British North Borneo
In the course of business Dent travelled in eastern and south-eastern Asia, in 1878 inducing the Sultan of Sulu to transfer his rights and claims over northern Borneo to a syndicate formed by Dent and Baron von Overbeck, the main promoters of which were Sir Rutherford Alcock, Sir Harry Keppel and Richard Biddulph Martin. Subsequently the British North Borneo Provisional Association was formed in 1881; it obtained a royal charter and became, in May 1882, the British North Borneo Company, also known as the North Borneo Chartered Company.
Dent became head of the firm of Dent Brothers and Co, merchants and commission agents in the City of London. Other business positions held by Dent included chairmanship of the Caledonian (Ceylon) Tea Estates and the Shanghai Electric Construction Company and directorships of the Chartered Bank of India, Australia and China, the London County and Westminster Bank and the Royal Exchange Assurance Corporation.
In 1896 he married Margaret Aird with whom he had a son, Leslie Alfred Dent, born in 1897. In 1898 Dent was appointed a member of the Indian Currency Commission and, in the same year was made a Knight Commander in the Order of St Michael and St George (KCMG). He had a house at Eastbourne in south-east England, and served as High Sheriff of Sussex in 1908.
- "Alfred Dent". Parsons Family. Retrieved 10 February 2012.
- "Sir Alfred Dent". Obituary (The Times). 24 November 1927.
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