He belied his humble origins to become chairman and CEO of Century Financial

Published: Thu 25 August 2022, 18:03

Last update: Thu 25 August 2022, 19:14

Bal Krishen Rathore’s life story is stranger than fiction. The lowly Rathore, who belongs to Jammu and Kashmir, was born into a family of modest financial means. His rise as a business leader – he is Chairman and CEO of Dubai-based Century Financial, a global financial markets investment firm – reflects the archetypal dream of the UAE.

Rathore, who hails from Doda district on the Indo-Pakistan border, started working at an early age to support his family. “Although I did a number of odd jobs during my formative years, my entrepreneurial skills came into their own after I took a risk and started a small business at home,” he recalls in his well-equipped office in the center. Dubai city.

So how did he end up in Dubai, the city of dreams? “My father’s early retirement precipitated the move. I was desperate to find a good job that would allow my family to earn a better living,” he says.

Rathore arrived in Dubai in 1996, but his early years in the emirate were marked by backbreaking work and an indomitable spirit to succeed against the odds. “Not many people are brave enough to admit it, but I’m honest enough to admit that I worked as a tea boy in a local hotel in Dubai,” he says.

In retrospect, it was the best career move. “I learned the basics of people management and the importance of customer service. I worked my way up at the hotel, where I started, to become an accountant.

A senior banker took his skills and considered him for a career in investments and finance. “It was the springboard and gave me the much-needed push to carve out a place for myself in the financial investment industry. Fortunately, 1999 was the turning point in my career. I owe my success to none other than Sulaiman Baqer Mohebi, an Emirati entrepreneur and then chairman of Century Financial. I like to believe that he was impressed by my passion and tenacity and offered me a job as an office assistant,” he adds. -he.

An observant Rathore learned the ropes in no time. “Soon I had the opportunity to work as a junior trader and was able to help oversee trades on major global exchanges,” he adds. He had a busy schedule and often worked 15 hour days to better grasp the nuances of the trade. He rose to the top after taking on several leadership roles.

Today, Century Financial, a leading player in the financial services industry in the United Arab Emirates for the past three decades, is in advanced discussions with relevant authorities and partners to diversify business in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and in other Gulf Cooperation Council countries. The company is also working on a Sharia-compliant product for the GCC markets. The company recently set up an innovation lab to understand and implement the use of technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning to provide end-to-end investment solutions to clients. Plans are underway to develop a wealth management platform, mobile e-commerce and delivery apps, and apps for sports and entertainment.

The robust growth ensured that in July 2021, Century Financial was honored by Great Place to Work Middle East, where it topped the Best Workplaces for Millennials category.

Patriotic Fervor

Rathore has been involved in many humanitarian and philanthropic activities in his country through his Divine India trust, which works in sectors such as education, health, environment and youth empowerment.

Divine India has aligned with the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2030 on promoting quality education. The trust has delegated two dedicated ambassadors from the United Arab Emirates – Sameera Fernandes, global educator and Nirbhaya award winner, and director of general affairs, Century Financial, and Rashika Rathore, an 11th grade student from Dubai – to promote EducateNow, a campaign of youth empowerment across Doda’s home district of Rathore.

EducateNow seeks to sensitize senior secondary students on skill development in distinct areas of Doda district such as Ghat, Jodhpur, Jatheli, Shadiwal, Parshula and Mohala.

Fernandes elaborated on the campaign. “We focus on three key areas such as career enhancement opportunities, links with global industry institutes, internship facilitation and differential placements. We try to connect small towns with global centers of education to ensure that quality education prevails and society is elevated on all fronts. This decision amounts to solving the growing unemployment problems that have arisen as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic,” she says.

Rashika echoes Fernandes. “The Doda community is close to my heart, and I believe that by spreading goodwill towards the cause of education, we can begin by empowering our own community as a first step.”

The initiative also aims to connect universities in the UAE and the GCC region with the student community in the Doda district.

EducateNow offers mentoring, online webinars, access to e-libraries, visiting professors, research collaborations, exchange and buddy programs, and scholarships. The campaign aims to choose 100 promising children, who will be enrolled in 30 colleges in the United Arab Emirates and will have access to global education trends.

Rathore has also opened a home school which focuses on the holistic growth and development of young minds.

Investments are also at the top of his agenda for his beloved home state.

In March, he brought 36 trade commissioners from the United Arab Emirates, including 13 Emiratis, to J&K for investment opportunities in the Indian border state.

In January, Century Financial signed a memorandum of understanding with the government of J&K for an investment of 100 million dollars (367.30 Dh) to create three hotels and a commercial complex at J&K.

The groundbreaking ceremony for this project will take place in 2023, and the undertaking is expected to be completed in three years. In 2020, Rathore completed a housing project in Jammu and 348 apartments were handed over to their owners.

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