Founding Partner, Head of CF Fund Services
When people who know Murad Ikhtiar describe him as “charming, loyal and helpful”, they may be unaware that these qualities, that helped define his success in the corporate world, are well-known characteristics of people in his native Syria.
Murad enjoyed a “golden childhood” in Syria before travelling to Europe aged 15. Clearly he was imbued with that country’s positive qualities. But he also imported the entrepreneurial spirit on which Syria’s past glories were founded. His entrepreneurialism saw the realisation of traits he attributes to himself: perseverance, willingness to taking up challenges including starting from scratch - all vital characteristics of an entrepreneur. But he also confesses to “over optimism”, a “failing” to which Murad says many entrepreneurs are prone – or which can be seen as an asset that helps them surmount the inevitable obstacles to their energy and enterprise. It was this boldness and willingness to take risks that persuaded BDO Luxembourg to trust Murad and back him to become a founding partner of CF Fund Services ten years ago.
CF Fund Services could be described in terms Murad defines himself: a willingness to occupy places abandoned by others. CF Fund Services’ operates in the regulated investment vehicle administration market. They assist investment funds and banks manage administrative, registration, recording keeping and accounting tasks underpinning the financial services sector. While such activities provide the essential infrastructure facilitating seamless recording and regulation of transactions, no one would describe them as “glamorous”. They are the aspects of the financial sector, the space, which people seeking a higher profile might shun. But Murad’s career with some of the leading names in finance like Arthur Young, Banque Indosuez and ING accumulated the experience and established his reputation for trust and reliability. This allowed him to seize the opportunity of establishing CF Funds Services in 2008 when new legislation created the need for the services.
Murad’s contentment with his role in the “backroom” at work, contrasts with the high-adrenaline – as well as glamorous - sports of skiing and jet skiing or the vicarious thrill of the Formula 1 motor racing circuit he enjoys in his free time. In another contrast, his “favourite occupation” involves building architectural models and replicas of ships, aircraft and cars. That reveals a hankering after the alternative career in aerodynamics research and engineering he would have followed had not been drawn into accounting. While model building is a solitary activity Murad seeks engagement with those he employs. He seeks to be a good “family father” – enjoying frank dialogue that makes things happen, being attentive to employees while, when need be, revealing the iron hand he clothes is a velvet glove - but only to seek the loyalty and trust of his employees.
Birthday: 26/08/ 1961
Place of birth: Damascus, Syria
Languages: French, English, Arabic
Hobbies: Ski, Jet-Ski, F1 enthusiast
Cities: Miami, FL
Restaurant: Miami Yacht Club
Places: Miami/FL, Saint-Marc/Venice
Books: Le malade imaginaire (Molière)
Music: Sia, Rihanna