Ten On The Weekend is a semi-weekly feature in IMI, the concept of which is simple: Each time, we ask the same ten questions of a different industry figure, letting readers get to know the interviewee on a more personal and informal level than they might in an ordinary business setting.
Our guest this weekend is Tont Ebraheem of 111 Immigration.
How do you spend your weekends?
I work nearly 15 hours a day since I take care of the applications by myself to ensure the best quality of applications goes out from my office, so I really do not have time to see my family during the working days. So, when it comes to the weekends, I enjoy spending the time with my family (my wife, my four-year-old son, and my soon-to-come second son). They are everything in my life and I try to balance between business and family as much as I can. However, I must admit that I still do some urgent work during the weekends as well.
What are your top three business goals this year?
First, to become one of the internationally leading companies providing honest and transparent services to our clients, especially after we open branches in Malaysia, India, Lebanon, Jordan, Kazakhstan, and many more to come.
Second, to provide consulting services to governments and high net worth individuals, helping to guide the latter before, during, and after their citizenship application process. I see a lot of missed opportunities in the intersection of recently naturalized citizens and their governments, where both could benefit much more from that new relationship. I believe the relationship between the government and the naturalized citizen should start from the moment the investor becomes a citizen, but then it should not end there.
My third goal relates to education. Unfortunately, quite a high percentage of the people in our industry do not really know what citizenship or residence by investment is, the origins of this market, nor which programs are better than others for their clients beyond the immediate present, to say nothing of the long term.
What is your biggest business concern right now?
The disconcertingly common practice of misinforming clients about investment options or programs that sometimes do not exist, and harmful (sometimes unethical) competition among industry participants that would otherwise be better served by cooperating. Moreover, I’m always concerned when I see programs that open for just a short period before suddenly closing again, or when I see programs announced through unofficial bodies.
Which book is on your nightstand right now?
Influence by Robert B. Cialdini. One of the all-time top 10 books on marketing. I also re-read, from time to time, the book written by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum: My Story: 50 Memories From 50 Years of Service. It’s a great book.
How and when did you first get into the investment migration industry?
Though I’ve been living in the UAE since 2011, it was only in 2015, when I was introduced to Mr. Sam Bayat of Bayat Legal Services, that my journey in this business started.
What was your proudest moment as a service provider?
My happiest and proudest moments are when I help my clients achieve what they have been wanting for a long time, when I see my clients’ children graduating from their dream universities, when I receive thank you messages from clients after their first international trip with their new citizenship (“it really works!”), and when I receive calls from clients saying “I just wanted to say ‘hi’, Tony, and hear how you are doing”.
Which investment migration market development has surprised you the most in the last year?
I am astonished each time I look at the statistics of the Turkish CIP. To me, it demonstrates that a smooth and efficient process makes a huge, positive impact.
Additionally, the Jordan CIP has surprised me too in terms of the number of investors who have applied, the number of jobs they’ve created, as well as the huge sums the program has raised.
I also admire some of the Caribbean CIPs’ ability to keep processing going throughout the pandemic and attendant lockdowns. I can tell you that this display of resilience made all the difference in terms of encouraging investors to apply.
If you could go back 10 years in time, what business decision would you change?
I always look back to learn from the past but I never second-guess any decision I made or might make in the future. But I will say that having been in this business for six years now, it would have been even better to have started out in investment migration ten years ago.
What investment migration industry personality do you most admire?
I respect everyone, and I admire those who believe in this industry, contributing positively towards making it better.
If all goes according to plan, what will you be doing five years from now?
I am sure everything will go according to my plan. When you have the vision and work (smartly) hard, you will surely do well.
One thing I’m planning to do is to advise governments on the best ways to make their citizenship or residence programs successful and to get the maximum benefit out of them.