Creador deals with finance, but the thing I will remember most about its office is the art. My favourite is Birth of a Nation/Death of a Nation by Ivan Lam — a majestic piece in resin that features elements of the Jalur Gemilang, it takes up almost an entire wall in the entrance area. Damien Hirst’s Five Stages of Dying provides a glorious pop of colour to a corridor that connects the foyer to the offices within, where a piece by architect/artist Indra Ramanathan takes pride of place. In another nook sits a brass Ganesha, the elephant-headed Hindu god said to be the remover of all obstacles, while several sculptures I am unable to get the details of dot the rest of the space. There is a disarming honesty that emerges as a theme to what I see — this is a collection anchored by passion and love, not quite dictated by investment value.
A private equity firm focused on high-growth markets in South and Southeast Asia — one often needs good money for good art — Creador was founded by Brahmal Vasudevan in 2011. A graduate of Harvard Business School and Imperial College, London, he spent time at British American Tobacco, Boston Consulting Group and Astro before assuming the position of managing director of ChrysCapital, a leading private equity firm focused on growth capital investments in India. Upon returning to Malaysia, he started Creador.
The company, with offices in Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines, India and Sri Lanka, has done remarkably well over the years. It has raised close to US$1.5 billion (RM6.2 billion) of investor commitments across four private equity funds since its inception and has invested in a variety of industries, including financial services, consumer durables, retail, food and beverage, pharmaceuticals, healthcare, media and business services.
There is nothing like dealing with money and young people in new markets to make one realise the deep chasm between the haves and the have-nots — only in this case, it is about those who have an understanding of finance and those who do not. Financial literacy, and the glaring lack thereof, has been a major issue in many countries in the region as household debt continues to rise amid suddenly burgeoning economies.
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