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Meet the speakers

Guest speakers

  • Ashley Knight

    Ashley Knight

    Mercer secondee at the World Economic Forum

    Ashley Knight is currently representing Mercer as a secondee at the World Economic Forum in New York City. She most recently was Mercer’s North America Head of Private Debt and, prior to that, worked in Mercer’s London office in Private Equity and Private Debt manager research. She was also a member of Mercer’s Sustainable Opportunities Investment Committee. Prior to Mercer, Ashley worked at Credit Suisse in Singapore as an Alternatives Product Specialist for family offices across Southeast Asia. She began her career at State Street Bank in Boston through their premier Professional Development Program where she worked across their Trading and Fund Solution businesses. Ashley holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Wellesley College where she graduated with honors.

  • Katerina Labrousse

    Katerina Labrousse

    Project Lead – Strategic & Long-Term Investing, World Economic Forum 

    Katerina Labrousse leads several investor communities at the World Economic Forum, focusing on the interplay between emerging global risks, sustainable investment trends and long-term value creation. Prior to that, Katerina has overseen the National Infrastructure Acceleration (NIA) workstream, where she engaged strategic dialogues with selected governments, development banks and key organizations on topics related to infrastructure financing. Katerina studied Project and Infrastructure Finance at the London Business School, holds a Master of Science in Business Administration from Haute Ecole Spécialisée de Suisse Occidentale (HES-SO) and a Master in International Management from the University of Toulouse Graduate School of Management (IAE).

  • Gail Cunningham

    Gail Cunningham

    Association of Charitable Foundations

    Gail Cunningham is Head of Investment Learning at the Association of Charitable Foundations, whose 400 members collectively hold assets of around £50bn and give over £2.5bn annually. Gail supports foundations to be ambitious and effective in the way that they use their resources, with a focus on exploring responsible, sustainable and impact investment approaches, and broadening investment knowledge among foundation staff and trustees. Gail previously worked for youth and arts charities, and within the foundation of a global financial services company where projects included funding the Canadian Task Force on Social Finance and providing support to the Community Forward Fund, one of the first social finance loan providers in Canada.

  • Jim Roth

    Dr Jim Roth

    University of Edinburgh

    Dr Jim Roth is an expert in Impact Investing with an inherent entrepreneurial flair for conceptualising and developing untapped markets resulting in the creation of Zamo Capital and Leapfrog Investments. Zamo Capital is Europe’s first specialist investor in impact investment firms. Zamo acquires equity stakes in impact fund managers, providing capital and its proven expertise, as well as intensive support and an established network of investors to help raise new capital to accelerate the growth of these firms. Jim previously co-founded LeapFrog Investments a world leading Private Equity Group that was ranked by Fortune in 2017 as one of the top 5 companies changing the world and endorsed by President Bill Clinton: “Leapfrog’s team is widely recognised as having opened up a new frontier for alternative investing.” He is a member of the Economic Advisory Board of the International Finance Corporation and a member of the investment committee of the University of Edinburgh Endowment. He has an MA from the University of Manchester and a PhD in Economics from the University of Cambridge.

  • Dinesh Visavadia

    Dinesh Visavadia

    Independent advisor/trustee

    Dinesh, joined the Independent Trustee Services in October 2016, has broad trustee experience in both the charitable sector and the pensions arena. He has been a trustee of numerous Charities for some years, including Action for Children Pension Fund, The Ambulance Staff Charity and St Christopher’s Fellowship. Prior to joining ITS, Dinesh held various senior pensions management roles at Britvic Soft Drinks Ltd, John Lewis Partnership, Royal Mail Group plc and JP Morgan. 

  • Paul Blyth

    Paul Blyth

    Friends Provident Foundation, Investment Committee

    After 14 years in the field, Paul says the more he learns about Impact/ ESG Investment, the less he realises he knows. Others describe him as a pioneer on account of his work with eBay’s MicroPlace and PayPal Asset Management’s Fund for Good, with European pension funds investing for Impact, and since 2015 helping non-profits invest across all asset classes, including his critical role behind the Friends Provident Foundation’s recent ESG Olympics link. Paul trained as a Chartered Accountant and Management Consultant with PwC before working in industry with GKN/Brambles/CHEP; in 2007 he switched gears into Impact Investment and has never looked back. Paul chairs the Financial Inclusion Forum, sits on the board of the Church Investors Group, and on the Friends Provident Foundation Investment Committee; Paul’s “day job” is helping institutions invest for impact. He just adopted a portly cat called Susan from the RSPCA – they are both on a diet.

Mercer Speakers

  • Amit Popat

    Amit Popat

    “European Head of NFP’s”, Mercer Investment solutions

    Amit has over 10 years of experience at Mercer where he was initially responsible for the strategy and growth of Mercer’s Fiduciary Management business in Europe.  Subsequently he was based out of Singapore where was the Regional Business Leader for the Fiduciary Management business within the Growth markets (Asia ex Japan, Middle East, Africa and Latin America).

     

    Amit has over 25 years' experience within the asset management industry and, prior to joining Mercer, he was a Senior Vice President at Banco Santander Group and Head of the Institutional Business for their fund of hedge funds business. He was responsible for developing and establishing the institutional infrastructure globally and he was Head of the UK office.

     

    Amit has also spent a number of years with Northern Trust Global Investments where he was head of expanding the business across a full range of clients within the UK, Ireland and the Nordics. Prior to that he was with Fidelity Investments and the London Stock Exchange.

     

    Amit graduated with an honours degree in Economics (specializing on Corporate Finance) and Biology. He is an associate of the Chartered Insurance Institute and is IMC qualified.  He is also regulated to provide investment services in HK and Singapore.

  • Deb Clarke

    Deb Clarke

    Global Head of Investment Research

    Deb is a senior partner in Mercer’s Wealth business. In her role as Global Head of Investment Research, Deb is responsible for manager research and strategic research, and she manages a group of more than 100 asset-class specialists across alternatives, fixed income, equities and real estate. She also oversees the teams responsible for strategic asset allocation, dynamic asset allocation, strategic research and responsible investing. These teams work together to support Mercer’s full range of client solutions, from advisory to fiduciary management. Deb is based in London, England.

     

    Deb was previously the Global Leader of Mercer’s Equity Boutique, specializing in researching global equity and global emerging market equity managers. Deb chairs Mercer’s Global Policy Committee and is a member of the Mainstream Assets Global Investment Committee.

     

    Deb joined Mercer in November 2005 from Watson Wyatt, where she was a senior investment consultant advising a range of clients and researching Asian and emerging market equity managers. Previously, Deb was a fund manager for 20 years, most recently working for Friends Ivory & Sime as Head of Equities.

     

    Deb holds a bachelor’s degree (with honors) in business studies from Plymouth University in Plymouth, England, and is an associate of the Society of Investment Professionals, UK. Deb received the 2016 Distinguished Woman Investment Professional of the Year award.

  • Paul Fleming

    Paul Fleming

    Head of UK Endowments and Foundations

    Paul is Head of Investment Solutions for UK Endowments and Foundations and joined Mercer in 2018. He has nine years investment experience within Asset Management.

     

    Based in London, Paul works closely with Endowment & Foundation clients with various governance requirements to support efficient implementation of Mercer’s strategic advice.

     

    Paul has extensive experience on the fund management side, initially as a Global Equities Analyst before managing investments for Charities with Cazenove Capital and heading the Charities teams at Baring Asset Management and Bank of Montreal (F&C Investments).

     

    Paul has an LLB from the University of Edinburgh Law School and an MA (Hons) International Business from Heriot Watt University. Paul has the Investment Advice Diploma (IAD) and has completed Units 1&2 of the CISI Master’s program. Paul is Trustee and Chairman of a UK medical awareness charity.

  • Sarika Goel

    Sarika Goel

    Global Responsible Investment team 

    Sarika Goel is a member of the Global Responsible Investment team at Mercer, focusing on manager research. Her primary responsibility is researching ethical, environmental and other responsible investment themed investment strategies in the listed equity space. She also works with other researchers across asset classes in assessing the extent to which fund managers incorporate ESG factors into their investment analysis.

     

    Prior to joining Mercer in August 2010, she spent three years at RBC Wealth Management in London covering various roles within the Advisory and Discretionary business groups. Previously, she spent over two years as an equity research associate at Scotia Capital in Toronto, Canada, covering the Canadian Banks and Diversified Financials sectors, and a did an internship as equity analyst at Sprucegrove Investment Management covering the Canadian income trust sector.

     

    Sarika holds an MBA from the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto, and is a CFA charterholder

  • Jillian Reid

    Jillian Reid

    Senior Responsible Investment Specialist

    Jillian is a Principal in Mercer’s responsible investment team, advising super funds and other institutional investors on how to integrate environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors, sustainability trends, climate change, and stewardship, within investment processes.

     

    In addition, Jillian contributes to new intellectual capital and integrating responsible investment for Mercer globally, including within the delegated solutions. Jillian was project manager and co-author for Mercer’s 2015 Investing in a Time of Climate Change report and ‘The Sequel’ in 2019; she has written and presented on Water, too much and too little; and helped multiple Boards to balance risk, return, and reputation implications for sensitive investment topics.

     

    Jillian has 20 years’ experience in financial services. She began at Mercer in 2004, transitioning to responsible investment in 2011, and has worked in both the Sydney and London office.  Prior to Mercer, Jillian spent five years at an Australian multi-manager, after beginning her career in teaching.

     

    Jillian holds a Master of Arts in Development Studies from the University of New South Wales; a Bachelor of Arts and a Diploma of Education, both from the University of Newcastle; and a Graduate Diploma in Applied Finance and Investment from the Financial Services Institute of Australasia.

  • Rekha Owen

    Rekha Owen

    Private Markets Specialist 

    Rekha is a private markets specialist within Mercer's delegated solutions business.  She is responsible for supporting UK clients who have delegated the construction of their private markets portfolio to Mercer.  Rekha has held a number of previous roles at Mercer, having joined the firm in 1999.  Most recently, Rekha was a senior business development consultant within the delegated solutions team.  Prior to this, she was a senior investment consultant and team leader within Mercer's Leeds practice, providing advice to a range of defined benefit and defined contribution clients on all aspects relating to the investment of their assets.

     

    Rekha has a degree in Accountancy and Financial Management from the University of Sheffield and qualified as a Chartered Financial Analyst in 2002.

  • Steve Sowden

    Steve Sowden

    Investment Consultant

    Steven is a senior investment consultant with 17 years industry experience.  He specialises in asset liability modelling and climate crisis risk.  Steven has been a member of Mercer’s Endowment and Foundation team since 2016.

  • Amarik Ubhi

    Amarik Ubhi

    Head of Infrastructure, Mercer Investment solutions

    Amarik is an investment specilaist within Mercer’s Private Markets Business, responsible for the sourcing, analysis and implementation of sustainable investment opportunities in equity debt and infrastructure, and across primary, secondary and co-investment opportunities. In this role, Amarik also advises institutional investors on manager selection, portfolio construction and implementation of such investments, and produces research materials and intellectual capital on the asset class. Prior to his current role, Amarik was a consultant within Mercer's investments business responsible for advising institutional investors on the full range of investment-related issues. 

     

    Amarik joined mercer in 2003 after graduating from the university of Cambridge with a degree in economics, and is a CFA charterholder.




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