Off hours: Dubai-based asset management head finds refuge on the desert roads

Majid Hassan is the head of asset management Middle East for Mirabaud, the Swiss-headquartered private banking and asset management group.

The Briton, with Saudi and Lebanese parents, has lived and worked in the region since graduating from university in the UK. The 42-year-old lives in Dubai, with his wife and three children – two daughters aged nine and four and a son, aged 11.

Mr Hassan, who has led Mirabaud Asset Management in the region for a year following stints at global and regional financial services firms, is also the president of the London Business School Gulf Alumni Association.

What are your favourite things to do on the weekend?

With so much travel meeting Mirabaud’s clients around the region, weekends for me are about being at home with my family – my wife, Rana, and three kids. Often we will spend the weekend in one of the smaller emirates, our favourites being Fujairah and Ras Al Khaimah – we are so lucky to have such stunning landscapes so close to our city. My guilty pleasure is my motorcycle and most Friday mornings I get up very early and meet up with four or five of my rider buddies and we head out on the roads of the UAE. The feeling of freedom on the open road in the desert is remarkable and refreshing, and gives me an opportunity to escape the pressures of office life.

What do you consider to be your favourite hobbies?

Motorbiking and football. I currently ride a Harley Davidson Ultra Limited Tourer – I say “currently” because I cannot rule out another purchase in the near future. Watching football with my son is also an important part of my weekend. We are both massive Arsenal fans and have enjoyed a great run, recently winning the FA Cup.

What can’t you live without?

How did we ever function without smartphones? My iPhone is glued to my hand, apart from when I am on my motorbike. Honestly though, I think the most important thing in life is being able to laugh, relax and let your hair down.

What do you consider the secret to your success?

I am a people person, so I credit networking and really working on long-term relationships as the key to any success I have had. Mirabaud has been here in the region for years and I joined in large part because of the long-term relationships it has built in the region. I have always been fairly unflappable and do not get too stressed. I think learning to enjoy your time off helps with this and anyway, my family would never let me get away with any kind of emotional self-indulgence.

What advice would you offer others starting out in your business?

Get out there and meet as many people as you can – network, network, network. There is no substitute for being extremely well connected. Of course how you conduct yourself within the network you build is also critical, and you must be honest and transparent with your clients. That will help you earn their trust and help you build long-lasting relationships with them. You should also be prepared to go the extra mile for your clients too to distinguish yourself from the competition.

How do you achieve a work-life balance?

It is not always possible, especially with a hectic travel schedule. However I do spend any free time I have with my family, taking them on a holiday, reading a good book, going for a swim and doing the things that I enjoy the most. When you travel as much as my job requires it is important to set aside time to spend with the really important people in your life.

How do you relax after the working day?

I always make sure that I am home before the kids go to bed to read them a bedtime story and tuck them in bed. This is important for them, but it also helps me to unwind and remember the priorities of life such as getting to spend quality time with my wife.

If you were not head of asset management, what else would you be doing?

It has always been a dream of mine to own and run a restaurant. I know this is a notoriously hard way to make a living, but I would love to give it a go. I would have to think hard about the theme, but maybe a high-end steak house.

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