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Leading the Transition to a Green Economy: Role of Credit & Risk Transfer
October 18, 2022

Banking Hall, London, U.K.
10:00 AM to 5:00 PM

Given the increasing impact of climate change and the concurrent need for economic resiliency, what is the role of financial institutions in leading and managing the transition to a greener economy?

Led by RenaissanceRe’s Credit Team, our 16th Risk Mitigation Leadership Forum brought together key stakeholders to outline meaningful opportunities to effect positive change. Topics for discussion included transition risk and the role of risk transfer, financing of renewable energy, lower carbon construction in the housing market, the impact of ESG investment mandates, and the role of environmental risks in prudential frameworks for financial institutions.

Speakers participating in this cross-sector and collaborative discussion included leaders from academia, financial services, government, and environmental sustainability. Steven E. Seitz, Director of the Federal Insurance Office for the U.S. Department of the Treasury, opened the forum and Alex Brazier, Managing Director at BlackRock delivered the keynote.



Pictured, left to right, from RenaissanceRe are event moderators Cathal Carr, Calvin Thomas, Fiona Walden, Mehdi Benluelmi, Jeff Manson, and RJ Shea.

Richard was appointed as Aon’s Global Head of Climate Strategy in the fourth quarter of 2021. In this role he is responsible for driving Aon’s customer focused strategy in respect of products and services for climate. Prior to this appointment Richard led Aon’s UK Global Broking Centre – a Specialty and Wholesale insurance advisory and brokerage business, serving clients and Aon offices in over 150 countries throughout the world. Richard is a former director of Aon UK Limited and the London Market Group (LMG). He also served on the Board of the London and International Insurance Brokers’ Association (LIIBA) 2018-2022 (as Chair between 2020 and 2022). His current market appointments include serving as a member of the LMG’s Data Council, the Technology and Transformation Advisory Panel of the Council of Lloyd’s, and the Executive Action Committee of the Sustainable Markets Initiative Insurance Taskforce.

Tom Dickson became CEO of New Energy Risk in 2015, bringing more than 25 years of experience in the insurance and reinsurance industry, including executive and underwriting leadership positions in the US, Europe, and Asia. He has a highly-respected track record of leading companies that respond to market opportunities with creative solutions grounded in high-quality analytics, underwriting, and risk assessment. Prior to leading New Energy Risk, Tom held a variety of senior executive positions at leading insurers and reinsurers, notably as CEO and chief underwriting officer of the Centre Group, a $10B reinsurer that pioneered innovative insurance and reinsurance products to address high-value business risks and support financing. Tom also founded and was CEO of Meetinghouse LLC, a private firm specializing in investment management as well as capital and strategic planning, ratings management, and underwriting for the insurance, reinsurance, banking, and structured credit markets. Tom has served on the boards of a variety of public and private companies, including Flagstone Re, Paragon Insurance Services, Reformation Insurance Services, and as an advisor to Cellcontrol.

Holger Sandte is a senior economist (PhD) with 25 years of experience in in the financial sector. He works as Chief Analyst in Country, Sector and Bank Risk at EKF, Denmark’s Export Credit Agency, where he covers European countries. The transactions he is involved in range from SME exports to project financing for offshore wind parks. Former positions in macro and financial research at WestLB and Nordea. Moreover, he dealt with government debt and financial regulation at the Danish Ministry of Finance. Since 2019 external faculty at the DIS Study Abroad in Scandinavia, Copenhagen.

Alex Brazier, Managing Director, is Deputy Head of the Blackrock Investment Institute (BII). The institute leverages BlackRock’s expertise and produces proprietary research to provide insights on the global economy, markets, geopolitics and long-term asset allocation – all to help clients and portfolio managers navigate financial markets.

Alex helps to oversee all of BII’s activities and ensures that BII integrates research insights on portfolio construction, economics and markets with the long-term, whole-portfolio perspective that BlackRock’s clients need today. He leads BII’s efforts to support the firm’s sustainability agenda and guides economic and markets research to deliver thought-provoking and actionable investment insights for clients.

Prior to joining Blackrock in 2021, Alex served as Executive Director for Financial Stability at the Bank of England and was a member of the United Kingdom’s Financial Policy Committee. He was responsible for macro and market risk analysis, stress testing, Brexit preparations and policy measures to increase the resilience of the UK financial system. Latterly, he oversaw the development of climate stress testing in the UK and the design and execution of market stabilisation measures in the covid crisis. Alex spent more than 20 years at the Bank of England, serving also as Chief of Staff to the Governor and as a macroeconomist.
Alex earned an MA degree in economics from the University of Cambridge and an MSc in economics from the University of Warwick.

As CEO and co-founder of Kita, Natalia is passionate about three things – fighting the climate crisis, restoring and respecting the power of nature, and using insurance as a key accelerator for positive change. Prior to founding Kita, Natalia worked for 15 years as a business development and strategy specialist within the legal sector. Her experience working with large corporates on their climate change-related challenges inspired her to take the leap into entrepreneurship to help drive change faster. She was accepted to Carbon Thirteen, the venture builder for the climate emergency. Natalia believes working together makes us stronger, and nowhere is that more true than the climate crisis.

In his role as Senior Advisor within the Bank of England, Michael Sheren provided counsel and independent challenge to senior BoE Management on critical risk, governance and operational matters within the financial markets. Michael has been one of the Banks leaders in the area of climate risk in the financial system. As part of his climate work, he Co-Chaired the G20 Sustainable Finance Study Group with China, is a UK delegate to the NGFS and a contributor to the digital green bond work within the Innovation Hub of the Bank of International Settlements. Michael was also a co-founder of the BoE’s Fintech Accelerator. Michael is actively involved in the global greentech and greenfintech sectors. He sits on the board or mentors C-Suite leaders within firms advancing sustainable technology. Michael is passionate in the belief technology can enable the real economy and financial markets to transition to a more sustainable world at pace and scale. Michael holds Master’s degrees from Harvard, The London School of Economics and New York University and a BA from the George Washington University.

Glenn is a Director at Howden M&A. Prior to joining Howden M&A, Glenn led the environmental practice at Chubb, overseeing underwriting, claims and product development. At Howden M&A, Glenn specialises in placing environmental insurance, with a particular focus on insuring complex soil and groundwater indemnities. Glenn has an honours degree in Environmental Engineering from the University of Wollongong (Australia) and a MBA from Anglia Ruskin University. Outside of work Glenn enjoys running and spending time in the mountains.

Alien Pauw works as Director at PGGM Investments, in the Credit & Insurance Linked Investments (CILI) team and within that focusses on Credit Risk Sharing transactions. The CILI team manages a dedicated mandate, currently around €6.1 billion in size, which invests in tailor-made bilateral risk sharing transactions with financial institutions. Alien joined the CILI team in January 2020, after having worked at both PGGM Investments in the role of Investment Risk Manager, and ABN AMRO Bank as Portfolio- and Credit Risk Manager with a focus on the Energy, Commodities and Transportation sectors. PGGM is a not-for-profit cooperative pension fund service provider with origins in the care and welfare sector and has the ambition to provide for good pensions in a liveable world. PGGM offers clients pension management, asset management and management advice, and manages around € 241 billion (June 2022) of pension assets.

Ms. Whitehouse is a Managing Director and founding member of Newmarket. She is also the Lead Portfolio Manager for IIFC III. Her primary responsibilities are the origination, structuring, and management of investments. Prior to founding Newmarket, Ms. Whitehouse served as a Director at Mariner Investment Group. She has led the origination and structuring for multiple SRT investments, and is a frequent speaker at various industry conferences. Prior to joining Mariner, Ms. Whitehouse served as an Analyst at Cohen & Company and completed the White House Internship Program. In 2019, Private Debt Investor named Ms. Whitehouse one if its “Rising Stars.” Ms. Whitehouse earned her BA in Political Science with Honors from Yale University in 2011 and her Masters of Liberal Arts with a focus in Sustainable Development from the University of Pennsylvania in 2018. Building on her professional experience, her master’s thesis explored capital management practices at multi-lateral development banks.

Tamar Joulia is Senior Advisor at the IACPM and is based in Brussels. Tamar holds various engineering & business management degrees from universities in Europe. She first worked in the infrastructure construction and in the cable manufacturing sectors and joined banking to develop a modern risk management framework for lending, investment and trading books. She was in charge of leading the Credit Portfolio Management function of a global bank-insurance firm, developing solutions for risk, capital and liquidity management, and of leading Credit Capital Markets business during the Global Financial Crisis.

Bridget Gainer brings a unique perspective to civic life with more than 25 years of experience in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. She is the vice president of global public affairs for Aon and a commissioner on the Cook County Board. Her career at Aon has spanned finance and strategy. Most recently, Gainer has led the effort to bring apprenticeships to the financial services sector through the launch of Aon’s Chicago Apprenticeship Program. In January 2017, Aon partnered with Chicago City Colleges to hire 26 young men and women from neighborhoods across the city as apprentices in Aon’s Chicago office, where they receive a competitive salary and on-the-job training. Gainer was elected to the Cook County Board in 2010 and has brought both finance credentials and a strong commitment to Chicago to lead on several fronts. Gainer’s first act as a county commissioner was to create the Cook County Pension Committee. As chairman, Gainer has led the charge to find a pension reform solution that was fair to both taxpayers and the workforce. She also started and chairs the Cook County land bank, the region’s most comprehensive response to the foreclosure crisis. The land bank is a social enterprise with 400 homes in development and works with more than 100 community-based developers. Gainer is a graduate of the University of Illinois Urbana and has an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Most recently, and with the support of United States Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Bridget launched a Chicago chapter of Off the Sidelines in Chicago to encourage more women to ‘take their ideas to action.’ She has quickly grown the organization to 2,500 members.

Dr Nina Seega is the Research Director for Sustainable Finance at the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL). She leads a broad portfolio of engagements across a variety of sustainable finance themes, including nature-related finance. Nina has worked with De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB) on the financial impact of disruptive energy transition, collaborated with the South African National Treasury and Banco de Mexico on embedding environmental scenarios into financial risk frameworks, and was the knowledge partner for the G20 Green Finance Study Group in 2016 and 2017. Previously, Nina was the Head of the London Traded Products Desk for Dresdner Kleinwort. In addition to her role at University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership, Nina is an academic visitor at the Bank of England, as well as a member of the Strategic Advisory Board on Sustainable Finance at the British Standards Institute, the Sustainable Finance Scientific Council at S&P Ratings, and the Board of Directors at the Global Research Alliance for Sustainable Finance.

Kamal Dalal is an associate in the London office of Latham & Watkins and a member of the Derivatives and Structured Finance & Securitization Practices. Ms. Dalal regularly advises clients on structured finance and securitization transactions across a range of asset classes, including SME and consumer loans, auto loans, point-of-sale receivables, trade finance receivables, and residential and commercial mortgages. She has worked with a number of fintech clients, including in connection with the financing of European government-backed SME loan portfolios, as well as banks, asset managers, funds, insurers, and corporates. She also has experience advising clients in relation to OTC derivative transactions, synthetic securtizations, and structured hedging solutions. Ms. Dalal has experience advising clients on regulatory matters and co-authored the UK chapters of Chambers & Partners Securitisation Global Practice Guide 2021. Prior to joining Latham, Ms. Dalal worked at a Magic Circle law firm, where she regularly advised and was seconded to the International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA).

Tom Stoddard is a Managing Director and Vice Chairman of Global Investment Banking, specializing in insurance and financial services. He has extensive advisory experience, covering hundreds of transactions in M&A, restructuring, takeover defense, private equity, shareholder relations, IPOs and capital markets, plus operating experience in performance management, cost cutting, finance transformation, capital management and cultural change. Tom brings together a range of perspectives from a 35-year, international career as banker, lawyer, CFO, consultant, and public company director. He led Blackstone’s financial services advisory business from 2008 to 2014, including serving as Lead Global Coordinator of AIG’s $182 billion rescue and recovery. Tom joined Bank of America Securities in 2021 after seven years working as a Group CFO, first for Aviva (a globally systemic important insurer – GSII – with ~$500 billion total assets) and then Athora (the Apollo life insurance consolidation vehicle in Europe), as well as serving as a Senior Advisor to McKinsey & Company. As CFO he drove ratings upgrades at both Aviva and Athora, while improving capital ratios and cash generation. Tom has dealt with regulators across the globe and held roles approved by the UK’s Prudential Regulatory Authority (PRA) and Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), as well as the Dutch National Bank (DNB) and the Bermuda Monetary Authority (BMA). He started his career as an asset based commercial lender at PNC Bank, and then worked as a corporate and securities lawyer with Cravath, Swaine & Moore. Tom holds a JD with Honors from the University of Chicago Law School, where he was a member of the Law Review, and a BA with Distinction in Economics from Swarthmore.

Ramona Dauner is a key member of Citi’s Sustainability & Corporate Transitions Group, with particular focus on harder to decarbonise sectors and their transition towards net zero. She has been with Citi’s Sustainability & Corporate Transition team since its formation in 2019. Ramona joined Citi’s Corporate Investment Bank in 2010; prior to joining Citi, she has worked in Business Development at HSH, M&A at Deloitte and Equity Research at Commerzbank. Ramona holds a master’s degree in International Management from the University of Reutlingen / Northeastern University in Boston.

Steven E. Seitz is the Director of the Federal Insurance Office (FIO) in the U.S. Department of the Treasury. FIO monitors all aspects of the insurance industry and develops federal policy on prudential aspects of international insurance matters, including representing the United States at the International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS). FIO also administers the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program. FIO is also authorized to collect and disseminate data and information from the insurance industry. Steven is a non-voting member of the Financial Stability Oversight Council. At the IAIS, Steven is a member of the Executive Committee and serves as Vice Chair of the Macroprudential Committee. Steven also represents FIO at the Sustainable Insurance Forum. Steven previously served as the Deputy Director of FIO. Prior to joining FIO, Steven worked in Treasury’s Office of the Assistant General Counsel (Banking and Finance). Previously, Steven served as Counsel in the Office of the General Counsel at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Steven holds a B.A. from Cornell University and a J.D. from The University of Chicago Law School.

Camille joined Kensington in 2013 and works in Capital Markets. She focuses primarily on managing the securitisation programs, the new origination warehouse and the derivatives for the Group. Kensington has issued the first Social and Green ABS securitised bonds in 2021.

Rosa is a Physical Climate Risk SME within the Climate Risk team at Citi, responsible for building out and integrating Climate Risk management capabilities into governance and risk processes across the organization. Prior to joining Citi, Rosa worked at re/insurance broker Willis Towers Watson in London for 5 years, most recently as Head of Earth risks research. Rosa’s interest in the intersection of Financial and Environmental Risks has driven her career choices, and in 2011 she completed a PhD in Catastrophe Modelling, followed by several years of academic research at University College London. Rosa also holds a BS in Business Administration, and an Ms in Math, Stats and Operations Research from New York University. Rosa began her career in Retail Banking in 2000 covering acquisition risk for the Credit Card Services Division at JP Morgan Chase in New York, before moving to Portfolio Risk Management for the Auto division of GE Capital.

Michael Schmitz is a principal and consulting actuary in the Milwaukee office of Milliman and has been with the firm since 1993. Mike manages a practice dedicated to financial risks such as mortgage guaranty, financial guaranty, and credit enhancement products. Mike has assisted in structuring and pricing credit enhancement mechanisms for securitizations, both in the United States and internationally, and has spoken at conferences on this topic as well as others. He has also served as the lead consultant on many assignments, assisting the largest banks in the United States in their management of credit risk. Mike has assisted both banks and insurance companies in analyzing the risk associated with residual value exposure on several classes of assets. In addition to working with financial guaranty insurers, he has consulted to the majority of the insurers that comprise the private mortgage insurance industry and to banks and other financial institutions on topics including reserving, pricing, financial analysis, mortgage portfolio credit risk, product development, structured transactions, risk transfer analysis, and capital model design and validation. Another of Mr. Schmitz’s core areas of expertise is property and casualty insurance, particularly ratemaking, loss reserve, and financial analysis. Mike has extensive experience in reinsurance and commercial lines, including workers’ compensation, professional liability, reinsurance, and other long-tail lines. He has also assisted a number of clients in developing self-insured and alternative risk transfer programs for their workers’ compensation and liability exposures.

Kelly was recently appointed Special Counsel and Head of Strategic Delivery – Sustainability & ESG at DLA Piper. In her new role, Kelly will support the delivery of DLA Piper’s International Sustainability & ESG strategy by providing senior guidance on strategic sustainability opportunities. Her efforts will aim to drive change, open new opportunities and accelerate growth for both their clients and their people. Kelly previously held the position of Counsel at Allen & Overy where she specialized in sustainability and ESG regulation, policy and strategy across a wide variety of geographies and sectors. Prior to her return to private practice, she was the sustainability and climate risk lead in the group regulatory policy team of Barclays. She represented the bank in the 2019 inaugural session of the FCA-PRA Climate Financial Risk Forum in the Innovation Working Group. Kelly is a postgraduate student at the Cambridge Institute of Sustainability Leadership. Her research interests include UK nature-positive transition policy, ESG ratings, extrinsic drivers for corporate sustainability strategy and approaches to sustainability risk in the legal sector.

Michael Cohen is the Senior Vice President of Government Affairs for RenaissanceRe, a global provider of reinsurance and insurance to cover the risk of natural and man-made catastrophes. Prior to his current position, Mr. Cohen was a director of industry and state relations at Freddie Mac. He also served as the Deputy Chief of Staff of the White House Community Empowerment Board in the Clinton White House, was the White House liaison at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and ran the Office of Special Actions for HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo. Michael was a legislative assistant in U.S. House of Representatives and has held various other positions both in and out of government. He grew up in Miami, Florida and earned a B.A. at Columbia University and a J.D. at Emory University School of Law.

Cathal Carr is Senior Vice President and Global Head of Climate & Sustainability Strategy, a role he assumed early in 2022. He is responsible for designing, executing and coordinating RenaissanceRe’s climate and sustainability underwriting strategy across both the Property and Casualty & Specialty segments. This includes leading the development of new products and tools to respond to emerging underwriting opportunities. He is based in Dublin.

Previously, Cathal was based in Bermuda as SVP, Global Head of Property Catastrophe with responsibility for coordinating portfolio construction globally across all locations. He joined RenaissanceRe’s Dublin office as a Risk Analyst in 2005 before relocating to Bermuda in 2009.

Cathal holds a Bachelor’s degree in Electronic Engineering from Dublin City University.

RJ Shea is responsible for the execution of portfolio underwriting strategy, best practices, and consistency across the global Credit portfolio. He also manages the coordination and communication across the Credit portfolio to further client focus in accordance with RenaissanceRe’s global underwriting strategy. His responsibilities run across all three pillars of the global Credit portfolio (Credit, Bond & Political Risk, Mortgage Credit, and Structured Credit) and across all Credit underwriting jurisdictions (Australia, Bermuda, London, and Zurich). He joined RenaissanceRe in 2015 and is based in Bermuda.

Prior to RenaissanceRe, Mr. Shea worked at Morgan Stanley in New York City. While there, he spent time in the Financial Institutions Group (FIG) in both Global Capital Markets and Investment Banking capacities, where he advised clients on debt, equity and M&A transactions.

Mr. Shea has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Bowdoin College, with a double major in Economics and Government.

Jeff Manson is a seasoned underwriting executive who was instrumental in developing RenaissanceRe’s global primary catastrophe reinsurance portfolio. Building on his broad client relationship management experience, Jeff is now leading the company’s collaborative efforts across a number of public and private sector initiatives to help enhance resiliency in vulnerable communities around the world and lessen the impacts of economic and environmental disasters. He has been with RenaissanceRe since 2006.

Previously, Jeff was a Partner and Managing Director of an environmental consulting firm focused on resource use and climate change issues. Additionally, he has extensive project management experience in the commercial construction industry. Jeff holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Biology from the University of Guelph in Canada.

With nearly 20 years’ experience advising, structuring, and executing financial transactions, Fiona Walden is Global Head of Credit for RenaissanceRe where she develops and manages complex strategic plans for global (re)insurance credit portfolios and acts as a DEI ambassador within the industry.

An expert in the financial services industry, she is the former head of thriving Credit divisions at Willis and Liberty Specialty Markets and has experience as a senior tax lawyer at Linklaters.

Fiona received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Law at Oxford University. In addition, Fiona holds the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment Certificate in Investments (Securities & Financial Derivatives).

Mehdi is a Senior Vice President in the Credit underwriting team, focusing on building our Credit portfolio in Europe.

Mehdi joined RenaissanceRe’s Zurich office in 2021 with a strong background in structured credit. Prior to joining RenaissanceRe Mehdi was part of the investment team at Bayview Asset Management and previously

held positions of increased responsibility at Credit Suisse, in London and Zurich. His expertise spans across various aspect of structured credit, risk transfer transactions, banking regulation and risk management.

Mehdi holds a Master’s degree in Financial Engineering and Statistics of the university of Paris Dauphine.

Robin Lang is Senior Vice President and Chief Risk Officer European Operations. He is based in London and is responsible for the risk profile and governance of RenaissanceRe’s European balance sheets.

Mr. Lang joined RenaissanceRe in 2001 in Dublin as a property treaty analyst and held various roles in the risk and portfolio management team in Bermuda before being seconded to the risk team in London in 2010 to assist with the Syndicate 1458’s Solvency II efforts. Mr. Lang has extensive understanding of the RenaissanceRe risk systems and tools as well as the RenaissanceRe risk and underwriting culture.

Mr. Lang has a Bachelor of Engineering degree from Edinburgh University and a Masters in Engineering from McGill University in Montreal.

Calvin Thomas is a Senior Vice President with RenaissanceRe. In his current role as Head of Credit Risk and Underwriting Integration, his responsibilities include enabling the team’s strategy through provision and improvement of tools for pricing, risk aggregation and capital management.

Calvin joined RenaissanceRe in 2005 and has served in numerous roles, with a focus on the application of internal and external data to improve the Company’s understanding of risk. He has played an integral role in the growth of RenaissanceRe’s Credit reinsurance portfolio including premium growth, expansion of product offerings, and the depth of modeling and risk management capabilities.

Calvin has a Master’s degree in Computer Science from Dalhousie University.

With nearly 20 years’ experience advising, structuring, and executing financial transactions, Fiona Walden is Global Head of Credit for RenaissanceRe where she develops and manages complex strategic plans for global (re)insurance credit portfolios and acts as a DEI ambassador within the industry.

An expert in the financial services industry, she is the former head of thriving Credit divisions at Willis and Liberty Specialty Markets and has experience as a senior tax lawyer at Linklaters.

Fiona received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Law at Oxford University. In addition, Fiona holds the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment Certificate in Investments (Securities & Financial Derivatives).