Our humble team of seasoned executives and board members offers a unique combination of an informed perspective, strong expertise, and practical advice

Our Founder

Lana Tahirly Abdullayeva
Founding Director

Scientist by education, strategist by experience and visionary by heart, Lana is motivated by her curiosity and passion for new inventions. She is driving an evolutionary shift in the business world today, taking inspiration from her great grandfather (Mirza Alakbar SABIR Tahir-Zada), who revolutionized modern Azerbaijani language and poetry in 19th century.

A seasoned Exec & NED, Lana has spent the last three decades in Tech & Fin launching, investing, and growing successful businesses and well-recognised brands, across developed and fast-growing economies. She has played an instrumental role in the global transformation towards the digital economy.

Lana brings a strong vantage point on how businesses evolve in the digital age and advocates for reshaping economics and governance, over traditional models, in order to drive growth.

Gregor Dobbie
Business Development Partner

From cash and cards to alternative payment solutions, Gregor has always been driven by innovation and the desire to discover the next big thing.

With more than 20 years in payments, Gregor began his career at NCR, before joining De La Rue in 2005. In 2014 Gregor joined Vocalink’s Card Transaction Services business before being appointed Managing Director of Sales in 2015 as part of the Vocalink executive team. Gregor has led Vocalink as CEO since 2019, working to ensure the business delivers on its commitments to customers and overseeing growth beyond its core product and services.

Most recently, Gregor is CEO of The Fintech & Payments Advisory Network. He also holds an advisory position on the Payments Advisory Group for Pennies, the “digital charity box” and he is the Chairman of Loyalzoo, a loyalty solution for the digital age.

Alongside his business career, Gregor has a keen interest in sports, particularly golf. He is married with a seven-year-old son.

Alison Conway
Operating Partner

Alison is a senior ecommerce and payments executive driving organic and acquisitive growth, innovation and performance transformation for high growth listed, PE and VC backed businesses. She works closely with boards and founders to build good corporate governance practices and shape effective collaboration between the board and executive teams. Alison brings significant experience in corporate development, M&A, early stage fundraising and operational strategy. She is an adjunct professor at London South Bank University and enjoys lecturing on building digital businesses and on strategy and international growth.

Prior to Chez Fintech, Alison led the corporate development and strategy team at Trust Payments where she materially expanded the Group's offering through a series of acquisitions and strategic partnerships including identifying and delivering the acquisition of a retail payment platform providing innovative payment solutions for SMEs, fulfilling a key product roadmap opportunity.

Before joining Trust, she was COO of PayTech startup MishiPay where she grew the team from 8 to 40, worked with global retail brands to scale app adoption and usage and raised the company's series A round with investors including Amex Ventures and Nauta Capital. Alison previously held senior roles at Amazon, eBay and brands including Belstaff and Head.

Alison holds an MBA from INSEAD and is an active Fintech advisor through her role as a mentor with Lafayette Plug and Play, the retail and payment technology accelerator connecting innovative startups with corporates to drive technology adoption and scale.

Russell Saunders
Senior Advisor

Chair, NED & Trusted Advisor to public and private sectors

Having been privileged to serve in global executive leadership roles for Payments, Financial Crime, Strategic Transformation and Open Banking, Russell retired from Lloyds Banking Group in 2020.

Now an experienced Non-Executive Chair of independent boards, including Senior Independent Director for iFast Global Bank, Pay.UK, SWIFT Global Board, the Payments Strategy Forum, the Strategic Review of Wholesale Cash and the Payments Market Practice Group.

Russell advises global and regional consulting practices. He has a strong vested interest in Fintech and technology evolution, with a particular passion for making global transactions frictionless, data rich and secure for all the users and players.

Phil Cotter
Senior Advisor

Phil has over 40 years’ experience, in building solutions to manage consumer & SME credit risk, fraud and identity with extensive experience of leading global teams to serve global customers and a strong track record of building and leading fast-growing businesses. Most recently Phil, was Group Head of Customer & Third-Party Risk at LSEG, a market leader in data & analytics to support customers in meeting their regulatory requirements in the areas of financial crime, customer due diligence, and fraud prevention. Under his leadership revenues increased five-fold.

Phil also served as served as Interim Group Head of Product Solutions, for the data & analytics division of LSEG, where he was responsible for leading the product teams across Enterprise Data, Benchmark & Indices, Wealth and Sustainable Investment delivering combined annual revenues of c£3bn. Prior to LSEG, Phil led the Risk business within Thomson Reuters and Refinitiv before its acquisition by LSEG. Prior to that Phil was with Experian for 15 years, where he led the UK Credit Services division which included the core Consumer Credit Bureau business and was the Global Leader for Business Information solutions.

Phil started his career with HFC Bank, learning how to lend money to consumers and SME’s and perhaps more importantly how to get it back. He held a number of sales leadership roles before moving into managing some of the first call centre operations in the UK, deploying first generation real time automated credit decisioning technology. Phil has previously served as a non-executive director on the Board of Bisnode the Swedish information company and successfully ran his own consultancy business.

Trusted Partners

The Fintech & Payments Advisory Network