5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Became the CEO of Century Financial

Build strong relationships and pick your advisors carefully
It is important to build good relationships with people at every step along your path to success. The key is to find good partners and a great team. Always research their advice and get more opinions if you are uncertain, to make the right decision


I had the pleasure to interview Mr. Bal Krishen Rathore. Bal is the Chief Executive Officer of Century Financial. As the CEO of the company, he is tasked with crucial responsibilities of ensuring the company’s continued success and maintaining the firm’s impressive track record, developing strategies for rapid progress aligned with the company’s vision and overseeing every business aspect of the firm. Mr. Bal Krishen joined CFB in 1999 as a Dealer where he assisted in the supervision of all dealing transactions across major global exchanges. He later rose to the positions of Trader and Financial Analyst. Never the one to be satisfied with his achievements, Mr. Krishen went on to become Head of Investment, Associate Director, Director and ultimately, the CEO. His meteoric rise has made him a perfect role model for aspiring individuals. With over 25 years of financial expertise across various investment fields covering bonds, real estate, equities, currencies, commodities and capital appreciation products, Mr. Krishen is a pioneer in mapping and developing investment strategies that have proved to be very successful. He is a successful entrepreneur and a seasoned investor himself who understands mature businesses and start-ups alike. He has developed astute skills and business acumen fostered over years of experience. He knows how to grow businesses, build timeless relationships and empower people around him. His quest for perfection in every aspect of the company’s business is the cornerstone of the progress made at Century. Mr. Krishen is also an actively devoted to philanthropic causes which is highlighted by his support of various NGOs, which promote human welfare. He is a visionary, managing the present with an eye on the future of the company and an inspirational leader who is at the heart of the company’s core values.


Thank you so much for joining us BalWhat is it about the position of a CEO the most that attracted you to it?

The CEO title just happened to me than me being attracted to it and seeking it out. I have always been fascinated by the stock markets and that was what I got attracted to. I was able to do a good job in getting on investors to trade with us. I enjoyed what I was doing and worked hard.

I am usually not complacent with my success and always look out for more. It is through hard-work, dedication and consistency that I could establish myself from being a dealer to the Head of Investment, Associate Director, Director and ultimately, the CEO.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?

My career path has been a learning process, but I’d say the most interesting story relates back to my early days of finances and how I actually got the job at Century Financial.

I grew up in a modest family in a small district in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir and didn’t have much knowledge about finance and stock markets. During my earlier days in Dubai, I was in contact with a bank manager who suggested that I try my luck in a financial institution as he was very impressed by my math skills and ability to grasp and understand financial technicalities.

Taking his advice, I worked on my resume and applied for a post in Century Financial. However, landing a job at Century Financial was not easy since I did not have much experience in the field initially. But I didn’t let the obstacle discourage me. Instead, I came up with an outrageous plan. I stood outside the Century Financial office with a placard saying that I was willing to work for free for six months. I was determined to get into this field and hungry to learn more. My stunt attracted the attention of our chairman Mr. Sulaiman Baqer Mohebi, who saw the potential in me and hired me.

Specifically, what is the most striking difference between your actual job and how you thought the job would be?

My responsibilities include being tasked with crucial responsibilities of ensuring the company’s continued success and maintaining the firm’s impressive track record, developing strategies for rapid progress aligned with the company’s vision and overseeing every business aspect of the firm. I didn’t realize how much of my role as CEO would include casting a vision, presenting and executing it. I’ve learned over the years how to be a good leader and successfully manage the team.

What advice would you give to other leaders to help their team to thrive? What advice would you give to other leaders about the best way to manage a large team?

  • Creating an environment of leadership at all levels

I am a firm believer of creating a conducive environment for my co-workers. I prefer to share the growth story of my organization with the team that has made this success possible. Relationship building and nurturing them has been the primary focus. This has helped me infuse the culture of belongingness among the employees of different nationalities leading to high performance, collectively. Participative Leadership is my style according to which employees at all levels are trusted and valued with given set of key responsibilities which contributes to the larger goal of the organization. Teamwork, creative thinking, enjoying what the employees do and finally the acknowledgment is in tandem and key to any successful organization.

  • Focus on learning to build on performance

Today, employees work in multi-cultural settings and for many, this might be their first time interacting with colleagues from different geographical areas and socio-economic backgrounds. All employees value professional development, therefore investing in team-building activities, or hosting in-office training sessions can reinforce a positive work culture. We run a market-linked dynamic business and the very nature of our business demands consistent learning and development. It is my personal realization that the current fast-moving arena will only support those who are quick learner, always prioritize and own continuous learning as their primary tool for growth. Therefore, emulating the habit of learning and refreshing the knowledge base is the focus for both self and the team working for the organization.

  • Embrace feedback

We are committed to addressing issues that directly affect our employees — by focusing on employee health and wellbeing which thus helps increase employee productivity and decrease absenteeism.

Learning leads to progress and soliciting regular feedback from employees is critical to advancing work culture. Many leaders are accustomed to performing tasks by following a working pattern, but great leaders listen and facilitate. Feedback forms or monthly progress discussions will identify bottlenecks and find the best methods to resolve issues. Employees appreciate being involved. Allowing a top-down management system an opportunity to flourish will encourage more employees to share their feedback and criticisms and in turn, identify alternative solutions at a quicker pace.

Who inspires you to be a great leader? Can you explain why?

Mr. Sulaiman Baqer Mohebi

A man of benevolent character who exhibits the saying “Every diamond has the ability to shine when there is someone to recognize its good facets and inhibit its flaws.” He is a person who is not only immensely successful himself but also creates a platform for others to perform, prove and be successful.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

No matter how much I speak for him, I always fall short of words for our chairman, Mr. Sulaiman Baqer Mohebi. He is a great personality and has been my mentor throughout. He trusted me and offered me an opportunity to work for his company which truly changed me as a professional. It is because of him and the company that I could learn, gather knowledge about the vast subject called financial market and hone my skills accordingly. As a professional, I believe I am honored to have him as a guide & supervisor because the opportunity that I got was tremendous.

How have you used your success to make the world a better place?

I believe that it is very important to give back to society and try to contribute my bit as much as possible, in whatever way and capacity I can. I am actively devoted to philanthropic causes and support various NGOs, which promote human welfare.

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why? (Please share a story or example for each.)

  • Don’t be afraid of failures or taking risks
    Risk-taking is all about the courage to face the reality, think practically and act upon . What would happen if you fail? Failing would only help us learn further from our mistakes, and do things differently.
  • Lead by example
    Build a strong work culture in the company. It takes time, effort, and commitment. Moreover, Risk-taking is particularly important in a world that is constantly changing. Focus on research, take risks that innovate, transform and disrupt, and most importantly, benefit the company overall.
  • Build strong relationships and pick your advisors carefully
    It is important to build good relationships with people at every step along your path to success. The key is to find good partners and a great team. Always research their advice and get more opinions if you are uncertain, to make the right decision
  • You’re going to be busier than you’ve ever been. Deal with it. 
    The position of a CEO comes with a lot of responsibility. You spend a lot of time watching over the business, meeting investors and stakeholders, etc, and it can be staggering and get exhausting. It is important to find ways to maximize the time we have and not let the calendar steal their approachability. Also, work-life balance is important!
  • It is important to have a balance between strategy and execution
    As a CEO, we are tasked with vision casting, and devising successful strategies to grow the business, however, it is important to not lose sight of the execution of the same.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

The world is rolling at a pace like never before and the up-coming generation has a lot to explore and catch up with. We, the current generation must shoulder the responsibility to guide them and introduce them with the possibilities and the paths that are available for them to choose from. I am firmly believe in contributing to various causes of humanity and I do this through NGOs like Divine India and many others where the core agenda is to support United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The aim is to work towards creating a world that is comprehensively sustainable: Socially fair; Environmentally Secure; Economically Prosperous; and more inclusive.

This is my humble way of giving back to the society. It is my appeal to one and all to contribute to humanity in whatever way possible.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

I quote Sir Richard Branson:

“To me, business isn’t about wearing suits or pleasing stockholders. It’s about being true to yourself, your ideas and focusing on the essentials.”

I believe in becoming a better version of self each day, build my strengths and work on my weaknesses, everything else will just fall in place.

Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂

Mr. Raghuram Rajan!

The personality needs no introduction, he is an ace economist and a reverent in the ever-evolving world of finance. I am amazed by his tenacity towards research on modern economics and financial markets. Whether, as the 23rd governor of Reserve Bank of India, one of the largest economy or as the Professor of Finance at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, his accomplishments as a professional proves that he is a firm believer of going above and beyond the call of duty. His journey encourages me to go for more and contribute towards the bigger cause. 

Source: Authority Magazine

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