Bangalore : Rehbar Financial Services celebrated their 10th Anniversary in great flair yesterday, 18 November 2023, at the fabulous Prestige Falcon Tower auditorium. The state-of-the-art hall was jam-packed; and in attendance were a galaxy of professionals, medical doctors, thought-leaders, educationists, socially conscious citizens, financial consultants— representing the cream of society. Delegates, speakers and experts in alternative finance came from Chennai, Mumbai, Vaniyambadi and, of course, from different parts of the bustling metropolis that is Bengaluru today.
Rehbar’s distinctive accomplishments were succinctly introduced by its chairman, Mr. Sherif Kottapurath, former CTO of Sun Microsystems. The financial growth of the company over the past decade was summarized by Rehbar’s CFO Zaid Razvi. Following this introductory session, Mr. P.C. Mustafa, of ID Fresh Foods fame, came alive on the huge screen through a recorded video explaining the fascinating journey of ID Foods— from humble beginnings to what it is today: a house-hold name in many Southern cities and towns. He explained how Rehbar played a pivotal role in funding his entire fleet of over 250 delivery vehicles and over a thousand fridges kept in retail outlets for his company’s products. He talked about the importance of values in business and congratulated Rehbar on its growth and on the 10 years milestone. The audience was glued to their seats throughout the speech.
This scintillating talk was followed by a presentation on “Investing in line with one’s value system” by Dr. Ebaad Momin, who is a doctorate from one of the world’s finest institutes in alternative finance, INCIEF, Malaysia. The presentation embodied academic vigour that can be expected only from a PhD graduate. Ebaad is one the four directors of Rehbar and also a partner in Mount Judi Ventures, a SEBI approved venture capital fund. He detailed the way Rehbar works and how it plans to grow so as to bring down operating costs and make it more competitive to businesses who wish to borrow and generate better returns to its investors.
The panel discussion on institution building which followed, moderated by another director, Mr. Ali Shariff, a graduate from the London School of Economics, left the audience spellbound. The panel comprised the best known names in the field of ethical funding and alternative economic opportunities. Dr. Shariq Nisar, presented a brief history of the growth of institutions in this field, claiming that the first recorded institution is nearly a hundred years old. He listed out the chequered history of these organizations and minced no words in pointing out the flaws that the early financial institutions who pioneered the concept of alternative finance suffered from. He, however, expressed his delight at the emergence of more robust organizations who had remedied the errors of their predecessors. Among these, he listed Rehbar as a financial services company which has built its edifice on strong foundations of trust and professionalism. The other luminary who graced the panel was a leading protagonist of ethical and participatory banking in India, Mr. Abdul Raqeeb from Chennai. He spoke about his adventures in this realm and how he tried to lobby the authorities to legislate in favour of incorporating interest-free banking in the charter of the Reserve Bank of India. The other luminary among the panellists was CA Mohamed Yunus, CFO of White House, one of Chennai’s largest textile manufacturers. He expressed unfettered optimism when asked if more and more socially-conscious people are demonstrating inclination to adopt ethical means of investment.
This panel discussion was followed by another lively discussion on the topic: Investing for Women. The two panellists, Madam Tazaiyun Oomer and Madam Nikhat Fathima are well-known activists engaged in uplifting the economic conditions of women in Bengaluru and Chennai respectively. Both of them are also investors in Rehbar from a long time. The panel was moderated by Madam Ayesha Masood, Managing Trustee of the highly acclaimed Oasis International School of Bengaluru.
This event was an opportune moment to honour the people who have striven so hard to lay the foundations of interest-free finance in India. Chief among them was the doyen of the industry, Mr. M.H. Khatkhatay, an alumnus of IIT Mumbai who single-handedly shouldered the onerous responsibility of designing products and framing policies which were to be eventually utilized by financial services organizations across the country. Rehbar sincerely acknowledges the deep debt it owes to Mr. Khatkhatay in this regard.
Dr. Taha Mateen, a well-known activist of Bengaluru, paid glowing tributes to Rehbar for being among the institutions that has paved the way for the upliftment of people, and called upon the audience to strengthen their hands. He bemoaned the general attitude of the community to hold on to their wealth in the form of precious metals and land, which he termed as counter-productive for the betterment of society, as opposed to investing in economic activity which would bring in all-round prosperity.
Raashid Sherif, one of the earliest to join Rehbar and now the COO, ended the session with thanks and an invocation to providence to bless the organisers, the patrons, the participants, the guests and all those who made the event a resounding success.