Based at the University of Cambridge Judge Business School, the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance (CCAF) is run by its Executive Team and governed by an Oversight Committee.

Executive team

Bryan Zhang

Co-founder and Executive Director, Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance

Bryan is interested in the development of technology-enabled financial innovation and its interplay with regulatory, supervisory and policy innovation nationally, regionally and globally. Since 2013, Bryan has led and co-authored more than 40 some of the most influential industry and regulatory reports on FinTech business models, digital finance market trends, global policy landscape and regulatory innovation initiatives. He has advised and collaborated with numerous institutions and organisations including the UK Financial Conduct Authority, the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office, the European Commission, the World Bank, the United Nations, the Bank of International Settlements, the International Monetary Fund, the World Economic Forum and the Gates Foundation. Bryan is currently a member of Bank of England’s CBDC Engagement Forum, OECD’s Steering Group on SME and Entrepreneurship Finance, Dubai International Financial Centre’s Innovation Panel and an ASCR of King’s College Cambridge. He was trained in Economic Geography, Development and Public Policy at Cambridge and Oxford Universities.

Dee Allen

Lead in Capacity Building and Education, Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance

Dee has expertise in the strategic leadership, management, delivery and impact evaluation of higher education degrees, executive education programmes and research projects in the UK, Asia and Africa. She also has experience in delivering lectures, seminars, workshops, webinars, online programmes and conducting academic research as a senior academic, L&D specialist, social entrepreneur and former lawyer. Dee holds an LLM in International Law from SOAS, University of London which included studying Law of International Finance and International Economic Law at King’s College and London School of Economics respectively as an inter-collegiate student of the University of London.

Dee’s PhD research focused on SME entrepreneurship and organisational behaviour using as a case study, a multinational social impact FinTech. Dee is also a Chartered Fellow of the CIPD and Fellow of the Higher Education Authority.

Hunter Sims

Associate Director of Business & Operations

Hunter’s research interests are in digital payments, financial inclusion, open banking and more broadly frontier market investing. Prior to joining the Centre, Hunter worked in the finance industry, beginning his career in corporate banking in the United States, later transitioning to Rwanda to facilitate a turnaround plan and digital transformation strategy at a microfinance bank as Head of Credit. This included the implementation of a USSD-enabled digital payments platform enabling the disbursement and collection of credit via an agent network to 200,000+ clients across the country. Hunter holds an MBA from the University of Cambridge with a Concentration in Finance.

Sara Coupe

HR Lead, Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance

Sara joined the CCAF to coordinate the Catalyst Fund Inclusive FinTech Internship Programme, a collaborative project between the CCAF and the Catalyst Fund. Sara’s work involves recruiting, onboarding, training and supporting interns on the CF programme. Sara’s background is in HR and she is a member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. Prior to joining the CCAF, Sara ran her own HR consultancy business working with SMEs for five years and also taught on an MBA programme for the Open University Business School. Sara studied history at York University and this continues to be a great interest. Sara previously lived in the US and was a walking tour guide in Boston.

Centre staff

Yvona Duncan

Centre Manager, Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance

Yvona’s role focuses on managing the day-to-day operation matters of the Centre. She brings a wealth of experience in project and process management as well as economic and sustainable development. Her professional career prior to joining the Centre included running her own business, managing projects in cyber security, sustainable leadership and business support. She holds a masters degree in Economics from the Technical University of Ostrava and a masters degree in Sustainable Development from the University of Exeter.

Neil Jessiman

Communications Manager, Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance

Neil’s background is in communications, marketing, public relations, media relations, analyst relations and brand management. He has worked agency side and in-house in the mobile communications, IT, enterprise communications, leisure and defence communications sectors. He is responsible for promoting the Centre’s research agenda, managing its social media profile, developing digital content and maintaining relationships with key media.

May Tu

Centre Finance Coordinator, Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance

May’s primary role is to provide financial advice to aid planning, implementation, and management of CCAF finances to ensure declared financial and business objectives comply with financial regulations. She is involved with the budgetary and management account support to CCAF and its Directors. Prior to joining CCAF she was the Finance Manager at the Centre for Digital Built Britain, another research centre within the University of Cambridge. Before working for the University, May spent a year and a half working abroad in Australia and New Zealand, covering various financial roles.

Sarah Ombija

SSA Regulatory Researcher, Cambridge Alternative Finance Collaboration Network, Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance

Sarah is a lawyer and researcher. Her work focuses on financial services law and regulation. She is interested in approaches to the design of robust financial regulatory regimes, with a focus on emerging markets.

At the CCAF, Sarah leads research on the regulation of alternative finance in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), with the objective of providing evidence-based recommendations for policymakers and regulators seeking to develop an appropriate and fit-for-purpose regulatory framework for FinTech in the region. The position is a seconded position with FSD Africa in Nairobi, a CCAF partner in SSA.

In the course of her professional career she has worked as a banker, lecturer and researcher, including working as a lawyer in regulation, policy advocacy and consultancy for Barclays Bank, the Busara Center for Behavioural Economics, Strathmore Law School, CGAP, ITU and GIZ.

Alexander Apostolides

MENA-MED Regulatory Researcher, Cambridge Alternative Finance Collaboration Network, Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance

Alexander is the Regulatory Research Lead for MENA-MED. Alexander received his PhD and MSc from the London School of Economics, and taught at the European University Cyprus, where he was previously head of the Department of Accounting, Finance and Economics; there he gained experience in implementing EU projects in relation to Tertiary and Vocational education and combating fraud. He is an economist with a background on the economic history of the Mediterranean and with publications on the economics of peace, centred on the Cyprus settlement. Alexander also has a decade of supporting and shaping in government policy. He severed in the National Economic Council of the President of Cyprus during 2013-2017. Before joining the CCAF he worked at the British High Commission, Nicosia, as an Economist, working on combating money laundering, and leading prosperity project and delivery at post as well as being a member of the Science and Innovation Network of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.

Louise Smith

Graphic Designer, Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance

Louise is our in-house Graphic Designer, producing all of the Centre’s reports, programmes and infographics.

She graduated from the Norwich School of Art & Design several years ago and has been actively designing ever since, she joined the Centre a year ago and has been an asset ever since.

Philip Rowan

Research Associate & Regulatory Innovation Lead, Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance

Philip leads on the international aspects of CCAF’s financial innovation and financial inclusion initiatives. Philip was previously a regulator specialising in FinTech, competition policy and financial inclusion, focusing on enabling supportive regulatory environments for development. In his capacity as the International Lead at the UK Financial Conduct Authority’s Innovate initiative, he closely supported dozens of financial services regulators and governments in their efforts to promote innovation in financial services, including those in developing markets. A leading authority on regulatory sandboxes, Philip is regularly consulted by those seeking to promote innovation in regulation. During his time at CGAP Philip successfully advocated for the implementation of pro-innovation and pro-competition regulatory policies with regulators and competition authorities to promote financial inclusion. Philip has also served at the UK’s competition authority, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), where his work focused on improving competition in banking. Philip holds an MSc in Development Economics from the University of Oxford and a BSc in Economics from the University of Warwick.

Kate Belger

Administrator, Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance

Kate is Administrator for the CCAF team. She has wide experience of administrative practice across the University of Cambridge. She has worked for the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, Faculty of Mathematics, as senior secretary supporting a team of academics and researchers. Her College work includes administrative roles in the Mistress’ office at Girton College, and the Development Offices of Girton and Murray Edwards College.

Anton Dek

Research Associate, Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance

Anton leads on the CCAF’s digital tools development, in particular, the Global Alternative Finance Benchmark Dashboard. Anton’s research interests include the cryptoassets market and its behavioural aspects. Anton is the co-author of the Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index, the real-time estimate of the total electricity load and consumption of the Bitcoin network. Before joining the CCAF, Anton was doing PhD research on the cryptocurrency market agents’ behaviour modelling, teaching Data Science at the Karazin Kharkiv National University and the University of Barcelona. He also worked at, and then managed, an analytics company where he mastered the software development cycle and came across Bitcoin while working on its price modelling.

Prior to his work with cryptoassets, Anton specialised in renewable energy and worked as a Research Fellow at the Kharkiv Institute of Physics and Technology where he conducted nuclear safety tests. Anton holds an MSc in Applied Physics and an MSc in Applied Economics from the Karazin Kharkiv National University.

Felipe Ferri de Camargo Paes

Research Associate, Global Benchmarking, Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance

Felipe is a Research Associate at the CCAF, working within the Global Benchmark team. He co-led the work on ‘SME Access to Finance in LATAM’ and has participated in the development of the CCAF Alternative Finance Atlas. He pursued his bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering in Brazil and a master’s in Management at the School of Economics at the University of Coimbra (FEUC) in Portugal with a focus on sharing economy.

Krishnamurthy Suresh

APAC Market Researcher, Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance

Krish is a Senior Market Researcher for Asia-Pacific region at the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance (CCAF) and holds a PhD degree from Tumkur University in India. He has co-authored six industry reports since joining. Prior to joining CCAF, he was working as a research associate with the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Bangalore, India. His research focus is on small and medium enterprise (SME) financing, new and alternative financing models for startups and SMEs, as well as fintech regulatory frameworks. He was a visiting fellow (Pavate fellow) at the Cambridge Judge Business School in 2018.

Stanley Mutinda

MENA-MED Market Researcher, Cambridge Alternative Finance Collaboration Network, Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance

Stanley is a Market Researcher for MENA-MED at the CCAF. Prior to joining CCAF, he worked on various research projects at Busara Centre for Behavioral Economics and BFA Global. Previously, he worked for DataFirst Research Services housed at the University of Cape Town, Ericsson and Equity Bank Ltd in Kenya. He holds a Masters degree in Development Economics from the University of Cape Town, and a Bachelor of Economics degree from the University of Nairobi.

Oversight Committee

The Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance (CCAF) Oversight Committee is responsible for:

  1. ensuring the consistent alignment of the CCAF’s mission, strategy and activities with that of Cambridge Judge Business School (CJBS) and the broader University
  2. governance over the CCAF Executive Team
  3. advocacy externally and across the wider University through stakeholder engagement and facilitating collaboration.

The CCAF Oversight Committee was established in May 2022 to support the continued growth of the Centre and currently consists of the following individuals:

Robert (Bob) Wardrop

Co-Founder & Director, Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance

Bob is an economic sociologist interested in understanding how and why channels and instruments of finance emerge outside the traditional financial system and how this impacts regulators, incumbent financial institutions and consumers. In addition to his role in the School, Bob is a member of the Steering Committee for the Cambridge Centre for Data-Driven Discovery (C2D3), an interdisciplinary research centre at Cambridge bringing together expertise from across academic departments and industry to drive research into the analysis, understanding, and use of big data.

Prior to pursuing his academic career in 2010, Bob had an international career as a professional investor, most recently as a Managing Director in the investment group of one of the largest privately-owned companies in the United States where he was responsible for a portfolio of European corporate debt and equity investments. He has held several board directorships and advisory roles with academic, governmental and commercial organisations over the course of both his academic and non-academic career.

Visit Professor Robert Wardrop’s faculty profile

Raghavendra Rau

Co-founder and Academic Director, Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance

Raghu is currently the Sir Evelyn de Rothschild Professor of Finance at Cambridge Judge Business School. A past president of the European Finance Association, Raghu is Co-Editor of Financial Management and an Associate Editor of the Journal of Banking and Finance, the International Review of Finance and the Quarterly Journal of Finance.

Visit Professor Raghavendra Rau’s faculty webpage

Charmain Allen

Director of Operations and Finance at Cambridge Judge Business School

Bryan Zhang

Co-founder and Executive Director, Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance

Bryan is interested in the development of technology-enabled financial innovation and its interplay with regulatory, supervisory and policy innovation nationally, regionally and globally. Since 2013, Bryan has led and co-authored more than 40 some of the most influential industry and regulatory reports on FinTech business models, digital finance market trends, global policy landscape and regulatory innovation initiatives. He has advised and collaborated with numerous institutions and organisations including the UK Financial Conduct Authority, the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office, the European Commission, the World Bank, the United Nations, the Bank of International Settlements, the International Monetary Fund, the World Economic Forum and the Gates Foundation. Bryan is currently a member of Bank of England’s CBDC Engagement Forum, OECD’s Steering Group on SME and Entrepreneurship Finance, Dubai International Financial Centre’s Innovation Panel and an ASCR of King’s College Cambridge. He was trained in Economic Geography, Development and Public Policy at Cambridge and Oxford Universities.

Vincent Mak

Professor of Marketing & Decision Sciences at Cambridge Judge Business School

Vincent is Professor of Marketing & Decision Sciences at Cambridge Judge Business School, University of Cambridge.

Fellows, research fellows & research affiliates

Bob Wigley

Fellow, Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance

Bob is Chairman of UK Finance, Victoria Beckham, Ellestone Apparel and Bink. He is a Non-Executive Director of Nordengine Capital and the Qatar Financial Centre Authority and Chairman of its Audit Committee. He is a Trustee of the Peter Jones Foundation. He is a member of the advisory boards of Blockchain, Remora, Symphony Environmental and Tetronics International. He is a Visiting Fellow of Oxford University and Chairman of Oxford University’s Centre for Corporate Reputation. He chairs the Courtyard Appeal for the Royal College of Music and sits on its Council. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants and has a business degree and an honorary doctorate from Bath University.

He was the Chairman of Merrill Lynch Europe, Middle East and Africa before it was taken over by the Bank of America. In 2010, he was appointed an Ambassador for UK Business by the Prime Minister and chaired the Green Investment Bank Commission for the Chancellor of the Exchequer looking at how the UK might fund its carbon emission reduction obligations. In 2008, he chaired a panel of leading London financial services company CEOs for the incoming Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, producing a major report on how to maintain London’s competitiveness in global terms for the decade ahead and now sits on the Mayor’s Panel of Economic Advisers.

Between 2011 and February 2015 he was a Non-Executive Director of the Qatar Financial Centre Authority and Chairman of its Audit Committee. He was a member of the International Business Advisory Board of British Airways from April 2012 to Dec 2014. Between 2006 and 2009, Bob was a member of the Court of the Bank of England and of its Risk policy and Audit Committees, prior to which he was a Non-Executive Director of Royal Mail Group and Chairman of its Audit Committee for three years.

Ravi Bhalla

Fellow, Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance

Ravi is Head of Department for Innovation within the FCA. He provides leadership across seven key functions across his department. This includes the FCA’s Innovation Hub which houses a number of market innovation services including Innovation Pathways, Regulatory Sandbox and the Digital Sandbox. Secondly, a digital and data services function which aims to leverage a digital test environment for internal and external use cases. Thirdly, a regulator engagement function with domestic and international regulators through bilateral and multilateral agreements. This includes chairing the Global Financial Innovation Network (GFIN) and championing the Global Sandbox. Fourth, the regtech and suptech function which encourages the development of new technologies to solve regulatory challenges for firms and supervisory organisations. Fifth, an emerging technology function which researches emerging trends that influence the intersection of data, technology and financial services. Sixth, an Artificial Intelligence team which works with domestic regulators and think tanks to further the discussion in this area. And finally, a change and development function which aims to drive an internal and external change agenda including branding, marketing and communications.

He is a high-impact enterprise-level senior leader with over 17 years of management experience across telecoms, insurance and financial services in both industry (BT, AIG, Barclays, HSBC and Lloyds Banking Group) and consulting (KPMG). Ravi was previously Head of Group Design, Strategy & Transformation for Lloyds Banking Group where he led an in-house strategy and transformation consulting function at Lloyds Banking Group. This has included shaping strategic initiatives such as customer vulnerability, architectural simplification, advanced analytics, cloud operating model design, regulatory change design and operational resilience. During his time at KPMG, Ravi worked with a number of challenger banks and fintechs and played a pivotal role in establishing KPMG’s fintech practice. Ravi has received several awards, including the Barclays Gold Experience Award, the Lloyds Banking Group Leadership: Inspire Delivery Award and the Lloyds Banking Group Leadership: Inspire Collaboration Award. He was selected for the Lloyds Banking Group executive leadership talent programme, which is for colleagues who demonstrate the attributes and potential to attain an executive-level position. Ravi holds a BSc (Hons) in Business Management from the University of East Anglia and an MA in Management, Economics and International Relations from the University of St. Andrews. Ravi has published a number of articles in internationally peer reviewed journals, including most recently a co-authored paper with University of Cambridge, Judge Business School Fellow, Elisabetta Osta entitled ‘Digital Transformation and the Covid challenge, (March 2021) Journal of Digital Banking as well as individual publications ‘FinTech Innovation: Revolutionary or Evolutionary Business Model Disruption?’ (2019), Journal of Digital Banking; ‘The 12 Point Customer Engagement Model’ (2013), Journal of Brand Strategy; ‘Omnichannel: Driving Engagement through Digitization’ (2014), Journal of Digital Banking.

Bill Roberts

Fellow, Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance

Until October 2021 Bill was Head of Open Banking at the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) in the UK having previously been with its predecessor, the Competition Commission.

He was also a member of the FCA’s Open Finance Advisory Group which explored the application of open banking principles to a wider range of products such as savings, loans, investment, and insurance products. Additionally, he was on the steering group of the Government’s Smart Data review which looked at applying the same principles in other regulated sectors.

Prior to this he was with what is now Thomson Reuters and before that he was Deputy Director of the UK Consumers’ Association, Which?

Bill’s PhD research was into the evolution of consumer protection and competition legislation in the UK. He is also an alumnus of the London Business School.

Lesly Goh

Fellow, Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance

Lesly Goh is World Bank Senior Technology Advisor, former World Bank Director and Chief Technology Officer. She is a Fellow at Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance (CCAF), Cambridge Judge Business School and Senior Fellow at National University of Singapore (NUS) Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy. Lesly is a Professor of Practice at ZheJiang International Business School (ZIBS). She frequently gives lectures on data governance, FinTech and digital government transformation. Her expertise is in leveraging cloud technology to deliver agile solutions at scale for sustainable development goals (SDG) at the intersection of technology and policy frameworks. For almost 30 years, her experience on fintech, regtech, govtech spans across both the private and public sectors. Lesly’s experience covers a broad spectrum ranging from capital markets, retail banking, commercial banking, asset management, development banks and financial data providers.  She has worked extensively on the practical application of dDisruptive technology such as Blockchain, AI and IoT.

A few strategic initiatives where she applied disruptive technology to address development challenges:

1. Implementation of bond issuance on Blockchain, which raised 110M AUD on Aug 23, 2018

2. Artificial intelligence (AI) for famine – project was announced at the United Nation General Assembly on Sept 23, 2018

Her personal mission is to empower women and girls to achieve the highest potential with technology as the equalizer. Her TEDxTalk and her story can be found online.

She was featured in the GovInsider Report 2019: Women Leaders in Government. Lesly can be found on LinkedIn and her posts can be found on the World Bank blog.

Gina Pieters

Research Fellow, Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance

Dr Gina Pieters is currently a Lecturer at the Kenneth C. Griffin Department of Economics, University of Chicago. Her research examines the use of cryptocurrencies and similar DLT-enabled projects. She is particularly interested in their implications for international markets. In addition to PhD in Economics from the University of Minnesota, she holds a BSc in Physics from the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Jon Frost

Research Affiliate, Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance

Jon Frost is a Senior Economist in the Innovation and the Digital Economy unit of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS). In this role, he conducts policy-oriented research on FinTech and digital innovation. He has written on FinTech credit, BigTech in finance, and technology and inequality. Previously, Jon worked at the Financial Stability Board (FSB), the Dutch central bank (DNB), VU University in Amsterdam, and in the private sector in Germany. Jon is a US citizen. He holds an MA degree in economics from the University of Munich, and a PhD in economics from the University of Groningen. He is an alumnus of the policy fellowship at the Centre for Science and Policy of the University of Cambridge.

Matt Homer

Research Affiliate, Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance

Matt focuses on the intersection of technology, finance, and policy. He has worked on these issues from a variety of perspectives: as a consultant, regulator, and funder. Most recently, at the US Agency for International Development, Matt designed and launched the Regtech for Regulators Accelerator, a first-of-its kind programme focused on supporting government innovation using startup methodologies. He also oversaw the agency’s efforts to advance inclusive fintech in India. Prior to this, Matt was a member of the consumer policy team at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation where he helped formulate the agency’s policy on various emerging technologies and drove several efforts related to economic inclusion, student loans, and mortgage lending. He began working in the financial services space as a consultant at Deloitte where he helped develop the firm’s market strategy for financial regulatory reform. Matt received a Master of Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

Nafis Alam

Research Affiliate, Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance

Nafis is currently working as a Professor and Head, School of Business, at Monash University Malaysia. He previously served as an Associate Professor of Finance at the Henley Business School (Malaysia campus) and at Nottingham University Business School (NUBS) at the University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus (UNMC).

Prior to this, he was attached with Monash University where he worked as a lecturer in finance. His scholarly articles have been published in leading journals including The World Economy, Emerging Markets Review, Pacific Basin Finance Journal, Journal of Asset Management, Journal of Banking Regulation, Review of Islamic Economics and Journal of Financial Services Marketing among others. He has also co-authored five books on Islamic Finance – among them is Encyclopaedia of Islamic Finance which is the first of its kind and has sold over 1000 copies worldwide.

As a frequent traveller, he has given lectures on finance and Islamic finance across the world, including: Harvard Islamic Finance forum at Harvard Law School; a Gulf Research Meeting at Cambridge University, UK; Durham University Summer School; Seoul International Finance Conference (SIFIC); World Islamic Economic Forum (WIFE); OIC Asia Trade and Economic Forum, Central bank of Turkey among others. Dr Alam has served as a visiting Associate Professor at various universities in the UK and Indonesia. He was featured as a Professor of the Month by Financial Times (FT) in 2014 and received an award for Upcoming Personality in Islamic Finance in 2016 presented by GIFA and hosted by the Indonesian government.

He is an avid writer and contribute regularly to the mainstream newspaper, economic forum and professional outlets like WEF, Huffington Post,The Edge, The Conversation among others. He has been interviewed by Sputnik, UK; CBS, USA, ABC Australia. Recently, He has been appointed as a Workshop Director for Fintech and Islamic Finance Workshop by the Gulf Research Council of University of Cambridge. He is one of the top influencer in the area of Fintech, Banking regulation, financial Inclusion and Islamic finance. He mentors Fintech platforms in the SEA region. He can be followed on Twitter.

Nicolas Steiner

Research Affiliate, Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance

Nicolas is an accomplished ventures builder and strategic advisor active in emerging technology investment. He has worked closely with a range of organisations, including startups, academics, and corporates such as Swisscom, Orange, Global Cloud Exchange, PE’s firm Finstar Financial Group, asset manager Invesco and SCRYPT Digital, a FINMA-regulated venue for digital assets.

As a speaker, Nicolas is highly regarded for his knowledge of fintech, web3, blockchain and native/tokenised asset classes based on distributed market infrastructure. He is passionate about the transformative potential of decentralised tokenomics and the use of blockchain securing data and digital identities in a world of AI-generated content.

Currently, Nicolas is focused on asset tokenisation, DeFi and data platforms providing verified insights on environmental (ESG) and biodiversity ecosystems for regenerative finance. His Ventures Studios/Software house have enabled him to collaborate with SMEs and high-profile clients such as Vodafone, Bank of America and Prudential.

Michel Rauchs

Research Affiliate, Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance

Michel is leading the Digital Assets Programme at CCAF, a multi-year research initiative aiming to bring more transparency to the digital asset ecosystem through open datasets, tools, and insights. After joining CCAF in 2016, he took a leading role in building out the Centre’s cryptoasset and blockchain research, resulting among others in the publication of multiple empirical reports and research papers, the development of several theoretical frameworks, and the release of the widely acclaimed Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index (CBECI). Michel is also the Founder and Managing Director of Luxembourg-based advisory firm Paradigma. He holds a bachelor’s in Economics from HEC Lausanne and a master’s in International Business from Grenoble Ecole de Management. His work has been featured internationally in top-tier media outlets such as the FT, the BBC, Bloomberg, Reuters, and CNN, and he is regularly invited to comment on digital assets and related issues.

Zain Umer

Research Affiliate in Regulatory Innovation, Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance

Zain is a Research Associate in regulatory innovation and financial inclusion at CCAF where his focus has been innovation offices, financial inclusion and fintech. He is currently on secondment from the UK Financial Conduct Authority where he worked across a number of functions. He served as engagement lead for Innovate, working closely with global financial regulators and the UK Government as well as on the Global Financial Innovation Network. Zain was also an Enforcement Associate, focusing on cases of financial crime including bribery, corruption and terrorist finance. Zain holds a bachelors degree in law.

Ana Odorovic

Research Affiliate, Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance

Ana is a PhD candidate at the DFG Graduate School in Law and Economics at the University of Hamburg and a lecturer at the University of Belgrade. Her PhD thesis deals with the question of overcoming asymmetric information in the crowdfunding market from a law and economics perspective. In 2018, she was a visiting researcher at the University of Oxford. Her research interests span across the fields of economic analysis of law and financial regulation.

Ana also acts as a consultant on regulatory and policy issues in relation to FinTech. She holds an LLM degree in business law from the Panthéon-Assas University (Paris 2) and a master’s degree in economics from the University of Belgrade

Kieran Garvey

Research Affiliate, Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance

Kieran has worked for over a decade in tech-enabled financial innovation. He has helped 50 companies raise over $34 million via equity crowdfunding between 2013 and 2015. In 2016-2019, inspired by regulatory and policy research in East Africa, he created and led the initial development of RegSimple – a data product that uses machine learning and NLP to automatically analyse and track regulation globally. In 2018-2020, he led the creation and development of the FinTech & Regulatory Innovation programme for financial regulators with participants from 120+ countries working in 200+ central banks and securities regulators globally. He is now working at Cambridge Spark, developing AI and Data Science products. He previously established a microfinance social enterprise in Vietnam. He holds an MSc from Imperial College London and a bachelors from the LSE.

Werner Bijkerk

Research Affiliate, Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance

Werner Bijkerk is founder and partner of Simplexxis. He is a renowned global expert in financial markets regulation and supervision. He is a consultant to various regulatory agencies, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB). He has recently published the seminal book The Foundations of Financial Regulation, which is used by regulators and academics worldwide. He is affiliate at the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance at Cambridge Judge Business School and member of the advisory panel to the Spanish Institute of Financial Analysts (IEAF) and the Foundation of Financial Research (FEF). Previously, Werner was research director at the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO), senior strategist and analyst at the Netherlands Authority for the Financial Markets (AFM), researcher at the Nyenrode University think tank NYFER and entrepreneur in Latin America. He holds master’s degrees in economics and art history.

Alex Zarifis

Research Affiliate, Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance

Dr Alex Zarifis research and teaching focus is on the practical applications of technology in business. He is currently a research affiliate of the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance (CCAF). Dr Alex researches various aspects of fintech including cryptocurrencies, CBDCs, DeFi and Insurtech. He also participated in creating the first, government recognised, university degree on blockchain technologies in the world. He obtained his PhD from the University of Manchester.

Waleed Samarah

Research Affiliate, Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance

Waleed is a former regulator and expert in the fields of financial inclusion and financial institution supervision, with substantial experience in developing regulatory and supervisory frameworks for non-banking financial institutions.
He has previously served as Co-chair for the SME Finance Working Group in the Alliance for Financial Inclusion. Waleed has an MBA focused on SMEs and crowdfunding and holds certificates covering fintech, financial inclusion, microfinance policies, AML/CFT, supervising Islamic financial services and metaverse.

Keith Bear

Fellow, Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance

Keith Bear is currently a Fellow of the CCAF. Keith was responsible globally for the strategy and development of IBM’s business in financial markets, working extensively with global clients on their major transformation programmes. He has worked extensively with financial markets infrastructure firms, trade finance organisations and banks such on deployment of blockchain technologies. Keith is also a Board Advisor to three blockchain fintechs, and a lead mentor for the Barclay’s Techstars Fintech accelerator.

Keith holds a First Class Degree in Physics from Corpus Christi College, Oxford, an MSc (Distinction) in Particle Physics from University of London, and completed an IBM Master in Business Management programme at London School of Economics. He is a member of IBM’s Industry Academy and a Board Director for the Enterprise Data Management Council.

Marwa Hammam

Fellow, Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance

Marwa currently holds the post of Executive Director of the Cambridge Master of Finance (MFin) programme with overall responsibility for the day to day running of the programme, curriculum review and enhancement, corporate development, careers coaching and marketing. She developed the credit component of the programme and teaches the core fundamentals of credit and advanced credit courses. Marwa is also a regular guest speaker on credit risk management and stress testing and authors case studies on a range of finance related topics. Marwa is an alumna of the Cambridge MFin and prior to re-joining CJBS in her current capacity, held the role of Portfolio Banker managing a $9 billion Western European power and utilities portfolio with Citigroup in London and had a Senior Credit Officer designation. Marwa has 14 years’ banking experience and began her career with Citi in EMEA, where she held a number of roles in relationship management, investment banking, credit, country and market risk management between 1996 and 2002.

Between 2002-2006, she held a business origination role at the Bank of TokyoMitsubish UFJ covering the European oil and gas space in addition to co-leading a mid-tier client conversion initiative. Marwa joined Société Générale Bank as Vice President and Senior Credit Analyst in 2006, covering a portfolio of Western European construction, media, industrial and consumer goods clients and worked closely with coverage and product areas including derivatives, structured finance, securitisation and trade finance. Marwa also had responsibility for monitoring and managing names with evident migration in credit quality and was actively involved with a number of remedial management situations during her time with SocGen.

Marwa holds a Masters of Finance Degree from Cambridge Judge Business School, University of Cambridge, an MBA from Birmingham Business School and a BA in Business Administration and Economics from the American University in Cairo. Marwa undertook credit risk training with Citi in the late 1990s in addition to completing the six months Chase Manhattan credit course.

Mia Gray

Senior Research Fellow, Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance

Dr Mia Gray is a Senior University Lecturer at the Department of Geography, University of Cambridge. She is an economic geographer focusing on how alternative finance, such as crowdfunding, affects regional economies, labour markets, and the distribution of opportunity. Mia is an Editor of the Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society. She was also the Acting Director of the Cambridge Centre for Gender Studies.

Mingfeng Lin

Research Fellow, Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance

Dr Mingfeng Lin is an Assistant Professor of Management Information Systems at the Eller College of Management, University of Arizona. His primary research interest is IT-enabled new markets and novel business models, particularly online crowdfunding and other forms of alternative finance. He has published in journals including Management Science and Information Systems Research.

John Pritchard

Fellow, Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance

John is the founder and Executive Chairman of Helix Management Services. After graduating in Law from Cambridge University, John trained with Allen & Overy before moving to Salomon Brothers, both in New York and London. He has been involved in the management consultancy and search industry for over 20 years and founded HMS in 1992 as a specialist legal and banking search consultancy.

John is also a sportsman. He competed successfully in two Olympic Games as well as several World and European championships as a rower. He also participated in three university Boat Races for Cambridge University. Among other non-day jobs, he has broadcast on TV and radio on sport and was the UK Chairman of the international charity ‘Right to Play’ of which he is now Chairman Emeritus. John was a director of the British Olympic Association for the six years prior to the 2012 London Games.

John rowed the length of the Mississippi river in 2014 (2,320 miles) and raised over $2,540,000 for the charity Right to Play.  He then wrote a book ‘The Great River Rowed based on the expedition blog which was published in December 2018.

John was President of the Hawks’ Club and is Chair of the Club’s development board and Director of the Hawks’ Club Ltd.  He was appointed Chairman of the Cambridge University Alumni Advisory Board, the Steering Committee, and Nominations Committee of Cambridge University in January 2014 and is now Emeritus Chair of the Alumni Advisory Board. John is a member of the Investment Board of Robinson College and a Fellow of Cambridge Judge Business School.

Miguel A. Soriano

Research Affiliate, Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance

Miguel Soriano is a corporate finance leader and Fintech specialist with more than 15 years of experience in investment banking, business development, strategy consulting and project management. Currently, he is a Digital Finance Specialist Consultant for IFC in their Latin America FIG Advisory practice. Prior to that, he was a Fintech Specialist Consultant for IFC in Singapore on the ASEAN Financial Innovation Network (AFIN) project. In this role, Miguel was responsible for the development of the strategic framework for identifying, cataloguing and structuring the list of Fintech companies that will collaborate with banks in an industry sandbox, in order to drive financial inclusion in the ASEAN region.

While living in Singapore, Miguel completed a PhD in Business at Singapore Management University (SMU). His doctoral research, which was funded by a research grant from MasterCard on financial inclusion and social entrepreneurship, was focused on the development of an empirical, data driven model that quantifies the key factors that drive financial inclusion and financial performance in Fintech startups. His doctoral research has immediate practical applications for VC firms and investors, which evaluate the financial performance of new technology ventures in financial inclusion, by providing a quantitative, data-driven methodology. He is viewed as an expert in Fintech and financial inclusion, and continues to work closely with Fintech startups, serving as a mentor, evaluating potential Fintech startup investment opportunities, and advising startups in financial inclusion that want to expand in emerging markets. Prior to moving to Singapore, Miguel worked in Wall Street for 12 years – first three years in Treasury at Merrill Lynch, and the remainder of the time in investment banking at Credit Suisse, JP Morgan and Deutsche Bank, giving him a in-depth perspective of both the back office and front office operations of global banks. He has a double major in Mechanical Engineering and Physics from New York University (NYU) and an MBA in Finance and International Business from NYU Stern School of Business.

Jason Allen

Research Affiliate, Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance

Dr Jason Grant Allen is a Senior Fellow at the Weizenbaum Institute for the Networked Society. His research explores how new technology enables behaviour that not only requires a legal response, but also catalyses changes in the legal system itself and provides insights into the nature of law as a technologically-mediated social practice. Jason’s work embraces both constitutional theory and financial law, positioning him well to apprehend the micro/transactional and macro/systemic aspects of alternative finance.

Jason is Joint principal investigator (with Professor Gerhard Dannemann) on a DFG-funded project on the work of émigré jurist F.A. Mann, co-ordinating the efforts of an international group of scholars of monetary law to understand the way that legal and economic theories of money evolved over the 20th century, and how current technological changes impact the conventional wisdom. Jason is a co-investigator (with principal investigator Professor Rosa Maria Lastra) on the project “Legal and Economic Conceptions of Money” under the Finance Hub of the ESRC-funded Rebuilding Macroeconomics Project at NIESR. With an interdisciplinary team, Jason is exploring how legal theory can inspire macroeconomic theory that is better grounded and more policy-relevant.

Jason received a BA & LLB (1st) from the University of Tasmania (2007), LLM in International Economic Law from the University of Augsburg as a DAAD scholar (2010), and PhD in Law from the University of Cambridge as a Poynton Scholar (2017). He was an Alexander von Humboldt Post-Doctoral Scholar at the Humboldt University Centre for British Studies (2017-2019). Jason is a dual-qualified lawyer (NY and Australia, currently non-practising) and served as Judicial Assistant to the Rt. Hon. Sir Geoffrey Vos, Chancellor of the High Court of England and Wales (2016-2017). His interest in payments technology and alternative finance began in 2013 with an off-grid solar start-up combining smart metering, peer-to-beer energy transmission, and a blockchain-based payments system. Jason is currently working on a start-up project building a financial services platform for the West African market. Jason is a Visiting Fellow at the University of New South Wales and an Adjunct Lecturer at the University of Tasmania.

Xiaochen Chang

Research Affiliate, Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance

Xiaochen is a Global Head of Innovation & Go-To-Market with Amazon Web Services. In this role, he leads a team of both technical and operational staff in shaping AWS emerging technology and Web 3.0 related innovation offerings in the areas of digital assets, central bank digital currency, green finance and regulatory and supervisory technologies in supporting public sector financial institutions to achieve their missions in monetary policy, financial stability, economic growth, climate change and sustainable development.

Pawee Jenweeranon

Research Affiliate, Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance

Pawee is a lecturer in law at the Faculty of Law, Thammasat University, Thailand. Prior joining Thammasat University, Pawee was a legal officer at the National Anti-Corruption Commission and the Supreme Court of Thailand. His research concerns the regulatory framework for the development of financial technology to enhance financial inclusion, with particular reference to ASEAN countries. He engaged in research projects related to fintech while he was working as a visiting researcher at the National University of Singapore and the Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition. Pawee received an LLB and LLM from Thammasat University (Thailand) and a second LLM from Nagoya University (Japan).

Rasheed Saleuddin

Research Affiliate, Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance

Dr Rasheed Saleuddin is a post-doc at the Cambridge Judge Business School’s Centre for Endowment Asset Management. His policy-focused works include a Palgrave Macmillan book on financial regulation, Regulating Securitized Products: A Post Crisis Guide, while his first academic book, The Government of Markets, on the role of the US government in the making of modern capital markets, will be published by Palgrave in 2019. Rasheed’s academic and professional interests currently lie in examining the theories, past experiences and current policy dilemmas involved with the intersection of state regulation and policy responses, as well as in alternative finance. Before completing his PhD in history at the University of Cambridge as a fully-funded CERF Scholar, he was a hedge fund manager at the activist Canadian investment firm, West Face Capital. Before 2008 he specialised in regulatory solutions for banks all over the world. He also holds a masters degree in regulation, with distinction, from the LSE, and is eligible to use the Chartered Financial Analyst designation. He is currently an early stage investor in and advisor to fintech companies.

Rotem Shneor

Research Affiliate, Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance

Rotem is an associate professor at the University of Agder’s (UiA) School of Business and Law in Norway and serves as the academic director of the university’s Centre of Entrepreneurship, as well as the founder and head of the university’s Crowdfunding Research Centre. In addition, he is serving as a research affiliate at the CCAF, contributing to and co-authoring its annual benchmarking reports. He holds a PhD in International Management from UiA and a masters degree from the Norwegian School of Economics (NHH).

Intertwined with his academic work Rotem has established the Nordic Crowdfunding Alliance of platforms, as well as co-founding and currently serving on the board of the Norwegian Crowdfunding Association. His research covers crowdfunding success, behaviour and motivations, internet marketing, and cognitive aspects of entrepreneurship. He has a record of two decades in teaching, researching and supporting entrepreneurship at local, national, and international levels. He has published in academic journals (e.g. JBR, ERD, IJoEM, CCM, BJM, JPBM, JPM and EEP), trade magazines, as well as contributing several chapters to research-focused edited books and textbooks. Recently, he has served as lead editor and contributor in an edited volume on “Advances in Crowdfunding: Research and Practice” published by Palgrave McMillan in 2020.

Karsten Wenzlaff

Research Affiliate, Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance

Karsten has a research focus on alternative finance, FinTech and crowdfunding, in particularly civic crowdfunding and corporate crowdfunding. He teaches and researches at the University of Hamburg at the Chair for Digital Markets. He has received an MPhil in International Relations with a thesis on international financial regulation from the University of Cambridge. Karsten is the author of the first European Crowdfunding-Survey in 2011.

Since 2013, he has supported the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance (CCAF) on the Alternative Finance Benchmarking Report, editing the European Alternative Finance Benchmarking Report since 2017. In 2020, he was one of the authors of the CCAF’s Global Alternative Finance Benchmarking Report and became part of the Centre’s COVID-19 Response Team. In 2020, he also published the first study on FinTech/alternative finance self-regulation in Europe, in co-authorship with Ana Odorovic. Between 2014 and 2016, Karsten was a member of the European Crowdfunding Stakeholder Forum, an advisory body to the European Commission.

Marcelo Prates

Research Affiliate, Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance

Marcelo is a lawyer at the Central Bank of Brazil with more than 20 years of academic and professional experience. He is also a CoinDesk columnist, writing about the future of money and payments. Marcelo is the author of a book on administrative sanctions, published in Portugal, and of many articles, essays, and reports, in Portuguese and English, about central banking, financial regulation, fintech, and digital currencies. Marcelo received his LLB from the Federal University of Minas Gerais and a master’s degree in law from Coimbra University. He also holds an LLM and an SJD from Duke University.

Jill Lagos Shemin

Research Affiliate, Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance

Jill contributes to the Centre’s strategy, both internal and external. She brings extensive international experience focused on frontier and emerging markets and the challenges faced in those environments in informality and inclusion. Her background covers many areas of digital finance, from the business model to consumer preferences to the enabling environment and regulatory challenges. Jill is regularly asked to consult for clients, including UN agencies, to conduct research and to offer insights on digital finance. Jill holds a degree from Cornell University and numerous professional certificates from the Digital Frontiers institute, specialising in regulation in digital finance and instant and inclusive payment systems.

Tania Ziegler

Research Affiliate, Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance

Tania previously led global market benchmarking research at the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance (CCAF), where her research interests included small business economics and SME utilisation of alternative funding models to access finance. Prior to this she was the Programme Manager of the Alternative Funding Network at the London-based Knowledge Peers and specialised in Chinese outward direct investment.

Tania studied economics and holds an MSc in China in Comparative Perspective from the London School of Economics and was a Fulbright Scholar.

Wang Zining

Research Affiliate, Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance

Zining is currently a Lecturer in Financial Technology at the University of Bristol and a Ph.D. candidate in Finance at King’s College London. He holds a Master’s degree in Computational Finance and a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from King’s College London and Tianjin University, respectively.

Zining’s research delves into the nuances of blockchain ecosystems, with a focus on participants’ behaviour and system stability. His multidisciplinary research spans areas such as blockchain economics, decentralized finance, behavioural finance, climate finance, and computational studies.