Financial Services Fellows

Malavika Raghavan

Project head for the Future of Finance Initiative at Dvara Research

Malavika is project head for the Future of Finance Initiative at Dvara Research, and works on emerging challenges for regulation around consumer protection and financial inclusion in India. She is a lawyer with experience in policy and strategy. She worked for over five years with the global law firm Allen & Overy LLP, London, primarily in their international debt capital markets practice, during which time she was also seconded to the Financial Markets Law Committee established by the Bank of England.  

Her other experience includes working with Acumen’s impact team in London to deliver the Capstone project for her MPP programme at Cambridge and as an on purpose associate with Big Society Capital. She worked with their investment team to help set up a fund called the Crowd Match Fund and delivered an independent report to the Strategy team on how retail social investment could be grown in the UK

Malavika is a fellow of the On Purpose social enterprise leadership programme. She graduated with an MPhil in Public Policy from the University of Cambridge and completed a five-year undergraduate law-degree at the National Academy of Legal Studies and Research (NALSAR), Hyderabad. 

Margapuri Prasanna Rao

CEO and Managing Director of Arya

Prasanna is CEO and Managing Director of Arya, an agribusiness value chain integrator. Arya works with more than 400 farmer producer organisations (FPOs) in providing them sustainable market access through a suite of post harvest interventions. Arya and its financing company have a specific focus on catalyzing the eco system for farmers and FPOs through post-harvest interventions that include storage solutions, credit and risk guarantees, financial and market linkages, and policy level changes. 

Prasanna brings his experience of working in cooperative marketing, FMCG sales and agri-financing sectors for the last eighteen years. As part of his eight year position at ICICI Bank, the largest private sector bank in India, Prasanna headed its agri-commodity finance business. He has been a part of the supply chain and marketing and sales teams of organisations like Amul and Coca-Cola in India. He is currently working on building a viable fintech platform for rural finance in India to effectively reach and serve the hitherto underbanked population of the country.

Pooja Rastogi

Additional commissioner of income tax at the Indian Revenue Service

Pooja is currently posted as additional commissioner of income tax. She joined the Indian Revenue Service - income tax (IRS) in the Ministry of Finance in 2004, working in policy and administrative matters for direct taxes. During the past three years she has been supervising and administering the work pertaining to tax assessments and tax collection of over a hundred thousand tax payers, working as a team leader with about 80 to 100 persons in the organization. Her work also involves interaction with other economic intelligence organizations.

She represented India at an OECD seminar on Audit of Small and Medium Enterprises in Seoul, South Korea in 2014. She has completed her advanced mid-career training programme at IIM Lucknow and at the International Bureau of Fiscal Documentation at Amsterdam and OECD Headquarters at Paris.

Prasant Kumar Seth

General Manager at the Reserve Bank of India

General Manager at the Reserve Bank of India, Prasant is a senior central banker with eighteen years’ experience in banking regulation and supervision, oversight of market and payment infrastructure, payment and settlement system, treasury management, and risk management.

He is a member of a task force on fin tech of the Basel Committee of Banking Supervision (BCBS), Bank for International Settlement (BIS), a member of the Inter-Regulatory working group on FinTech and Digital Banking in India as well as a member of the IDRBT Steering Group on implementation of Block Chain Technology (BCT) in Indian banking and financial systems.

Prasant Kumar Seth has a master’s in finance management from Mumbai University and a master’s in computer application from Utkal University.

Prashansa Jain Bhalla

Chief Risk Officer

Prashansa is currently Chief Risk Officer at Bharti AXA Life Insurance overseeing the enterprise-wide risk management framework.

She has enjoyed a brief secondment period at AXA Asia Regional Office in Hong Kong. Prior to her current 8 years with AXA, she has worked at ICICI Prudential and DLF Pramerica (Prudential US arm in India) in the actuarial department.

She has straddled a dual role as the Chief of Staff in the CEO’s office for close to two years, supporting key entity projects and ensuring alignment towards achievement of operational KPI’s while leveraging local and shareholder level management forums.

As a qualified actuary, she has transversed various actuarial roles – pricing & product development, shareholder reporting on various metrics such as market consistent embedded value (MCEV), value of new business, international financial reporting standard (IFRS), business planning, and experience analysis. She is a member of the Institute of Actuaries of India and the Institute of Actuaries, UK.

Ayan Mukherjee

Assistant General Manager at the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI)

Ayan is assistant general manager at the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) where he deals with issues involving interpretation and enforcement of norms relating to takeovers, listing conditions, unfair trade practices and other regulations framed to govern the conduct of securities market intermediaries in India. In his present role, he also manages key litigation cases relating to the securities market before various fora.

He has participated in various programs/seminars including a week-long program on compliance and examinations organized by U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in Washington D.C. He regularly speaks on the role of securities market in India as a part of SEBI’s Investor Awareness program.

He graduated from Gujarat National Law University with a B.Com., LL.B. (Hons.) degree in the year 2009. He also obtained LL.M. in Corporate & Financial Services Law from National University of Singapore in the year 2016 where he was awarded the KhattarWong Corporate Governance Prize and the Khattar Wong Securities Regulation Prize.

He strongly feels that a vibrant, inclusive and well-regulated financial market play a crucial role in the development of a nation.

Ashwin Menon

Joint General Manger for Essar Ports Limited

Ashwin currently works in the corporate finance division as Joint General Manger for Essar Ports Limited, in Mumbai. Here he is responsible for the project and operational finance of the international port and terminal portfolio of Essar group. He is directly involved in related mergers and acquisitions, fund-raising initiatives, and evaluating new business development opportunities along with looking at the day-to-day management of companies in this portfolio. He also oversees management and audit of companies in the UAE, Mozambique, Netherlands, and UK.

During his decade long association with Essar, He has forged an understanding of the domestic and overseas infrastructure sector, primarily in the power and ports sectors, having worked on all key areas of corporate finance such as fund raising (debt, private equity, listings), financial analysis, tax and accounting analysis, and audit and compliance.

Prior to his masters in Manila, he completed a mechanical engineering degree from the National Institute of Technology, Tiruchirapalli (1999-2003) and worked for almost 3 years in ITW Signode as an application engineer, designing and selling automated packaging solutions.

Arun Kumar

Head of the Department of Finance, IT, Procurement, and Vigilance at Kochi Metro Rail Limited

Arun Kumar is the Head of the Department of Finance, IT, Procurement and Vigilance at Kochi Metro Rail Limited, a Government company set up to implement the USA 800 million Kochi Metro Rail Project.  He is regarded as one among the few key personnel who set up this organization, as he played a critical role in putting the company in its present form as an urban infrastructure company of repute in India.  His major achievements include attaining the fastest financial closure for the project, delivering the first mobile-based ticketing solution for a metro in India, and implementing an innovative financial model for fare collection in the metro.


His professional career started in the year 2001 as a practicing chartered accountant with two offices at Kozhikode and Wayanad in the state of Kerala, India. Two years later he joined the industry as an assistant manager focusing on accounts and information technology, in a reputed private manufacturing establishment in Kochi. Thereafter he moved to the government sector and worked in the project, finance, and accounts departments within the Government of India for more than 8 years.


He has extensive experience in understanding the evolving trends in urban infrastructure, the issues and challenges at national and state level, policy formulation, project management, project financing, implementing information technology solutions, and successful delivery of urban infrastructure projects.