My first job as a banker was the financing of the Channel Tunnel (Eurotunnel) between the UK and continental Europe, then the largest ever completely privately financed infrastructure project in the world. Working with senior people in a very small team, this gave me exposure over a four-year period to every aspect of transaction management, in both debt and equity. It also gave me the opportunity to be involved in a project of potentially enormous environmental benefit, switching both passenger and freight traffic from road and air to railways.
As a “green entrepreneur” living on a remote island chain in Scotland in the 1990s, I led a local grassroots campaign against a proposal to open the largest coastal superquarry in Europe on one of the islands. This opposition resulted in the longest planning enquiry in Scottish history and the eventual defeat of the plan. The proposer, Lafarge, one of the biggest building materials companies in the world, has since transformed its approach to environmental awareness and credits this experience with opening its eyes to these issues.
As head of the microfinance team at Morgan Stanley in the mid-2000s, I was able to complete the two largest transactions in the sector, totalling some $210 million and demonstrating that investments in this sector could be marketed to mainstream investors, and at some scale.
BA (Hons) English Language and Literature
I believe that inclusion is a far wider concept than just financial inclusion. We need to enable the unserved to participate in advances in communications, clean energy and other technologies, as well as improvements in agriculture, health, nutrition and other sciences. Leaving aside the moral imperative for all to share in progress, without such inclusion the inequalities which already endanger the stability of many economies and societies will only grow, creating a political imperative as well.
Title: Senior Transaction Advisor, Capital Advisory Services