Khan leaves after five years at the helm of Bangladesh's leading NBFI
Leaving on a high note is what most aspire to do but a few can manage. Arif Khan, the managing director and chief executive officer of IDLC Finance, belongs in the latter category.
Khan is stepping down from the post after serving for five years, less than a month after the country’s largest non-bank financial institution posted its highest profit yet in its 35-year history.
In 2020, the NBFI logged in 49.5 per cent higher profit of Tk 254.1 crore, at a time when the sector is reeling from a mountain of bad loans and financial irregularities.
Discerning, polite to a fault and with calm confidence, Khan oversaw possibly the institute’s golden era.
When he re-joined IDLC after serving as a commissioner of the Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission in March 2016, IDLC’s default loans stood at 3.06 per cent of its total outstanding loans. At the end of 2020, it stood at 1.79 per cent.
At the end of September last year, the 33 NBFIs’ default loans accounted for about 15.5 per cent of their total outstanding loans, as per the central bank’s latest data.
During his tenure, IDLC’s asset size soared 73 per cent and profit 42.8 per cent, while shareholders were rewarded with an average of 33 per cent cash dividend.
Deposits are higher than ever before, and in the past five years, IDLC maintained a capital adequacy ratio of 16 per cent, a number that would turn many banks green with envy.
And he pulled off the feat by putting customers at the front and centre of his strategy.
“This is a big moment in my life -- I could have stayed on for another 5-10 years but I chose to start a new chapter,” Khan told Dhaka Tribune on Monday.
The new chapter entails starting an investment vehicle with partners, which will be announced in a month.
“If I can build that organisation in 5-10 years, it will be more rewarding for me.”
Khan feels his job as the chief of IDLC Finance, where he served for 15 years in a previous stint, is done.
“When you leave an organisation, it should be in good order, which is what IDLC is right now. The brand value is at an all-time high and the return on equity is one of the highest in the entire financial sector. IDLC is in a strong position now,” he added.
His co-workers are saddened by his exit.
“He is the most empathetic leader one can have. He will be sorely missed by everyone at IDLC,” said Jane Alam Romel, group chief marketing officer of IDLC Finance.
Shares of IDLC, which gained about 53 per cent since July 30 last year, closed at Tk 64.10 on Monday, down 0.9 per cent from the previous day.