Our Core Team

Dan Balke
Managing Director & Partner

Dan Balke is Managing Director and Partner of LFS, with a multifaceted record of senior management positions in financial institutions as project manager in the area of Digital Finance and Digitization Projects, Small Business Finance, Housing, and Impact Finance Projects. Mr. Balke holds an MBA in Finance from the Manchester Business School and an M.Sc. in Economics. For several years he has been responsible for pushing forward the digital and technological agenda with AccessHolding. Dan has managed projects to success in major emerging markets worldwide.

 

Bertolt Hertzfeldt
Manager | Eastern Europe, CIS & East Asia

Bertolt Hertzfeldt LFS Advisory’s Regional Manager for Central and East Asia. With more than 19 years of expertise in MSME Finance, Bertolt has a vast array of experience as bank executive, project manager and senior consultant in numerous assignments across the Eastern hemisphere. Bertolt’s outstanding track record in various areas of MSME finance, agriculture finance and banking (including C-level management positions) equips him for a number of senior roles in projects and backstopping capacities.

 

Dr. Mattias Grammling
Manager | MENA, SSA & Southeast Asia

Mattias Grammling has a PhD. and an M.Sc. in Economics. He has been working for LFS since 2010. He works as Manager in Advisory Services with regional responsibility for Asia and Africa. Dr. Grammling served as CEO of AB Microfinance Bank Nigeria from 2012-2014, and in various other senior management roles (such as Credit Manager) in the same bank from 2010-2012. Prior to joining LFS, he worked 7 years as Freelance MSME Finance Consultant in Latin America, Asia and Africa. Mattias speaks German, English and Spanish. 

 

Raphaelle Smyth
Advisor | Digital Finance & Technology

Raphaelle is LFS’ in-house specialist for IT consulting and other technology issues requiring deep IT expertise. She has achieved a Bachelor of Science in Computer Applications, Software and Engineering from Dublin City University. Prior to joining LFS, she developed websites, a financial application for corporate actions and designed and developed a heat mapping automation tool for risk management. At LFS, she is involved in projects in Kyrgyzstan, Egypt, Yemen and Brunei. Raphaelle is fluent in English and has a high level of French and Gaelic.

Christoph Kneiding
Manager | Latin America & SSA

Christoph Kneiding is a former World Bank financial economist with almost 10 years of experience managing microfinance banks in Africa and Latin America. He has experience in the design and implementation of lending and deposit products, with proven excellent results in portfolio growth and credit quality. Most recently, he has been involved in projects across multiple sectors, including digital finance, sustainable finance, investing for job creation, and SME lending. Christoph is a CFA charterholder and has a PhD in Economics from the European University Viadrina as well as an MBA from the University of Passau. Since 2018, he has been teaching online classes in finance and economics at different European universities. He speaks German, English, Spanish, Portuguese, French and some basic Russian. He is currently based in Salvador, Brazil.

Felix Perder
Manager | Quality Operations & Tender Management

Felix is LFS’ Senior Manager for Operations and Tender Management. Felix has more than 10 years of experience in Business Process Management, Controlling, IT Methodologies and Knowledge Management. He works for LFS and affiliated companies since 2014. Earlier career stages include working with an insurance company in Santiago de Chile, as well as with IT startups in Berlin and Cologne. Felix graduated as industrial engineer at TU Berlin and speaks German, English and Spanish.

Louisa Wolf
Advisor | Tender Management

Louisa joined LFS in February 2021 and studied Economics and Politics in Potsdam and Berlin. Prior to joining LFS, she gained first experiences in development finance with the ASA Program in Uganda, with the KfW development bank in Frankfurt, and most recently, also within the FinTech sphere at Billie GmbH in Berlin. She speaks German and English fluently and has advanced knowledge of French. 

Dr. rer. agr. Johannes Michael Hafner
Advisor | Agrifinance & Sustainable Rural Development

Johannes has been part of the LFS team since 2019. He works in the field of Agrifinance and Rural Business Development, focusing on the development of the agricultural value chain to enhance efficiency and sustainability. He has more than 5 years of work experience within the rural energy sector in Tanzania applying quantitative and qualitative assessment methods including data analysis. Johannes obtained a B.Sc. degree in Economics and Business Administration from the University of Hohenheim and holds a M.Sc. degree in Agricultural Economics from the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. Within his PhD work, he published multiple peer-reviewed articles regarding the energy value chain of smallholder farmers in Tanzania. Before joining LFS, he worked with GIZ, KfW and Ambero Consulting GmbH. He speaks German, English, Kiswahili and intermediate French.

 

Marina Bishay
Advisor | Impact Finance and ESG

Marina joined LFS in October 2022 and studied Economics and Finance in Ulm. Prior to joining LFS, she worked as a Corporate Finance Consultant in Berlin and she gained her first experience within the FinTech sphere at Raisin GmbH in Berlin. She speaks German, English, Arabic and some basic French.

Shilan Ali
Business Analyst

Shilan Ali joined LFS as Business Analyst. Before joining us, Shilan has gained experience in development cooperation, mainly in the field of socio-political research for different companies and clients in Germany and Turkey. Shilan is originally from Syria and speaks Arabic, English, Turkish and Kurdish fluently.