Kash Ahmad joined Bibby Financial Services (BFS) in December 2017 having spent more than 20 years at Barclays and a further three at Lloyds. In January 2019, Kash took on the role of Managing Director of BFS Canada. He has extensive experience in product-based finance and a proven track record of success, but his path to working as part of BFS was somewhat different to the usual story of progression.
Upon speaking with Kash, it is plain that he is a down-to-earth, open person who is interested in other people and quite enjoys a chat; something he mentions that directed his career choices from the very start. He has a degree in Chemical Engineering from UCL sponsored by Esso, but in sensing it would be a more insular occupation than he wanted, he opted to switch to follow a more relationship-based career path.
“I was lucky enough to get onto the Barclays graduate program,” Kash says, “and went on to spend 22 years there. I went into the business side of operations fairly quickly in my career because of that relationship with people."
“I’ve always been keen to broaden my outlook; I had what I’d describe as a fairly ‘normal’ life growing up in London and the Home Counties, so I was keen to get life-learning professionally and personally. And equally I wanted my children to get that experience as well and develop a little bit of resilience quicker in their lives.”
Kash embarked upon the less travelled road of working overseas. He recognizes that his peers who remained in the UK benefited by quicker progression in the short term, but he has no regrets in opting to choose roles in Dubai, East Africa and Pakistan before returning home to the UK as it meant in some ways he had more to offer on his return. “How many people get the chance to start a bank from scratch and go from being just myself and the MD on day one to give or take 500 colleagues after two-and-a-half years?"
“It is how I would distinguish between vertical and horizontal responsibility. Take Barclays, for example. It is an international company with offices around the world but the center is in the UK. In the UK it’s 'vertical', you have a job and your responsibility is that job. Overseas, due to the smaller size, you operate more 'horizontally' and will find yourself getting involved in areas that you wouldn’t normally think. Developmentally it’s fantastic.”
Having joined BFS over a year ago Kash says he is even more passionate about working at the company now than when he first started. Firstly he understands the business more and can see the full extent of potential business opportunities available. Secondly he has experienced the BFS culture first-hand.
“There is a really good culture here,” Kash says, “not just around how we look after people and treat each other, but also around being innovative, agile, fast and flexible.”
Without suffering the bureaucracy of modern day banking, BFS can seize opportunities and as a recognized expert provider in flexible and cross-border finance, the Canadian Team has the chance to grow their support to SMEs where others cannot. “We understand the challenges business owners face and know our strengths, so we can focus on supporting them to achieve their goals.”
Kash believes that at the center of every business are its people and his focus is on recruiting the next generation and developing the talent already at BFS. When it comes to recruiting, Kash is reflective on the culture at BFS and clear in his belief that developing the business while retaining the ethos and the values that make BFS stand out is vitally important. Another area of focus is the commitment to continuous improvement not just investing in technology for technology’s sake, but rather making advances to do the right thing for clients and colleagues alike as well as create a more efficient working environment. "Ultimately this will allow us to fund more businesses and improve the client experience.”
Outside of work there are two things Kash is quick to talk about, family and golf. He is married with three children aged between 12 and 21 and believes in the strength a very close-knit family provides. Golf, Kash explains, “is the only sport I found where I can go on a Saturday or Sunday morning and completely switch off. I play with the same group of friends every week, which sounds really boring but I enjoy it. And you’d be amazed how many things come to you when you switch off; I’ve got scorecards filled with scribbled notes and ideas.”
Kash is embracing life at BFS Canada and looks forward to golf in the snow. He says, “I am delighted and privileged to have been appointed Managing Director & President of Bibby Financial Services Canada. We have a well-respected long-established business delivering funding solutions to SME clients through an experienced and knowledgeable team. We are committed to Canada and see significant opportunity for growth by helping businesses achieve their ambitions and goals and being the independent financial services company with which every ambitious business would love to work.”