STUART Yeomans from the United Kingdom is a finance man on a mission, with Kuala Lumpur as his base.
From his office in Jalan P. Ramlee, he dreams of a financial world of transparency and regulation, free from the wolves of Wall Street as depicted in the latest Leonardo DiCaprio movie.
Yeomans, the son of a building surveyor and teacher, grew up in the West Midlands before getting an honours degree in Economics and Financial Services from Nottingham.
He headed to Kuala Lumpur seven years ago to work in the world of offshore finance, as he thought working and travelling would be enriching.
Yeomans said: “It’s funny but I initially had no interest in Kuala Lumpur when I was offered a job here.
“But the idea of travelling and working was like killing two birds with one stone.
“I took the job and planned to stay around a year.
“Six years later, I own a company (Farringdon Group Ltd) with a partner (Andrew Bartlett) and I do not think I will ever leave,” he said.
Today, at 29, he is the chief executive officer of the Farringdon Group Ltd, which is headquartered in Kuala Lumpur and has branches in Labuan, Singapore, Makati in the Philippines and Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam.
He credits his success to hard work and persistence.
Besides holding the fort at the Farringdon Group, Yeomans assists the Financial Services Authority in raising the level of qualifications of all life brokers.
Life brokers are insurance brokers who arrange life insurance cover on behalf of consumers.
He also speaks on tax planning and is on the council for the Labuan International Insurance Association, keeping members in touch with new regulatory changes.
With all these responsibilities and while working 12 hours a day, six days a week, he still has the energy to be involved in a variety of other businesses in a country he adores.
“There are many opportunities here that are too good to pass up.
“I honestly love what I do and sometimes find it hard to switch off from work,” he said, while revealing he is looking at opening an English pub in Kuala Lumpur and selling LED lights to Kazakhstan.
He’s a big mixed martial arts fan and has also made that into a business by opening a gym dedicated to the sport.
“I got my black belt in kickboxing at the age of 18.
“I love the martial arts.
“I have watched all the Bruce Lee and Jean Claude Van Damme movies.
“So it seemed the natural thing to do,” he said.
Although it seems that Yeomans’ life is all about work and business, he takes a break by playing squash, golf, “loving his Jaguar XKR”, and cooking at home in CapSquare.
Cooking in his well-stocked pantry with 40 different spices helps him destress.
He said: “I can do anything from a 12-hour braised brisket (beef), through to a five-minute stir fry.
“I try not to use anything ready-made and will make my own curry blends, pesto and BBQ sauce!” said the man who makes it a point to cook on weekends.
Yeomans learnt to cook while working in a bistro at university in Nottingham to pay for his living expenses.
He grew to love it.
“When I watch TV, it is normally the cooking channel,” he said.
He cooks British, French, Italian, Indian, Thai and Chinese dishes.
He is now trying his hands at some Malaysian dishes.
“I can cook beef rendang (my favourite Malay dish) and satay.
“Also, a lot of the Malaysian curry dishes are similar to Indian and Thai ones, so I can do those too,” he added.
After six years in KL, Yeomans has grown to love the city and not just because of the food but also the people.
Half of his friends are Malaysians.
“I am usually the only white guy in the group.
“It gives me a perspective on what Malaysians are thinking,” he laughed.
He feels so strongly about bonding with the locals that he founded KL Expat Malaysia, a community that organises monthly events where expatriates and locals mingle.
“There are wine and cheese evenings, FIFA World Cup and charity events to raise funds for charities such as Kiwanis Down Syndrome Association,” he said.