Scotland to host historic dialogue between global leaders in ethical finance. Middle East Global Advisors, a leading financial intelligence platform spearheading the agenda of sustainable and inclusive finance, announced that it will convene the second edition of the much-coveted Global Ethical Finance Forum (GEFF) on September 13th and 14th in Edinburgh, Scotland. Based on a strategic partnership with Islamic Finance Council UK (UKIFC), the Forum will be held under the patronage of the Scottish Government, and will be hosted by the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), 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. GEFF will reinforce its reputation as the pre-eminent gathering of the most influential global leaders from the Banking, Socially Responsible Investing (SRI), Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG) and faith-based finance sectors.
GEFF 2017 will take place on September 13th and 14th at the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS)’s prestigious Conference Centre in Edinburgh.
Speaking ahead of GEFF 2017, Ehsan Abbas, Chairman of Middle East Global Advisors, said: “Upon its inception, the vision ascribed to GEFF was to serve as a catalyst to unlock new opportunities for growth, provide unique solutions for key issues and chart the roadmap for the ethical finance industry.”
Reflecting on the two years since the ground-breaking forum was launched, Mr. Abbas said, “GEFF 2017 will take stock of developments encompassing the responsible finance universe and raise awareness about the moral limits of financial markets which were highlighted during the recent financial crisis. Whilst the core segments of ethical finance-Banking, SRI, ESG and Islamic finance – share the same values-based approach, they are separated by boundaries of geography, perception and methodology. Converging them onto one platform will strengthen the global value proposition of ethical finance. We look forward to convening GEFF 2017.”
Scotland is a fitting destination for hosting the narrative due to its strong heritage in ethical finance which includes the creation of financial institutions dating back to the development of savings banks by Rev. Henry Duncan. Since GEFF 2015, Scotland has forged ahead as a leader in ethical finance with: Glasgow-based UKIFC winning the Ethical Finance Innovation and Challenge Award in the UAE; a government-backed Ethical Finance Hub being established; the world’s first interfaith joint financial services initiative between Muslims and Christians being launched; and Al Rayan Bank opening its first Scottish office.
A testament to the scale and impact of the Forum in terms of cultivating exclusive experiences for its attendees, GEFF will once again include an exclusive Civic Reception at Edinburgh Castle, which will be hosted by the Scottish Government.
Speaking on behalf of the GEFF’s Strategic Partner, the Islamic Finance Council UK (UKIFC), Omar Shaikh, Advisory Board Member, Islamic Finance Council UK (UKIFC) said, “Following overwhelmingly positive feedback from GEFF 2015, we are delighted to bring the forum back to Edinburgh. We are committed to creating socially responsible and fairer economies and hosting GEFF 2017 will further Scotland’s reputation as a worldwide industry leader in ethical finance.”
This year’s event will take place within the context of unprecedented political and economic times. Political developments in the US, UK and Europe, including the rise of populist leaders, have sparked domestic debates around globalization and protectionism. Some analysts argue that the ultimate root of these debates stems from financial deregulation and an incentive system in the financial sector that enabled or indeed pays off unethical behaviour. With the new President of the United States expressing views which appear to reinforce shareholder primacy and relegate ethical considerations, the time is now more than ever to demonstrate unity amongst individuals and organisations committed to financial inclusion, protecting natural resources and conducting business fairly.
Speaking on behalf of host partner – Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), Malcolm Buchanan, Chairman, RBS, Scotland Board, said, “The Global Ethical Finance Forum is an important date in the banking calendar and Royal Bank of Scotland is delighted to be hosting this year’s event at our Conference Centre at Gogarburn. GEFF will bring together voices from across the globe and offer an insight into the thoughts and opinions of industry leaders. It is a fantastic opportunity to bring such a forum to Scotland.”
The agenda at GEFF 2017 will include critical conversations on the intellectual and philosophical history of ethics in finance, the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, the case for ethical banking in developed and emerging markets, collaboration between Islamic and traditional responsible finance around climate-related initiatives, responsible financial innovation, and much more.
GEFF 2015 brought over 300 ethical finance experts from more than 30 countries to Edinburgh to discuss opportunities to grow the global ethical finance industry through collaboration and convergence.
The powerful line-up of speakers included:
– Keith Brown MSP, Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Jobs & Fair Work
– Dr. Zeti Akhtar Aziz, Former Governor of Bank Negara Malaysia
– HRH Emir Muhammad Sanusi II, Emir of Kano
– Humza Yousaf MSP, Scotland’s Minister for Transport and the Islands
– Lord Mohamed Sheikh, Baron Sheikh of Cornhill
– Edward Mason, Head of Responsible Investment at Church Commissioners for England
– Michael Bennett, Head of Derivatives and Structured Finance at the World Bank
– Abdulla Al Awar, CEO, Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre