Mar 17, 2021

Five minutes with...Laurén Robbins, VP and GM at ServiceNow

ServiceNow
LaurénRobbins
Fintech
financialservices
William Girling
2 min
Five minutes with...Laurén Robbins, VP and GM at ServiceNow
In the first entry of FinTech Magazine's new 'five minutes with...' section, we asked Laurén Robbins at ServiceNow five questions...

In the first entry of FinTech Magazine's new 'five minutes with...' section, we asked Laurén Robbins, VP and General Manager of Financial Services at ServiceNow, five questions about her background and what motivates her in fintech today. 

Q. Who was your childhood hero and why?

  • My parents were my big heroes. My mother, a nurse, taught me how important it is to care for others with compassion and empathy – both in business and in life. My dad, an entrepreneur, inspired me not only to dream big in my career, but also to never lose sight of cherishing family. Even while starting his business, he never missed my softball games, piano concerts or family dinners.

Q. What's the best piece of advice you ever received?

  • People don’t care how much you know, until they know that you care. Tom Mendoza, an executive while I was at NetApp and who I’m grateful to call my mentor, taught me this important lesson in servant leadership. I greatly admire one of the ways he lived it — finding 10 people to personally call each day and thank them for going above and beyond.

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Q. Which activity are you most looking forward to doing when the pandemic is over?

  • I was supposed to run the New York City Marathon in 2020, so I can't wait to jump into my next half or full marathon. I’m also excited to spend time with half of the new hires on my team at ServiceNow who I haven’t yet met in person. Perhaps I’ll convince them to join me running!

Q. Is there a personal achievement from 2020 of which you are particularly proud?

  • I’m incredibly proud of how my team responded to meet our Financial Services customers where they needed us most in 2020. We rallied to deliver innovative solutions quickly in response to the pandemic. In a matter of days, customers were able to implement ServiceNow’s solutions to deliver critical funds to small businesses via the Paycheck Protection Program, scale their customer service functions and ensure a safe workplace for employees.

Q. What inspires you in fintech today?

  • Technology has such power to have a human and social impact in financial services. It’s made the sector more accessible and understandable, helping to bridge the gap in areas like financial literacy. I’m especially inspired by the strides made by fintechs like Daylight and Greenwood to create equality in banking practices.

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Jun 24, 2021

Islamic fintech Wahed plans UK expansion: Hires expert GM

wahed
islamicfinance
Fintech
Sharia
4 min
The world’s leading Islamic fintech company has hired top industry expert Umer Suleman to oversee Wahed Inc’s UK-wide expansion plans

Wahed Inc has hired a leading industry expert to take Islamic finance forward in the UK marketplace. 

Umer Suleman has been appointed as General Manager of UK operations for Wahed Inc.. His role will include overseeing Wahed Invest’s nationwide growth strategy and strengthening the firm’s position as a leading provider of ethically focused investment services. 

Suleman’s track record includes over 15 years of regulatory, risk, and strategy consultancy roles, as well as advisory positions across a variety of businesses and sectors including positions at UKIFC, Daiwa Capital Management, and Ernst & Young (EY).

He also spent seven years at HSBC as Head of KYC Risk globally within their Global Banking and Markets business, Head of Business and Conduct Risk for MENA within Retail Banking, and headed up the CCO function for Digital (GLCM) within the UK with a global remit.

Wahed and the growing role of Islamic finance

The startup fintech was founded in 2017 and is an American company based in New York City. Since its inception,  it has grown from strength to strength and in July 2019, launched the first exchange-traded fund in the US that was compliant with Sharia law. 

Islamic finance typically refers to the way businesses and individuals raise capital in accordance with Sharia, or Islamic law. It also refers to the types of investments that are permissible under Islam. 

Wahed currently operates in 130 countries and has offices in Washington D.C, New York, London and Dubai. It has also developed an easily accessible digital platform that balances ethical finance with modern investments, attracting over 200,000 active clients from around the world with features such as free portfolio recommendations and no hidden fees.

Wahed UK expansion plans

According to reports, the UK is highly receptive to services in the Islamic finance sector and is also one of the fastest-growing markets globally.  It has a three million-strong Muslim population and one of the most developed Islamic finance sectors outside of the traditional Muslim regions, with global population figures projected to double over the next forty years. 

It is hoped Suleman’s leadership of Wahed will address the underbanked needs of the Muslim community while also serving the increasing number of retail investors currently seeking ethical alternatives to wealth creation. 

Speaking about the new role, Wahed CEO, Junaid Wahedna, explained  “Mr. Suleman’s appointment reaffirms our commitment to providing innovative and outstanding ethically driven financial services to a market that, historically, has been underserved.

“We’re delighted to welcome Umer to the team and firmly believe that with him at the helm, our operations in the UK will continue to go from strength to strength and provide customers seeking ethical investments with accessible, trustworthy and innovative solutions.”

The appointment follows on from Wahed’s recent investment round and its acquisition of the UK-based fintech Niyah.

These events will support the company in its plans to build an Islamic marketplace that meets growing demand for socially conscious investors – and not just those of Islamic faith. 

The fintech firm also plans to utilise the UK’s position as a leading hub for Islamic finance as a springboard into other European cities, and believes it has a central role to play in providing Shariah-compliant services that address inclusion and inequality.

The Islamic finance industry is currently valued at around US$2.4trn and is expected to grow steadily by 10-12% over 2021 and 2022, having experienced rapid growth in recent years.

THREE reasons why Islamic finance is a growing sector

  1. The UK Muslim population is growing - and has been traditionally underserved by incumbent banks. The Muslim population is growing twice as fast the world’s non-Muslim population and Islamic finance address this group’s needfor  Shariah compliant financial products.
  2. It encourages financial inclusion. According to the World Bank, financial inclusion is defined as individuals and businesses having access to useful and affordable financial products and services that meet their needs – transactions, payments, savings, credit and insurance – delivered in a responsible and sustainable way.
  3. It supports Sharia compliant products. Transactions that work with industries forbidden in Islam (gambling, usury and speculation) are forbidden. Islamic banking only works with businesses that adhere to their ethical and moral standards.

 

Image credit: Wahed Inc team

 

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