INTERVIEW: Asdhir Bhim, Canada


Financial whizkid Asdhir Bhim scripts super success story in Canada….writes Gurmukh Singh

Bhim Asdhir in his Toronto office
Mr Bhim Asdhir in his Toronto office

Toronto-based Bhim D. Asdhir ranks among Indo-Canadians whizkids who have scripted super success stories in the Canadian financial sector.

Asdhir, whose family comes from Ludhiana in Punjab, is the founder of Excel Funds which was Canada’s best performing mutual fund last year.

“We are also doing well in India as we are the biggest India-dedicated Canadian mutual fund investing in the Bombay Stock Exchange,” said Bhim Asdhir.

Gung-ho on India, he says, “After the turbulence, India has taken off again. I met Prime Minister Modi when he was here in Toronto and I am very positive on India.”

Bhim expects the Indian economy to hit the 10-trillion mark in the next 10 years.

“Remember, China was a two-trillion-dollar economy a decade ago and today it is $10 trillion. I am very sure that in the next 10 years, India too will be a $10-trillion economy,” says Bhim from his swanky office in the Toronto suburb of Mississauga.

This bold Punjabi corporate man was one of the first NRIs to take plunge in India in the late 1990s as he foresaw its potential.

“I went to India in 1996 and I saw what was coming. When I came back to Toronto, I said to myself that now is the time to invest in India. But since there was no vehicle to invest there, I started Excel Funds,” says Bhim.

“Today, we are one of the best performing of all mutual funds in Canada. Last year, we were the best performer among mutual fund. We are also the biggest mutual fund from Canada dedicated to India where we operate through Birla Sun Life. But we are also geared towards other emerging markets – China, Russia, Eastern Europe, Latin America, etc. We also have a BRIC fund.”

Bhim’s a first-generation Indian immigrant super success story in Canada. “I in the 11th class when we came to Toronto from India in 1981. I used to be the only India guy in our class in Toronto.”

As his immigrant family set about rebuilding their life in Canada, he says, “I chose to pursue two degrees – Actuarial Science and Computer Science – at the University of Waterloo from where I graduated with these two degrees in 1987. Actually, I was the first Indo-Canadian to get a degree in Actuarial Science. ”

The two degrees got young Bhim a very prestigious corporate job in one of the best financial addresses in the world – Bay Street Toronto.

“For about 10 years, I worked on Bay Street where we were consultants to lots of big insurance companies and helping establish small insurance companies.”

But that trip to India in 1996, he says, changed the course of his destiny.

“Early this year, I took a delegation of 20 people to India… the energy is palpable everywhere and the country is becoming a dream destination for investors,” says Bhim who was honoured with Male Entrepreneur of the Year in 2007 by the Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce.

His mission, he says, is to sell India as a dream destination for investors.