RCBI Market “Still at the Tip of the Iceberg”: 10 on the Weekend – Nirbhay Handa
Ten On The Weekend is a semi-weekly feature in IMI, the concept of which is simple: Each time, we ask the same ten questions of a different industry figure, letting readers get to know the interviewee on a more personal and informal level than they might in an ordinary business setting.
Our guest this weekend is Nirbhay Handa of Henley & Partners.
How do you spend your weekends?
Friday evenings are spent meeting friends or business partners over a meal or a drink. If there is good live music, that is an add-on. I enjoy good music and artistry of any form in general. I love hosting people and seeing people have a good time. I thrive on good energy and truly believe that life is too short to complain and, while we are here, the most important thing is to make positive memories.
Saturdays and Sundays are more disciplined; I play a sport or book myself for a personal training session. I’ve played basketball and tennis since I was very young in my boarding school days and a good 1-hour session recharges me completely for the week to come. My wife and I also go for long walks. Singapore has many beautiful parks and trails to keep you exploring all year round.
What are your top three business goals this year?
- Grow as a servant leader: Build a team culture based on merit and where people look out for each other. Always remain approachable and willing to go the extra mile for my team members as we grow.
- Continue to build meaningful relationships: Most relationships in life that we are not born with are built on reciprocity. I always try to identify ways I can help my intermediary network. I give an unbiased view of client situations and practice selflessness in a good measure. This approach allows me to build trust with my network and has enabled me to position myself as a go-to advisor for leading private banks, family offices, and private client lawyers in Asia.
- Stay relentless – Remain relentless across many areas whether that is exceeding client expectations, taking and scaling our business in newer markets, or educating people on the benefits of holding an alternative residency or citizenship. I am grateful to be part of such a fascinating industry and it’s amazing to realize how much can be done in the future. We are just at the tip of the iceberg.
What’s your biggest business concern right now?
Like any other industry, we often meet clients who have been misguided around the offerings of the industry. It’s good to be hungry to win business as long as you operate with integrity and you follow the book.
Which book is on your night-stand right now?
I just finished reading The One Thing by Gary Keller. I like reading books that help you be more self-aware; sports psychology is another area of interest. Endure by Alex Hutchinson is a great book to get started.
How and when did you first get into the investment migration industry?
I started my career as a precious metals trader in 2011. I failed miserably as a trader and moved into sales after a year upon a friend’s recommendation. My career skyrocketed in sales. Very early in my career, I was launching new business units, opening new offices, and growing teams for a FTSE 250 and ASE listed business and created worldwide revenue records within these businesses.
I got to know about Henley & Partners in 2016 and reached out to our Asia Business Head with a proposition to build their business in emerging and developing markets. India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and NRI [ed: Non-resident Indians] business was more or less untouched but high potential markets. We had a great meeting and the rest is history.
What was your proudest moment as a service provider?
We truly change the lives of our clients and every time you see a happy client is a proud moment.
In addition to this, what makes me proud is that while operating in emerging and developing markets we have been able to create some very cohesive institutional relationships with some leading private banks, multifamily offices, and independent asset managers. These businesses look at us as an organization that adds tremendous value to their clients.
Which investment migration market development has surprised you the most in the last year?
On the positive side, I am pleasantly surprised to see the amount of interest we are seeing around Malta IIP. The new program is not announced yet but we have clients reaching out to us regularly seeking updates on timelines and the final structure of the program. I believe, once the program is announced, it is going to receive a lot of interest from our clients.
I was not too happy to see the Moldova program suspended. I had the opportunity to visit the country and enjoyed my time there. Some great wineries in Moldova. A country like Moldova could have benefited drastically from an investment migration program.
If you could go 10 years back in time, what business decision would you change?
10 years ago, I was in the final year of university, I had long hair almost touching my shoulders, I played in a band, and let’s just say I wasn’t making any great decisions.
What investment migration industry personality do you most admire
Dominic Volek, Global Head of Private Clients. Dominic inducted me into the industry. Possibly one of the hardest working people I have met in my career, very approachable, and somebody who truly leads by example.
It goes without saying Dr Christian H. Kaelin, who has contributed immensely to this industry. Again, a highly intellectual individual with a very bold and long-sighted vision.
I also admire people like Alex Hopkin from our government advisory business and our Marketing and PR Team – Alina Morais, Kyle Sarkas, Sarah Nicklin, and Paddy Blewer.
They all have a very strong work ethic and they are always going the extra mile to communicate what we stand for as a business.
If all goes according to plan, what will you be doing five years from now?
I got married a year ago. In 5 years, I will possibly be a father, have my kids running around and, if I can convince my wife, I will also get another pet, possibly a dog this time.
Business-wise, I would like to build on our legacy and position our brand as the go-to service provider for anything investment migration-related in emerging and developing markets. An organization that is synonymous with high operating standards, an organization that is trusted, an organization that builds better futures for families and individuals.
Christian Henrik Nesheim is the founder and editor of Investment Migration Insider, the #1 magazine – online or offline – for residency and citizenship by investment. He is an internationally recognized expert, speaker, documentary producer, and writer on the subject of investment migration, whose work is cited in the Economist, Bloomberg, Fortune, Forbes, Newsweek, and Business Insider. Norwegian by birth, Christian has spent the last 16 years in the United States, China, Spain, and Portugal.