Russell Duke is President and Chief Executive Officer of National Standard, and is a member of the company’s Management and Investment Committees. Mr. Duke also serves as Secretary General of Economic Council of Nations, a non-government organization that provides policy guidance and advisory to Central Banks and Treasurers across an array of sovereign economic issues.
Mr. Duke is the architect and voice of the Duke Global Initiative, a 21st century Marshall Plan policy initiative for infrastructure and monetary system strengthening. Since joining National Standard in 2008, Mr. Duke has provided creative and transformative financial solutions to governments, financial markets and the infrastructure industry around the world. He brings highly skilled experience in structured finance, credit structuring, sovereign debt, infrastructure finance, political risk management/insurance and asset-based leasing. He brings almost twenty years of experience in the international finance industry and economic policy expertise to National Standard. During this time Mr. Duke has worked in more than 70 countries worldwide across all continents.
Mr. Duke is a leading authority in the areas of international Infrastructure financing, Private Capital solutions for Sovereigns and Foreign Direct Investment. He is widely recognized as an industry leader in the use of private sector capital and FDI to achieve public policy objectives related to economic development and infrastructure development by the public sector internationally across developed and emerging markets.
Mr. Duke is a life time investment banker, financial executive, policy maker and hands-on CEO, active in the company’s most important transactions, assignments and client relationships. He routinely advises heads of state such as Presidents, Prime Ministers, Finance Ministers, Central Banks, Secretaries of State and global financial CEOs on monetary and economic issues as well as related geopolitical policy. Mr. Duke has also participated in numerous G2G negotiations, trade delegations, foreign direct Investment matters and economic policy matters.
During his tenure at National Standard, he has developed proprietary financial products that have helped the company become a participant in global sovereign and infrastructure debt finance. He began his career working in structured finance and project finance in the United States, China and other parts of Asia. Prior to joining National Standard he served for six years as President of a merchant bank, specializing in structured finance, lease finance and project finance of real estate and energy related infrastructure assets. Mr. Duke was also Chief Financial Officer and Vice President of Investor Relations of a trade finance financial services company that facilitated export and import financial transactions.
Mr. Duke has authored dozens of published articles in major media outlets such as Bloomberg, The Guardian and other global news sources. Mr. Duke has also been the subject of numerous interviews on economic, banking and geopolitical matters and is a regular speaker at public and private sector conferences and events globally. He also serves on the Board of Directors of various international companies, including NGO’s and an insurance company.
Hugo Barreca is Chief Financial Officer of National Standard Finance and is a member of the Management Committee. In additional to Mr. Barreca’s role as CFO, he is a leader in the company’s government policy practice. In this capacity, Mr. Barreca works with our policy advisors to create and implement various types of economic, social and infrastructure policy plans for our government clients.
Mr. Barreca is responsible for financial administration of the company, as well as legal compliance and oversight of National Standard’s entities. His experience includes senior positions in management, finance, and business law with both large public corporations as well as privately held companies. Mr. Barreca served in such capacities as CFO and General Counsel to companies over his approximate 40 years of corporate, law and finance experience.
He holds an MBA from New York University, a Juris Doctor of law from the Fordham School of Law, and a Master’s Degree in Public Policy from The City University of New York, where he is currently completing his Doctoral Degree in Political Science. Mr. Barreca also serves as director of several New York non-profit foundations. In that capacity he has contributed to the planning and development of urban infrastructure development, zoning law, project management and implementation of smart-city technologies.
Dr. Nahed Taher is Group President and Director of Islamic Finance of National Standard Finance. Dr. Taher also serves as Co-Chief Economist at National Standard.
In this role, Dr. Taher represents National Standard to GCC, African and other Middle East governments, banks and the regions largest corporations and policy makers. National Standard was the first international company to introduce credit financing techniques in the GCC. Dr. Taher is a pioneer and visionary in the Saudi and GCC banking markets as the first female CEO of a bank in the region and an expert in Islamic Finance.
Dr. Taher has been ranked by Forbes magazine as number 72 of the 100 most powerful women in the world. She was also ranked by the Financial Times as no. 25, 24, and 23 respectively of the top 50 businesswomen in the world in 2009, 2010, and 2011. Dr. Taher also received the award of Businesswoman of the year 2006 by HH Prince Hamid Al-Nihayyan, In addition, she received the award of “Saudi Businesswoman of the year 2007” by HRH Prince Sattam Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud. Lately in September 2009, Dr. Taher was ranked as no. 25, 24, then 23 among the top 50 business women in the World by Financial Times in 2009, 2010 and 2011 consecutively, and among the top 100 women of Finance and Leadership in Crisis by Dow Jones in 2009.
Dr. Nahed M. Taher holds dual Masters Degrees in Financial Economics and a PhD in Monetary Economics from Lancaster University in the UK. Recently she was awarded an honor professorial degree from Lancaster university for her contribution banking and finance in the world.
Dr. Taher is the prior founder and a Board of Directors member Gulf One Investment Bank. Since 2005, Dr. Taher served as the CEO of the bank until stepping down in 2017 to join National Standard Finance. By holding this position, she is the first female CEO of a Gulf based investment bank. Prior to that Dr. Taher was a Managing Partner of Compass Consulting, a financial advisory company in Saudi Arabia and was the first female to get a financial advisory license in Saudi Arabia. Prior to Compass, she was Chief Economist and Chairman of Risk and Portfolio Management Committee at the National Commercial Bank (NCB) in Jeddah, where she was the first female to be hired in a senior management position among 4,000 men in the bank.
Dr. Taher has represented the Saudi Arabia government, the private sector, and Saudi Arabia Chamber of Commerce in many high level international business and banking events.
Dr. Taher served as a professor and head of the Economics Department at King Abdul Aziz University (KAAU). She was also a co-owner and a financial advisor to various private companies in the Kingdom.
Dr. Nahed is a board member in a number of Saudi private companies and committees including:
Chairman of Moya Water Company
Chairman of Alafaq Insurance Company, KSA
Board member of Jasarah home health care company
Member of the Supreme Committee of Environment in Saudi
Member of the foundation board of IMD University in Switzerland
Member of the international Advisory board of Lancaster University , UK
Member of the international Advisory board of King Abdulaziz University
Member of the Board in the OECD-MENA region Financial group
International Board member of the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center of Energy (KAPSARC)
Member of Young President Organization (YPO)
A board member in the Saudi German business group
Group Chief Executive Officer, National Standard Finance Africa
An entrepreneur and visionary, Richard founded the AKL Social Group of companies in Nairobi in order to develop and implement innovative solutions to Africa’s development needs. This led naturally to a partnership with National Standard Finance, whose office he now heads. Of prime importance throughout Richard’s career has been an ethos based on sustainable social investments in commercial projects with significant positive impacts on the lives of individuals, businesses and the community, local capacity building, and, local wealth generation opportunities. This platform plugs the critical funding gaps in African infrastructure development — lack of sufficient risk capital, and lack of affordable debt. It marries the role of project funding with that of project developer, driving synergies and value throughout the development cycle. It also provides a safe harbor for the incubation of business ideas founded on the idea of including previously marginalized communities, raising standards, and building capacity.
A third-generation Kenyan, Richard was instrumental in bringing National Standard Finance to East Africa. Richard has over 20 years of experience working as a leader in the infrastructure space, including roads, telecommunications, energy, housing, and heavy infrastructure. He has forged relationships with local partners and global corporations, while navigating the complexities of multilateral government and parastatal stakeholders.
Richard has created, owned and managed infrastructure and energy development companies in the United States, Kenya, and Southern Sudan. His range of accomplishments include the installation of the first mobile phone network in Southern Sudan as a proof of concept, prior to the comprehensive peace agreement, and successful fundraising, negotiation and commercial close of a 60 megawatt wind power generation project. Richard has directly managed both large and small-scale development projects at both board and executive levels. His strong management and leadership skills, combined with unparalleled local knowledge, uniquely position him to address the development challenges of the African market.
Matt Garver is Executive Managing Director at National Standard. Mr. Garver advises clients in matters of private capital, asset privatization, geopolitical and economic policy and infrastructure finance. Mr. Garver works with private sector project sponsors, developers and financiers of global infrastructure assets. His extensive international privatization and infrastructure finance experience stems, in part, from his considerable work in the U.S., UK and EU member states.
Mr. Garver’s market segment focus is public private partnerships in security infrastructure, transportation systems such as marine ports, social infrastructure criminal justice, energy production, transmission, underfunded pension liabilities and environmental services. Matt most recently was co-owner and Chairman of one of the largest and most respected integrated O&M, facility management, engineering, planning and development companies focused on the criminal justice sector completing more than US $5 Billion of criminal justice projects, prior to the company being sold in 2013.
Mathew most recently served as a Senior Advisor at Patton Boggs LLP one of the world’s largest law firms based in Washington D.C. where he advised the firm’s public and private sector clients on infrastructure development and finance, public policy matters and private capital for public authorities. Before joining National Standard in his respective role, Mr. Garver served as the Secretary to the Global Infrastructure Steering Committee at the world’s largest global law firm DLA Piper, where he specialized in private equity finance for public private infrastructure projects in North America and Europe.
Formerly, he was a principal with a leading private equity banking firm, where he specialized in growth equity, LBO, MBO and recapitalization transactions for larger middle-market companies. He also served as the director of corporate development and managed investor relations for one of the most sizeable lottery systems providers listed on the NYSE.
He is a graduate of Michigan State University, Saïd Business School at Oxford University and Fellow at Harvard University. He is an author of numerous articles and publications on alternative assets, privatization, concession and infrastructure finance.
Carlos Ortiz is Group President of Latin America operations at National Standard and Advisor to the CEO and Chairman’s office. Mr. Ortiz is responsible for operations, business and market development for National Standard in Latin America.
Mr. Ortiz is knowledgeable and highly experienced in all facets of infrastructure and industrial project development, construction and financing. He previously taught finance and economics at the university level in Mexico as a Professor. Mr. Ortiz has a sound understanding of government administration and policy making in Latin America.
Mr. Ortiz has been a consultant and adviser to multiple Latin America governments and international companies for large infrastructure projects and capital programs in his career. During the past fifteen years, Carlos has started and built companies in construction, mining, technology and financial industries, which has been conglomerated in CAXXOR GROUP, a corporation specializing in infrastructure development, project planning and capital projects, currently the company has been expanded from Mexico to more than twenty countries with more of $40 Billion dollars in projects under mandate for development across infrastructure, real estate and industrial asset classes.
Mr. Ortiz has two undergraduate degrees and several postgraduate studies related to economics and international finance. Mr. Ortiz is located in Mexico City, Mexico and manages Latin America for the company from the Latin America hub of National Standard in Mexico City.
Mr. Duff has held a number of senior positions giving him a unique blend of experience in insurance and capital markets over the past 25 years in the European markets. At National Standard, Mr. Duff manages and operates the day to day operations of National Standard’s Risk Management, Structured Insurance and Risk Finance activities in Europe and Bermuda. Key to this is Robert’s extensive 25 plus year background in Risk Management, which enables a multi-disciplinary approach to managing insurance and risk-focused operations. As well as holding a BA degree in Risk Management, Mr. Duff holds insurance and securities Associateship qualifications and has an excellent appreciation for compliance and regulation. Robert excels in structuring solutions in challenging financial circumstances, combining his knowledge of capital markets and insurance/reinsurance to deliver leading-edge, innovative risk financing for governments and companies around the world. In addition to providing risk management and risk finance to governments and corporates, Mr. Duff has a specialized knowledge and experience with sports finance and insurance including media rights.
Mr. Duff’s blend of skills across both capital markets and insurance/reinsurance have made him highly sought-after by global financial institutions, governments, development banks and global corporations in a variety of sectors from finance & leasing, investment banking, emerging markets, local government, motor industry, extractive industries, renewable energy, multi-lateral agencies, longevity, and sports finance. This reflects Mr. Duff’s intrinsic ability to research, devise, negotiate and implement bespoke complex solutions including transaction analysis and impact assessment of accounting, legal and tax aspects, double tax treaties and establishing offshore/onshore delivery platforms. Mr. Duff lives and works in the United Kingdom operating from the London insurance and financial markets.
Rodolfo Errore is Executive Director and Senior Advisor to the President & CEO and to the Management and Investment Committees at National Standard regarding European financial transactions and plays a vital role day to day in National Standard’s European operations and relationships with European financial institutions.
Mr. Errore a career banking and finance attorney, Rodolfo has more than 25 years experience in banking and international finance law based in London and Italy. He has held senior partnership roles within several prestigious international Law firms, including Simmons & Simmons and DLA Piper. He has held senior partnership roles with prestigious law firms including Simmons & Simmons where he was head of banking legal Italy, DLA Piper where he was head of project finance legal Italy and Ernst & Young in Europe. Rodolfo has vast experience in Banking, Industry and International Project Finance Law. He has held senior partnership roles within several prestigious international Law firms, including Simmons & Simmons and DLA Piper.
Mr. Errore has advised banks, institutional counterparties and corporate multinationals in structuring large projects in the infrastructure, energy and oil and gas sectors in countries such as Turkey, South Africa, the Balkan States, former CSI countries, India and the US. He is the author of several publications relating to structured and corporate finance and to project and infrastructure financing, on which he is often invited to speak to a number of seminars and conferences across Europe. Since 2000, Mr. Errore has worked in various roles in London including investment banking, corporate finance, project finance, public finance and asset management.
Rodolfo has been on the Board of the Sofipa fund and of Arena, as well as honorary member of the American Studies Centre and member of the Millennium foundation. Mr. Errore currently is privileged to be a member of the Board at SACE Spa, the Italy export credit agency, Senior Advisor to Ernst & Young, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Aurelys Asset Management headquartered in Monte Carlo, Board member of Metro5 Spa.
Banking and Finance Experience: Legal advisor to major European and global banks and financial institutions on financing contracts, syndicated loans, bond issuing, structured finance, guarantees and collateral, security packages and other financial operations for BNL-BNP Paribas, Intesa Sanpaolo, Deutsche Bank, Unicredit, Banca Finnat, Sace, Standarbank, Investec, Ned Bank, UBS, Rabobank, SocGen, Credit Foncier, as well as Governments and major sponsor such as Origis, KGAL, Acea, Eni, Free Energia and Enel Green Power.
Rodolfo has advised banks and multinationals on lending and financial structuring (project financing, corporate finance, acquisition finance, public finance, bonds and securitization), in major projects in the following industrial sectors, infrastructure, energy, oil and gas with a special focus on Turkey, South Africa, Congo Brazzaville, Chile, Tunisia, Rumania, Dubai, Albania, Serbia, Macedonia, India and the United States.
He was a professor of commercial law at the University Kore of Enna and is mentioned by The Legal 500 EMEA among the most reputable banking and finance lawyers in Italy. Rodolfo speaks fluently Italian and English language. Mr. Errore graduated with a Masters degree of law from Università degli Studi di Palermo in 1989.
Elizabeth M. Ivy is Chief Operating Officer of National Standard and oversees the compliance group. Ms. Ivy’s responsibilities at National Standard involve her in all aspects of our organization which include designing and implementing business operations, establishing policies that promote company culture and vision and overseeing operations of the company and the work of executives.
Ms. Ivy is intimately involved both locally and abroad in National Standard’s operational success. She brings over 20 years of diversified executive experience in banking, real estate lending and development, and asset management in both equities and debt to National Standard.
Ms. Ivy began her career at a large US bank serving as Vice President where she successfully worked as an investment advisor. After many years working on the asset side of the bank she diversified her experience by moving to the debt side, creatively structuring business and real estate loans for 10 years. Ms. Ivy is member to several companies in the United States. She is involved in joint ventures with real estate developers and investors, she founded her own real estate firm in 2008, serving as President, and also founded a Registered Investment Advisory firm in 2015.
Ms. Ivy’s entrepreneurial spirit and two decades of executive experience in lending, wealth management and real estate in highly regulated industries from the United States provides invaluable senior leadership capabilities to daily management and vision at National Standard.
She holds a B.A. in Communications, has a series 65 security license and broker-in-charge real estate license in the United States.
Marc Chen is Chairman of National Standard Finance (HK) Ltd based in Hong Kong and manages National Standard’s business operations in China and select Asia markets. He is a veteran financial expert from the China market, having had more than 20 years experience in investment and trade including forex trading and major infrastructure investments in China and Asia.
Mr. Chen has served as an adviser to various governmental entities and State Owned Enterprises in China and Asia as well as across emerging markets on securing offshore financing and establishing sovereign wealth funds. Mr. Chen is responsible for business and corporate development for National Standard and handling all governmental and banking market relations in China.
Mark Gantar is Managing Director at National Standard responsible for business and corporate development in Africa and other emerging markets, specializing in Foreign Direct Investment. At National Standard, Mark develops and manages relationships with Africa sovereigns, banks and local corporations active in Africa. Mr. Gantar regularly travels and visits numerous Africa countries to meet with government leaders, business community and major infrastructure project sponsors.
Mr. Gantar is a global economic development leader with diverse experience in growing business operations and facilitating complex public-private investment both in the U.S. and Africa. He is a seasoned professional in the information technology field starting out as a systems engineer and eventually running his own technology company for the past decade. His industry experience includes technology staffing, training, finance, manufacturing, and energy. In his diplomatic role as Honorary Consul for Ethiopia, he has international experience with overseas business operations and foreign direct investment.
In his technology business, he has focused a good portion of his work on the federal government for consulting and training. Core competencies include large enterprise federal government systems and Business Intelligence utilizing a General Services Administration (GSA) contract from the U.S. Federal Government. He has secured various Government contracts over the years.
Mr. Gantar is the Honorary Consul for Ethiopia in Seattle. His passion for Ethiopia and Africa as a whole has been demonstrated by his relentless commitment to bringing relevant technology to Ethiopia in impactful and cost-effective methods utilizing public private partnerships. His international experiences include large scale technology and energy related projects in Africa and numerous training and content engagements in India, Europe, and Asia.
He has worked closely with numerous international organizations such as World Bank, OPIC, African Development Bank, and USAID to gain funding, support and general assistance for various projects in sub-Sahara Africa. Some of these projects were in the areas of education, energy, agriculture, health, non-profits, financing, and transportation.
He is heavily involved in business and capacity building in Ethiopia. Worked in cooperation with numerous Ministries and non-profits on both capacity building endeavors and for-profit projects. In Mr. Gantar’s role as Honorary Consul he is extremely active with the Ethiopian Consulate Office in Los Angeles and the Ethiopian Embassy in Washington DC assisting with everything from the implementation of technology, philanthropic endeavors, consular duties, and fostering more business activity between the United States and Ethiopia.
He has a strong track record of performance in turning around or building organizations by applying modern technology to enhance business operations. Responsible for overseeing all strategic planning, technical, financial, and business aspects of multiple companies. Deep business operational experience with system integration, manufacturing engineering systems, technical content and curriculum development.
Christopher T. Schulten, JD
Director, Legal & Compliance
Christopher Schulten is a founding partner and Director of National Standard Finance Africa. He is an experienced attorney, entrepreneur, and frontier market developer. In addition to managing the firm’s legal affairs, he co-manages the firm’s fundraising, strategic relationships, and communications. He co-founded the AKL Social group of companies in Nairobi, developing an innovative platform for development and finance, driven by a positive social impact ethos.
Before that he has 18 years of experience between New York, London and Nairobi advising on project finance, corporate governance, and regulatory compliance.
Prior to National Standard, Christopher was Counsel at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld and before that Sullivan & Cromwell in New York, representing clients in the energy and financial sectors. He clerked for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.
Manuel Pérez is Managing Director of corporate development at National Standard and has been a Global Project Manager and Vice President with Caxxor Group, an affiliate infrastructure development company of National Standard. At National Standard, Mr. Perez orchestrates economic and foreign direct investment initiatives and corporate development of National Standard globally including Europe, Africa and Latin America.
Manuel Pérez has worked mainly with government and private financing with International Funds and investment-equity with International Capital Funds. He has participated collaborating with International Reimbursable and Non-Refundable Cooperation Agencies.
It has also made collaborations with other Institutions and International Organizations.
Manuel Pérez collaborates with the World Bank in “The Benchmarking Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) Procurement 2014 to 2017 and next years. Participation in the publication of scientific publications on governance in the African countries of the Africa 21 agency. Portal Nazca of COP21, promoting the participation of companies and government institutions. Collaborating with UN promoting sustainable development goals, ODSManuel has collaborated with some governments facilitating non-reimbursable cooperation. Manuel has been a partner in USAID for a long time Collaborate within the directory of some NGOs promoting social and economic development.
Manuel Pérez has been Managing Partner in JGCC. He has directed as Port Manager and Technical Manager in Shopping Centers. Manuel has managed several own companies such as Constructec Systems, SL and was Inspector of aid of the European Union in the cotton factories during several years.
Manuel studied Engineering and Management and Business Administration and continues to update his profile with different courses from international institutions and new professional studies.
Felix Kariuki Gichaga, MBA
Managing Director, National Standard Finance Africa
Felix is a founding partner and heads up National Standard Finance Africa based in Nairobi, Kenya. With 20 years of Africa-based experience in financial services, Felix has developed a reputation for original thinking and operational excellence. Prior to joining National Standard, he was managing director of AKL Social Capital, a private, Nairobi-based financial management and advisory firm, and before that he served in the Corporate Investment Banking division of Standard Bank in Kenya as both Regional Head of Business Development: East Africa, and as Head of the International Development Group, Oil & Gas.
Throughout his career, Felix has been involved in structuring innovative solutions across East Africa, such as when he spearheaded the introduction and listing of the first ever Income Real Estate Investment Trust (IREIT) in East & Central Africa on the Nairobi Stock Exchange in 2016.
Felix has an MBA in Finance, and an undergraduate degree in Business Administration and Marketing. In addition, he has been trained in Commercial Energy Engineering and Auditing in the U.S.A and U.K.
Allister Linsay is a founding partner and Director of National Standard Africa, and lifelong resident of Kenya. As a proven serial entrepreneur he drives firm operations and business development opportunities across Africa.
Allister is also a founder and board member Todwil East Africa, a regional marketing company that boasts clients such as Diageo, BAT and Pepsi. Prior to venturing into his own businesses, he worked as the East African Regional Sales and Marketing Director for Abercrombie & Kent, directing a global sales force. He has over 20 years’ experience in marketing and sales management.
Michael Tichareva is the Managing Director of the South Africa Division of National Standard Finance Africa, having co-founded and formalized the division’s operations in 2014. He is responsible for the South Africa and surrounding markets strategy and the strategic and day to day operational management. In addition, Michael is involved in the origination and structuring of sovereign, sub-sovereign and private sector infrastructure and real estate deals across Africa with a strong focus on developmental finance to improve quality of lives of people and is currently working on a number of such deals.
Michael has extensive relationships in both the public and private sectors in Africa and is responsible for building strategic networks and relationships in different parts of the World to progress National Standard Finance’s initiatives in Africa. Michael believes in developing solutions that are suitable for Africa within the global framework and he is currently leading initiatives that he believes will lead to accelerating Africa’s infrastructure development so that Africa can compete sustainably in the global economy. One of the solutions involve promoting the increased use of credit enhancement instruments in infrastructure finance in Africa, a structured finance solution that combines elements of banking and insurance solutions.
Michael is a Fellow of the Actuarial Society of South Africa (FASSA) having qualified in 2004 through the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries (UK). He holds an Honors degree in Actuarial Science from National University of Science and Technology, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. Michael also holds an MBA from Wits Business School (South Africa) and attended some of his electives at Fuqua School of Business, Duke University (USA) majoring in Investment Banking and Finance related subjects.
Michael worked as a senior banker at Nedbank, one of South Africa’s largest banks, where he was involved in real estate finance deal origination and structuring as well as on-going client service and relationship management. He also served as a Trustee of the NedGroup Retirement Funds and was a member of the Investment Committee and the Communication Committee. He also served on the Management Committee of the NedGroup Disability Scheme. Michael served as Deputy Chair of the Employment Equity Forum of the Property Finance Division. Michael is an investment and banking professional who has worked in various senior roles within the UK at AON Hewitt, South Africa at Alexander Forbes and Old Mutual, and Zimbabwe at Old Mutual for the past 16 years.
Michael was a former member of Council of the Actuarial Society of South Africa until 31 December 2016 and he is a former Chairperson of the Education Board of the Actuarial Society until 31 December 2017. He is also a former Chairperson of the Banking Committee for the Actuarial Profession in South Africa, a position he held for 8 years to 31 December 2017. He holds other various roles within the Actuarial Society and has led a number of key initiatives over the past few years. Most notably, Michael led the development of the first ever banking qualifying subject for actuaries over a 5 year period that was finally launched by the Actuarial Society of South Africa in 2015. This banking initiative for actuarial practice, a first in the World, has received great international attention within the global actuarial profession. Michael is the current Chairperson of the recently established Banking Working Group of the International Actuarial Association (“IAA”). Michael has been an external examiner of Actuarial Science Honors degree research projects at the University of Pretoria in South Africa since 2012.
John Cortez is the Philippine Representative in charge of National Standard Finance in the Philippines and also works in surrounding neighboring countries on infrastructure, government and corporate financial and policy assignments.
John oversees the operation of National Standard not only in the Philippines but also selected Asian markets. Mr. Cortez has over 18 years of experience in financial services both domestic and international arena. His investment banking experience covers financial advisory, arrangement of debt as well as equity financing. He has also consulted various government and private sector institutions over the past 18 years in the areas of political policy, finance and FDI.
Prior to joining NSF, Mr. Cortez was a corporate CEO and held other executive positions in investment banking and the financial sector including his experience as an official Representative to the United Nations.
Mr. Cortez holds a Masters in Business Administration and Certificate of Strategic Management from the University of Phoenix in the United States.
Adam Michaelson trained at the Bar in London, Adam entered the business of Asset Management in 2003, as head of compliance with a Swiss financial firm ISC Group, where he stayed until 2008 when he left to take up a post with AD and AD Group, a division of Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA – SWF) in the UAE specializing in project finance and development of African projects. AD & AD LIMITED is a niche asset management firm, serving a variety of Very High Net Worth individuals, charitable foundations and governmental organizations, broadly, but not exclusively based in the Middle East. Company specializes in banking and fixed income transactions (specifically in the leveraged bond and derivatives market) but also includes significant activity in Private Equity, particularly in media and technology funds and a range of corporate finance transactions in both West Africa and the Middle East. During this time, he assisted in a number of large projects including the refinancing of CMH, the state Gas company in Mozambique, and the funding of Longflex Metals, a 500 sq. km gold mining operation in Mali.
In 2013, Adam returned to London as an asset finance specialist for Oracle Capital Group before being promoted to Global Commercial Director where he oversaw two major asset finance transactions and the onboarding of new investor clients with a collective net worth of over EUR 500 billion. Oracle Capital Group are the largest Multi Family Office in London with over 25 HNWIs and UHNWIs amongst the client base. My role included raising debt and equity finance for their assets and projects, including aircraft and shipping, construction and development projects, as well as active debt portfolio management. Adam has substantial experience in Private Equity, Venture Capital, senior debt and project finance along with general business acumen and many year’s experience building relationships with funds and family offices across Europe, GCC and Africa.
Aída has over 15 years of experience in the financial services industry, with an emphasis on international and cross border debt finance and product development. Specific industry experience includes business development; commercial loan underwriting; acquisition, development and construction loan origination and administration; loan workouts; management of real estate owned; risk management; cross-border lending; product design and implementation; and compliance.
Career highlights include: Director of Bi-national Program for GMAC-RFC, and part of the leadership team tasked with the design of a new mortgage business for General Motors finance division. Created solutions to define the credit box, origination and servicing issues, such as escrow management of taxes, insurance and trustee fees, to allow a high-volume operation with fully securitizable loan asset portfolios. Head of Compliance at the U.S. government financial agency known as Student Loan Marketing Association (Sallie Mae) responsible for reducing losses on claims against delinquent and defaulted loans, and monitoring company-wide compliance with state and federal regulations.
Mr. Witt is an experienced corporate and securities attorney at Kutak Rock LLP. A member of the firm’s Energy and Natural Resources Practice Group, Mr. Witt represents energy and technology companies and institutional clients in debt and equity financing transactions worldwide.
Mr. Witt provides legal advice to National Standard on a wide array of infrastructure transactions globally with a focus on the oil and gas, power and technology related sectors.
Mr. Witt works with clients in a number of industries: oil and gas exploration and production and services, cross-border investments, semiconductor technology, encryption, agricultural technology, software and information technology. Mr. Witt’s clients include non-U.S. family offices making inbound private equity investments.
Mr. Witt has acted as lead counsel on numerous other sophisticated transactions, including venture capital investments, information technology outsourcing, international finance (including joint ventures, cross-border finance and offshore funds) and strategic alliances.
Ranked “AV” (Preeminent) by Martindale-Hubbell®, Mr. Witt is a graduate of Harvard University and Harvard Law School.