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RFI Summit in Zurich sets course for the future direction of responsible finance

By RFI Foundation | 08-May-2017

May 8, 2017, Zurich, Switzerland – Following on a successful first day focused on ethical, responsible and Islamic FinTech, the Responsible Finance & Investment (RFI) Summit 2017 concluded last Thursday with an interactive discussion focusing on the areas for collaboration between the responsible investment industry, which manages $22 trillion in assets, and Islamic finance, which oversees more than $2 trillion. 

The final day’s sessions focused on the shared values that bring together environmental, social and governance (ESG) with impact investing and Islamic finance. During his Keynote Address, H.E. Governor Kairat Kelimbetov, Governor of the Astana International Financial Centre highlighted the complementary roles that Islamic finance and green finance can play in supporting financial stability, encouraging greater economic growth and doing both in a way that also reduces and mitigates the effect of CO2 emissions. 

After panelists discussed in more detail the specific areas for collaboration between responsible investment and Islamic finance, H.E. Ambassador Marc Bichler, Ambassador-at-Large for Climate Change and Human Rights from Luxembourg connected what is being done within the financial sector to the broader issues of climate change and human rights, all of which support achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. 

These goals, which outline an ambitious and aspirational goal for social, environmental and economic progress, will require significant financing – between $5 trillion and $7 trillion annually through 2030 – and the private sector, including the financial sector, plays a key role in mobilizing these resources.  The contribution of FinTech to addressing the sustainable development goals is often underappreciated, especially where it is practiced in a way that supports greater financial inclusion. 

In order to support these efforts, the RFI Summit, in partnership with the Swiss Finance + Technology Association and Finocracy launched the Support Disruption for Good Challenge ahead of the Summit to find innovative startups working in this area.  An independent judging panel composed of 10 leaders from different backgrounds across the finance, venture capital and professional services industries selected three finalists, AgriFunder, Pintail and Tez Financial Services, to present during the RFI Summit 2017.

Following presentations by each finalist, the audience had an opportunity to vote for the startup that displayed the most promise and the top vote getter, Tez Financial Services, was awarded with a ‘golden ticket’ to the final pitching round for F10 FinTech Startup Incubator & Accelerator, a Swiss accelerator focused on FinTech, InsureTech and RegTech sponsored by the SIX Financial Information and leading Swiss banks and insurers.

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