|Towkay dreams? He has it covered|
By Lorna Tan, Senior Correspondent As a child growing up in a kampung in Ulu Sembawang, Mr Chan Chong Beng aspired to be a successful businessman. ‘My mum drilled into my mind that to be rich you’ve got to be a towkay (big boss) doing business,’ recalled Mr Chan, 56, chairman of interior furnishing company Goodrich Global. His mother was a teacher while his father did not work. Restless to learn about running a business, he quit the then University of Singapore just eight months after he joined its architecture faculty. It was through one of his school projects that he saw how viable the wallpaper business could be as the barrier to entry was low and it was not labour intensive. He invested $1,500 in a newly set up firm that dealt with wallpaper and carpets and was its managing director from 1975 to 1983. After learning enough of the trade, he decided to venture out on his own and set up Goodrich Wallcoverings in 1983 with a partner. The firm has since been rebranded Goodrich Global and grown from just seven staff to 417. When it comes to managing his personal finances, Mr Chan’s top priority is to ensure that his family is taken care of should anything untoward happen to him. To achieve peace of mind, he has invested in insurance protection, paying a total annual premium of about $60,000. His investment portfolio comprises mainly shares and properties. This is because he enjoys the excitement of stock investing and the potential capital appreciation of real estate. Mr Chan is married to homemaker Loy Tai, 51, and they have three sons – Yik Ley, 25, Kwok Ley, 23, and Tiong Ley, 14.
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