Honorary master’s degrees awarded to Sarah Breeden and Joanna Elson, CBE

30 October, 2023

The London Institute of Banking & Finance (LIBF) presented the following honorary Master of Science (Banking and Finance) awards during its annual graduation ceremony, held at London’s Guildhall in October.

Honorary master’s degrees for services to the finance sector were awarded to:

  • Sarah Breeden, Executive Director for Financial Stability Strategy and Risk, Bank of England, for her work on financial stability and climate change.
  • Joanna Elson, CBE, Chief Executive Officer, Independent Age plc, for her significant contributions to improving financial inclusion.  

Alex Fraser, Chief Executive of The London Institute of Banking & Finance says:

“During the financial crisis of 2007-09 Sarah Breeden was one of those people who worked tirelessly to help save the financial system, and the economy as a whole, from collapse.  Sarah helped to make sure the Bank’s operations and systems were some of the most effective anywhere in the world. Her work on climate change for the Bank has brought together regulators and central banks from around the world to develop and promote best practice. We were delighted to be able to confer this honour and wish her all the best in her new position as Deputy Governor of the Bank of England.”

Joanna Elson, CBE, is a staunch advocate of financial inclusion and of the need for our banks and others to do much more to support vulnerable members of the community, to help those of all ages who are struggling with their finances. This advocacy is needed now more than ever when so many are unable to manage the day to day and, as a recent report said, are simply worn down by uncertainty. We were very pleased to be able to recognise her work on financial inclusion with this honorary master’s degree.”


Sarah Breeden

  • Sarah is the Executive Director for Financial Stability Strategy and Risk and a member of the Financial Policy Committee (FPC), the United Kingdom’s ‘macroprudential’ authority, tasked by Parliament with guarding against the financial system damaging the wider economy. Sarah is responsible for the Bank of England’s work to deliver that objective.
  • She will take up the role of Deputy Governor Financial Stability on 1 November.
  • Sarah also leads the Bank of England’s work on climate change, domestically and internationally, a role she has held since 2016. She has been a Steering Group member of the international central bank and supervisors’ Network for Greening the Financial System (NGFS) since its inception in 2017 and chaired its macro financial workstream from 2018 until early 2022. She is Chair of the Financial Stability Board’s Climate Vulnerabilities and Data Group.
  • Prior to her current role, Sarah was the Executive Director for UK Deposit Takers Supervision, responsible for the supervision of the UK’s banks, building societies and credit unions and before that, she was Executive Director for International Banks Supervision, where having joined the directorate in 2015, she was responsible for supervision of the UK operations of international banks.


    Joanna Elson, CBE

  • Joanna is Chief Exejoanna-elson-honorary-masters-degree-libfcutive of Independent Age, a national charity providing support for older people facing financial hardship. The charity offers free and impartial advice and information, and grants for community organisations. It also works with parliamentarians and other key stakeholders to make sure older people facing financial hardship have sufficient income and receive the financial support they’re entitled to, are protected from unfair or avoidable costs, have the connections and support they need in their communities, and live in safe, secure and suitable housing with the care and support they need.
  • Previously, Joanna was CEO of Money Advice Trust, the charity running National Debtline and Business Debtline, whose vision is to help people across the UK to tackle their debts and manage their money with confidence.
  • Joanna is a director of the financial services trade association UK Finance, with a focus on vulnerable consumers; Chair of the Advisory Board at Birmingham University’s Centre on Household Assets and Savings Management, and a member of the Government’s Financial Inclusion Policy Forum.
  • She is also Vice Chair of the Friends Provident Foundation; a chartered director; and a director of Fair 4 All Finance, which is using dormant assets to increase financial inclusion.