Sheikh Yusuf Talal DeLorenzo

Sheikh Yusuf is the honorary patron Shari’a scholar of Gateway. He works with international financial entities, including institutional investors, home finance providers, international investment banks, asset managers and governments.

Sheikh Yusuf serves as Chairman of the Shari’a Advisory Board of the Dow Jones Islamic Market Indexes, chaired the Shariah Board for the Islamic Interbank Benchmark Rate (IIBR), and is a member of the Shariah Boards for Wafra (Kuwait Investment Advisory Group), Oasis Asset Management (South Africa), Sidra Capital (Saudi Arabia), Guidance Residential (USA), Aspect Investment Partners (Dubai), and others. He helped design the first Sukuk using assets based in the United States, and was Chairman of the Shariah board that approved the first corporate Sukuk in Saudi Arabia. He was also a member of the team that designed a prime broker solution for a Shariah compliant short position.

Sheikh Yusuf has been a member of the Shari’a Committee of the Accounting and Auditing Organization of Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI) and the Council of Scholars, International Shari’ah Research Academy (ISRA), the Central Bank of Malaysia. He was a founding member of the Governing Council of the International Centre for Education in Islamic Finance (INCEIF) in Malaysia and served as Advisor on Islamic Education to the Government of Pakistan from 1981 to 1984.

Shakeeb Saqlain

Shakeeb is the founder and CEO of IslamicBanker, a leading learning, financial intelligence and investing platform for Islamic markets.

Having worked in the financial services industry for over a decade, including Bloomberg, Morgan Stanley (Prime Brokerage), Dubai Islamic Bank (Treasury Sales), Shakeeb has a combination of industry knowledge and leadership acumen. His academic interests centre on Islamic finance, FinTech and creating vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystems in emerging markets.

#Shakeeb holds a Master’s in Economic Development and Policy Analysis from the University of Nottingham, UK.

Wesam Alshafei

Wesam is a Bahraini and Qatari qualified lawyer with considerable regional and international experience in banking, commercial and corporate transactions. Her experience extends to handling M&A deals, project financings, syndicated loan arrangements and advising on proposed investment structures. She is also qualified to advise on specific Bahrain civil and commercial law matters including employment issues, agency and franchise related matters and rights to damages in various circumstances.

Wesam is also a specialist on the laws and regulations governing the application and effect of international bankruptcy proceedings in Bahrain. She has advised a number of appointed bankruptcy trustees or clients involved in international proceedings on the repercussions of such proceedings on their interests within the territory of Bahrain.

Wesam obtained her L.L.B from the University of Essex and an L.L.M (with distinction) in International and Commercial Law from the University of East Anglia.

Sherif Hampton

Sherif has over a decade of experience as a corporate and international finance lawyer in the United Kingdom and the GCC region. His career has been spent in private practice, where he advised on numerous multi-million Dollar regional and cross border transactions, including a year and a half seconded to Kuwait Finance House. He has a true passion for Islamic finance and continues to work on and further Shari’ah-compliant finance and its usage in the UK.

Sherif has worked at some of the world’s largest law firms, including London based silver circle firm Ashurst, and Washington based giant Jones Day. He has worked on numerous Islamic finance transactions for Governments, central banks, Islamic banks, conventional banks, investment funds and HNW investors.

Sherif is a member of Gateway’s Banking & Finance, Business Recovery, In-House Regulatory & Compliance, and Real Estate practices.

Sherif studied law at the University of Aberdeen where he gained his Honours degree and Dip L.P.


Rahma Hersi

Rahma Hersi is one of East Africa’s leading Islamic finance lawyers. She has been involved in advising and developing the industry not only in her home country of Kenya but also in other neighboring countries in East Africa. She has also been selected as a leading expert on Islamic finance, providing technical support and advice to the Capital Markets Authority of Kenya under their ten-year Master Plan for the development of the financial sectors in Kenya.

Rahma was nominated to sit on the Financial Law Review Panel by the Capital Markets Authority. She also advised on the first Islamic mortgage contract between the Bank and the government owned oil company in Kenya, National Oil of Kenya.

As a legal and regulatory expert she has drafted several modules in the Islamic Banking Rules for the Central Bank of Oman, including those on Shari’ah and Corporate Governance, Powers of Supervision and Control and General Obligations. She has also drafted policy and procedure manuals for Islamic banks in the Arab Gulf and Africa.

Rahma also drafted policy and procedure manuals for the first Islamic microfinance institution in Ethiopia using mudaraba, murabaha, musharaka, ijarah and salam contracts. She has also been instrumental in advising and structuring Islamic microfinance products for women and youth in Muslim minority cities within Kenya.

Rahma is an active member of Gateway’s Banking & Finance, Business Recovery, Conversion Factory, Dispute Resolution, Gender Equity & Inclusivity, In-House Regulatory & Compliance, Social Responsibility & Impact, and Waqf & Philanthropy practices.

Rahma is fluent in several languages including Arabic, English, Somali, Swahili and a working knowledge of Urdu. She is a Shari’ah trained lawyer with an LLB Hons in Shari’ah and Law from the International Islamic University of Islamabad. She also holds a Master of Laws in International Comparative Law from the Robert McKinney School of Law, and a Diploma in Islamic Finance Arbitration from INCIEF.

Zurina Sabarudin

Zurina was the Head of Capital Markets, Banking and Private Equity Practice Groups at Messrs Azmi & Associates, ranked as a top 10 law firm in Malaysia. Prior to that, she was a partner at Zul Rafique & Partners, a tier one law firm, and a partner in Messr Abu Talib Shahrom. She has in depth knowledge and industry experience in venture capital and private equity deals, mergers and acquisitions, technology and information technology, corporate & commercial, as well as initial public offerings and take-overs.

Zurina has advised various venture capital companies and private equity firms, both local and abroad. As a recognition of her legal expertise, she was named as a leading individual for Capital Markets – Asia Pacific Legal 500 in 2015.

Zurina founded Aidforstartup Ventures Sdn Bhd, which offers business compliance services to startups and SMEs and, with a group of senior investment bankers and capital market practitioners, set up Widuri Capital Management Sdn Bhd, a private equity management company that focuses primarily on education, healthcare and consumer goods as a core vertical for investments.

Siti Zurina graduated in 2000 with Bachelor of Laws from International Islamic University, Malaysia.

Yerlan Baidaulet

Yerlan is a Senior Adviser to the Ministry of investments and development, as well as the IDB Governor’s Office, in Kazakhstan.

He was previously Chairman of the Association for Development of Islamic Finance and is heavily involved in Islamic (participation) finance advocacy & promotion in CIS countries. He was also an adviser to the Deputy Prime Minister of Kazakhstan adviser to the Kazakh Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and a board member of IDB, representing the CIS states.

He has written several publications in relation to Islamic Financing and its application in the CIS region. He speaks fluent Kazakh, English and German.

Yerlan graduated with a BSc from Al Farabi Kazakh National University, followed by a Postgraduate degree from the Academy of Sciences in Kazakhstan. He later studied his MAPOW at the University of St. Gallen, and an MBA in banking and finance f4rom the Kazakhstan Institute of Management, Economics and Strategic Research.


Talha Ahmad Azami

Mufti Talha Ahmad Azami is an award-winning Shari’a scholar with over 15 years of distinguished academic and professional experience in Islamic banking and financial services, acquired across global markets.

Mufti Talha began his career with BMB Islamic (UK), a boutique Islamic finance consultancy, and developed a specialization in structuring innovative Islamic finance solutions for investment banking and capital markets. He also served in the Sharia Department of Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, overlooking Sharia Assurance, Sharia Audit and Operational Risk Management, and on the Shari’a advisory boards of Rasmala Investment Bank (in the Dubai International Financial Centre) and European Islamic Investment Bank (EIIB) in London.

Mufti Talha is also the Internal Sharia Reviewer (Head of Sharia Compliance & Audit) for Bank Sohar Islamic in Muscat, Oman, where he plays an instrumental role in the Bank’s Sharia advisory and structuring services across the bank’s full range of products and services.

Mufti Talha has worked in Islamic academia with prominent jurists and thinkers from India for more than ten years.

He holds a B.A. (Alimiyyah) in Arabic and Quranic Sciences and an M.A. (Fazilah) in Islamic law, both from Nadwa University in Lucknow. He also holds an Alimiyyah Degree in Hadith Sciences from Islamic University in Deoband and an M.A in Islamic Banking and Finance Management from Loughborough University in the U.K.

Rizwan Rahman

Rizwan started his career at the World Bank, Bangladesh. He then returned to the UK and worked with Human Rights Watch and a leading human rights law firm in the UK, Imran Khan and Partners.
Rizwan has worked at a number of Islamic financial banks and consultancies. He started his Islamic finance career at European Finance House (now known as Qatar Islamic Bank UK) before moving to Scottish-based Islamic Finance Council and then BMB Islamic. He was also part of Edbiz Consulting’s original team.

He has written articles and commentary on Islamic financial issues for the Islamic Finance Review and the Global Islamic Finance Report. Rizwan has delivered lectures and papers at universities such as University of California, Santa Barbara, Georgetown School of Foreign Services, Qatar, and Carnegie Melon Qatar.

Rizwan is currently studying classical Islamic law concentrating on muamalat with teachers in the UK and America.

Rizwan is an economics and law graduate. He holds a BSc Economics from University of London, Royal Holloway, and an MSc Business Economics from City University. He passed his GDL and LPC from BPP Law School and is currently about to complete his traineeship as a solicitor.

Muhammed Serdar Savas

Mr Savas has worked for Savas & Savas, attorneys specialising in banking and contracts law, and Mutlu Law Firm, acting for Kuveyt Turk Participation Bank in, Turkey.

He focuses primarily on contractual drafting & reviewing as well as Islamic Finance product development. He is working on current several Sukuk issuances as well as other banking matters such as negotiable instruments, deed transfers, mortgages and various financings.

Mr. Servas successfully completed his dissertation on Project Bonds v. Project Sukuk focussing on their risks and compliance issues.

He graduated from Istanbul Bilgi University Law School, and later completed an LLM in Islamic Finance, and Business from BPP University Law School, in London, graduating with Merit.