BEHIND THE BUSINESS CARD: Magnificent obsession

Saleem KhokharSaleem Khokhar of the National Bank of Abu Dhabi discusses his passion for financial markets, why the funds industry is not for the faint-hearted and what it is to be human.

Saleem Khokhar.

Company and job title:
Head of fund management, National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD) Global Asset Management.

Previous company and job title:
Head of asset management, Saudi Arabia, EFG Hermes. Fund manager, Abu Dhabi Investment Authority.

How many years in the region:

What do you consider to be your home town?
Abu Dhabi/London

Educational background:
Chartered accountant, Institute of Investment Management Research. Degree in computer systems engineering, University of Cardiff.

First job in the funds industry:
Fund manager, Tokyo Mitsubishi UFJ (London).

What is the toughest challenge you’ve faced in your professional life and what made it so challenging?
Moving to the region and adapting to what was then a young and dynamic but imperfect information environment. The progress in the region in terms of transparency and disclosure has been tremendous in a relatively short period of time.  

What achievement in your job are you most proud of?
The numerous awards won by the NBAD fund management team.

What advice would you give to someone who is beginning their career in the funds industry?
Look beyond the perceived glamour of managing billions of dollars. In reality, fund management requires detailed analysis of macroeconomic trends, industry and company specifics and the ability to manage high levels of stress in volatile market environments. It is not an industry for the faint-hearted. However, the rewards of being in an environment that is constantly evolving and intellectually challenging are tremendous. To succeed in the asset management industry, you need an innate passion for financial markets that can at times border on obsession.

If you could change one thing about the funds industry, what would it be?
The ever-increasing short-term focus.

What is your greatest ambition in life and why?
To develop the regional asset management industry into a broader emerging market and Islamic player.

What’s the best investment you’ve made and why?
The best investments have been in the small/mid-cap space in European and regional markets. However, the sector as a whole is fraught with risks that may be suitable only to high-risk investors.

Tell us something about you that most people don’t know:
I have a keen interest in artificial and emotional intelligence.  

Favourite country to visit for a holiday and why:
The south of France. Stunning scenery, cuisine and people.

Favourite type of food and why:
Asian fusion – a blend of traditional and modern cuisine.

Favourite book or film and why:
Blade Runner, a movie that was far ahead of its time in touching on consciousness and what it is to be human.

Your house is burning. Your family is safe. You have time to rescue one object. What would it be and why: 
A small box of memorabilia, items of little monetary value, but for me treasures that have been given to me by family and friends.

©2016 funds global mena

Related Articles