Ziad K. Abdelnour
EVOLVE: Please give a brief intro of your organization Black hawk Partners Inc., its objectives and global network?
Ziad: Blackhawk Partners is a private “family office” that is in the business of originating,structuring & acting as equity investor in strategic corporate investments. We invest capital and finance transactions on behalf of very wealthy individuals and families and trade physical commodities.
Our mission is to basically create wealth and empower people to create more wealth. Make no mistake about it; money is first and foremost about freedom. It is not about acquiring things nor flaunting it in front of family and friends.It is all about freedom. Freedom to do whatever you want, whenever you want. Freedom to tell your boss or hoever is running your life to take a hike. The only boss I want to have in my life is money. All the rest is for the birds. This is the key reason I immigrated to the United States back in 1982. To find freedom and make it big time. This is the reason I created Black hawk Partners back in 2008.
EVOLVE: What is the essence of Teamwork and why is it necessary for organizational success?
Ziad: Black hawk Partners mission is to leverage the insight and expertise of its team of advisory, investment and trading professionals to generate superior returns across a range of asset
classes, while maintaining our good name and the good name of our investors.
While open to opportunities wherever the can be found, Black hawk focuses on sectors in which it has access to intelligence second to none and a stellar group of operators.
In a world awash with information, insight is often in short supply. Blackhawks edge is its ability to leverage the local know how of its partners and professionals,collaborating across the firms disciplines from deal sourcing and due diligence through company development and building long term trading relationships.
The result: A much broader view of potential investment and trading opportunities and deeper level of expertise, creating value for Blackhawks backed companies and trading counterparts that translates into superior returns for Blackhawks investors.
1. Blackhawk is a single team of very bright,honest, energized, thoughtful, self-starters and great people working together all over the world to create the best outcome for Blackhawk and our investors.
2. We do what we say and say what we mean.
3. No one raises their hand and says, Thats my idea or my deal.
4. If an investment or trading play doesn’t work out, we all take responsibility. No finger pointing. The firm is politics free.
5. Blackhawk is a caring firm; caring for our people, our clients, and our various communities. We must focus on all stakeholders.
6. Disseminating information broadly within our firm makes us more effective and better-informed traders and investors.
7. We are constantly learning from our mistakes and striving to create new ideas, new products,and new ways of doing our business. If we don’t act like this we will become marginalized. We always want to remain relevant to and admired by the people with whom we do business.
EVOLVE: What measures do you take forkeeping your organization “politics free”?
Ziad: Well, that’s a very good question. Bottom Line: You cannot keep any organization politics free. Politics today is an intricate part of business no matter how you slice it.
It is a fact that in America today, everyone is entitled to an opinion, and it is certainly useful to have a few when a pollster shows up. But these are opinions of a quite different roder from eighteenth or nineteenth century opinions. It is probably more accurate to call them emotions rather than opinions, which would account for the fact that they change from week to week, as the pollsters tell us. What is happening here is that television is altering the meaning of being informed by creating a species of information that might properly be called disinformation. I am using this world almost in the precise sense in which it is used by spies in the CIA or KGB. Disinformation does not mean false information. It means misleading information misplace, irrelevant, fragmented or superficial information–information that creates the illusion of knowing something but which in fact leads one away from knowing.What we try to avoid at Blackhawk is the baseless emotion not the opinion.
EVOLVE: What are the major challenges and threats to your business in the field of equity investment?
Ziad: It’s all about risk and how you manage risk. At its most fundamental level, we at Blackhawk believe that risk management is a corporate culture issue. To manage risks effectively over time, employees must put the firm welfare and the preservation of important client relationships ahead of everything else. Risk is risk, and you can’t be perfect at managing it. Consequently, we believe that the three absolutely indispensable ingredients of our success in managing risk are: Escalation, Accountability and Culture.
1. Escalation means communicating risk concerns to higher levels of management, getting more fingerprints on potential problem risks and challenging the notion that a business group leader ought to make independent decisions on risks that affect the entire firm.
2. Accountability, of course, means acknowledging that people are responsible for what
their business groups do, and, equally important, holding senior management responsible for evaluating all aspects of risk, including the quality of the people with whom the firm chooses to do business with.
3. Culture. Our greatest risk protection, however, comes from ascribing as much status, prestige and compensation to those partners engaged in control functions as to those running businesses and in constantly rotating partners back and forth between risk control and business operations.
In a nutshell, we believe that any responsible firm’s risks, do not result from proprietary trading, but rather from facilitating client objectives. Being an effective M& A advisor, for example, means giving advice that is actionable, which frequently requires the advisory firm to support the client through capital and other balance sheet commitments. We are glad Wall Street is headed back to an operating model centered on relationships and value creation as this is pretty much our forte in here at Blackhawk
EVOLVE: Blackhawk Partners Inc., claims to be a caring firm that cares for all its stakeholders. Is “caring” a strategy or an overall organizational culture by design?
Ziad: Yes, we do care indeed but by the same token, we are not a free loving organization.We care in the sense that we cant afford to lose money. Our goal is to make money in down markets as well as up markets.
We care about our partners, our colleagues, our shareholders and all the people who associate themselves to us. That’s what it all about. If not, what are you doing? At the end of the day, it’s not how smart you are, there are a lot of smart people out there. It’s not how big your balance sheet is, there are a lot of people with lots of money. Its how you gather intelligence and make money based on that intel that you show people how much you really care.
EVOLVE: In your highly influential best seller, “Economic Warfare: Secret of Wealth Creation in the Age of Welfare Politics”, You have argued that governments should focus on Wealth Creation, not Job Creation. Is it not a startling argument and a threat to the global job markets and “Welfare Politics”?
Ziad:Success is no accident or serendipity. I had all the odds against me, and I crushed each and everyone along the way. Not because I was a Democrat or a Republican. Not because of my attitudes about social issues. Not because of what my background is or isn’t. Not because people think I’m a nice guy. I succeeded because I’m a capitalist, I’m an entrepreneur, and I’m a warrior. That is the mindset I want to teach others so they can create their own wealth and American success story
I’m not here to entertain. If you try to please everybody and worry about offending anybody, nothing is going to happen. You might make some money, but you certainly won’t create wealth.
I’m an action-driven individual; too many people including economists and academics in their ivory towerwatch from the sidelines and pontificate. You should do this. You should do that. But most of them have no skin in the game. They have nothing at risk, so they can talk the talk from now to the next century, and it’s not going to make a difference.
A while back a guy came up to me and said: I love what you write, referring to all the blogs and articles I publish. Then he asked: How do you make a living? He expected me to answer: Oh, I do this. I do that. I work here. I work there. Instead I told him the reality: I am not here to make a living. He didn’t expect that. But the truth is I don’t work here and there. I don’t make a living; I create wealth using the strategies, knowledge, and truths learnt over my decades on Wall Street and the venture capital/private equity business.
I’m not an idealist. I’m a capitalist who wants to empower others to do what I did find freedom. My uncle was a very successful guy worked very hard,never got married who lived to be ninety one years old.Before he passed away I asked him:
How do you define success: Is it money? Is it power? He told me it was none of the above. Success is about empowering people. The more you empower people, the more you are going to succeed. This is exactly how individuals and governments alike should think. I want to create a movement of smart, educated, well-informed, independent people and empower people to create their own wealth. And the best way to do that is by explaining how the system really works. In the end, it comes down to this: To create real wealth you must abandon your limited thinking, eliminate boundaries, and stop defining the outcome. Most importantly it means not letting people motivated by jealousy, greed, and envy dictate what your limitations are. You have to take risks in life. Your actions are what count.
EVOLVE: What are your views about Wayne Allyn Roots thoughts on The Murder of Middle Class in his interview held by Financial Policy Council 17th July, 2014?
Ziad: Well he is spot on …My personal opinion? I believe the rich and the poor truly are from different realms: one has adapted to become an expert in material forfeit; the other has forfeited all they are to material, and thus is enslaved, by it. I think though the tide is turning around under President Trumps leadership and I believe that six years from now if he is reelected you will see a drastic change in the middle class attitude and situation for the better.
EVOLVE: You won Global Shaper award in 2017 from the World Economic Forum and your name as one of “The 500 Most Influential CEOs in the World” from Richtopia. How would you comment on these achievements?
Ziad:You know I don’t pay attention to those things as long as my conscience is clear. I stay focused on what I do. Whatever you do people are going to talk. Say good things or bad things it’s all okay with me. Always remember…. Rumors are carried by haters, spread by fools and accepted by idiot.
EVOLVE: How do you see the future of the capital markets in the Middle Eastern and South Asian regions?
Ziad: In many ways little has changed since the last downturn of 2008/2009. Capital markets have developed somewhat in terms of public equity trading and index inclusion, but the credit plumbing has fallen behind.
Bank lending continues to be fraught with inefficiencies and unsavory risks. Lenders loan books are too concentrated. Related party lending poses continued governance problem
Local asset managers lack innovation (look how many Saudi IPO and REIT funds were launched in rapid succession) and significant scale (Total assets under management vs GDP remain paltry and the top handful of managers control over 90% of the total).SMEs, the lifeblood of most successful economies, continue to be neglected. The other elephant in the room are the governments. They’ve gone from being huge depositors in the local banking system, to now being substantial borrowers, mopping up swathes of local liquidity. Although IFRS 9 wont address many of the above points, the additional transparency and accountability that it brings will introduce a more real time assessment of credit quality and shine a light on how management perceive their own business. This will hopefully enable investors to make better decisions in choosing destinations for their capital. Time will tell.
EVOLVE: How can financial and investment management houses play their roles for poverty alleviation in global geopolitical system?
Ziad: They can play their role by educating people, empowering people and creating an environment conducive to wealth creation. It is all about people not money. You can have all the money in the world but if you are backing the wrong operators you will not see tangible results. Too much money can destroy a project, too little money can suffocate a project. So you have to strike the right balance between whom you are backing, how you are backing them and to what purpose you are backing them. As simple as that. Government has to move from a legal and regulatory frame of mind to a business frame of mind. It is all about Wealth Creation stupid.
EVOLVE: Any message for the readers of EVOLVE Business Publication.
Ziad: Be bolder – cause Success is not how high you have climbed, but how you make a positive difference to the world.
Be more controversial – cause rules and conventions are important for schools, businesses, and society in general, but you should never follow them blindly.
Be more disruptive – cause in times such as ours, when there is too much order, too much management, too much programming and control, it becomes the duty of superior men and women to fling their favorite monkey wrenches into the machinery. To relive the repression of the human spirit, they must sow doubt and disruption.