Asif was appointed as Ambassador to the Philippines in July 2013. He has visited Manila a number of times since 2004, in his role as Director Asia for UK Trade and Investment and later as the head of the team in London that covers Britain’s foreign policy interests in ASEAN countries, Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands. Just after serving as Ambassador in Thailand and Laos, 2010-2012, Asif learnt some Filipino in London to prepare for his move to the Philippines.
When he was introduced as Ambassador to the President, Asif said, “With the Philippines as a valued partner, our aim is to build on the broad relationships we have established. Nais kong pagtibayin ang ugnayan ng ating dalawang bansa. Ako ay makikibahagi upang mapahusay ang relasyon ng ating mga ekonomiya, at ng ating mga mamamayan. Ang Maynila ay isang mahalaga at lumalagong sentro ng operasyon ng mga embahada sa rehiyon, at ito rin ang natatanging BPO sa labas ng UK ng aming Kagawaran.”
Asif joined the Foreign & Commonwealth Office in 1999, after an 18 year banking career with NatWest which covered international corporate finance, head office functions as well as periods in private banking, Coutts, and running a network of retail banking branches in South London. Just before becoming a diplomat, he worked with Business Link in London as an adviser to small and medium sized companies.
The FCO used his financial expertise in his first assignment in Resources Directorate and he then moved into foreign policy work on Commonwealth issues. He was assigned to work for the Prime Minister’s Office for six months in 2002 heading the Communications and Information Centre.
Asif’s early years were spent in London where he was born and his father’s career gave him the opportunity to live in Bangladesh, Pakistan, Iran, Japan, China, Poland and the former Soviet Union. He returned to take his A levels in Carlisle, Cumbria in 1973 and went on to study Economics at Durham University. His family live in the United Kingdom.
Asif is a passionate supporter of Liverpool FC and the England cricket and football teams. He enjoys playing tennis, snorkeling and travelling.
British Ambassador to the Philippines
The Ambassador represents Her Majesty The Queen and the UK government in the country to which they are appointed. They are responsible for the direction and work of the Embassy and its Consulates, including political work, trade and investment, press and cultural relations, and visa and consular services.