Why did you pursue and build a career in finance? How has it opened more doors of opportunity for you?
Having a knack for accounting and finance, I knew they would serve as a foundation for my career. Having said that, that alone will not be sufficient to open doors of opportunity. What most companies are looking for are problem solvers. If you are able to utilise your finance skills to solve problems, that will differentiate you.
What got you interested in real estate investment?
Fortunately for me, Real Estate found me rather than the other way around. Real Estate Investment is one of the few asset classes where you can be involved in product design, construction, contract management, investment analysis, and financing. Being involved in the whole value chain and not limited to investment gives me great satisfaction.
What do you enjoy the most of the role? What were some of the challenges in your role and how did you overcome these?
I love problem solving, and sharing my knowledge and experience with team members who need guidance and coaching. The number one challenge for me is time management. Despite the time constraints, I need to ensure that I have clarity of thought when making a decision.
What changes do you see in the real estate investment industry in the next two years?
In Malaysia, it will be a rough few years in the commercial sector because of new office supply and the aftereffects of Covid-19. On the investment side, investors will continue to diversify to other sectors, e.g., data centres and residential. At the property level, there will be new requirements by office occupiers to adapt to the post-Covid world.
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To climb a corporate ladder, one must be good at his/her profession. Is it better to jump between different departments/divisions to gain vast knowledge of the industry OR just stick to what one is good at?
Depending on circumstances, both approaches could work. However, I believe 1) interest in the industry, 2) ability to work in teams, 3) networking, and 4) problem solving skills play an important role in your career progression.
What are your outside interests?
I enjoy running and cycling. When I am not training for an event, on average I would run 30km and cycle 80km a week. I have completed 6 full marathons, 4 of which are the world majors. Hopefully I will be able to travel soon and become a 6-star finisher in the next 2 - 3 years.
Serving as a board member for four companies, how do you effectively manage your time and prioritize accordingly?
Firstly, having a strong team working with me allows me to do more. On a day-to-day basis, though, I come up with my to-do list before I start my day. This allows me to prioritise and determine work that I could delegate. Putting everything in writing helps me to focus, and nothing beats the satisfaction of striking an item off the list!
What traits do you find to be imperative for a leader?
Authenticity, humility and being open
What books would you recommend which could enrich one's career and knowledge in being a sound and trusted leader?
Stress Test by former Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and South: The Story of Shackleton's Last Expedition by Sir Ernest Shackleton
Disclaimer: The content was written in July 2021 and the video was taken in April 2021. Information, views, opinions, and recommendations expressed belong to the interviewees thereof. They do not necessarily reflect the views of CFA Society Malaysia. In no event shall CFA Society Malaysia be liable for any damages resulting from their opinions.