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A Discussion With Anthony Robert D’Aniello on Making a Positive Difference in Todays World Climate

With more than 27 years of progressive responsibility, experience and tested expertise as an attorney, banker, entrepreneur, and businessman, Anthony Robert D’Aniello is an extremely reputable professional. He has held several senior executive positions with both on shore and offshore Banks and Trust companies.  He has a proven track record in setting up and building […]

Robert D'Aniello
Robert D'Aniello

With more than 27 years of progressive responsibility, experience and tested expertise as an attorney, banker, entrepreneur, and businessman, Anthony Robert D’Aniello is an extremely reputable professional. He has held several senior executive positions with both on shore and offshore Banks and Trust companies.  He has a proven track record in setting up and building Trust companies and financial institutions from inception taking them through the planning, regulatory, implementation, and operational stages. Anthony is no stranger to all aspects of investment banking, asset management, fund raising, complex commercial structuring/transactions, loan syndications, private equity and hedge funds, international taxation, trust and intellectual property law.

Anthony was a Founding partner, Group COO and Head of Wealth Management for First Capital of Switzerland Investment Bank a DIFC regulated entity that in 2012 was named the Best Investment Bank in the UAE by World Finance. Anthony was also a Managing Director at the DIFC and under Special Projects headed the first exclusive Sharia compliant Trust Company regulated in the DIFC. He has held several senior executive positions with both on shore and offshore banks and trust companies most notably with HSBC in Canada. Anthony was part of the Tax, Trust and Corporate Commercial practice group for the offshore law firm of Bishops after which he continued to be of Counsel since 1997. More recently, Anthony was a Founding partner and Co Chairman of Global Legal Group (GLG) an international law firm that was the Family Office for Royal Families in the Middle East. He has had extensive dealings with various governmental and regulatory bodies in several on shore and offshore jurisdictions. He has managed teams of professionals delivering a full range of asset management, personal trust and advisory services to high net worth individuals and corporations. His key interest has always been in developing and maintaining client relationships with the view to providing added value and service for the client.

Anthony received a Juris Doctor in Laws from the University of Detroit, his Bachelor of Laws from the University of Windsor, a Masters in Business Administration from Lake Superior State University, and a Bachelor of Arts Degree (with a Double Major in Political Science and Modern Languages)  from McGill University. He is admitted to practice as a barrister and solicitor in Ontario, Canada (Member of the Law Society of Upper Canada) and Turks and Caicos Islands as well as in the UAE as a legal consultant.

Why did you decide to create your own business?

As I sat at home during the world lockdown, I got somewhat tired of staring at the walls and watching CNN! During this period, the number of articles and reports I was reading about medical supplies that were either fake or defective was mind boggling. I thought to myself how can it be that under such seriousness of COVID19 and people dying that unscrupulous dealers were taking advantage of the unknowing or how 3M masks began trading as a hot commodity. I was struggling with the injustice of it all and decided that I would try do my small part and try to make a difference while sitting at home with very little to do.

Therefore, it is not a business per say that I created but rather a relationship type service like the pin in a hinge that helps bring together a serious needing buyer (government/hospital/healthcare facility) with an authentic, legitimate well experienced, ethical seller/supplier of medical supplies and equipment for COVID19.

This all really consumed me for the first few months where I was sleeping on average 3 to 4 hours a night as I was dealing with multiple time zones with buyers from business relationships that I had developed over the past 28 years. The tricky part was not with the buy side but rather the suppliers. It proved difficult to find trusted suppliers, and I invested a considerable amount of time trying to vet and verify them.

Then it hit me. Let me go back into my own network of contacts developed over a 28-year period and see what I could find.

Eureka! Through a personal contact who made an introduction, a network of trusted, vetted and verified suppliers was established to meet my objective and so I became deeply involved in the world of COVID19 PPE.

What do you love most about the industry you are in?

I have always been interested in the Healthcare industry because it is an industry which helps people and is to aid the less fortunate or at least it is supposed to. However, before this, it was from the prospective of an investment banker. Where I have been involved with setting up Private Public Partnerships with several governments in the MENA region as well as launching a Private Equity Fund for Healthcare.

Regarding the COVID19, it was because it was current and essential. I was trying to play my part to help and facilitate and bring together those who needed with those that had the supply and could be trusted.

I have always been driven by developing and fostering relationships. For me, building, developing, maintaining and supporting relationships is invaluable. Helping those in need in such a crisis became my primary focus. Protecting the buyers from the unscrupulous became my mandate.

What keeps you motivated?

Objective of doing my part to help get the world back to a sense of normalcy. Whatever that new normalcy is going to be.

The satisfaction of knowing when an agreement is inked between a buyer and supplier that all will be good when the product is delivered and I am helping to save lives.

That I am trying to make a positive difference no matter how big or small it might be.

What traits do you possess that makes a successful leader?

There are so many traits required to be a successful leader and so many schools of thoughts with varying opinions on the topic. What worked 28 years ago when I first started out is sure different to what it is today. Successful leaders need to adapt. You can’t be static. Some of the traits which are timeless and I believe I possess:

I am an effective communicator. Especially in this day and age, a leader must be able to clearly and concisely explain problems and solutions. Also, you can’t understand and solve problems if you are talking. I believe in listening more to fully understand to be better to clearly and concisely communicate.

I am a long-term strategic thinker. Need to be a visionary and plan through concrete and quantifiable goals. You can’t be static and I am aware of the need for continuous change in order to improve processes.

I am self-motivated. You need to keep going and attain goals despite setbacks. There is no mediocrity. You need to exceed expectations.

I am confident. You have to be able to make tough decisions and lead with authority. Through confidence, I am able to reassure and inspire others and encourage teamwork.

Emotional intelligence is another key trait. You have to be able to exercise good control and regulation over your own behavior and be able to tolerate frustration and stress which is not always easy. It is critically important to connect with people emotionally

What is one piece of advice that you have never forgotten?

There are a few pieces of advice over the years that I have never forgotten. The first is when I was working in the finance department for Molson’s Brewery.

You see, I had resigned from my position at Molson’s as I had been accepted to an MBA program in the USA. On my last day before leaving Molson’s, my boss took me out for a farewell lunch. During the lunch, I of course thanked him for everything when he stopped me abruptly and said, “No, thank you for everything and for all the assistance you provided to my department. It was really my pleasure and remember something Anthony, today I am your boss but tomorrow you could be mine and the way you remember that I treated you will be exactly the same way you will treat me.” Those words stick with me until today and I have never forgotten them.

 While working at HSBC, my mentor who had really taken a shine to a younger me and who I really learned a lot from passed along many pearls of wisdom but a few that I heard over and over that have really stuck with me:

“Be careful what you wish for.”

“Anthony, always remember that unfortunately the corporate world is not all that nice. Always be observant of your employer and their tactics because if they do it to someone else, they will also do it to you.”

“Anthony, you want to see how quickly life passes us by, open a 30-day term deposit.” Enjoy life as it is short.

What’s one piece of advice you would give to others?

I can’t really limit myself to only one piece of advice as we are all different and may interpret things differently. Some of the things I believe in or follow or I have shared as a mentor with people that I have managed are:

Find and do what you are passionate about and happiness and abundance in all of its many forms will follow.

Be positive and believe in yourself.

If you want something bad enough, you need to fight and never give up.

Take responsibility for your actions and let go of the results.

Winners are not people that never fail but people who never quit.

What is the biggest life lesson you have learned?

I don’t think one can speak about the “biggest” lesson in life. As long as we are alive, there are always lessons to be learned and we would be foolish to think that we ever stop learning. Be that lesson termed big or small, there are lessons that will impact our lives in some way.

Rather than looking at it from the “biggest” perspective, I like to refer or look at it as experiencing numerous lessons that altogether we learn from that shape our lives. From my experience it is how you deal with these life lessons that make the difference.

For me, I have many times referred to my life journey as that of a Phoenix by which you obtain new life by arising from the ashes and re-inventing yourself.

What trends in your industry excite you?

Innovation and ingenuity is what excites me most. It is incredible the number of different inventions and products that are being developed to help the world return to normalcy.

I am excited to be involved with several groups that are on the verge of bringing to the market some sophisticated but also common-sense products and equipment that will minimize the risk if not totally eliminate the risk of the Corona virus and many other viruses as well. 

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