Board of Directors
In addition to being a non-executive Director of OMFIF, Arya works with the National University of Singapore Business School, where he is Adviser to the Dean (for corporate outreach) and also the Head of Executive Education. In addition he has undertaken several consulting projects for the Asian Development Bank, mainly around developing and facilitating programs for central banks.
Arya retired from Bank of New York Mellon in 2014, after spending 27 years with the bank in various Asian locations (Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea and India). His last assignment was Global Head of their Sovereign Institutions Group and Chairman of their Sovereign Advisory Board. Arya was also on the Global Operating Committee as well as the Asia Pacific Executive Committee. Prior to joining BNY Mellon, Arya worked for Bank of America in India, Hong Kong and briefly in the Philippines.
Arya holds a BA (Honors) in Economics from St. Stephens College in Delhi and an MBA from the Faculty of Management Studies at Delhi University.
Mark Burgess has an extensive global career leading both asset managers and asset owners.
He is the former Managing Director and President of Australia’s Sovereign Wealth Fund, the Future Fund. He was previously the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Treasury Group, an Australian listed asset manager. Prior to this he was based in London with Credit Suisse Asset Management, as Executive Vice-Chairman and CEO (EMEA) and Global Chief Investment Officer for Equities and Multi Asset Class; International CIO for American Express Asset Management and CIO for Global Asset Management at Colonial First State Investments in Melbourne and London. He also held senior portfolio management positions for Bankers Trust in New York and Sydney.
David Marsh is Chairman and Co-Founder of OMFIF. He is Senior Adviser to asset management company Soditic. Previously, he worked for City merchant bank Robert Fleming, corporate finance boutique Hawkpoint and German management consultancy Droege. Marsh took over the chairmanship from John Plender on 1 January 2018 having been Managing Director since 2014.
Marsh is a Board Member of Henderson Eurotrust and the British Chamber of Commerce in Germany, and visiting Professor at Sheffield University and King’s College London. He is former co-founder, chairman and deputy chairman of the German-British Forum. He was made Commander of the British Empire in 2000 and was awarded the German Order of Merit (Bundesverdienstkreuz) in 2003.
He started his career at Reuters in 1973 having graduated with a BA in chemistry from The Queen’s College Oxford. Between 1978 and 1995 he worked for the Financial Times in France and Germany, latterly as European Editor in London. Marsh has written six books: Six Days in in September – Black Wednesday, Brexit and the Making of Europe (2017, with William Keegan and Richard Roberts); Europe’s Deadlock: How the Crisis Could Be Solved – And Why It Won’t Happen (2013); The Euro – The Politics of the New Global Currency (2009 – re-released in 2011 as The Battle for the New Global Currency); Germany and Europe – The Crisis of Unity (1994); ‘The Bundesbank – The Bank that Rules Europe’ (1992); and Germany – Rich, Bothered and Divided (1989 – re-released in 1990 as The New Germany.
He is a frequent media commentator in Europe and the US.
Philip Middleton is Deputy Chairman at OMFIF. He became a non-executive Director at OMFIF on 1 January 2018, having been Deputy Chairman of the OMFIF Advisory Board for the previous four years. He is a Director of Rifle House Capital Ltd and a Commissioner at the Guernsey Financial Services Commission, the regulatory body for the finance sector in the Bailiwick of Guernsey. He was formerly a senior Partner and Head of Central Banking at professional services firm EY, where he specialised in strategy consulting and services to governments and other public institutions across Europe, the Middle East, India and Africa.
He has also held several roles within KPMG, including Partner and European Head of Financial Services Strategy Consulting. He holds degrees in History and Modern Languages from The Queen’s College, Oxford University, and an MBA from INSEAD.
John Plender is a non-executive Director of OMFIF and a columnist at the Financial Times, where he has been a contributor since 1981. He was Chairman of OMFIF from 2014, stepping down on 31 December 2017, and become a Member of the Board in 2012. He was a non-executive Director of UK real estate company Quintain for eight years from 2002 and chaired the company from 2007 to 2009. After completing his degree at Oxford University, he joined Deloitte and qualified as a chartered accountant.
Plender is a former Financial Editor of The Economist, which he joined in 1974, and became a member of the British Foreign Office Policy Planning staff in 1980. He is a former Member of the London Stock Exchange’s Quality of Markets Advisory Committee, and a former Chairman of Pensions and Investment Research Consultants, a leading corporate governance consultancy. He served on the UK Company Law Review steering group.
Plender’s books include That’s The Way The Money Goes, The Square Mile, A Stake In The Future, Going Off The Rails – Global Capital And The Crisis Of Legitimacy, and Capitalism: Money, Morals and Markets.
Director & Head of Asia
Adam Cotter is OMFIF’s Head of Asia and Chief Representative of the Asia office in Singapore. In this capacity he directs and manages the execution of OMFIF’s coverage and representation for the region. Prior to taking on this new role, he was responsible for managing the relationships with the official sector in Asia Pacific and for coordinating OMFIF meetings worldwide.
He is a Mandarin speaker who holds a BA in Economics from the University of Manchester, and a MSc in the Business and Economy of China from the University of Nottingham.
He has a specialist knowledge in development economics, China’s economic reforms and China’s soft power projection.
Chief Operating Officer
Sarah Holmes is Chief Operating Officer. She is responsible for ensuring implementation of the company’s strategy across a wide range of fields, including meetings, report production, and marketing and communications. Holmes develops relationships with public and private sector institutions across the world, including central banks, sovereign funds, public pension funds, hedge funds and asset managers.
Holmes was previously Operations Director for a business media company, based in New York. She was responsible for creating strategy and implementing processes to improve business efficiency and profitability. Designing, executing and managing the operational and financial planning for large-scale meetings, Holmes has worked extensively across North, South and Central America, and throughout Europe.
Chief Economist & Director, Research
As OMFIF’s Chief Economist, Danae Kyriakopoulou provides intellectual leadership and direction to the organisation’s economic research agenda. Her role involves undertaking and presenting her own research, representing OMFIF and its members at external policy and academic conferences and seminars, publishing in in-house and external publications and the media, and maintaining strong links between OMFIF and its Advisers Network. Her team ensures that OMFIF’s economic research agenda continues to put the organisation at the forefront of understanding the economic and strategic issues facing Global Public Investors.
Prior to joining OMFIF she was Managing Economist at the Centre for Economics and Business Research where she led the organisation’s global research. She has also served as Economic Adviser to the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales for the regions of sub-Saharan Africa and Greater China and has worked at the Research Department of the Bank of Greece.
She holds a BA in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics from Brasenose College, Oxford, and an MSc in Economics for Development from the Oxford Department for International Development. She is fluent in German, Greek and Spanish.
Director, Memberships and Commercial Partnerships
Chris is Director, Memberships and Commercial Partnerships, at OMFIF. His role is to expand and enhance OMFIF’s activities. He previously worked in financial publishing for Incisive Media and Euromoney Institutional Investor.
He has set up international investment conferences all over the world and has worked extensively in Russia, Southern Europe and across Asia. He has been involved in British and European politics for many years and has stood for parliament at both general and European elections.
He studied at the University of East Anglia and the IE Business School in Madrid, where he is now a visiting lecturer on financial markets and business ethics.
Mark Sobel is US Chairman at OMFIF. Mark is a veteran US Treasury official, who was at the forefront of international financial diplomacy for two decades.
Mark, who represented the US on the International Monetary Fund executive board up to April 2018, has had a 40-year Treasury career with extensive around-the-world engagement.
He works with OMFIF in dealings with private and public sector organisations, speak regularly on international and US policy, and provide OMFIF members with insight and analysis.
Mark was Treasury Deputy Assistant Secretary for international monetary and financial policy between 2000 and early 2015. He helped lead Treasury preparations for G7 and G20 finance minister and central bank governor meetings, formulated US positions at the IMF, and coordinated Treasury and regulatory agencies’ work in the Financial Stability Board.
Mark founded the US/EU Financial Market Regulatory Dialogue and chaired an international group of private and official sovereign debt experts that developed enhanced collective action clauses for sovereign debt restructuring. He managed the $100bn-plus Treasury Exchange Stabilization Fund and played a key role in US foreign exchange policy including coordinating the Treasury’s semi-annual foreign exchange report on China and other countries.
Patricia Haas Cleveland
President, US Operations
Finance and Administration
Afroditi Argyropoulou is Human Resources Assistant at OMFIF.
Previously, she worked in education and as a research assistant. Before that, she interned at Reload Greece, where she supported the directors in communicating the aims of the charity, edited content and worked on the website. She was also responsible for reaching out to potential stakeholders for donations and events.
Afroditi holds a BSc degree in Psychology from the University of Kent and an MSc in Organisational and Social Psychology from the London School of Economics. She is fluent in Greek.
Assistant Financial Accountant
Ruby Brogan is Assistant Financial Accountant at OMFIF and plays a key role in the day to day running of the finance department, supporting business needs. Her responsibilities include cash management, financial planning, reporting and controls and assisting the Head of Finance with month end and year end processes.
Prior to joining OMFIF, Ruby worked in the Financial Planning and Analysis team for the underwriting division of one the world’s leading insurance intermediary groups.
Ruby is currently a member of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants and is actively studying.
Personal Assistant to the Chairman
Executive Assistant to Chris Ostrowski and Commercial Team
Mandy Tse is Executive Assistant to Chris Ostrowski and Commercial Team. She supports the team in the delivery of OMFIF memberships and works on engaging new contracts for the business. Prior to joining OMFIF, Mandy worked at Scottish Enterprise, an economic development agency based in Edinburgh. There, she worked closely with a variety of companies, assisting with the delivery of consultancy services.
Mandy holds an Honours degree in Marketing Management from Edinburgh Napier University and is fluent in Cantonese.
Marketing and Communications
Stefan Berci is Communications Manager at OMFIF, responsible for all external communications across the OMFIF network. Stefan leads all press and media relations, and oversees marketing campaign strategies. He is responsible for web and social media development, as well as company CRM.
Stefan has more than 10 years of experience in the media, with deep knowledge of media relations and technology having worked in both television broadcasting and public relations. Prior to OMFIF, he worked in the UK rail sector as a public relations and marketing manager and oversaw a wide range of communication strategies – public, membership and media relations, community outreach, branding, advertising and events – from development to implementation.
Stefan holds a BA in Political Science and Journalism from Transylvanian Babeș-Bolyai University.
James Fitzgerald is Marketing Manager at OMFIF. He is responsible for optimising and executing the company’s marketing and communications activities.
James worked in marketing for a major magazine publishing house prior to joining OMFIF. His major focus was on marketing to both mass consumer markets and small business owners to ranging across both traditional print and digital platforms.
James holds a BA in Political Economy and Management from the University of Sydney.
Rein de Loor
Programmes Manager, Americas
Rein is Programmes Manager, Americas at OMFIF. He researches and develops meeting programmes for OMFIF members, focusing on expanding the organisation’s work in the Americas.
Prior to joining OMFIF, Rein worked for The Royal Commonwealth Society as a Programmes Officer, developing their international network of emerging leaders. He also spent time working for the Prince of Wales’s International Sustainability Unit on their blue economy photography competition, Out of the Blue.
Rein holds a BA (Hons) in European Studies with French from King’s College London and Sciences Po de Paris, and is currently studying for an MSc in Public Policy and Management at Birkbeck.
Mercedes Ernst is Meetings Manager for the Meetings Team at OMFIF. She is responsible for managing the execution of the many meetings that OMFIF organises each year.
Before joining OMFIF, she was an events coordinator for the Royal Society of Medicine, with particular responsibility for academic conferences. She previously worked as an international events coordinator for the Development Group.
Ernst graduated with an MSc in International Events Management from the University of Surrey.
Programmes Manager, Europe
Ellie is Programmes Manager, Europe. She is responsible for researching trends, developing relationships and programming meetings throughout Europe.
Prior to joining OMFIF she worked at Chatham House, designing and managing a busy events calendar covering all aspects of foreign affairs. Before this she worked in the UK Parliament as a researcher for a shadow minister covering justice policy, and has worked for a non-governmental organisation in Botswana.
She has a BSc in Politics from the University of Bristol.
Angelia Lee is Programmes Manager at OMFIF, based in the Singapore office. She is responsible for building relationships with key stakeholders, researching and creating programmes for meetings in Asia.
Prior to joining OMFIF, Lee worked as a conference producer for an international business media company, producing programmes for events in Australia, New Zealand and Singapore. She holds a BA in International Business from Universiti Malaysia Sabah.
Born in Malaysia, Lee speaks English, Malay and Mandarin.
Ben Rands is Meetings Coordinator at OMFIF, responsible for organising a range of meetings across Europe and wider areas.
He undertook a year’s industry placement at OMFIF and, in recognition of his successes, was invited back to join the team permanently. Prior to joining OMFIF, his experience included organising and managing charity events across Lincolnshire, as well as working at a historic venue in Eastbourne in an event management role.
He holds a BA in International Event Management from the University of Brighton.
Head of Programming
Marcin Stepan is Head of Programming at OMFIF. He is responsible for managing the relationships with central banks, sovereign wealth funds and pension funds in Europe, as well as programming a busy annual schedule of OMFIF Meetings throughout the region.
Prior to joining OMFIF, Marcin’s experience has been in conference and training production specialising in the finance and energy sectors. He has also worked as a teacher and translator in Poland, Russia and France.
Marcin holds a BA in History from the University of Warwick. He speaks English, Polish, French and Russian.
Katie-Ann Wilson is Programmes Assistant at OMFIF. She is responsible for supporting the programming division in researching and organising meetings as well as maintaining relationships with central banks, public pension funds and sovereign funds.
Prior to joining OMFIF, she worked at King’s College London, supporting the social science and public policy faculty on research submissions to higher education funding bodies. Before this, she worked as a grant writer for a non-governmental organisation in Israel.
Katie-Ann holds an MA in International Political Economy from King’s College London and a BA (Hons) in International Relations from the University of Leeds.
Membership and Commercial Partnerships
Jamie Bulgin is Director, Membership, with overall responsibility for relations with all financial institutions worldwide, ranging from central banks and sovereign wealth funds to debt management offices and treasuries.
Bulgin re-joined OMFIF in February 2014, having been involved in its inception in 2009/10. In the intervening period he spent four years at OMFIF’s sister company Lafferty Group, including a spell managing operations at the International Academy of Retail Banking – a new academy launched to improve standards in retail banking.
Bulgin is fluent in German, and holds a BA in German from the University of Sheffield and specialises in German-British cultural relations. He has built strong relations with London-based German bodies, including the Embassy of Germany and the German-British Chamber of Commerce.
Commercial Partnership Manager
Julia is Commercial Partnership Manager at OMFIF. Julia started her career as a credit analyst at a Russian bank, where she was responsible for the management and assessment of credit risks and recommendations for more quality lending. Later, she joined a commodity trader. She completed a comprehensive analysis of oil prices and their effect on the market for mergers and acquisitions.
In 2013, Julia joined a single family office in London. Julia was responsible for marketing and analysis of funds and hedge funds, before moving to the investor relations department. Here she was responsible for fundraising and marketing for project finance, private equity and venture capital co-investments. Julia has developed a number of significant relationships with family offices, sovereign funds and international commercial and development banks in Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Julia worked with entrepreneurs and founders to create and build businesses that aligned with the company’s philosophy and strategy.
Julia holds a BA (Hons) from EBS London in International Business. She speaks Russian, English, German and Arabic and is part IMC qualified.
Commercial Partnerships Manager
Shuen Lam is Commercial Partnerships Manager at OMFIF. She is responsible for implementing and developing commercial and strategic relationships with public and private institutions to achieve their business objectives.
Before joining OMFIF, Shuen accrued more than nine years of business development experience with organisations specialising in data, macroeconomics, industries and financial market analysis, assisting them to increase their revenues and presence in Asia.
Director, Official Institutions & External Relations
Edward Longhurst-Pierce is Director, Official Institutions & External Relations. He is also responsible for building and extending relationships with major public sector and research institutions, and has been with OMFIF since its inception year.
Prior to this, he was responsible for corporate affairs at Canning House, the UK centre for Latin America, working with the public and private sector on political and economic issues, covering finance and the extractive industries with FTSE 100 companies and government departments in the UK and Latin America.
Before returning to London, he spent a number of years working in higher education in Latin America and has maintained his interest and links to the region as chairman and trustee of the Anglo-Central American Society and chairman of the Anglo-Ecuadorian Society. In these roles he actively promotes interest and understanding between the region, raising funds for charitable donations focusing on children, education, and disaster relief.
He holds a bachelor’s degree in French and Spanish from the University of Surrey and a master’s degree in French and Spanish translation, and speaks Portuguese.
Head of Client Relationships
Sofia Melis is Head of Client Relationships at OMFIF. Melis looks after OMFIF’s relationships with global public and private financial institutions such as central banks, sovereign funds, pensions funds, hedge funds and asset managers.
Prior to working at OMFIF Melis was Member Journey Manager for The Chartered Quality Institute, where she was responsible for the engagement and retention of around 20,000 members.
Melis holds a BA in Politics and International Relations from the University of Cagliari in Italy and a postgraduate diploma in International Management from the University of London.
Mingiyan Shalkhakov is Relationship Manager at OMFIF. He is responsible for managing and developing relationships with global financial institutions, including central banks, sovereign funds, pension funds, asset managers and other organisations within both the public and private sectors.
Shalkhakov was previously involved in new business development at Capital Economics and Invest Global Consulting in London. He speaks fluent Russian and English, and holds a BA in Economics and Politics and MSc in International Business Economics from the University of the West of England.
Commercial Partnerships Manager
Henry Wynter is Commercial Partnerships Manager at OMFIF. He is responsible for expanding membership and deepening commercial relationships, introducing both private and public sector institutions to OMFIF.
Prior to joining OMFIF, he spent over five years in Russia working in private client investment management, developing and maintaining client relationships throughout Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States.
He holds a BA in Economics and East European Studies from University College London. He has a keen interest in the political economy of Russia and economic history.
Research and Editorial
Brandon is a Research Assistant at OMFIF. His focus is on the current sustainability and environmental, social and governance investment landscape for global public investors. Brandon previously worked at the Oxford Technology and Management Centre for Development, and the World Bank Urban Development and Infrastructure Hub.
He holds an MPhil in Development Studies from the University of Oxford and a BA (Hons) in History from the National University of Singapore.
Assistant Production Editor
Will Coningsby-Brown is Assistant Production Editor at OMFIF. His responsibilities include assisting with the production of a portfolio of print and digital products. He has a specialist knowledge in trade book publishing, having played a key role in publishing recent titles for OMFIF Press.
Prior to joining OMFIF, he was an Editorial Assistant at a sports newspaper, where he was responsible for the transition to, and effective running of, its new website. He has also undertaken various internships in the book publishing industry.
He holds a BA in Politics from Keele University.
Julian Frazer is Senior Editor at OMFIF. His responsibilities include editing copy for OMFIF’s Commentary Series, The Bulletin, long-form reports and OMFIF Press books, as well as drafting headlines, liaising with authors, and managing OMFIF’s online web content.
Before joining OMFIF, he served as a deputy editor at Chambers and Partners, a legal research company, where he oversaw research concerning the Middle East and North Africa and managed relationships with law firms in these territories. Before this he worked for a wealth management consultancy in Malta and Shanghai.
He holds an LLB in Law from King’s College London, and speaks German to a high standard.
Simon Hadley is Director, Production at OMFIF. He is responsible for the design and production of OMFIF’s publications, including liaising with suppliers such as printers, paper merchants and illustrators on a daily basis to ensure timely production of our titles.
His previous roles have resulted in more than 30 years’ experience in the publishing industry including stints on daily newspapers and financial b2b magazines such as Money Marketing and Fund Strategy for Centaur Media.
An experienced, prize-winning photographer, he also contributes pictures to OMFIF publications.
Julie Levy-Abegnoli is Subeditor at OMFIF. She is responsible for editing copy for OMFIF’s Commentary Series, The Bulletin and long-form reports. She also helps manage OMFIF’s online content.
Before joining OMFIF, she was a subeditor and reporter for the Parliament Magazine in Brussels, where she edited articles by leading members of the European Parliament and Commission, and reported on EU policy.
She holds a Bsc (Hons) from the University of Bath in Politics with International Relations and is fluent in French.
Pierre Ortlieb is Economist at OMFIF. He contributes to a range of research projects on a wide variety of subjects relevant to central banks and sovereign funds. Prior to joining OMFIF, Pierre gained experience through various roles at think tanks and as a speechwriter at the European Central Bank.
He completed his bachelor’s degree at Yale College, followed by an MSc in International Political Economy at the London School of Economics. He speaks German and French fluently.
Chris Papadopoullos is Research Assistant at OMFIF. He contributes to a variety of research projects on macroeconomics, international finance and central banking.
Prior to joining OMFIF he worked at Acuris, a specialist financial news and data company, where he covered the European private equity industry. He also worked at City AM newspaper, writing about global economic developments and the 2015 Greek economic crisis.
He holds a BSc in Mathematics with Economics from University College London.
Senior Economist & Head of Fintech Research
Bhavin Patel is Senior Economist & Head of Fintech Research at OMFIF. In this capacity, he works on the organisation’s research and analysis on a wide range of subjects relevant to central banks, sovereign funds and public pension funds.
His specialist research interests include the economic structure and environment of the Middle East, financial market development in emerging markets, Islamic finance, and the digital economy including fintech and central bank digital currencies. Prior to joining OMFIF his research interests focused on issues around the choice of exchange rate regimes and models of currency and financial crises.
He holds a BSc in Financial Economics with Econometrics and an MSc in Economics and Finance with Distinction, both from the University of Kent.
Deputy Head of Research
Kat Usita is Deputy Head of Research at OMFIF. In this capacity, she works on the organisation’s research and analysis on a wide range of subjects relevant to central banks, sovereign funds and public pension funds. Her specialist research interests include infrastructure investment and gender diversity in public investment institutions.
Previously, she was part of the Philippine civil service, monitoring the development of airports, railways and other infrastructure projects under the Department of Transportation. She also worked in Philippine politics, handling research for a national electoral campaign.
She completed the Master of Public Policy at the Blavatnik School of Government of the University of Oxford. While earning her degree she helped promote studying in the UK as a student ambassador for the British Council Philippines. She also holds a BSc in Economics from the University of the Philippines-Diliman.