Ferdinand Sadeli has played a significant role in helping Sinar Mas Land to broaden its horizons and become a global player in the real estate sector.
Sinar Mas Land is the largest real estate company in Indonesia. We are registered on the Singapore Stock Exchange (SGX), with combined market cap of about A$7.5 billion, together with three Indonesia-listed subsidiaries.
We engage in many sub-sectors of real estate – housing, apartments, offices, malls, hotels, golf courses and industrial – with further projects in Singapore, Malaysia, China and the UK.
I joined the company in 2012. My role involves financial reporting – because we are SGX listed, we have to deal with strict reporting rules. Then there is financial strategy, which is complex as it involves seven currencies. There is also strategic planning, which includes key investments and mergers and acquisitions.
Our UK projects are my direct responsibility, as well as investor relations – in Singapore, for example, we have 10,000 shareholders.
Being seconded to the EY Sydney office was a big achievement, along with becoming CFO of a listed company at the age of 33. But the biggest was when Sinar Mas Land successfully entered the UK market. We are now respected as a major player among a lot of competition – European, Chinese, Middle Eastern.
Thinking like a CFO
I’ve found that life is not to do what you like, but to like what you do.
You have to keep focused. There are so many pressures and if you’re not happy at work, then you’re not happy in life. Agility is very important. As a professional, you have to adapt to the current situation. Ability to adapt and react is the key in this game.
We have to keep prioritised. Although in the current market buying power has declined, if we have the right products to sell we can continue to perform well. The other challenge is satisfying shareholder expectations to continue expanding our global footprint in the real estate sector.
I did my master’s at the University of Melbourne and started as an intern with KPMG before joining EY, where I stayed for 11 years. My experience at Barclays completed my all-round education and helped me understand the whole aspect of financial strategy – this helped me transform Sinar Mas Land into a global player.