Partner, Grant Thornton

Samer Hijazi

He joined in 2015 from KPMG UK, where he spent over 14 years working across multiple lines of service specializing in financial services. He has managed and provided auditing and risk advisory/assurance solutions to global and international financial services clients with the success being underpinned by the technical expertise and commercial acumen that was delivered.

Samer also held the role of Global Head of Islamic Finance for KPMG, where he designed new solutions and products for clients around the world. Prior to that, Samer worked with another Big 4 firm in the UAE where his clients included financial institutions as well as a wide range of clients who had a diversified offering and thus operated in various other sectors.

Samer has extensive experience leading complex audit engagements for global investment banks, FTSE 100 banks, sovereign wealth funds and investment managers and international banks (including for the likes of Emirates NBD and NBAD).  He has directed the audit of a number of financial services teams of clients that have multi-location operations, in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East. This in turn has aided him to mastering the art of identifying issues and themes on the ground and converting these into insightful Board feedback adding greater value.

He was instrumental in the formation of the the UK Islamic finance practice and developed new products and solutions to deliver to all UK Islamic financial institutions, FTSE 100 banks and global investment banks, which saw him becoming de facto UK Head of Islamic Finance in 2009 and Global Head in 2013. As Global Head of Islamic Finance, Samer led and developed the industry lobbying of the British government which resulted in the launch of the UK Government Sukuk which was oversubscribed 10 times. As a result of his integral role in developing such, he was awarded ‘Global Islamic Finance Adviser of the Year – International 2014’ by Professional Sector Network.

He was seconded to the British Government to lead on the delivery of a strategy to develop the UK as a hub for Islamic Finance in the West, as well as delivering a strategy to increase financial services trade between the UK and the Arabian Gulf states.

Samer is an avid public speaker having presented at industry conferences on Islamic finance and is often quoted in the press including the Financial Times, Sunday Times and City AM.  He has published a number of articles and thought leading content to share emerging issues, opportunities and challenges within the sector.