Interview with Alexis Assadi, founder of Pacific Income Capital Corporation

Alexis Assadi is a writer, entrepreneur and investor. Based in Vancouver, Canada, he founded Pacific Income Capital Corporation, which is the general partner of the financing company, Pacific Income Limited Partnership. Alexis Assadi is the Chief Executive Officer and serves as a director of the general partner. These firms provide funding of up to $250,000 to business owners and real estate investors across Canada and the United States. In addition, Alexis Assadi operates various other privately-held businesses that concentrate on making similar investments.

You grew up around the world. How do you think your early travels affected who you are today?

Yes, that’s right. I was born in Geneva, Switzerland and later moved to Thailand, Hong Kong and Australia. At around age eleven, my family settled in Vancouver, Canada. I also had a brief stint in New York, where I worked for my uncles after graduating from university. So, there was a lot of travelling early on.

I think moving around and experiencing different cultures at a young age allowed me to appreciate diversity. When I think about it now, many of my friends looked different from me, ate different foods than I did and held different beliefs from my family. But that never occurred to me as a child. It was normal for me to be in that environment.

Did you have a favorite place growing up?

I have fond memories of each country. However, I lived in Australia at a time where I was just becoming old enough to appreciate friendships. I was there for four years – it hurt a lot when we left. I often reminisce about playing sports with my friends, being in classrooms and running around our backyard in Canberra. So, if I had to choose a favorite, it would be Australia. I actually went back last year for the first time. I even got the chance to meet up with a couple of my schoolmates.

Your university degree was in political science. How did that translate to business?

My initial pursuit of business was unrelated to my academic education. At around 19, I became interested in investing. I started off with mutual funds that were sold to me by the bank. I then progressed to stocks and continued to advance from there. At some point in my young investing career I realized that I wanted to get into business. And that’s how it all started.

However, if I could go back I would still do a degree in political science. A lot of my work today requires reading complex documents and critical analysis. That subject dovetails perfectly with what I do today. As well, I’m genuinely interested in politics and international relations.

In fact, I never took a business course in school. I don’t know much about the academic curricula. But my experience is that business requires quick thinking, calculated decision-making and the ability to operate under pressure. I don’t know if textbooks and lectures can teach that. Obviously, there’s more to commerce than my personal experience. I’m just saying that business requires expertise in skills that, I think, have to be learned on the job.

How did you get into lending?

I had a friend who needed a loan several years ago. I think I realized that one can charge interest on a loan and earn a profit. That’s probably what sparked it.

However, at that time I was also investing in various loan-based businesses, like mortgage investment corporations. So, I was already interested in that kind of investment. I just never assumed that I could be a lender, myself.

Over the years, I funded several more loans. That eventually turned into a business for me. It’s also the cornerstone of my portfolio. It has culminated in Pacific Income Limited Partnership, along with other financing companies that I currently operate.

Do you have any concerns about the lending space?

I’m not concerned about lending in general. Obviously, each deal has its own potential risks and rewards. However, I do have reservations about commercial properties, such as strip malls and offices. This kind of real estate is becoming decreasingly relevant. Much of today’s business is conducted online. Websites like Amazon, and the internet in general, is making it easier for people to work, buy and sell from the comfort of their smartphones. There’s less of a demand for working space. For that reason, I’m more reluctant than ever to finance those kinds of projects.

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