The Financial, Professional and Business Services panel, represents major international and indigenous organisations from the legal sector right through to financial and professional services.
Professor Nola Hewitt-Dundas
Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Professor
Nola Hewitt-Dundas is Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences and Professor of Innovation Management & Policy at Queen’s University Belfast.
Nola is an internationally recognised scholar and has advised various international bodies including World Bank, EU and OECD. Her research interests include the dynamics of innovation ecosystems, business innovation, technology transfer and networks with an emphasis on small and medium enterprises, business strategy and technology adoption.
Director and NI FinTech Envoy
Andrew has over 20 years in the technology business and has gained extensive experience across financial services, utility, insurance, telecoms and transportation sectors. He has more than 10 years’ experience building high-performing global teams and executing on enterprise-scale transformation efforts.
Prior to his latest role at Allstate, Andrew held a number of leadership positions during his career in Allstate, spanning Connected Car, PMO (Program Management Office), consumer-facing mobile applications and innovation research and design.
In his current role, Andrew is a Director at Arity, a mobility insights and solutions company founded by Allstate in 2016, whose mission is to make personal transportation safer, smarter and more useful for everyone.
In his role, Andrew leads Arity’s Northern Ireland organization comprising a wide range of multi-disciplined digital product teams building big data, platform and mobile solutions.
Andrew earned both a BA (Hons) degree in Business, and a MSc in Computer Science from Ulster University. He is passionate about building links across industry, government and academia and has represented the company at numerous external engagements.
Professor Mark Durkin
Executive Dean, Ulster University Business School
Professor Mark Durkin is Executive Dean of the Ulster University Business School (UUBS).
Prior to joining Ulster Professor Durkin spent over a decade in various service, sales and strategic marketing roles within the Bank of Ireland Group. His teaching and research focus is at the marketing / technology interface in various business contexts and he is currently examining competency sets for managers as levels of digitisation increase.
He completed his PhD in 2005 (Loughborough University, UK) which focused on remote banking relationships and he was awarded the UK Chartered Institute of Marketing’s ‘Marketing Person of the Year’ in 2006 in recognition of his contribution to marketing education in Ireland.
Mark has held senior positions at Ulster in both academic leadership and professional services leadership contexts. Under his leadership as Executive Dean Ulster University Business School is now the only UK business school with formal relationships with both Harvard Business School and Babson College, Boston, USA. He is committed to embedding entrepreneurial leadership within the business curriculum. Mark is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing, a Fellow of the Institute of Banking, a Fellow of the Institute of Directors and is a Senior Fellow of the UK’s Higher Education Academy.
He has published over 60 peer reviewed academic papers and is an invited scholar to Babson College in Boston, a visiting professor to Philadelphia University and an Honorary Professor at Hubei GEO University in China.
Head of Consulting
Paul is PwC’s UK Head of Consulting, and a member of PwC’s UK Management Board. He was also Regional Chairman of PwC in Northern Ireland from 2011 to 2020 and led the establishment and growth of our Belfast office as an innovation, technology and service delivery hub for the firm in the UK and globally. It is now our largest office outside London, with over 2,300 people. Paul holds an LLB (Hons) Degree in Law from University of Reading and a Postgraduate Diploma in HR Management from University of Ulster.
His client-facing background is in large-scale public sector transformation programmes and organisational governance and change across private businesses. He is a member of the Council of the Institute of Directors in the UK and past Chair of Institute of Directors in Northern Ireland. He is current Chair of Ulster Rugby management Committee and previous Chair of NI Hospice capital appeal fund. He is now a Northern Ireland Hospice Ambassador.
UK Managing Partner for People and Purpose & Senior Partner
Based in Belfast, Jackie is the UK Managing Partner for People and Purpose and the Deloitte Northern Ireland Office Senior Partner. She started her career with Deloitte in Belfast 31 years ago and for the past seven years has been lead Partner in Northern Ireland. This has included setting up the Belfast Delivery Centre, which included the creation of Deloitte’s BrightStart Degree and Graduate academy programmes.
Jackie also served as people and purpose lead for Deloitte’s UK consulting business for two years before taking on the role of people and purpose lead for the UK business. Her commitment to diversity, inclusion and social mobility has been a focus throughout her career, and in particular her efforts in building skills and providing access to education for people across Northern Ireland.
Jackie was awarded an MBE for services to the Northern Ireland economy. Additionally, she’s a Visiting Professor at Ulster University, where she shares her expertise on apprenticeships and the skills agenda and is an Honorary Fellow of Belfast Metropolitan College.
Pippa Arlow is Global CEO of PR and content agency Smarts. With its HQ in Holywood, the agency also has offices in London and New York and employs 140 people delivering international campaigns for some of the world’s leading brands and organisations. Pippa is responsible for delivering Smarts Communicate’s strategic growth, developing an international footprint and leading cross-functional teams to help create local, national and international PR programmes for a number of high-profile brands including Johnnie Walker, Bushmills Irish Whiskey, Guinness and Kingsmill.
Managing Director & Vice President at Aflac Northern Ireland
Keith Farley, a native of Atlanta, Georgia, relocated to Northern Ireland with his family at the end of 2019 to set up the local arm of US insurance firm Aflac.
The Fortune 500 company, which has over 50 million customers and 12,000 employees globally, chose Belfast as its cyber security base. It also has a major operation in Japan.
Managing Director, Belfast Site Head
Leigh has worked for Citi for 23 years, covering a number of products from derivatives to FX. Since 2001 he has had operational responsibility for Foreign Exchange, Foreign Exchange Options and Money Markets, this extended to responsibility to FXLM globally in 2007 and EMEA Market Ops Head in 2014. In May 2016 Leigh took responsibility for the Citi Belfast site, a presence of over 2700 people supporting a wide range of businesses within the organisation. Leigh is also the Northern Ireland Chair for TheCityUK, a private-sector membership body and industry advocacy group promoting the financial and related professional services industry of the United Kingdom.
Leigh joined Salomon Brothers, one of the founding institutions to the modern Citi in April 1986 having arrived in the UK earlier in the year. He worked in finance and operational roles in a number of banks before re-joining Citi in 1998. Leigh has lived in Belfast for 13 years, moving from London when the FX/MM Operations migrated. The FXLM business operates in over 80 countries and is supported by Operations in over 62 countries, the business is supported by over 900 employees globally.
Outside of work Leigh enjoys watching rugby and cricket and playing golf.
David A Lavery CB’
Chief Executive of The Law Society of Northern Ireland
David Lavery was appointed Chief Executive of the Law Society of Northern Ireland in September 2019. Mr Lavery also previously served as Chief Executive of the Northern Ireland Courts and Tribunals Service and as Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Northern Ireland Department of Justice. He also served as Principal Private Secretary to the First Minister from 1998-2001.
Mr Lavery holds an LL.B from Queen’s University, Belfast and an LL.M from Harvard Law School and he spent the earlier part of his career in private practice. He was a Knox Fellow at Harvard and an Associate at Harvard’s Centre for International Affairs. He is an Eisenhower Fellow and a Visiting Professor at Ulster University. Mr Lavery is a Member of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission. In 2008 he was made a Companion of the Order of the Bath.
CEO and founder
Darragh McCarthy is the CEO and Founder of FinTrU. He started his career at Morgan Stanley in 1994 and remained there until late 2012. During his time at Morgan Stanley, Darragh was based in London, Frankfurt and New York and held various responsibilities including Global COO for Institutional Securities, COO for EMEA, Head of Fixed Income Sales North America and Head of Fixed Income Sales EMEA.
In 2013, Darragh founded FinTrU recognising the increased demand from Global Investment Banks for high-quality resources to navigate the ever-increasing regulatory landscape. Whilst managed as a profit-driven organisation, Darragh also considers FinTrU as having a social purpose to create high-quality professional employment. FinTrU is a multi-award winning RegTech company in the Financial Services sector. FinTrU employs over 900 people across offices in Belfast, Derry/Londonderry, London, Dublin, Maastricht and New York. Darragh has been a Board Member of the Belfast Chamber since June 2020 and the Innovation and Growth Advisory Board for the City of London since June 2021.
Darragh has a First Class Honours BComm International from University College of Dublin, Ireland. Originally from County Cork, Darragh now lives in Belfast. He is married with 3 children and speaks fluent German and Dutch.
James Richards, Executive Director of Baker McKenzie’s Centre in Belfast and responsible the Firm’s Alternative Legal Services (“ALS”) function globally.
James is a qualified attorney with 30 years practice experience, having spent most of his career as an M&A Lawyer in the Firm’s London Office. He relocated to Belfast from London in 2015 to help establish the Firm’s Belfast centre and to build the ALS function.
He has also spent four years in the Firm’s Moscow office. James is a qualified English solicitor.
Financial Services Sector Lead
Karen is responsible for the development of the multinational Financial Services and Professional Services Sector, including FinTech, in Northern Ireland. She also manages a portfolio of major Northern Ireland investors in the Financial Services Sector.
A graduate in Chemical Engineering from Queen’s University, Karen worked as a production manager for Coats Viyella and as a consultant for Reuters Healthcare and Parity, before joining Invest NI in 1999. She initially worked with a number of start-up companies in the ICT and Life Sciences sectors and with spin-out companies from the two local universities. She moved to the Financial Services sector team in June 2005.