Board of Directors

Dr. Sayd Farook

Chairman of Finocracy

Dr. Sayd Farook is a veteran C-suite professional with a strong knowledge management and strategy execution track record.

Sayd is the founding Vice Chairperson of the RFI Foundation, a London based non-profit backed by financial industry leaders promoting the convergence and expansion of responsible finance practices. Sayd is also an Advisor to the Executive Office of HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

Previously, he was the Global Head Islamic Capital Markets at Thomson Reuters, where he advised and served large corporates, multilaterals and governments in the Middle East, North Africa and South East Asia.

During the duration of his five year leadership stint at Thomson Reuters where he oversaw the Islamic markets strategy, he conceived and led his 25 strong team to achieve a number of industry firsts besides growing and leading a profitable and highly visible business. He also advises and produces a number of research based insights for government entities in the GCC including Dubai, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia such as the Dubai Islamic Economy Development Center, The Executive Office, Central Bank of Bahrain, Economic Development Board Bahrain, Tadawul Saudi Arabia and the Islamic Development Bank.

Prior to his role at Thomson Reuters, Dr. Sayd was a legal and structuring advisor at Dar Al Istithmar, a boutique advisory firm based in Oxford and owned by Deutsche Bank, Oxford Center for Islamic Studies and Saudi Bin Laden Group.

Prior to this, he led the growth and innovation strategy at the Centre for Islamic Finance at the Bahrain Institute of Banking and Finance.

Sayd has advised, taught and drafted standards for regulators and universities throughout his career and sits on the editorial advisory board for two prominent blind peer reviewed academic journals. Dr. Sayd has a Doctorate in Financial Economics (specifically focusing on Islamic banking and risk management), a first class Honours in Business and a Law Degree (LLM) from the University of Technology Sydney. He is also a fellow Certified Islamic Professional Accountant (CIPA).

Dr. Tariq H. Cheema

Founder, World Congress of Muslim Philanthropists

Tariq H. Cheema is the founder of the World Congress of Muslim Philanthropists, an organization dedicated to bringing together donors for the exchange of ideas and proven practices, and to institute an environment of enduring engagement.
Dr. Cheema received his MD from University of Istanbul in 1992 and did an advanced study in Philanthropy at Loyola University Chicago. In 2002, he was selected for the prestigious Rockefeller Foundation’s Next Generation Leadership Fellowship. He co-founded Doctors Worldwide (DWW), an international medical relief organization, and Diversity Forum, a project funded by Rockefeller Foundation to encourage dialogue and understanding about critical social divides. In addition, Dr. Cheema played a pivotal role in Indo-Pak Peace Network, a Diaspora movement that promotes goodwill among two rival nuclear nations.

Being a successful entrepreneur, he was invited to mentor MBA students at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. Dr. Cheema is the recipient of Entrepreneurship Recognition Award from the Kellogg School of Management and the 2004 Community Service Award from Asian American Coalition of Chicago. In 2004, He joined the Chicago-based Nonprofit Empowerment Group as consultant where he assisted organizations in the fields of governance, program development, strategic planning and global advocacy.

Dr. Cheema is currently serving as the executive director of the Association of Physicians of Pakistani-descent of North America (APPNA)—one of the largest ethnic medical societies in the United States involved in research, education, community health and disaster relief. In addition, he serves on the boards of Chicago Global Donors Network and HEED Foundation, Pakistan.

Talal Yassine OAM

Managing Director, Crescent Wealth

Talal Yassine is the Managing Director of Crescent Wealth and an Adjunct Professor within the Business School, Western Sydney University.

After 10 years at PricewaterhouseCoopers as a Director and Strategist, Talal joined investment firm Babcock & Brown Ltd in the Corporate Finance Group and later in the Technical Real Estate Division. Later Talal held leadership positions in Better Place Australia.

Talal serves as the Chairman of Quay Capital, the Australian Arab Dialogue Limited, and as the Patron of the Crescent Institute Ltd. He also serves on the Board of the Whitlam Institute Ltd.

Talal has previously served on the Board of Australia Post, Sydney Ports, Macquarie University and as the Chairman of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade, Council of Australian Arab Relations.

Talal holds a Master of Laws, a Master of Business Administration and several undergraduate degrees.

On Australia Day 2010, Talal was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for his service to business and to the community through a range of education, health and multicultural organisations.

Hon. Dr. Nazar Al Baharna

President, and Founder at International Conflict Resolution Group

Dr. Nazar Al Baharna is Bahrain’s former Minister of State for Foreign Affairs (2006-2011) and is currently a Visiting Scholar Researcher at Georgetown University, Washington DC. He completed both his Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Petroleum & Minerals in Saudi Arabia. Dr. Al Baharna also holds a Doctorate from the University of Wales, United Kingdom.

Dr. Al Baharna has over 38 years experience in the fields of Education Practice, Engineering, Business, and Consultancy. He held several notable positions at the University of Bahrain, and has published more than 30 papers on Technology, Education, Energy, Mechanical Engineering, and Training.

As a practicing consultant, Dr. Al Baharna has worked in the areas of Management, Leadership, eCommerce, Strategy, and Development, Energy, and Education. He has also contributed to the development of the private sector as a member of the Board of the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and was elected Deputy Vice Chairman of the Board of Chamber.

Dr. Al Baharna is a Board Member at the Borgen Project, and participates in frequent conferences on Foreign Policy and Global Affairs. Dr. Al Baharna is a member of the Advisory Board of the Institute for Cultural Diplomacy, Berlin.

Dr. Jamil Ak El Jaroudi Ph.D.

Seasoned Executive & Islamic Finance Expert

Starting July 2016, Dr. El Jaroudi directed his efforts towards his new endeavor to establish an Islamic bank in Europe, which if not the first, will be among the first with the objective to provide a professional banking alternative to millions of Muslims and non-Muslims in Europe.

Dr. Jaroudi started his experience as a consultant with Booz Allen & Hamilton, in the UAE and the Kingdom Of Saudi Arabia, after which he held various senior executive roles with Al Mawarid Group, Saudi Arabia.

In 1996 he co-established the Middle East Capital Group in Lebanon. Subsequent to this he held senior positions with DMI Trust, Islamic Investment Company of the Gulf and Shamil Bank, and was involved in the establishment of Arab Finance Bank in Lebanon and most recently Elaf Bank in Bahrain and Bank Nizwa.

Dr. Jaroudi holds an MBA from the Ivy League school Columbia University, and a PhD in Finance from Kellogg School, Northwestern University, USA.

Leadership Team

Mohammad Raafi Hossain

Chief Executive Officer & Co-Founder

Mohammad Raafi Hossain is a serial entrepreneur from Silicon Valley. He is a graduate in Economics from University of California, Berkeley and a former Master’s student in Sustainable Development from Harvard University.

Mohammad has led the strategy and development of several platforms, most notably Narwi.org, for which Mohammad won the 2015 Ethical Finance Innovation Challenge Award from Thomson Reuters and Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank. Narwi has gone on to raise $8 million from 175,000 people around the world and has supported the creation of 5,000 new business and 15,000 jobs in 6 countries within MENA.

Mohammad, on behalf of Finocracy, won the 2016 Social Innovation Award from the Cambridge Global Good Governance Committee in Istanbul, Turkey

Mohammed AlSharaf

Co-Founder

A seasoned business development leader having occupied a number of senior relationship management positions across investment banks and financial infrastructure providers.
Mohammed possesses unparalleled access and relationships with senior leadership, families and sovereign wealth funds in the GCC and broadly the MENA region. Mohammed holds an MBA from the United Kingdom.

Mohammed, previously, served as an instructor within the Islamic Finance Learning Centre and worked with Thomson Reuters where he built strategic relationships and engagements with Governments and Multilateral Institutions.

Mohammed is also the former Founder of International Islamic Training Center, a subsidiary of the General Council of Islamic Banks and Financial Institutions (CIBAFI).

Shahbaz Mirza

Chief Operating Officer

A Strategy Consultant for high growth innovative start-ups, large-scale government initiatives and multinational corporations. As a Chartered Accountant who began his career with PwC, Shahbaz has worked extensively across multi-industry corporate UK and US companies in the fields of financial operations, governance, business modelling and strategy. His clients being some of the top companies listed on the FTSE 100.

Shahbaz’s also is the Founder of Ramadan Legacy, the World’s No. 1 App for Ramadan with near to 250,000 users. In 2016 he was named ‘the next generation’ entrepreneur by Management Today and was awarded the Young Scottish Edge award placing him in the top 10 young entrepreneurs in Scotland.

He graduated with a 1st class Honors in Accountancy & Finance from the University of Glasgow and is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants.

Alaa Alaabed

Chief Research Officer

Alaa Alaabed has earned her PhD in Islamic finance from INCEIF, Malaysia where she also won the Presidents Award in 2016. She qualified as a Chartered Islamic Finance Professional (CIFP) in 2011.

Alaa was awarded Bachelor of Commerce; major in Finance from Macquarie University, Australia in 2007.

Her work experience includes Treasury products’ development in HSBC Amanah, Malaysia, and buy-side research analysis in SICO investment bank, Bahrain.

Alaa has presented in a number of international Islamic banking and finance fora and has published a number of research papers in journals of repute.