Ashley Freeman

Since qualifying as a Solicitor of the Supreme Court of England & Wales in 1995, Ashley has worked as a financial services lawyer spending in the City of London and the Kingdom of Bahrain. He began his career in private practice working for many large investment banks in the City, and soon developed a niche reputation for Islamic finance and relocated to the Arab Gulf region in 2001.

Ashley was initially Head of Legal at Gulf International Bank but quickly gained global recognition as General Counsel of the Central Bank of Bahrain – consequently having enormous influence on the development of Bahrain as a leading Islamic finance centre. He was responsible for drafting many of the banking & financial services laws of the country, including the Central Bank of Bahrain and Financial Institutions Law. Amongst many other ground-breaking initiatives, he personally advised the Ministry of Finance on every international sovereign sukuk issue of the Kingdom (some of the first anywhere in the world) during his 13 year tenure as the Bahrain’s senior most public sector banking lawyer. Ashley has been Head of Islamic Finance at two City of London law firms, including at Clifford Chance where he set-up the Islamic finance department.

He has also worked on numerous bank re-organisations, including some of the first Islamic bank mergers, acquisitions and conversions. Ashley is widely recognised as an expert on financial rescues in the Gulf region and led the legal team for the regulator and largest creditor of the world’s biggest Islamic bank restructuring and the first carried out within Chapter 11 US bankruptcy code proceedings.

On the international stage, Ashley was a member of the working parties that designed and set-up the influential Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB) and International Islamic Financial Market (IIFM), personally drafting their founding documents. He was also a member of the working party that established Bahrain’s highly-acclaimed Waqf Fund.

Ashley is a member of Gateway’s Banking & Finance, Business Recovery, Conversion Factory, Dispute Resolution, Executive Strategy, Turkey Desk, and Waqf & Philanthropy practices.

Ashley studied law at Cambridge University where he gained BA and MA degrees and was President of the Islamic Society.

 

Umar F. Moghul

For nearly 20 years, Umar Moghul has handled a variety of corporate, financial, and commercial transactions and regulatory advice in connection therewith. He has represented clients in the financial services, energy, healthcare, technology, real estate, transport and logistics, retail, and business services sectors across North America, Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, and East Asia. His clients have included financial institutions, fund sponsors, government entities, start-up ventures, family offices and a variety of investors.

Umar has designed the contractual and legal framework for a variety of funds and collective investment vehicles, structured private equity and venture capital transactions, including leveraged buy-outs and growth equity investments, advised on real estate investments and projects, and developed international joint ventures and strategic alliances. In addition to advising on the equity side of transactions, Umar’s work has also encompassed complex domestic and cross-border secured and unsecured financings.

Umar is passionate about building sustainable institutions and towards that end developing ethically responsible funding mechanisms. He particularly enjoys representing investors and businesses focused on creating positive social and environmental impact.

Umar is active in Gateway’s Banking & Finance, Conversion Factory, In-House Regulatory and Compliance, Real Estate, Social Responsibility & Impact, Turkey, and Waqf & Philanthropy practices.

He is Lecturer in Law at the University of Connecticut School of Law and an adjunct faculty member at Michigan State Law School and Hartford Seminary, where he teaches courses in Islamic law and ethics, Islamic finance, and halal food. Mr. Moghul earned his J.D. from Temple University and his B.A. and M.A. from the University of Pennsylvania. He has been admitted to practice law in the States of New York, Connecticut, and Texas.

 

Harris Irfan

Harris is widely recognised as one of the world’s leading Islamic bankers. He is an investment banker with 24 years experience in London and the Middle East, and the author of the critically acclaimed narrative of the Islamic finance industry, Heaven’s Bankers: Inside the Hidden World of Islamic Finance.

Harris was the co-founder of Deutsche Bank’s world leading Islamic finance team where he led some of the most ground-breaking deals in the industry including several billion dollars of sukuk and Islamic private equity deals, and a number of firsts such as the first convertible sukuk and the first multi-asset class Shari’a compliant hedging and structured products platform. He was then appointed CEO of Deutsche’s Islamic finance think tank, which he successfully restructured and turned around during the financial crisis. He was subsequently appointed global head of Islamic finance at Barclays where his team won three major industry awards.

He joined European Islamic Investment Bank in 2012 with a mandate to restructure the bank and oversee the acquisition of the asset management firm, Rasmala, and its conversion into a provider of Shari’a compliant products. Within a year of joining, the bank turned its first profit since the financial crisis. Within 2 years, it had tripled assets under management. As Head of Investment Banking, Harris led the investment banking division to become the most profitable within the firm. Rebranded as the Rasmala group, Harris sat on the group’s Executive Management Committee, Credit & Investment Committee and PR & Communications Committee.

Harris is an active member of Gateway’s Banking & Finance, Business Recovery, Conversion Factory, Digital Strategy & Fintech, Executive Strategy, Real Estate, and Turkey practices.

Harris was named one of the top 50 leaders in the global Islamic finance economy by Islamica 500. He has a degree in Physics from the University of Oxford.

 

Suhail Ahmad

Suhail is an entrepreneurial leader, experienced director, trusted adviser, and speaker on digital strategy, business development, and financial technology.

Suhail leverages twenty years of experience in financial services and technology management to empower c-suite executives, investors, and entrepreneurs with the knowledge and resources they need to succeed in a digital economy. Being an early adopter of the internet and founder of FinancialGuide.com in 1997, Suhail helps businesses identity genuine business and technology opportunities.

On the board of several start-ups and having successfully built and sold two fintech companies, Suhail knows firsthand the roller-coaster entrepreneurs face developing their businesses. As an adviser to tech founders and entrepreneurs, Suhail helps them navigate the start-up journey and turn their dreams into reality. Fintech companies are able to leverage Suhail’s intricate understanding of the financial industry.

As a former Chief Executive of a boutique investment bank and having a decade-long career in financial advisory, Suhail helps start-ups reduce their sales cycles, become investor ready, and grow profitably. Bankers and financial institutions enjoy learning from Suhail as he understands their language and helps them cut through the noise and hype. Whether it be adopting digital technologies to improve the customer journey or evaluating blockchain and artificial intelligence (AI) to reduce risk, he is an invaluable resource for leadership teams.

Suhail has also led training workshops, spoken at international conferences, and is a well-regarded author on fintech and entrepreneurship. As a speaker, Suhail’s focuses on helping people manage risk, evaluate business and investment opportunities, and make sense of the new digital world.

Suhail is an active member of Gateway’s Digital Strategy & Fintech and Executive Strategy practices.

 

Muna AlMannai

Dr. Al Mannai has more than 14 years of experience in the field of regulatory compliance.

She started her career at the treasury department of a major Qatari bank. After obtaining her MA in Investment Finance, Ms. Al Mannai moved to the Kingdom of Bahrain to join the Bahraini Bourse (Stock exchange) as a Financial Analyst and was soon promoted to the position of Head of the Financial Analysis and Information Unit.

Ms. Al Mannai later moved to the Central Bank of Bahrain to assist in the establishment of the Capital Markets Supervision Directorate. She held the post of Head of Issuance, Corporate Restructuring and Investor Protections department, and was responsible for supervising offering applications for IPOs, existing public companies and private placements, and ensuring that listed companies complied with all rules and regulations.

At a national level, Ms. Al Mannai was a member of the corporate Governance Committee, established by the Ministry of Industry and Commerce to draw up the “Corporate Governance Code” for the Kingdom of Bahrain.

Muna is active in Gateway’s Executive Strategy, Gender Equity & Inclusivity, In-House Regulatory & Compliance, Social Responsibility & Impact, and Waqf & Philanthropy practices.

Ms. Al Mannai obtained her PhD in Islamic Finance from Durham University in 2017.

 

Saeeda Ahmed

Saeeda has been involved in the education, skills and economic participation agenda for over 15 years at both a strategic and operational level.

Saeeda aims to provide solutions to society, industries and educational providers in innovative, effective and fun ways. Many of the unique projects she leads address underlying issues in simple yet effective ways. Saeeda designs comprehensive, bespoke educational and business models to enable her clients fulfill their organisational goals and needs.

Saeeda founded Education Partnerships UK to deliver high quality, innovative, creative and flexible programmes globally. It holds strategic importance, has won numerous accolades and awards, and is globally recognised for what it does.

Saeeda is an active member of Gateway’s Executive Strategy, Gender Equity & Inclusivity, Social Responsibility & Impact, and Waqf & Philanthropy practices.

Fiona Kirubi

Fiona (Farha) Kirubi has experience in wealth and portfolio management including asset allocation, investment consulting and insurance advisory. Based in Gateway’s growing Africa practice. She is active with Gateway’s Conversion Factory, Digital Strategy & Fintech, Gender Equity & Inclusivity, Real Estate, and Social Responsibility & Impact practices.

Fiona leads tailored trainings in Islamic banking in both East Africa and Asia as well as leadership and professional development. She brings her versatile experience and empathy to offer clients a deep and global outlook in their business decisions.

As a serial entrepreneur she launched several companies and is listed in the Women in FinTech Powerlist 2017. She is the chairperson for Muslim Women Tech, an NGO based in Malaysia, and currently sits on the board of two charity foundations, Stara Rescue Center and Talent Foundation International in Kenya.

Fiona earned her MBA from Harvard University and an M.A. in Islamic finance from INCEIF, in addition to her B.B.A. from American University in Dubai, and a B.A. in finance and management from Richmond University- UK.

Hilal Sheikh

Hilal is an Islamic finance lawyer, with particular experience in private international law and securities laws in the EU and the US.

He began his career in the banking and finance sector in the City of London in 2002, working with major banks. After observing the wide-ranging impact of the global financial crisis in 2007, Hilal sought an alternative career as a lawyer. During this time, Hilal also acted in the capacity of litigation friend on several matters at Immigration and Employment Tribunals, and the County and High Courts in England.

In his spare time, Hilal is also a consultant with a leading global not-for-profit organisation focused on promoting and enhancing the Islamic finance sector through building capacity and influencing government policy.

Hilal is active with Gateway’s Banking & Finance, Business Recovery, Dispute Resolution, and Turkey practices.

He studied law at Birkbeck College, University of London in 2013, whilst working part-time and caring for his young family.

 

Daud Vicary Abdullah

Daud has over 40 years experience in the financial services sector with such institutions as Lloyds Bank, Chemical Bank and Midland Bank. He has been the CEO of two Islamic Banks based in Malaysia and spent two spells at Deloitte as a Partner, the second as Global Leader for Islamic Finance, along the way he has been involved in a technology start up in the 1980’s, formed his own Consulting and advisory company and his most recently was as the President and CEO of INCEIF – The Global University of Islamic Finance.

Daud is active in advisory around financial services, Islamic Finance, entrepreneurship, social impact finance and education. He serves on the Board of Trustees of the Responsible Finance Institute Foundation, is a Distinguished Fellow of the Islamic Banking and Finance Institute of Malaysia and a member of the UK Governments Advisory Board known as the Global Islamic Finance Investment Group. He continues as an advisor to INCEIF and has recently become an Advisor to the International Federation of Red Cross on matters pertaining to Islamic Finance.

Daud is active in Gateway’s Banking & Finance, Conversion Factory, Executive Strategy, Social Responsibility & Impact, and Waqf & Philanthropy practices.

 

Conor Damien Murphy

Conor has 24 years of experience in banking and finance, specializing in financial strategy development, financial risk management, Islamic banking, management consulting, policies development, corporate governance and auditing. Conor started his career with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) in Jersey, Channel Islands and qualified as a Chartered Accountant (ACA) with the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.

Since 2003, Conor has worked solely in Islamic finance, mainly for AAA-rated, multilateral development bank, Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. He acquired an extensive knowledge on Islamic product development and its Islamic asset-liability management frameworks, managing the credit rating profile (vis-à-vis S&P, Moodys and Fitch rating methodologies) and building financial sustainability models.

Conor has served on a number of senior bank committees such as ALCO, Risk Committee and Policy Committee. He has led multidisciplinary teams for development of policies and banking standards; participated as committee  ember on developing innovative Islamic finance products and chairing evaluation committees for innovation in Islamic development projects. In addition, he has served on committees for developing industry standards such as the Oversight Technical Committee for developing Islamic banking and risk management literature for Global Association of Risk Professionals (GARP).

Conor has worked on a number of international projects particularly in asset remediation assignments for Islamic banks and specialised derivative products. He has also served on joint teams with the World Bank and IMF on debt restructuring of ‘Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC)’, successfully arranging debt write-off through the Paris Club for African countries.

Conor has written articles on Islamic finance and is an EdX Instructor for the online-training courses for Islamic Banking & Finance courses for Islamic Research & Training Institute (IRTI).

Conor is active with Gateway’s Banking & Finance, Conversion Factory and Executive Strategy practices.

Conor studied his BA and MA in Physics at Oxford University and MSc in Radiational Physics at University of Birmingham. In addition to being a Chartered Accountant, he is a Chartered Risk Analyst (CRA) and Certified Anti-money Laundering Officer (CAMO). Conor has also received leadership development training from Thunderbird Global School of Management  Arizona, USA).