Ten On The Weekend is a weekly feature in IMI, the concept of which is simple: Each weekend, 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 Farzin Yazdi of Shard Capital.
How do you spend your weekends?
As a father with a young family, I put my daddy chauffeur hat on to ferry the children to their activities. They have now reached an age where I no longer get to sit by the side lines of tennis courts or football pitches sipping lattes while talking to other parents; instead I’m trying to force myself into the gym during their lessons. Apart from spending weekend time with family & friends, I also love to ski when I can, and am always a fool for a game of backgammon.
What are your top three business goals this year?
Education, education, and yes more education.
First, to educate myself and the Investor Visa team. One of the reasons I am so passionate about what we do is that every day is different. We can always continue to learn in this ever-changing world.
Second, continue to educate our clients about investing. It never ceases to amaze me how often investment migration clients have only looked at property or gold as an asset class. I must highlight this is changing rapidly and is a very stereotypical outlook.
Third, to educate the skeptics of investment migration. Migrants who integrate add value to society and are not a threat. When done right, it transforms so many lives for the better. A true win-win situation.
What’s your biggest business concern right now?
False advertising by those who promote solutions promising above average or guaranteed returns that are not within the rule or spirit of the law. It upsets me that a few bad actors see migrants as naïve and an easy catch for a scam or that misleading adverts can lower the standard of our industry to outsiders. This must change.
Which book is on your night-stand right now?
Welcome to Britain: Fixing Our Broken Immigration System by Colin Yeo, a well-known UK Immigration barrister and campaigner. Luckily, there is only a mere mention of the investor category. Spending most of my day looking at news wires, analyst notes, and research reports there is not enough time in the day to go through all I want, so I feel the book on my night-stand does not get the attention it deserves. I have recently begun to trial the Blinkist app, which I listen to while running; so far so good.
How and when did you first get into the investment migration industry?
I am a child and a product of investment migration. Of Persian descent and born in Belgium, I migrated with my father to the US on what is now the EB-5 in the mid-’80s. Having started my professional career in 1996 as a stockbroker and investment manager in London I find myself 24 years later still doing the same thing, in the same place.
What was your proudest moment as a service provider?
What all of us in the investment migration industry do, and provide, is truly remarkable. We help by ‘upgrading our client’s quality of life’ and we are privileged to be part of this and their journey. One of the things we do not get to choose in life is where we are born and, unfortunately, it dictates so much of who we are.
Around 2012, the UK’s Tier 1 (investor) visa gained popularity and my client book grew so much so that I could focus exclusively on investing for UK Investor Visa applicants with the assistance of UK immigration lawyers and advisors. Every day is a blessing to be able to guide our clients at this important junction of their lives.
Which investment migration market development has surprised you the most in the last year?
I am biased, it must be the UK’s Tier 1 (Investor) visa. It has stood the test of time since ’95, and believe me there have been many campaigns attempting to eliminate the route. Brexit has created a whole new set of immigration rules. The media has dissected the visa category with some fair criticism but also much tabloid sleaze and sensationalised claims. It is still here, and we are still standing strong!
While not perfect, the UK’s investor visa is seen as a global role-model in residency by investment with some of the most stringent criteria.
Britain is Great and open for business, the right business!
If you could go 10 years back in time, what business decision would you change?
Aaahh! 20/20 hindsight – what a wonderful thing! As an investment manager, there are only a few occasions you will be able to buy at the bottom and sell at the top. My mentor always told me “leave the first and the last 20% for someone else – the remainder will make you a very rich person!” When a stock goes up, you never have enough. Conversely, if it goes down, you hold too many.
What investment migration industry personality do you most admire?
It must be the one with the hardest job of them all.
One team who tirelessly works to bring order, a code of ethics, and conduct to a global playing field. Setting standards, accreditation, and representing an industry that is consistently in the firing line for mostly the wrong reasons. Educating the public and politicians that investment migration is a force for good when done right, and so much more.
Bruno and the IMC team – Thank you!
Please renew your memberships and continue to support the cause.
If all goes according to plan, what will you be doing five years from now?
Why would I do anything differently? To get bored with what I do is to get bored with life. To be able to combine my greatest passions of investing and migration, that is not a job; it is a hobby!
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.