For Evan Chow, time is central to his daily life. The managing partner at MCL Financial Group says: “I wake up thinking of milestones according to time. When I step back to brainstorm for our company and our investors, I would say ... time ranks equally [with] value, effectiveness and opportunity.”
Chow comes from a family of financiers in Hong Kong. His interest in finance and investing started in high school, laying the foundations for the rest of his career.
A Brown University magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa graduate in applied mathematics, economics and organisational studies, Chow sticks to a strict schedule in his professional and personal life.
In the eclectic surroundings of the Seafood Room in Causeway Bay, Chow recalls when he interned his way into investment banking and private equity; this in turn enabled him to acquire and reposition MCL Financial Group in 2009, together with a few partners. His financial acumen was developed when he worked at other investment banks and set up his own business platform, CEG Capital, focusing on real estate, asset management and alternative investments.
That said, the notion of family is never far from his mind and is what drives him to success. He remembers his first watch very well: it was a Patek Philippe Calatrava, which his parents gave him as a graduation gift.
“Most of my early watch collection was given [to me] by my parents, [my relationship with whom] I find so meaningful in my daily life – our recognition of each other’s importance, and the role they have played in my life timeline. [These watches] all form part of my collection to be passed [on] to the next generation.”
Chow organises his time with attention to detail. His extracurricular work in mentoring young people and his visibility in Hong Kong’s art scene take his interests beyond work. He admits that sometimes there isn’t enough time to do it all. Far from being discouraged, he finds that time pressures energise him. Time spent making a difference to those around him and the community, and to hanging out with his nearest and dearest – while still having an active lifestyle that involves tennis, swimming, volunteering to help the underprivileged, and learning about contemporary art – are all equally rewarding to him.
Chow recognises that timing has played a pivotal role in his successes, and considers his ascent at MCL Financial as being due to his having seized opportunities at the right time. “The concept of time is extremely important in our work. Opportunities come and go. If we do not react fast enough to projects and do not react to market circumstances, we do not stay competitive with our peers and cannot outperform.”
Chow balances professional responsibilities with his personal life, and sees time as a constant variable. The rest is about prioritising interests, family, friends, business partners and company.
This article was originally published in XXIV
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