Judging panel 2019

Our judging panel combines extensive academic knowledge and industry expertise with many years experience in the fields of financial services. Many of the judges have been involved in projects very similar to those that have been nominated for awards and have experienced the hours of hard work, as well as the high and the lows that such undertakings entails. They therefore bring a wealth of relevant skills and knowledge to the panel. 



Paul is the CEO of Secure Trust Bank PLC. Secure Trust is one of the UK’s so called ‘Challenger Banks’ and currently serves Retail Banking, SME and Asset Finance markets. It was the first bank to float on the stock market post the financial crisis.


Secure Trust Bank has delivered total shareholder returns in excess of 250% since the IPO in November 2011. Prior to joining the bank, Paul spent the majority of his 22 years with RBS and NatWest in front line customer facing roles in Retail, Commercial and Corporate Banking and Asset Finance businesses. These included Managing Director, Banking; Chief Executive, UK Business Banking and Managing Director, Lombard North Central PLC.


Paul holds both banking (ACIB, Fifs) and corporate treasury (AMCT) qualifications and he is a Board member of UK Finance.

Alison is a freelance writer and editor specialising in the financial services and technology industries. She has a BA in European Business Administration from ESC Reims, France, and an MBA from Cranfield University.


After gaining marketing experience in the IT sector, Alison worked in consumer credit and then as a consultant in the financial services industry. She has worked on the Financial Innovation Awards since their inception in 1997.

Sabrina is the founder and CEO of Kore, a technology and advisory company supporting financial service organisations through digital transformation. She is also a Partner at Pacemakers, a financial technology market research firm.


She has over 25 years’ experience in financial markets, business transformation and application of new technologies in banking.


Over her career, Sabrina has held senior roles at JP Morgan Chase, Barclays, Coutts and RBS. She is actively involved in the entrepreneurial community, both as a Board adviser and strategic director for Fintech companies.


Sabrina holds an MSc in Finance from the London Business School and a BA in Business and Economics from the University of Turin. She has won a number of innovation awards for her work and in 2018 she was included in the Timetric Power 50 list of the most influential digital innovators in Europe.


An Italian national, she lives and works in London.

James Devlin is Dean of the University of Leicester School of Business and Professor of Financial Services Marketing and Consumption.


Prior to that, James worked at the University of Nottingham, including a period as Dean, and what is now Cass Business School. James also served as a Trustee of the Board of Governors of The London Institute of Banking & Finance from 2012-2018. He has researched the areas of consumer decision making, marketing and policy issues in financial services since joining the University of Nottingham in 1991.


James is a member of the Chartered Institute of Securities and Investment and the Institute of Financial Studies. Prior to this, James worked in the financial services industry for Lloyds Private Banking. 

Graham is CEO of Intelligence Delivered a consultancy specialising in Customer Management, supporting clients across Europe, Asia and South America. He is also a non executive director of a startup fintech bank and CEO of Secure Me Ltd, building next generation personal data systems.


Graham was Head of Customer Propositions and Marketing for HSBC Bank. He was responsible for developing and implementing customer propositions across three leading UK brands – HSBC (including Premier), M&S Money and first direct.


He is author of ‘Banking: In search of Relevance', a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Bankers and a Chartered Engineer.

Alexandra Frean is head of Corporate Affairs and Communications at Starling, the leading mobile-only bank. She joined Starling in April 2018, after a 31 year career in journalism, including 25 years as a reporter, foreign correspondent and columnist at The Times.

Jane Fuller is co-director of the independent think-tank, the Centre for the Study of Financial Innovation. She is director of Fuller Analysis, a consultancy that she founded after leaving the Financial Times in 2005, and a Fellow of CFA Society of the UK.


A former financial editor and Lex writer at the FT, she still trains its journalists and is a columnist for Accounting & Business magazine. She is also a visiting professor at City, University of London, and director of the Wincott Foundation, which promotes high standards of financial journalism.

From 2009-2014, he was Senior/Special Advisor to bank supervision at the Financial Services Authority and the Bank of England. Pete was Citi’s Senior Corporate Finance Officer for the UK where he was also a Managing Director and member of the bank’s London based operating committee and worked in various areas of consumer, corporate and investment banking businesses in North America and Europe. His first banking position was in a branch office of the Société Générale in France whilst a student.


Pete has a BA from Drew University, an MBA from New York University (US), a PhD from City University London (Cass) and is a Fellow of the UK Higher Education Academy (teaching) and past Senior Fellow of the Foundation for Management Education. He completed a Postgraduate Teaching Certificate, and the International Business Schools Teaching Programme at SDA Bocconi in Italy. Pete was a member of the faculty at Cass Business School from 2007-2016.

Tina is Professor of Financial Services Marketing and Consumption at the University of Edinburgh Business School. She is co-editor of ‘The Routledge Companion to Financial Services Marketing’ (Routledge), author of ‘Financial Services Marketing’ (Prentice-Hall), and Editor-in-Chief of the ‘Journal of Financial Services Marketing’ (Palgrave).


Her research interests cover many topics associated with consumer understanding and use of financial services. Her current research, with Money Advice Service and Young Money, is aimed at improving young people’s financial capability. She has also conducted a wide range of consultancy projects for financial institutions. Her research has been presented at conferences and published in leading international journals.

Renier is a Venture Partner with DN Capital focusing on Fintech and also serves as Chairman of TransferGo, Divido, Mojo Mortgages, and Hostmaker. He is a non-executive director at Arion Bank and recently served as board member of Revolut.


In the past, Renier served as CEO of PayPal EMEA and was COO of Barclays International Retail and Commercial Banking. Renier was previously an officer of GE Capital where he served as Chairman and CEO of Budapest Bank, and SVP Business Development for the Americas.


Renier was a partner with McKinsey & Company in London, New Delhi, and San Francisco. He holds an MSc with distinction in Computer Science and an MBA with Distinction from INSEAD, France.

Originally a Commercial Banker, Helene is a highly experienced FinTech Programme Director, Investment Readiness Consultant, Exited Entrepreneur, and Educator, and most recently MD of the global Rainmaking Colab FinTech Programme, a world-first, post-accelerator programme connecting Series A+ FinTechs to Tier 1 banks financial institutions.


Helene successfully created and launched the Inaugural Programme of Education and Events for Innovate Finance and is an Associate Director with The London Institute of Banking & Finance, the Lead Fellow (and creator) on a world-first FinTech Pathway in a Masters in Tech Entrepreneurship Degree for UCL, and co-creator and lead delivery partner on the Imperial College FinTech Executive Education Programme. Her specialist subject areas are Digital Banking and Alternative Finance (SMEs).


She is a regular judge, speaker and moderator for the FIA Award, Global Mobile Congress, The Alt Fi Finance Awards, EFMA (European Finance), Money Live on FinTech/Corporate Collaboration, the Retail Banking Conference, and Lendit.


Helene is a member of The FinTech Advisory Board for the BSI (British Standards Institute), and representative for UK in the EU. Named on the Computer Weekly 100 Women in Tech Award 2019, she was also recently inducted into the St George’s Leadership Foundation at Windsor Castle. She is currently co-writing a book on the reinvention of banking.

Christophe is the founder of UFPFintech.com to provide capital for true early stage fintech startups.


In addition to being a prominent investor bridging start-ups and incumbents, Christophe is also advisor to the EU Commission, United Nations (ITU) and regulators (FCA & PSR) as UK expert (BSI) for Blockchain (TC 307) & FinTech (TC 68).


In this capacity, Christophe sits on ISO 20022 UK committee to create the next generation of standards for derivatives, payments, data, FinTech & digital currencies. 

Mark Sismey-Durrant is currently Non Executive Director of Cashplus and Independent Advisor to other specialist lending business. He also Chairs the Strategic Advisory Board at Loughborough University School of Business and Economics.He is pursuing a portfolio career having recently retired from his role as CEO of Hampshire Trust Bank.


Over a period spanning 23 years, he successfully scaled three banks as CEO – Sun Bank, Heritable Bank and HTB. He has specific expertise in building specialist lending and deposit operations and bank governance models. In 2014 he led HTB through a management buyout supported by Alchemy Private Equity and decided to retire having completed the task of building a sustainable and profitable business from an effective start-up position.


Mark recently stepped down from the Board of UK Finance. He also served on the transitional Board for its formation from six trade bodies, including the BBA where he was a Board Director and Chair of the Specialist Bank Advisory Board over several years. He has also recently completed a nine year term as Council member at Loughborough University where he served as President of the Alumni Association, Chair of Audit Committee and Pro-Chancellor.


He has just completed his term as Master of the Worshipful Company of International Bankers. He was formerly Chairman of the British Icelandic Chamber of Commerce. He served as Chairman of the judging panel for the Financial Innovation Awards for five years and has been a judge for the past 10 years. 

Nigel has particular expertise as a consultant and executive coach who links together a company’s business model, strategy and behaviour with its culture. He also has particular expertise as a researcher and commentator on areas concerning trust, fairness and customer value. He is the co-author of ‘Financial Services Marketing: An International Guide to Principles and Practice’. The Third Edition of this world-wide best seller was published in October 2017 and features previous ifs Financial Innovation Awards finalists.


Nigel spent more than 20 years in commercial practice in marketing, sales and general management, including Marketing Director roles at Lloyds Banking Group and Barclays in which he was responsible for life assurance, pension, savings and investment products. In terms of general management he has run businesses marketing unsecured loans, finance broker second mortgages and first mortgages.


He was the founder and Director of the Financial Services Research Forum for 12 years and is an Honorary Professor of Marketing at the University of Nottingham. Nigel is an Associate of the London-based Financial Inclusion Centre.