Buying a property is an important decision for most Malaysians notably for first-time home buyers and the complexity of choices coupled with the legal aspects, make it a stressful decision-making experience. Gary Chua, an ex-banker with vast experience and knowledge in property development has embarked on the mission of educating potential home-buyers on the do’s and don’ts of purchasing a home through his start-up company, Smart Financing. In a conversation with Top 10 of Malaysia, Gary, the CEO of Smart Financing, talks about his goals of educating the Malaysian public on property ownership, the provision of one-stop property services and future expansion plans within the property, education and F&B industries.
Seeking opportunities and providing answers describes the lifetime passion of Gary Chua, a Kuala Lumpur boy. “My family consisting of my parents and four siblings were middle-class people and hard work was second nature to us. I helped my mother grow and sell vegetables at the day market, vegetables that we had grown ourselves on a piece of empty land next to our house,” reminisces Gary as he talks about his childhood.
“The experiences instilled in me the values of hard work, honesty and integrity, principles I have held and continue to hold in high regard during my tertiary education in finance and later working for local and international banks,” continues Gary. Although a subdued personality, Gary’s inner will to surmount challenges and to help others succeed is apparent.
With the 12 years of experience gained from working in the banking industry and being involved in property investment, Gary ventured out on his own in 2015 with the setting up of Smart Financing. “The intention was to educate potential property owners as there is an obvious gap within the industry. Most people lack the required knowledge when purchasing properties,” says Gary.
The educational consultation services consisting of courses and coaching have become a successful enterprise with people from all walks of life ranging from professionals to businessmen attending Smart Financing programmes. “Providing services which have literally changed people’s lives with regard to property ownership is one of my greatest personal achievements,” says Gary.
“Every time we see a gap in the industry, we have resolved it the Smart Financing way,” says Gary, “Our expansion in providing a greater range of services in property management and renovation solutions enables us to control the overall quality of our services.”
The success of these programmes has been evidenced by garnering industry awards such as the SME Award for 2018 and the recent 5th Worldwide Excellence Award. Another milestone is the relocation of the office from the suburbs to the commercial heart of Kuala Lumpur. “Having a view of the tallest building in Kuala Lumpur from my office window undoubtedly reminds me of the heights that I have scaled,” beams Gary.
“I have a staff force of 15 whom I have trained and provide career growth plans. Staffs are continuously sent for courses and are given greater responsibilities within the new areas of property management,” reveals Gary.
Work commitments are high as daily schedules stretch from morning to late night. “We work on the weekends as most clients are free then. Property exhibitions are held on the weekends and our educational programmes are also held on the weekends to suit clients,” explains Gary. He has plans to expand into other educational areas and the F&B industry as well.
A firm believer in charity works, Gary lights up when explaining the initiatives undertaken to help charity homes. “We visit charity homes regularly, especially children’s homes such as Rumah Hope, and we contribute in kind and our time,” says Gary.
Gary strongly believes that newcomers to the industry need to embrace hard work, self-learning and acceptance of continuous change. “One must be prepared to work harder than anyone else in the company, have a penchant for continuous learning in order to have valuable personal growth and to be able to adapt to the ever-changing business environment,” he advises.