Adnan Al-Bahar: Superstar Investor with Strange Business Behavior

There is a strange case brewing in the Middle Eastern world of finance. One of the regions star investors seems to have an unusual background and route to advancing his interests. Adnan Abdulaziz Ahmed Al-Bahar has been the Chairman and Managing Director of The International Investor. Before founding TII in 1992, Al-Bahar served as a Managing Director of Al Rajhi United Company (AlRajhi Co) for Islamic Investments from September 1990 to August 1992.

He has been a Non-Independent & Non-Executive Director of Courts Asia Limited since December 2, 2016 and previously served as its Non-Independent & Non-Executive Director from January 17, 2012 to June 30, 2015. He also served as Director of Kuwait Investment Authority, Kuwait Stock Exchange and Kuwait Higher Planning Board.

Holding a BA in International Business from the American College in Switzerland, Al-Bahar began his career at a prestigious bank in Kuwait in 1990, where he built his career until reaching the post of General Manager. Subsequently, he pursued his career in London for two years as the Managing Director for Al Rajhi Bank of Saudi Arabia between 1990 – 1992. Throughout his career, Al-Bahar has served on many national and regional Boards & Committees.

In 2001, Al-Bahar announced that The International Investor will be venturing in business with Bahrain-based Dallah Albaraka Group (DBG), and that the two corporations would merge DBG’s assets with the banking subsidiaries of TII, thus creating the largest Islamic financial service group worldwide.

However, later in 2008, the Kuwaiti investment firm will post a loss for the years it writes down investments in emerging markets and restructures portfolio businesses. Al-Bahar took part in the Reuters Middle East Investment Summit where he reported that the firm’s losses were the first and that they occurred due to a drop in value of currencies, as well as market value and cost of reconstruction of the already existing businesses.

Apart from foreign exchange losses, the company was also hit by restructuring of an Asian electronics and furniture chain. After equity prices have tumbled during the global financial crisis Al-Bahar announced that he was looking to expand TII’s business in the Gulf Arab region. It’s been reported that about 75-80 percent of Al-Bahar’s assets are believed to be tied up in Kuwaiti real estate with no clear disclosure. Some of his real estate holdings are connected to Iran, multiple sources claim.

Currently CEO and Managing Director for TII, Adnan Al-Bahar is also the chairman for the Al-Bahar United Company. About 75-80 percent of his assets are believed to be tied up in Kuwaiti real estate, but with no clear disclosure. The International Investor has offered special services to manage private portfolios, local and international assets, trust funds and providing personal financial services. Acquiring Malaysia and Singapore markets has enabled the company to enter the South Eastern Asia Markets, while it has also played a strong role in the Turkish lease markets. However, suspicion always revolved around the way its CEO was handling the business opportunities and relations with other potential investors in the financial sector.

There were suggestions that the companies Al-Bahar administered operated under a strange business culture. Some reputable companies could not even get meetings for potential business exploration. Rumors about Al-Bahar demanding bribes of dealers and re-marketing platforms have circulated for years. In some cases, he has cited personal rivalries for why he would not do business with legitimate market participants. This erratic behavior was never fully explained or understood by others in the industry. As always, for those that are successful, there can sometimes exist a mysterious route to success. It remains to be seen what the future holds for Al-Bahar, and whether this type of business behavior would prove to be too much for any new potentials investors and companies willing to do business with him.