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The path to success.


Chart out how you built a multi- disciplinary business conglomerate from humble beginnings and built your wealth using some of the most basic tenets of money management.

Well, I have always believed that life is made up of a finite number of personal and professional investments. It's the choice we make to structure and express those investments that determines their overall payoffs. Throughout my life, I have made an earnest attempt to cut out all negative tales, and honed the discipline of multiplying some of life's positive returns.

One of the key goals, since the inception of my first venture in the UAE, the Gulf Medical University (GMU), was to avoid debt and save regularly. I wanted to carefully avoid getting tangled in a perpetual cycle of debt--which is often the case for many entrepreneurs who spend and borrow excessively to support an unsustainable lifestyle.

Since I managed to survive and grow with the support of the ruling families in the UAE and my team's unconditional assistance in the medical education sector, I started creating various subsidiaries such as pharmacies, health clubs, coffee shops, restaurants, optical outlets etc., that bolster the core business. The art of managing your finances sensibly, in this part of the region, is to learn the skill of scaling up and down as per your financial fortunes. For starters, you need to remember that occasionally you need extra money accessible to keep going in the event that you manage to score a breakthrough. At the same, taking a step back and scaling down your operations can help in providing some breathing room in challenging times.

What was your investment strategy on the road to wealth?

An important strategy, throughout my business cycle, is systematically diversifying investments. One reason for this is that, I believe, investment returns are driven not by an asset class alone, but a broad range of external factors too. Going that extra mile to understand and isolate the drivers of returns in various market conditions will help any business to position themselves for decent returns in both good and bad times.

In addition, if we keep all of our investment eggs in a single basket, the prospects of the business or the individual will be highly vulnerable when contrasting market drivers take prominence.

How did the values, discipline and ability to sense potential of your grandfather and father equip you to make the most of every opportunity?

I had a relatively privileged upbringing, as both my father and grandfather were successful businessmen in India. During the early years, their astute business sense, piousness, strong bond with the family and generosity made a huge impact on my learning. My maternal grandfather ran a timber business, whereas my paternal grandfather owned a shipping venture. The elders in the family were successful in their field of business. Eventually, they culminated into my inspiration. I exchanged notes and learnt the ropes of trade from them. I was eight years old when I gave my first public speech at the inauguration of a factory in Mangalore, India. I was 29-years old when I signed my first contract worth $10 million with the Forest Minister in Papua New Guinea.

How has your vision helped you on your journey?

In my experience, the first requirement is breathing life into values, ethics and ideas that you're most passionate about. Although, it's equally difficult staying invested in them in difficult and hard times, but I believe values and ideas can truly define the world you live in. I have faced challenges throughout the phase of establishing one of the finest medical college and university in the region, but resorting to unethical practises has never been the problem-solving strategy. Spreading knowledge and providing good healthcare are the causes I am extremely passionate about, and pursuing this passion has helped me to find peace and success.

The healthcare industry has been a popular area of investment for HNWIs. How does a diversified portfolio in the healthcare domain help to multiply/ boost your assets?

We realised that healthcare and locally-trained staff were areas where there is a need for quality services. The UAE healthcare market is estimated to be $19.5 billion (AED 71.6 billion) by 2020, indicating an annual average growth of 12.7 per cent from 2015, according to the GCC healthcare report from Alpen Capital.

The report further noted that overall the GCC healthcare market is projected to grow at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12.1 per cent, from an estimated $40.3 billion in 2015 to $71.3 billion in 2020.

That is simply a reflection of the deepening healthcare demand because of consumer affluence, growing population, changing lifestyles and greater awareness. While the government has taken significant measures to improve access to quality care, the sector has also seen emergence of private players due to the growing healthcare needs of the population, with an inflow of both domestic and foreign investments. In terms of diversification, I have always believed in exploring new markets, taking new risks and coming up with innovative products.

As risky as it can get, it always helps in bringing a measure of greater stability. If one of your investments doesn't pan out, you have a backup plan to drive your portfolio until you find your footing again.

How do you see the future of that industry?

In today's advanced economies, healthcare and education promotes innovation and productivity, more than just clocking growth and employment. Subsequently, the sector has begun to consume more services and to rely more heavily on them to operate.

So, yes, quality healthcare service delivery, medicine and health sciences education is entering a dynamic new phase in Middle Eastern and African markets. As a new global consumer class emerges, and innovations spark additional demand, quality service providers will have substantial new opportunities--but in a much more uncertain environment.

Could you elaborate on the financial legacy you want to create?

Wise financial planning has empowered generations of businessmen across the globe. We are living in the midst of what history may find to have been the most important revolution in the healthcare industry in the Middle East. I hope my investments contribute to the greater good of the sector we serve, and are remembered as a commitment to innovation, public health and research.

I hope my investments contribute to the greater good of the sector we serve, and are remembered as a commitment to innovation, public health and research.

-- Thumbay Moideen

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Date:Jan 31, 2017
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