Who is the ibanker?
The site has 3 aims:
- Provide a glimpse into the world of investment banking and high finance
- Reveal how an ibanker mindset can help maximize productivity and success regardless of the industry you work in
- Offer ideas on how to live a borderline dangerous yet amazing life
What I believe
- Finance is essential to individuals, businesses and society
- Working in finance is a fantastic experience; yet one needs to remain grounded in reality
- Money is a means, not an end
- The future of finance: maximizing both long-term financial and social returns
Who is the ibanker?
I would describe myself as the combination of an ibanker and entrepreneur.
Raised in Europe, North Africa and the US.
Feel at home in London, Washington DC, NYC, Amsterdam, Dubai, Beirut, Mumbai and Paris.
Enjoy ordering a vegetarian meal in Kerala, assisting a Saudi billionaire acquire a 5-star hotel asset in London, helping turn around a European ski company, flying in a corporate jet or riding in a tuk-tuk, running marathons, learning about impact investment, meeting cool bloggers from around the world, etc.
Did not start as an ibanker. Joined a tech start-up right out of undergrad. The business was looking good. Unique product and plenty of cash. We saw endless opportunities and were in early discussions with several investment banks about a potential IPO. I’m talking about the days when the ‘.com’ was far more important than the letters which preceded it or the revenues generated, business model, management team, etc. Imagine all the daydreams going through my head. I was the fifth employee. Long story short, management burned through cash like it was going outta style, got complacent, lazy and before you knew it we were broke. At some point the company even paid some French dude USD80,000 for the rights to use his name to distribute wine…he claimed to be a direct descendant of Louis XIV. Talk about a focused strategy.
Next destination –> Middle East, where I joined another start-up. Nothing like a small, flexible and non-hierarchical settings in this magical part of the world. Here, again, I witnessed loose leaf papers scribbled over with ideas come to life and turn into a proper company. Loved it.
Fast forward and I’m at grad school at the London School of Economics. Soon after, I joined Paris Berkeley Capital, a leading investment bank, where I was placed in an emerging markets focused investment banking team with a sector focus on financial institutions. Also spent time in a capital markets team and helped mammoth companies raise elephantine sums of money. All these wonderful experiences took place in Canary Wharf (London). Financial statements, global market trends, PowerPoint presentations, Excel models, billions of dollars of transactions, capital raises, sukuks, M&A deals, and a network of contacts. The experiences of course came at a price – doesn’t everything great.
Immersed in the world of ibanking, the job initially enveloped me, as it does to so many. Daily thoughts revolved for the most part around finance, business, deals and money. The intensity of the job left no room for a distractions, especially the positive ones. The job was like a violently jealous mistress who demanded all of my time and attention. I planned on leaving to set up my own company but I had to wait for the right moment.
With USD20bn of deal experience, a solid network of contacts across the globe and having reached my personal limit working in the establishment I resigned – that is, right after I got my bonus.
Shortly after, I set off on a month-long adventure across different parts of the Eastern Hemisphere. I needed a little time off to recharge my batteries. One day in the midst of that journey, the car I was in flew off a bridge. I regained consciousness to miraculously find that I had come out unscathed despite a serious crash.
I returned to London a month later and set up a specialised financial advisory boutique.
Presently, I work closely with a number likeminded ibanker-entrepreneurs on projects in different part of the world, across different sectors. I choose my projects and only work on those that excite me. One day I may advise one of the richest families from the UK, CIS or Middle East on how to acquire a £150m real estate asset in London. Another day, I will speak to the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund about acquiring a stake in one of the Internet’s largest companies. I may advise one of India’s largest financial institutions on how to enter the GCC market.
My network, and the trust I have earned within it, is my greatest strength. These include some of the biggest family offices in the world, sovereign wealth funds and other strategic players and organizations.
I can work from anywhere and depending on the time we bump into each other you’ll either think me an ibanker or a backpacker.