Cover story: Why the chairman of UAE’s Century Financial feels its all about the journey, not the destination

SourceGulf Business
SectorFinancial Markets

It is not often you meet people who have started from extremely humble beginnings to reach dizzying heights. And yet as we walked into Bal Krishen’s elegant office, what was immediately clear was that the CEO and chairman of UAE-based financial services and investment firm Century Financial remains firmly grounded, despite his lofty achievements. Greeting us personally, Krishen was exceptionally hospitable and warm, and quick to start a friendly – and erudite – conversation.

“I have always believed that ‘It is not about what life has offered you, but what have you done with that offering’,” he explains. Krishen exemplifies that narrative. Born in India as one of nine siblings in a modest family, he completed his basic education in a local school where his father was a teacher. “But I was more interested in acquiring practical knowledge. I started working at an early age by doing several odd jobs, which helped support my family and provided early more...