Ten On The Weekend is a weekly feature on IMI, the concept of which is simple: Each weekend, we ask the same ten questions to 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.
How do you spend your weekends?
No one weekend is ever the same in my hectic life. It could be receiving friends in Dubai, dinners, tennis, barbecues, or anything involving outdoor activities, and I’ll be content. One thing I certainly don’t get time to do is unwind. Living life to the fullest!
What are your top three business goals this year?
- Expand our operations in Africa and Russia/CIS, where we have had excellent traction in the past three years.
- Diversify away from simply offering CBI-related services only. Asset Protection and Offshore Business Startups will ensure we continue our relationships with our UHNW clients and provide a more holistic approach to our service offering.
- Continue to shape opinion and the industry especially with our social media footprint in key platform areas such as Instagram, where we now have over 50,000 (no, we didn’t buy these followers) people engaging with us and learning about the amazing industry we are in.
What’s your biggest business concern right now?
Ease of entry into the industry is a major one as it opens up the possibility of fraud, poor service levels, and reputational damage to our great industry.
Which book is on your night-stand right now?
I’m flirting between two; The House of Rothschild by Niall Ferguson and Originals – How Non-Conformists Move the World by Adam Grant. Two excellent reads on, respectively, the power of a single-family and how unique minds can shape the world.
How and when did you first get into the investment migration industry?
Mohammed Asaria at Range Developments was kind enough to open my eyes to the industry seven years ago with his tenacious vision before I went on to start RIF Trust with Mimoun Assraoui and then developing my own boutique firm with Brookes & Partners.
What was your proudest moment as a service provider?
There have been many but if I had to select one it would have to be when I was recognized as among the Top 100 CEO’s Globally at the Uglobal Los Angeles Awards ceremony in front of all our peers in the industry sector and being recognized for the blood, sweat, and tears shed.
Which investment migration market development has surprised you the most in the last year?
It would have to be the way in which the current Dominica Government, in unison with one or two UAE-based firms, has managed to undercut the existing donation program in favor of a privately tiered arrangement for fixed fees to be paid towards Social Housing schemes. This, I believe, has undermined the CBI program and service levels and yet they are still able to continue. Social housing is a fantastic concept and should be built via the traditional government donation program and not a private, non-transparent arrangement. It sets a precedent that could undermine the industry and must be stopped.
A more positive surprise would be the evolution of the Investment Migration Council and its exciting new training and industry standards approach. Long may this continue.
If you could go ten years back in time, what business decision would you change?
I’ll be brutally honest and say I should have learned my trade at the likes of Henley & Partners or Arton Capital and developed my skillset in a deeper, more complex fashion before establishing my own firm and identity. I came from a Legal Compliance corporate background in London and looked at new frontiers when entering the UAE and simply didn’t spend long enough to understand the intricacies of this business.
There were many steep learning curves faced to reach the impeccable level of standards Brookes & Partners maintains now. However, the journey that I staked out for myself certainly shaped and accelerated my knowledge and approach to where we are today.
What investment migration industry personality do you most admire?
I cannot possibly single out one but I’ll list a few along with the words that spring to mind when I think of them:
- Mohammed Asaria of Range Developments for his tenacity;
- Armand Arton of Arton Capital for his inspiring vision;
- Nestor Alfred of the Saint Lucia CIU for his passion for the program and doing things in the correct way;
- Nuri Katz of Apex Capital for being a fantastic mentor. Thank you.
- Charles and Charlie Savva for being unparalleled problem solvers.
If all goes according to plan, what will you be doing five years from now?
Exactly the same, I hope! Changing people’s lives, servicing UHNW clients’ global needs and building a legacy that I can be proud to look back on when I eventually to find that time to unwind.