Fahim Imam-Sadeque is a business development professional with proven experience in the asset management industry.
He has a Bachelor of Science in Actuarial Science from the City University of London and is a Fellow of the Institute of Actuaries. Fahim’s top skills include asset management, hedge funds, investment management, sales, and consultant & client relationship management.
Tell us about yourself?
My professional background is one of being an actuary and trained professional in mathematics and statistics.
Then, I moved into managing bond portfolios, fixed income, corporate bond portfolios, and government bond portfolios. And from that, what I’m good at is — I got out of my comfort zone and took my knowledge of technical products within asset management and learned to sell. I’ve worked with institutions, pension funds, and endowments over the years to achieve multi-million-dollar investments.
As a child of Bangladeshi immigrants to the UK, I also feel very passionately about access to quality education for first and second-generation immigrants to the UK. I’m also very interested in ancient history, geopolitics, and science fiction, and I enjoy travelling and spend time with my family.
What makes you different from other professionals in your field?
I have mathematical and actuarial training and moved into managing fixed income portfolios. But then, I was really lucky to be taught how to sell and work with clients in a consultative partnership fashion. And that combination of skills—the technical and sales relationship aspects—means that I have a very strong skill set in selling fixed income asset management products to institutional investors, such as pension funds and foundations.Often, salespeople don’t have a technical background, and people with a technical background don’t have the sales skills.
The marriage of both sides has meant that I’ve successfully developed my career of selling and dealing with clients with these very sophisticated technical products. The mark of that success is my clients being happy with what they’ve invested with through me. If they’re satisfied with that, then I’ve done a good job.
What was the most important part of your professional journey?
In my professional journey, the most important people are my parents, who guided me and put me through school and university.The next most important part of my professional journey was meeting my key mentor in 2004, Alberto Francioni. He was the head of sales with a firm I joined, who taught me how to sell in a consultative way and his sales process. I never thought of myself prior to that as being able to sell anything; I just thought I had technical skills. If I had never met him, I never would have developed that side of my professional abilities.
The saddest part is that my parents and Alberto have passed away. So hopefully, what I accomplished makes them proud.
What are the best and worst purchases you’ve ever made?
The best purchase I ever made was the first present I bought my wife. We’ve been married happily for 22 years.
The worst purchase was a car, which I purchased, not because I liked it but because I thought it was the right one to have and made a statement. I was stuck with it for a couple of years, and I never enjoyed driving it.
That experience taught me not to care what other people think but focus on what makes you happy.
What takes up too much of your time?
Reading the newspaper, watching box sets on TV, or reading graphic novels. I should be using this time more productively, but I enjoy it.
What three pieces of advice would you give to college students/new startup business owners who want to become entrepreneurs or leaders in their field?
Number one, do something you enjoy because there is nothing worse in life than doing a job that you do not enjoy. We spend so much of our life working, so find something you enjoy.
Number two is to find guidance from mentors and pick your mentors well.
There will be people along the way that direct and guide you, that you work for and that you work with. Learn from them but pick them well because if you choose the wrong mentor, they may take you in the wrong direction.
Number three is to keep going because in the end, the road you pick will probably be challenging, and you will have setbacks. Everyone has had setbacks in their career and personal life, so you have to keep going because there will come a day when all that hard work and setbacks make sense.
Who has impressed you most with what they’ve accomplished?
My mentor Alberto Francioni is the most impressive person I’ve ever worked for or worked with.
He was a natural salesperson and he created a team around him. I was nothing like him, but he saw in me a salesperson to cover a particular type of client that he couldn’t cover himself. He was a genius in finding salespeople to cover different types of client bases. He was highly successful and accomplished at what he did.
What drives you to keep going when it’s really tough?
I remember what my parents taught me about hard work, and I remember everything they went through. They had a very hard time personally and professionally at certain times of their life, and they came through that together.
That’s what keeps me going when I’ve had difficult times professionally. Even despite tough times, when we achieve what we set out to achieve, that’s what makes it worthwhile. It’s a cliché, but it’s absolutely true.