Professor Dr. Obiyathulla Ismath Bacha
Islamic Finance and Capital Market Consultant
Professor Obiyathulla is currently the President of the Malaysian Economic Association and a committee member of the Malaysian Finance Association. He is also a consultant on Sukuk and Islamic Finance to several international intuitions such as Islamic Development Bank, World Bank and Bank Negara Malaysia. He is a Shariah advisor to Great Eastern Malaysia and seats on the Shariah Panel of HSBC Amanah, Sabana REIT and AEP investment management which was owned by Al Rajhi Group, one of Saudi Arabia’s highly regarded and successful private investment companies. The Al Rajhi Group is a diversified investment house with significant investment holdings in real estate, infrastructure, construction and industrial businesses.
Professor Obiyathulla has been a trainer at several institutions such as the Securities Commission Malaysia and the Central Bank of Malaysia, and featured in numerous local and international journals and has presented papers at several international and Islamic finance conferences. He received his Doctor of Business Administration (Finance), Master of Business Administration (High Honours) and Master of Arts (Economics) from Boston University and Bachelor of Social Science from the University Science Malaysia.
Nicholas specializes in the China market and the broad ASEAN region, and is responsible for the formation and management of offshore fund structures suitable for the needs of clients.
In 2009, he received a national award from the government of Mongolia, recognizing contribution to country in the area of Banking & Finance. Prior to his assignment in Mongolia, he worked at Merrill Lynch Asia Pacific (Hong Kong) as a Financial Advisor. In this time, aside from traditional banking products and services, he managed the Directed Share Programs (DSP) of Chinese company IPOs of 2007, including Giant Interactive, Visionchina, Vanceinfo and Xinyuan. He was also responsible for corporate cash management, and the operations of the back office team. He was responsible for the offshore management of clients in China, and has experience in structuring of umbrella trusts, funds, prime brokerage deals, private equity, packaging of private placement life insurance (PPLI) instruments, etc. He is familiar with pre‐IPO strategy and fund‐raising structures and equities trading.
Nicholas also served as the Head of China for Far East Organization, the largest private property developer in Singapore. He was responsible for operations of the entire country, and managed P&L. Starting his career with Philip Capital Singapore as part of the Financial Adviser Representative (Trading) team, managing portfolios that included securities, bonds, foreign currencies, notes, futures, funds/unit trusts, loans, insurance, etc. At Standard Chartered Bank Singapore, as a priority banker, he was responsible for client portfolios that also included such diverse combinations of products and services.
He holds Bachelor of Commerce – Accounting & Finance and Bachelor of Arts – English (Hons) degrees from Monash University, Melbourne Australia. He is also a member of Mensa International.
Philip has over 15 years of experience in asset management and investment banking. He is currently the Portfolio Manager and Managing Director of an Asian based family office. Prior to that, Philip was Senior Managing Director and Head of Global Capital Markets Group of Yorkville Advisors, LLC. (a fund manager which managed about US$1 billion of assets), a member of the Yorkville’s Investment Committee, and a Responsible Officer of Yorkville Advisors (Hong Kong) Ltd. While at Yorkville, Philip was responsible for all of the firm’s transactions in Australia, Canada and the Asia Pacific region, and certain high profile transactions in Europe, primarily in the natural resources sector.
Before joining Yorkville, Philip worked at the Investment Banking Group at Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. and the Investment Banking Group of Keybanc Capital Markets, where he specialized in corporate finance, mergers and acquisitions and bankruptcy reorganizations.
Philip earned a BS in Chemical Engineering from Columbia University and an MBA from Carnegie Mellon University. Philip is registered with Type 1, 4 and 6 licenses with the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission, and has obtained the NASD Series 7 and 63 licenses in the US.
Kunalan brings with him over 17 years of investment banking experience ranging from wealth management to asset, management and private equity, predominantly in Asia. Prior to establishing Tarian Capital Partners, formerly known as Emirates Tarian Capital (S) Pte Ltd (“ETC”) in November 2004, a leading advisory and consultancy firm in Singapore advising clients and government organizations looking to expand into the middle east markets, Kunalan held different positions in various investment banks.
In 1997, Kunalan was appointed as Director at Societe Generale Asia Singapore, where he handled the proprietary trading for the bank with a portfolio of over US$500million. He was also responsible for developing the distressed trading business for the bank, in 1998, which went on to be a very bank outside of Singapore. In June 2000, he was appointed as Director, Fixed Income and Derivatives for Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein, the investment-banking arm of Dresdner Bank. Prior to establishing ETC, he was part of a team managing investable business. He was also part of a team that was mandated and executed the largest credit derivative transaction by a central government of over US$500million in a boutique fund manager, Chikara Capital Markets and was personally involved in the growth of its private wealth management business in the Middle East.
Kunalan received his honours degree from Leicester University, United Kingdom in 1993, where he majored in Economics, Econometrics and Statistics.
Partner, Middle East
Gilles is currently the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of La Tresorerie Private Bank in Dubai. He is also the Board member of Emirates Real Estate Investment Trust (Emirates REIT).
Gilles was the Board member and CEO of Mirabaud (Middle East) Limited helping Mirabaud to obtain a private banking and asset management license from the DIFC in 2007 and upgrading to a full banking license in 2010. Mirabaud is the only full-fledged Swiss Private Bank in the Middle East reaching profitability in 2010 and crossed half a billion dollars in AUMs. He also set up an M&A practice focused on servicing Family Offices and Private Banking Clients. This team successfully advised Al Hokair on the sale of Fitness First to Landmark and completed a restructuring of Omantel’s Pakistani subsidiary.
Prior to Mirabaud, Gilles was the CEO Middle East and Subcontinent Private Banking for ABN AMRO Bank N.V. He successfully led ABN AMRO’s Middle East Private Banking strategy and its teams based in Dubai, Geneva, Abu Dhabi, Luxembourg, Monaco and London (70 staff) and was overall responsible for total assets of $5.5 billion and NNAs of $1 billion in 2007. In less than 2 years, doubled the UAE revenue base and tripled the net profit and grew total assets booked in the UAE from $650mln to $1.3 billion in one year. Gilles also served as Senior Relationship Banker in San Francisco, Country Manager SVP in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, Head of Investment Banking SVP in Johannesburg, South Africa, Assistant Vice President, Corporate Finance Asia in Hong Kong during his stint in AMRO Bank.
He was a General Manager for BFCE in North Vietnam and started his career with Goldman, Sachs & Co as a financial analyst in New York Gilles has a MBA from Insead and graduated from Middlebury College in USA with a Bachelor if Administration in Political Science with Honours: Cum Laude, Dean’s List.
Syed Tariq Husain
Partner, South Asia
Syed Tariq Husain was the Chief Executive Officer of Emirates Investments Group LLC from December 10 – March 14. He served as Chief Executive Officer of Emirates Global Islamic Bank Limited from August 2005 to November 2010. Throughout his career, Mr. Husain has established and developed start-up ventures and businesses.
Mr. Husain has more than 30 years of work experience, of which last 14 years have been focused on private equity investments and real estate; food and agri investments; and Islamic banking and Islamic structured finance, Islamic insurance and fund management.
Mr. Husain has held senior positions including 5 years as Head of Global Islamic Finance and Director of Structured Finance of ANZ Investment Bank. Earlier, he headed the Islamic finance and investment divisions at Dubai Investment Group before which he had a fifteen year career at ANZ Bank and ANZ Investment Bank. He served at ANZ Bank in London, Dubai and Karachi in Investment and Corporate Banking.
Mr. Husain was responsible for the development of Islamic finance capability including establishment of a listed Takaful company and Islamic Property Fund for Dubai Investment Group. He had senior assignments in leading activities focused on Shari’ah compliant investment banking, real estate investments, Ijara fund management and Takaful businesses. At ANZ Bank, He headed regional and country-specific divisions and functions including treasury, planning and strategy, retail banking and internal audit.
Prior to ANZ, Mr. Husain career assignments were mainly in audit and accountancy in Deloittes UK, E&Y Canada and PWC Pakistan. Mr. Husain is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales and qualified in 1981. Subsequently he qualified as a Chartered Accountant from Pakistan (1987)and Canada (1986). He is also a member of ICAP. Mr. Husain obtained an M.B.A. in Finance and Accounting from Schulich School of Business from York University in 1977.
Having practiced extensively as a Barrister, Lawyer and Accountant, James provides highly skilled legal and company secretarial administration of BFG’s corporate governance structure. His adept history of sourcing successful wealth creation opportunities for sophisticated, high-net worth investors fits meticulously within the BFG model.
A successful legal career with high profile clients such as Fosters Group and Bonlac Foods, teamed with corporate advisory roles, management buyouts, and listings on the ASX positions James in good stead to advise on BFG’s governance and strategy policies.
James comes with a First Class Honors in Law and Commerce from Melbourne University.
Bobby envisioned and co-founded the Sabana Shari’ah Compliant Industrial REIT, he is a key person in the creation and leading the listing of the REIT. Designed the REIT structure and project lead the formation towards the IPO process, including leading the various road-shows for getting in the cornerstone investors such as Al Salam Bank from Bahrain, Fidelity Investment Management from Hong Kong, Capita Bank from Jordon, Brunei Investment Authority from Brunei and Employees Provident Fund from Malaysia which the IPO raised SGD664 million and 12 times oversubscribed.
Sabana is a Singapore-based SGX listed REIT that creates value for its unitholders by investing in income-producing industrial real estate in Asia in line with Gulf Cooperation Council Shari’ah investment principles. Sabana is the world largest listed Shari’ah compliant REIT with current AUM of S$1 billion listed with S$850 million of assets in Nov 2010. Sabana is the first Shari’ah compliant REIT listed in Singapore and is also the first listed REIT in the world to adopt GCC Shari’ah compliant standard. Sabana had executed over USD2 billion worth of real estate transactions in debt and equity.
Also currently serving as President of Gulf Asia Shariah Compliant Association (“Gascia”) a non-profit organization which he founded with the objective to facilitate and promote awareness and understanding of Islamic Finance and encourage Islamic Finance market participants, particularly from the Gulf and Asia. Graduated from Monash University with a Master Degree in Business Systems and a Bachelor of Commerce, majoring in Management from the University of Western Sydney.