in the product listed. 

The platform is the result of a collaboration between GEFI and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to facilitate the development of private sector solutions that are aligned to the SDGs. 

We look forward to launching the platform at COP26 in collaboration with our key partner Aegon Asset Management who launched its Global Sustainable Bond Fund (“GSSBF”) on 22 October 2021. The GSSBF uses a proprietary methodology that incorporates the SDGs into the appraisal of sovereign bonds, investing in financially strong countries that contribute to the improvements in sustainability targets as defined by the SDGs. Further information on the GSSBF can be found here.   

If you would like to find out more about the SDG Financial Products Platform or would like to apply to become a partner, please contact Natalie Jackson at GEFI ( 

Announcement: COP26 Event Programme Launch

With just over three weeks to go until COP26 in Glasgow we wanted to take stock of our busy pre-event series and give you a taster of the exciting events we have lined up during the summit itself. Below you will find a roundup for each of our four work streams and links to secure your tickets for a mixture of in person and virtual events.  You can follow us on Twitter, Linkedln and our dedicated Efx Global page throughout the summit to stay up to date with the sessions and speakers on the ground in Glasgow, and make sure you follow along with the hastags: ClimateAction , #TogetherForOurPlanet, #Finance4COP26, #COP26

Net Zero Pensions

 The challenge of achieving net zero presents a complex range of issues for pension providers and financial institutions alike. With COP26 only four weeks away, financial institutions are coming under increasing pressure to commit to net zero targets. Pension providers must therefore accelerate action towards meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. At GEFI we have been raising this call to action as COP26 draws ever closer, with the following events and initiatives:

Pre-COP Events:

During COP:

  • Net Zero Pensions Summit, Tuesday 9th November (Glasgow University, 12.30pm – 2pm). Click here to sign up to attend in-person or virtually.


Faith in the SDGs

Pre COP Events:

  • Our latest Report 'Innovation in Islamic Finance: Innovation in Islamic Finance: Green Sukuk for SDGs' was commissioned last month in conjunction with UNDP Indonesia, explores the role of green sukuk in the context of climate change and the green economy. It highlights the potential of green sukuk to be used effectively by OIC member states and beyond, to finance NDC’s by attracting investment at scale to projects that reduce national greenhouse gas emissions in line with the Paris Agreement. You can read the report here.
  • Part 4 of our Thought Leadership series, ‘Islamic Finance: Shariah and the SDGs’ is available now.This report is the last part of a four-part thought leadership series delivered by the International Shari’ah Research Academy for Islamic Finance (ISRA) in partnership with the Islamic Finance Council UK (UKIFC). It deliberates the relationship between Shariah and SDGs and highlights some of the key principles of Shariah which support the SDG agenda. Click here to download

During COP:

Faith in the SDGs Summit,  Tuesday 9th November (Glasgow University, 10am – 11.30am). Click here to sign up to attend in-person or virtually.


Finance for Nature in Nature

Pre-COP26 Event (Virtual)

Monday 4th – Thursday 7th October – UNDP (Virtual)

  • Nature for Life Hub – A programme of virtual events focusing on the transformations required to achieve the SDGs, and to bend the curve on biodiversity loss, climate change and nature-dependent livelihoods and wellbeing. 

Events at COP26 (Ross Priory, Loch Lomond)

During COP:  Finance for Nature (F4N) Programme, Thursday 4th & Friday 5th November (Ross Priory)
Email to attend in-person.


Other Events:

GEFI, Scottish Government & Scottish Enterprise Green Finance Day Wednesday 3rd November (Lighthouse, 2pm – 5pm). Click here to sign up virtually or email to attend in-person.

GEFI, Scottish Government & Scottish Enterprise Finance Day Reception Wednesday 3rd November (Lighthouse, 5pm – 6.30pm) Email to attend in-person.

Private Events
In addition to our public programme, we will be curating a number of private events with our stakeholders during the period.

Lunch and launch event for our SDG-Aligned Finance Platform
Tuesday 2nd November, 2pm – 4pm

FaithInvest and Climate Investment Funds round table
Wednesday 3rd November, 8.30am – 10am

Islamic Finance Programme
Wednesday 3rd November, 9am – 12pm

Recap: Pension Providers and the Path to Net Zero Launch

The challenge of achieving net zero presents a complex range of issues for pension providers and financial institutions alike. With COP26 now less than four weeks away, financial institutions are coming under increasing pressure to commit to net zero targets. Pension providers must therefore accelerate action towards meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. Last Tuesday on the 28th September, GEFI were delighted to marked the official launch of our Pension Providers and the Path to Net Zero Policy Paper. You can read the report here.

The webinar explored some of the key issues facing pension providers around Net Zero, including the all-important question of whether to make ambitious commitments and seek to live up to them, or remain cautious and focus on what is practically achievable. During the session, lead author Natalie Jackson (GEFI) presented key takeaways from the Paper before facilitating a discussion between industry experts David Hickey (Lothian Pension Fund) and Eva Cairns (Aberdeen Standard Investments) who presented on key topics relevant findings for pension providers. The presentations were followed by a lively audience Q&A where issues such as decarbonisation, offsets and practical action points for professionals in financial services and local government pension schemes alike.

You can watch a recap of Natalie’s Presentation here

You can watch a recap of Eva’s Presentation here

You can watch a recap of David’s Presentation here

You can also listen to the paper author Natalie Jackson give a radio interview to Good Morning Scotland on BBC Scotland

We are also delighted to invite you to join us during COP26 in Glasgow on Tuesday 9th November at Kelvin Gallery, University of Glasgow, for our Net Zero Pensions Summit. The event will showcase best practice and provide practical guidance for pension providers to ensure that the pensions we pay are worth more in a world worth living in. Following the digital launch of the Net Zero Policy Positioning Paper​ in September 2021, and in anticipation of our Net Zero Transition Roadmap launch (late October), this Summit, held in partnership with abrdn, will explore the urgent action required by pension providers and ensure they play a key role in addressing the existential threat of climate change.  The Summit will showcase best practice and provide practical guidance for pension providers to ensure that the pensions we pay are worth more in a world worth living in.

Confirmed Speakers Include:

  • Barry O'Dwyer, Chief Executive, Royal London
  • Faith Ward, Chief Responsible Investment Officer, Brunel Pension Partnership
  • David Russell, Head of Responsible Investment, Universities Superannuation Scheme
  • Eva Cairns, Head of Climate Change Strategy, Aberdeen Standard Investments

Secure your place by signing up here.

Report Launch: Islamic Finance Can Unlock $50 Billion Funding For Climate Emergency Ahead of COP 26

With less than 6 weeks to go until COP26, a new report entitled 'Innovation in Islamic Finance: Green Sukuk for SDGs' has been published by the UK Islamic Finance Council (UKIFC) and GEFI as part of our Path to COP Faith in the SDGs workstream. As the report rightly outlines, the principles of Islamic finance are underpinned by the objectives of Islamic law and match many of the aims and objectives of the agenda for sustainable development goals adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015 to provide a shared blueprint for an urgent call for action by all countries to end poverty, improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth – all while tackling climate change and working to preserve our oceans and forests.

The report, which will be officially launched at the UKIFC's Islamic Finance and Global SDGs summit on Tuesday September 28th, estimates an additional US$30-50bn can be raised by 2025 through green and sustainability sukuk  to deliver the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. Moreover, sales of new Green sukuk bonds have grown from US$500m in 2017 to US$3.5bn in 2019. The Republic of Indonesia (ROI), in partnership with the UNDP, issued the world’s first Government  green sukuk in March 2018 (raising US$1.25bn) and the world’s first retail green sukuk in November 2019 (raising IDR1.4trn or USD$104.4m).

The report also demonstrates how this unique alignment of the SDGs and Islamic finance provides a clear opportunity for green sukuk bonds to bridge the gap in private sector finance needed to meet countries’ climate targets and  accelerate achieving their wider Sustainable Development Goals. It takes a detailed look at the best practice approach to green sukuk taken in ROI and other Islamic finance regions.


  • Upfront investment is needed to develop a green framework and independent certification to assure investors that green sukuk bonds are not greenwashing.
  • Demand from western global investors for Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance (ESG) investments gives green sukuk bonds the opportunity to attract  major new investors who otherwise would not have considered sukuk bonds for their portfolios.
  • Green or sustainability sukuk bonds might lower the cost of raising vital climate finance. Malaysia has seen the largest volume of sukuk issuances supported and facilitated by a number of Government initiatives.
  • Indonesia has a very limited corporate sukuk market and has not seen any corporate green sukuk issuances. There is a need to ensure sukuk have a level playing field with no additional burdens in comparison to conventional bonds; in addition, tax incentives could encourage corporate sukuk issuances.
  • The opportunity is there for Shariah scholars to positively influence ESG aspects as part of their Shariah review of sukuk issuances.
  • A challenge within the Islamic finance industry is the general lack of experience and depth of knowledge in relation to ESG matters. It is recommended organisations such as the Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions take a lead and develop guidance for Shariah scholars.

The full report can be accessed here.

There is still time to register for the UKIFC's Islamic Finance and Global SDGs summit via their Eventbrite Page. You can find out more about our Faith in the SDGs workstream and activities at Cop26 on our dedicated Path to Cop Page.

Press Release: Almost Half of Scots Don't Trust World Leaders to Deliver A Solution To The Climate Crisis At COP 26

A new opinion poll has revealed that almost half of Scots don’t trust world leaders to come up with a solution to save the planet at COP26. With just over six weeks to go until the global summit comes to Glasgow, the YouGov survey found that people want to see firm commitments to Net Zero and the planet.

Despite concerns about what will be achieved, 65 per cent of respondents to the poll for the Global Ethical Finance Initiative (GEFI) said the summit will be important in addressing the climate emergency.

And two-thirds (66 per cent) of Scots said financial institutions should have a critical role in addressing the current climate situation, with 36 per cent stating they only want their money invested in companies which have a positive impact on the environment, even if it means lower returns.

The YouGov poll involved 1,002 adults living in Scotland, with fieldwork carried out in August. A total of 48% of respondents said they did not trust world leaders to be able to produce workable solutions to the climate crises at COP26, and only 25 per cent of 45-55 year olds (and 32 per cent of 18-25 year olds) said they trusted world leaders to deliver a sustainable future for the planet.

The Edinburgh-based Global Ethical Finance Initiative said the role of other institutions like the world’s banks and investment companies will come under even more scrutiny as a result.

GEFI has been driving action on green and sustainable finance for over a decade and has partnered with over 60 financial organisations as part of the ‘Path to COP26’ campaign which are committed to making the Glasgow summit a success.

GEFI has also teamed up with Make My Money Matter, the Richard Curtis inspired campaign, to help us all realise the power to change the world by choosing where we invest our money.


Omar Shaikh, CEO of GEFI, said:

“Confidence in world leaders ahead of COP26 is low, so the role of other institutions like the world’s banks and investment companies is even more important.

“Imagine what Scotland’s £600bn pension pot could do for our planet.

“The green power of people’s money is not well understood and the Global Ethical Finance Initiative is working with banks and investors across the globe to change the financial system to support a sustainable, zero carbon future.

“This survey shows that we can all take more notice of where our money is invested and make every pound count as part of the solution to the ‘code red’ climate emergency.”



All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  Total sample size was 1002 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 12th - 16th August 2021.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

A round up of key findings can be found here.

Are you a young person with questions about COP26? Join our #26for26 campaign

With COP 26 now less than 50 days away, we are eager to encourage voices from all around the world, and in particular, young voices, to get involved with the conversation in and around finance that will be taking place in Glasgow and beyond.

The Climate crisis facing us today is immense, and the negotiations that will take place at COP will hopefully bring us closer to a solution and a combined international effort. But what is the thing you have been dying to ask the delegates? Who would you like to ask this question? No guarantees we will get you that person, but with the finance industry gathering in Glasgow in November, we will have a broad range of industry leaders we can speak with.  

As part of our #26for26 campaign, we will pick 26 questions to ask our network throughout the two weeks of COP26. You may of course submit anonymously, however, if you provide us with contact details and social media handles, we will link any posts to you, so you can share with your network, should you be chosen.  

You can submit your questions via our Questions for COP chat box on our website.

Make sure you follow us on Twitter, Linkedln and YouTube to be part of the conversation across social media.


Pension Providers and the Path to Net Zero - Policy Paper Launch Event

With COP26 coming to Glasgow in just over two months time, pension providers across the globe are coming under increasing pressure to accelerate action towards meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement and to commit to net zero targets.  

At GEFI we recognise that it is one thing to commit to net zero, but quite another to deliver such an ambitious target. As part of our Path to COP26 campaign, GEFI will be launching a Policy Positioning Paper (the first in a two part series) looking at the current net zero pension landscape and highlighting some of the challenges faced by pensions providers in making net zero commitments (or delivering on commitments already made). 

This event will mark the formal launch of our Pension Providers and the Path to Net Zero Pensions Policy Paper, on Wednesday 29th September 2021 : 2pm – 3pm as part of a virtual meeting on Zoom – CLICK HERE to register.

During the session, GEFI’s lead author Natalie Jackson will present the key takeaways from the Paper before facilitating a discussion between industry experts David Hickey (Lothian Pension Fund) and Eva Cairns (Aberdeen Standard Investments). You can find full speaker bios below. These interventions will be followed by a Q&A session where participants are invited to put their thoughts to our panelists.

AT GEFI, we believe COP26 presents a unique opportunity for pension providers to demonstrate leadership on climate finance and for members of the public to unlock the green power of their pension. In the run up to COP26 and beyond, we want to support pension providers in their net zero journey, and hope you will join us as in this crucial event in the run up to COP.  We look forward to seeing as many of you as possible on the 29th

Speaker Bios

Natalie Jackson, Executive Manager, GEFI 

Natalie has over 10 years of experience working in finance and is passionate about how finance can be used to deliver social and environmental impact. Her career started at EY in 2010, in the corporate finance department, where she qualified as at Chartered Accountant. She has spent extended periods of time working with social enterprises in Africa and has assisted entrepreneurs in the Global South through the Grow Movement and Kiva. Natalie was one of the finalists in the One Young CA competition and nominated as one of ICAS’s top Accountants under 35 in the field of Sustainability & Corporate Responsibility. She has spent the last 6 years working in project finance with a focus on education, infrastructure and renewable energy projects. Natalie currently sits on the Social Growth Fund Board at Social Investment Scotland, advising on the disbursement of £17m of funding to Scottish Social Enterprises. 


David Hickey, Portfolio Manager and Responsible Investment Lead, Lothian Pension Fund 

David manages Lothian’s European Equity portfolio, which invests in sustainable business franchises based in continental Europe. He also leads the Fund’s work on Responsible Investment (annually assessed by the UN-backed organisation PRI) and ESG integration, which involves developing policy, influencing engagement activity and liaising with external partner organisations and industry bodies. Part of this includes being a lead engager with a utility company as part of Climate Action 100+. David qualified as a Chartered Financial Analyst in 2010, has been involved in managing equity portfolios since 2006 and has worked in the Edinburgh finance industry since graduating in 2002. 


Eva Cairns, Head of Climate Change Strategy, Aberdeen Standard Investments 

Eva is responsible for climate change research and strategy within the ESG Investments team at Aberdeen Standard Investments. That includes climate related research into specific themes (transition solutions such as hydrogen) and for high emitting sectors such as oil & gas, utilities, transportation and agriculture. She also responsible for TCFD reporting in relation to specific asset manager disclosures such as carbon footprinting and climate scenario analysis and integrating climate change into the investment process. In 2020 Eva was a finalist for the ‘Investment analyst of the year’ award presented by Investment Week (women in investments). Eva is actively involved in climate related initiatives such as Climate Action 100+ and the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change. She published a white paper on climate change in September 2019 (Investing in a changing climate) as well as ASI’s climate strategy paper (Climate change - our approach for investments) and numerous articles on topics such as net zero pledges, sustainable food production and the inevitable policy response to climate change. 


New Global Islamic Finance and SDGs Summit Launched

As part GEFI's Faith in the SDGs workstream, the UKIFC in partnership with UN and Islamic Development Bank is organising a virtual global summit on Islamic finance and the SDGs, to coincide with the UN General Assembly.

The summit will:

  • Highlight the natural alignment between Islamic finance and the SDGs, based on the Maqasid Al-Shariah (higher goals of Islam);
  • Examine some of the challenges for Islamic finance and the SDGs;
  • Showcase the practical progress made by Islamic financial institutions on the SDGs, including multilateral organisations, governments, and commercial banks and asset managers; and
  • Showcase the role for Islamic social finance in achieving the SDGs.

By focusing on the natural alignment between the Islamic faith and the SDGs, we will seek to drive engagement with and acceptance of the Goals among communities who might otherwise not engage with them. The summit will feature a mixture of high-level discussions about the global trends facing the Islamic finance industry, scholarly debate regarding the Goals, and practical showcases of SDGs in action in Islamic finance.

The Global Islamic Finance and SDGs Taskforce, initiated by the UKIFC, was launched by the UK Government together with IsDB to promote awareness and adoption of the SDGs amongst commercial Islamic financial institutions. This summit is informed by, and builds on, the work of the Taskforce and the UKIFC’s broader activities in promoting the SDGs and its work with GEFI as part of the Faith in Finance Path to COP workstream.

Confirmed Speakers Include:

  • Dr Ahmed Al-Meraikhi, Special Adviser to the UN Secretary General
  • Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar, Board Member, International Centre for Education in Islamic Finance
  • Raja Amir Shah Raja Azwa, CEO, HSBC Amanah Malaysia Berhad
  • Stella Cox CBE, Managing Director, DDCAP Group
  • Rafe Haneef, CEO - Group Transaction Banking & Group Chief Sustainability Officer, CIMB Group
  • Charles Haresnape, CEO, Gatehouse Bank
  • Farmida Bi CBE, EMEA Chair, Norton Rose Fulbright
  • Dr Akram Laldin, Executive Director, International Shariʽah Research Academy for Islamic Finance
  • Arshad Mohamed Ismail, CEO, Bank Pembangunan Malaysia Berhad
  • Najmuddin Mohd Lutfi, CEO, BIMB Investment Management Berhad
  • Hajara Adeola, CEO, Lotus Capital Limited
  • Omar Shaikh, Managing Director, UKIFC

To register your interest for the summit, follow the link to the sign up page.