Leadership Team

Over 100 Years of Collective Industry Experience

Talal Yassine OAM - Managing Director

Talal currently serves as a Non-Executive Director on the Whitlam Institute and Western Sydney University Foundation Council Board. He also serves as Chairman of First Quay Capital and Chairman of the Australian Arab Dialogue.

Talal has also served on the Australia Post, Board of Sydney Ports, Macquarie University and the Western Sydney Area Health Service and the Chairman of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade; Council of Australia Arab Relations.

In an executive capacity, Talal spent 10 years at PwC as a director and strategist, and at investment firm Babcock & Brown in the Corporate Finance Group and later in the Technical Real Estate Division. Later Talal held leadership positions in Better Place Australia, Platinum Hearing and Star Transport Australia.

Talal holds a Master of Laws, a Master of Business Administration which was focused on international business strategy, as well as honorary and adjunct Professorships within the Crawford School of Public Policy at the Australian National University and School of Business in the University of Western Sydney, respectively.

On Australia Day 2010, Talal was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for his service to business and to the community through a range of education, health and multicultural organisations

Saeed Mirzakhani - Chief Financial Officer

Mr. Saeed Mirzakhani joined Crescent Wealth in November 2015 as its Chief Financial Officer. Saeed is also founding member of CharterNet with over twelve years experience servicing private clients on a wealth of accounting and taxation matters.

Saeed has obtained his experience from global professional services firms such as PricewaterhouseCoopers (Private Client Services / Taxation Division) and Pitcher Partners (Business Services / Tax Division).

He holds Professional Memberships with the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia, the Taxation Institute of Australia and the Law Society of NSW (accredited external examiner).

Saeed has qualifications as a Self Managed Superannuation Fund (SMSF) auditor, a BaC (USyd), MBA (MacqU), and specialist skills in business services and tax compliance, tax advisory and business advisory.

Murray Jones - Chief Compliance Officer

Murray has worked within the financial services industry for over 20 years. He has provided advice on corporate governance and strategic planning issues to institutions; acted as an independent expert under ASIC enforceable undertakings; chaired audit risk & compliance committees; been appointed as a responsible manager for a number of AFS Licence holders spanning listed and unlisted fund managers and financial advisory businesses.

He is currently Managing Director of Compliance & Risk Services Pty Ltd which has acted for over 150 financial institutions in establishing and supporting financial services businesses. His company has also developed a web based software solution, CRSCertus, which is used by a number of prominent financial institutions to manage their risk and compliance obligations.

Murray is also on the Trustee Board of Directors for both Diversa Trustees and CCSL.

Murray’s expertise spans retail and wholesale funds management, securities operations, superannuation, insurance, corporate advisory and financial planning.

Jason Hazell - Chief Investment Officer

Jason is responsible for leading the investment team which manages the Crescent Wealth Super Fund’s investment portfolio. He works closely with the Investment Committee to set investment objectives, formulate investment strategies and implement investment portfolios for the benefit of Crescent Wealth’s members.

Jason has more than 20 years' experience in the superannuation and
investment management, and has extensive experience in all aspect of
investing. He joined Crescent Wealth in March 2019, having previously spent a long career with MLC Investment Management and NAB Asset
Management.

Jason holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Sydney and a
Master of Finance from the University of New South Wales.

Fatma Saaoud - Business Operations Manager

Fatma currently leads Crescent Wealth’s Business Operations, including strategic business planning, project management of major projects and management of key stakeholders.

Fatma has more than 10 years’ experience in the financial services sector. Predominantly in lending, superannuation and managed funds.

She holds a Bachelor of Commerce (Finance) and Bachelor of Arts from Deakin University in Melbourne.

Previously Fatma held a Senior Manager role with Landcorp Australia. Specialising in private equity real estate with the focus on residential and commercial developments projects.

Her specific areas of expertise were to provide analytical reports of opportunity sites based on location, yield, project feasibility, funding models, and risk assessments.

Fatma also held Business Development Manager and Relationship Manager roles for Crescent Wealth. Where she was responsible for the development and growth of the Melbourne market.

Fatma also currently serves as a Board Director of AG Coop and the National Coordinator of the Crescent Foundation.

Mas Johan Harris - Director- Strategy & Investment

Mas Johan Harris joined Crescent Wealth in October 2013 as its Head of Product & Operations. He has over 20 years’ experience in Funds Management working both in Australia and internationally. Starting his career with AMP in Sydney, he then built upon this with experience working with large global managers like Royal & Sun Alliance and Barclays Capital in London. Before joining Crescent Wealth, he spent an extended period in Malaysia with KAF Investment Bank helping to build up their Funds Management business. During his career, Mas has successfully launched a number of successful investment products both conventional and Islamic compliant. He has strong skills in investment products and operations.

In 2016 – he was appointed the head of Crescent Wealth’s Malaysia business to build upon it’s presence in that country and subsequently launched the first Australia domiciled property Fund available in Malaysia.

He holds professional membership with the Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia and holds a Bachelor of Business from University of Technology Sydney.

Investment Committee

Nicholas Whitlam - Chair

Nicholas Whitlam is chairman of the Port Authority of New South Wales, a non-executive director of Crescent Wealth , and chairman of his family company, Whitlam & Co.

As a former CEO and chairman of major financial institutions, Whitlam has been exposed to most aspects of banking, insurance and superannuation.

In recent years he has been heavily involved in the ports sector; Whitlam served as chairman of all three NSW ports – Sydney, Newcastle and Port Kembla – until their amalgamation as the new port authority on 1 July 2014. In the disability and compensation sector he has recently served as chairman of the Lifetime Care & Support Authority and deputy chairman of the WorkCover Fund and WorkCover NSW.

Whitlam was President of the National Roads and Motorists’ Association, Australia’s largest mutual organisation, from 1996 to 2002. He chaired NRMA Insurance, Australia’s largest general insurance company, from 1996 to 2001; while at NRMA Insurance he led the process by which that company was demutualized and listed on the Australian Stock Exchange – where it now trades as Insurance Australia Group or IAG.

A career banker, Whitlam joined Morgan Guaranty Trust Co (now JP Morgan) in 1969, working in New York and London, and rising to the position of Vice President. Subsequently, he worked with American Express in Sydney and Hong Kong and then Banque Paribas in Hong Kong before his appointment as Managing Director and CEO of the State Bank of New South Wales from 1981. In 1987, together with Malcolm Turnbull, he established the investment bank Whitlam Turnbull & Co, where he was CEO. Since 1990 he has managed Whitlam & Co.

Whitlam was a member of the Sydney Olympic Games Review Committee in 1990 and then the Sydney Olympic Games Bid Committee 1991-1993. He was Chairman of Tattersall’s Club 1993-1996 and a director of the Australian Sports Foundation 1986-1995. For the Sydney 2000 Olympics, Whitlam was the Olympic Attaché for Hong Kong.

He was chairman of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra 1991-1996. Whitlam is a former chairman of the Australian Graduate School of Management (1986-1997)and was the inaugural chairman of the Whitlam Institute. He is currently a trustee of the Steiner Pohl Foundation and a Governor of St Vincent’s Curran Foundation.

Whitlam holds degrees from Harvard University (AB cum laude, 1967) and the University of London (MSc, 1969) and honorary doctorates granted by The University of New South Wales (Hon DUniv) and Western Sydney University (Hon DLitt). He was born in Sydney and attended Sydney High School. Whitlam is married to Judy (née Frye); they live in a coastal village south of Sydney and have three adult children.

Keri Pratt - Member

Keri is a professional with significant experience in investment sales & marketing, strategy & management, superannuation & business consulting and governance, and is an experienced company director.

She was previously Head of institutional sales at Franklin Templeton, and has over 25 years' financial services experience. She has developed extensive networks in financial services as well as being involved in industry advocacy for women.

She is NED of 2 industry associations, a national sports organisation and a NFP in the disability sector. Keri is involved in Manager of Vendor Management at State Super, and is also Director at Gymnastics Australia, IMCA Australia, and The Junction Works.

Jason Hazell - Member

Strategic leader with 19 years of industry experience and over 7 years in executive and senior management positions leading small to medium sized multi-functional operations in the funds management and superannuation industry. A record of delivering outstanding investment outcomes for members and a proven track record in driving member engagement through investment education and insights.

Highly developed leadership, communication and stakeholder management capabilities in complex environments that has built high performance teams with strong cultures that continue to deliver quality outcomes for members. A unique combination of strategic insight, business acumen, investment knowledge and operational experience that has delivered both organic and inorganic growth to the business.

A strong investment background through 8 years as an investment manager and researcher, building a solid track record of investment decision making up to and including the GFC. Strong focus on governance, with 3 years experience as a company director of a fund management company.

Specialities include: Strategy, M&A, investment management, client relationship management, investment communications, marketing, corporate affairs and sales support.

Dania Zinurova - Member

Dania Zinurova is a Senior investment consultant at Willis Towers Watson. Manager research, private markets, covering Asia Pacific real estate, global infrastructure, real assets and illiquid credit strategies. Prior to this she was an investment analyst at Russell Investments. Her experiences spans across management and research in private markets covering Asia Pacific real estate, global infrastructure, real assets and illiquid credit strategies.

Denis Sams - Member

Senior executive with extensive experience in developing and managing investments for superannuation funds and financial institutions.

Generally, acting as the independent member on investment committees for superannuation funds and institutional investors and/or financial and superannuation matters. Experienced as a board member and in assisting boards and board committees with setting and implementing strategies with an emphasis on achieving objectives.

Talal Yassine OAM - Managing Director

Talal currently serves as a Non-Executive Director on the Whitlam Institute and Western Sydney University Foundation Council Board. He also serves as Chairman of First Quay Capital and Chairman of the Australian Arab Dialogue.

Talal has also served on the Australia Post, Board of Sydney Ports, Macquarie University and the Western Sydney Area Health Service and the Chairman of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade; Council of Australia Arab Relations.

In an executive capacity, Talal spent 10 years at PwC as a director and strategist, and at investment firm Babcock & Brown in the Corporate Finance Group and later in the Technical Real Estate Division. Later Talal held leadership positions in Better Place Australia, Platinum Hearing and Star Transport Australia.

Talal holds a Master of Laws, a Master of Business Administration which was focused on international business strategy, as well as honorary and adjunct Professorships within the Crawford School of Public Policy at the Australian National University and School of Business in the University of Western Sydney, respectively.

On Australia Day 2010, Talal was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for his service to business and to the community through a range of education, health and multicultural organisations

Malaysian Advisory Board

The Crescent Wealth Malaysian Advisory Board members are leading business executives and leaders whose role is to provide strategic advice to the Managing Director of Crescent Wealth

Datuk Mohamed Azahari Kamil - Chair

Datuk Mohamed Azahari Kamil is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Asian Finance Bank Berhad. His previous roles included Managing Director and CEO of AmanahRaya Investment Bank Ltd, Managing Director of AmanahRayah – JMF Asset Management Sdn Bhd, Corporate Institutional Dealer at PB Securities Sdn Bhd, Executive Director and Corporate Nominee of KLSE for Kimara Equities Sdn Bhd, Assistant General Manager at Island and Peninsular Berhad and Senior Manager of Investment and Corporate Planning for Bapema Corporation Sdn Bhd, subsidiary of Permodalan Nasional Berhad.

He has been an independent, Non-Executive Director of Sapura Techology Bhd, Ayer Hitam Tin Dredging Malaysia Bhd and PA Resources Berhad. Datuk Azahari has a BBA and MBA in Finance from CMU, a Diploma in Banking from University ITM, and undertook Leadership Programs at Berkeley University and Harvard University

Mohd Ridzal Bin Mohd Sheriff - Member

Mohd Ridzal Sheriff was the Deputy Secretary General of the Malaysian Ministry of International Trade & Industry (April 2012-Mar 2015). Part of his role was to infuse private sector culture into the civil service, whilst cultivating, building and maintaining trade ties on a bilateral and multilateral basis for ASEAN, APEC, OIC and country to country trade relations.

Amongst his many roles, he has represented Malaysia as trade negotiator for both bilateral and multilateral trade, in the role of Senior Trade Official in ASEAN, OIC (Committee for Economic and Commercial Cooperation of the Organization of the Islamic Conference) and as Chief Negotiator for Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (“RCEP”) negotiations – a multilateral 16 country trade agreement.

He has been Chair of ASEAN’s AEC 2025 Vision Working Group, Senior Official for Malaysia-China Joint Trade Committee, led numerous special committees responsible for enhancing trade ties including committees on trade with China, committee responsible for Look East Policy 2.0, committee responsible for charting ASEAN Economic Community 2025, committee to enhance trade ties with Kazakhstan, and committee responsible for the economic offset program with South Africa. Prior to this role, Mr Sheriff has had a very successful career in the financial industry of Malaysia.

He was at Deutsche Bank Malaysia Bhd (DB) (2006 to 2012) as Head of Global Transaction Banking Malaysia, Head of Direct Securities Services Malaysia, and Director of Corporate Investment Banking where he successfully built a very strong domestic franchise in transaction banking domestically. Prior to this he was CEO of Duetsche Trustees (M) Bhd where he successfully led the Trustee business from zero-base to a leading position measured by funds under management, and secured 4 out of the 5 top mutual funds clients in Malaysia, was a trustee for marque Islamic fund, led large client migration to DB, led the market in collective investments schemes development, amongst others, entrenching DT’s position a leading market player.

From 2000 to 2005 Ridzal had a senior management role in Bursa Malaysia, the Malaysian stock exchange. He held various positions in the Exchange, such as the the Head of Group Business Development, General Manager of Clearing, Settlement & Depository Division at Bursa Malaysia Bhd and CEO of the Malaysian Derivatives Clearing House Bhd. He has also represented organisations at Board level. Most recently, he was Deputy Chairman of SME Corp Malaysia, was previously a Director of Duetsche Corporate Advisory Malaysia, the Malaysian Derivatives Clearing House Bhd, the Kuala Lumpur Options & Financial Futures Exchange Bhd and Chairman of Deutsche Trustees Malaysia Bhd. Ridzal holds a law degree from the University of London and is a qualified stock and derivatives trader.

Dato’ Saiful Bahri Zainuddin - Member

Dato’ Zainuddin is a Senior Executive of the Affin Banking Group. He holds or has held positions as Executive Director of Affin Investment Bank, Managing Director of Affin Investment Bank Stockbroking, Executive Director of Affin Holdings Bhd, membership of GLC Transformation Programme chaired by the Prime Minister, committee member of Affin Banking Group Investment Panel. His roles have been instrumental in getting mandates for the listing of Petronas Chemical (Petchem), Astro Malaysia Berhad, IHH Berhad, and FELDA Global Ventures.

Prior to this, Dato Zainuddin was Executive Director and Executive Director Dealing of Rashid Hussain Securities, CEO and Executive Director of Fima Securities Sdn Bhd – A subsidiary of Kumpulan Fima. He has also been a Director of Fima Asset Management Sdn Bhd, Member of Investment Committee of Fima Asset Management Sdn Bhd, and Member of Manco (Management Committee) of Fima Securities Sdn Bhd.

Prior to this, Dato Zainuddin was involved in RHB Banking Group as General Manager of Rashid Hussain Securities Sdn Bhd, Corporate Nominee and Director of Rashid Hussain Securities, Head of Institutional Dealing, a Member of Dealing Exco, a Member of Research Exco and was instrumental in the listing of Sime Darby, Petronas Gas, Petronas Dagangan and Telekom Malaysia.

Prior to this, Dato Zainuddin was involved in HICOM (Heavy Industries Corp. of Malaysia) as part of the Corporate Planning Division.

Dato Zainuddin is a Member of the Securities Law Consultative Committee, a Board of Trustee of Bumiputera Training Fund, Board of Trustee of Bumiputera Dealer Representatives Education Fund, a member of the Securities Market Consultative Panel, and Board member of Secondary Market Council, Non-Independent Non-Executive Director of Bursa Malaysia Berhad, Board Committee member for Bursa Malaysia’s Market Participation Committee, Risk Management Committee and Nomination & Remuneration Committee. He has also been appointed as Board member of the Securities Industries Dispute Resolution Centre (SIDREC), Chairman of the Association of Stockbroking Companies of Malaysia (ASCM), Chairman of the Joint Business Operations Committee between Bursa Malaysia Bhd and ASCM, Financial Adviser to the State Government of Negeri Sembilan, and Member of Negeri Sembilan State Government Think Tank chaired by the Menteri Besar

Dato Zainuddin has a BSc Economics & Finance from Western Michigan University, and participated in the International Centre for Leadership in Finance (ICLIF) Global Leadership Development Programme at Stanford University.

Board Of Directors

Emeritus Professor Dianne Yerbury AO - Chair

Emeritus Professor Dianne Yerbury has had a long and distinguished career in corporate Australia as well as an academic at some of Australia’s leading universities.

Amongst her many appointments (corporate, honorary and public) she was the GM/CEO of the Australia Council (1984 – 2006), Vice-Chancellor & President of Macquarie University, Sydney (1987 to 2006). She was also the Foundation Professor of Management at the Australian Graduate School of Management (UNSW).

Her many directorships amongst others, include GIO (1983 – 1988), Australia Post (1998 – 2002), Citibank Australia (1998 – 2002), University Co-operative Bookshops (2000 to date), Beta Investments (2000 to date); CEDA (2003 – 2008) and IBT Education now known as Navitas (2006 – 2008). In addition to two Honorary Doctorates, Dianne was made an Officer in the Order of Australia (AO) in 2000 and awarded a Centenary Medal in 2002.

Dr John Hewson AM- Non-Executive Director

Dr John Hewson is one of Australia's most experienced economists, financial experts and company directors. He is also a former politician and was Leader of the Liberal Party and Leader of the Opposition from 1990 to 1994.

Since leaving politics Dr Hewson has forged a very successful career in investment banking and at the elite levels of business.

Dr Hewson is a member of the Advisory Council for ABN AMRO Australia and Chairman of The John Hewson Group Pty Limited, Global Renewables Limited, Universal Bus Company Pty Ltd (UBC), Strategic Capital Management Limited and Belle Property Pty Ltd. He is also a director of Macquarie Graduate School of Management and other public and private companies.

With this background, John Hewson offers audiences around the world a unique view of politics, economics and business.

More about Dr John Hewson:

John Hewson entered politics in 1987 as the Member for Wentworth and became Shadow Minister for Finance then Shadow Treasurer before being elected the 24th Leader of the Opposition in 1990, a position he held until May 1994. Previously he had been advisor to two successive Federal Treasurers. He left politics in 1995.

In his earlier career, Dr Hewson's appointments included economist positions with the International Monetary Fund and the Reserve Bank of Australia, Head of the School of Economics at the University of New South Wales, adviser to Sumitomo Bank and on the Executive Committee for Macquarie Bank.

He also held some 30 major economic and financial consultancies to financial institutions and various industry organisations and associations including Bank of America, The Midland Bank, The Australian Bank, FW Holst & Co., OCBC and Australian Merchant Bankers Association.

Dr Hewson has been committed to environmental issues since meeting former US vice president and climate campaigner Al Gore and has had direct involvement in ventures including a waste recycling and methane extraction facility in Sydney. He also chaired the National Business Leaders Forum on Sustainable Development for six years.

In 2001 Dr Hewson was awarded a Member in the Order of Australia - For service to business and economics, to the Australian Parliament and politics, and to the community.

Talal Yassine OAM - Managing Director

Talal currently serves as a Non-Executive Director on the Whitlam Institute and Western Sydney University Foundation Council Board. He also serves as Chairman of First Quay Capital and Chairman of the Australian Arab Dialogue.

Talal has also served on the Australia Post, Board of Sydney Ports, Macquarie University and the Western Sydney Area Health Service and the Chairman of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade; Council of Australia Arab Relations.

In an executive capacity, Talal spent 10 years at PwC as a director and strategist, and at investment firm Babcock & Brown in the Corporate Finance Group and later in the Technical Real Estate Division. Later Talal held leadership positions in Better Place Australia, Platinum Hearing and Star Transport Australia.

Talal holds a Master of Laws, a Master of Business Administration which was focused on international business strategy, as well as honorary and adjunct Professorships within the Crawford School of Public Policy at the Australian National University and School of Business in the University of Western Sydney, respectively.

On Australia Day 2010, Talal was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for his service to business and to the community through a range of education, health and multicultural organisations

Nicholas Whitlam - Non-Executive Director

Nicholas Whitlam is chairman of the Port Authority of New South Wales, a non-executive director of Crescent Wealth , and chairman of his family company, Whitlam & Co.

As a former CEO and chairman of major financial institutions, Whitlam has been exposed to most aspects of banking, insurance and superannuation.

In recent years he has been heavily involved in the ports sector; Whitlam served as chairman of all three NSW ports – Sydney, Newcastle and Port Kembla – until their amalgamation as the new port authority on 1 July 2014. In the disability and compensation sector he has recently served as chairman of the Lifetime Care & Support Authority and deputy chairman of the WorkCover Fund and WorkCover NSW.

Whitlam was President of the National Roads and Motorists’ Association, Australia’s largest mutual organisation, from 1996 to 2002. He chaired NRMA Insurance, Australia’s largest general insurance company, from 1996 to 2001; while at NRMA Insurance he led the process by which that company was demutualized and listed on the Australian Stock Exchange – where it now trades as Insurance Australia Group or IAG.

A career banker, Whitlam joined Morgan Guaranty Trust Co (now JP Morgan) in 1969, working in New York and London, and rising to the position of Vice President. Subsequently, he worked with American Express in Sydney and Hong Kong and then Banque Paribas in Hong Kong before his appointment as Managing Director and CEO of the State Bank of New South Wales from 1981. In 1987, together with Malcolm Turnbull, he established the investment bank Whitlam Turnbull & Co, where he was CEO. Since 1990 he has managed Whitlam & Co.

Whitlam was a member of the Sydney Olympic Games Review Committee in 1990 and then the Sydney Olympic Games Bid Committee 1991-1993. He was Chairman of Tattersall’s Club 1993-1996 and a director of the Australian Sports Foundation 1986-1995. For the Sydney 2000 Olympics, Whitlam was the Olympic Attaché for Hong Kong.

He was chairman of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra 1991-1996. Whitlam is a former chairman of the Australian Graduate School of Management (1986-1997)and was the inaugural chairman of the Whitlam Institute. He is currently a trustee of the Steiner Pohl Foundation and a Governor of St Vincent’s Curran Foundation.

Whitlam holds degrees from Harvard University (AB cum laude, 1967) and the University of London (MSc, 1969) and honorary doctorates granted by The University of New South Wales (Hon DUniv) and Western Sydney University (Hon DLitt). He was born in Sydney and attended Sydney High School. Whitlam is married to Judy (née Frye); they live in a coastal village south of Sydney and have three adult children.

Samier Dandan - Non-Executive Director

Mr Samier Dandan is the Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer of ManageNET, an IT infrastructure and services company.

He is also President of the Lebanese Muslim Association. Samier has held a variety of operational and technical roles at Maxis Corporation and Managed Networks. He also served on the Federal Muslim Community Referral Group to the then Australian Prime Minister, John Howard. Samier also holds a degree in BEng.

Hilal Yassine - Non-Executive Director

Hilal Yassine is the Managing Director of Medina Capital and an experienced businessman and Non-Executive Director.

He currently serves as a Non-Executive Director on the Boards of the University Co-operative Bookshop (The Co-op), the Crescent Institute, and the Australian Arab Dialogue Foundation.

Hilal has over 15 years of executive experience, holding various roles as a senior executive at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Sydney and London based firm Clyde & Co in their Dubai Offices. He was also the Chief Operating Officer of the Austaxi Group and the Managing Director of the Platinum Hearing Group.

Hilal is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and holds qualifications in:
MBA (WSU), LL.M (UNSW), B.Com (UNSW) and LL.B (UNSW).