Amid dollar woes, startup touts investment avenues in US – Newspaper

Karachi: A severe dollar shortage has forced the government to withhold payments for imports of food and industrial raw materials. A startup rolls out US trading and investment products for Pakistani investors.

Elphinstone Pakistan wants Pakistanis to transfer dollars for investment in US stocks and Treasury bills, even though the government is trying at all costs to minimize the outflow of dollars. increase.

“If you have an account in a Pakistani bank in US Dollars (USD), the law allows you to transfer that money abroad for any purpose. The only restriction is that the account belongs to an individual. In that case, the account can’t be used for commercial purposes.There’s not even a limit on how much money you can send abroad,” Farooq Tirmizi, the company’s CEO, told Dawn in a recent interview.

Elphinstone is a Personal Finance Advisory Firm registered and licensed in both the United States and Pakistan, with the aim of helping “middle-class individual clients” invest for retirement and other long-term goals. is.

One of Elphinstone’s many offerings, it appears to facilitate capital flight from Pakistan, but Tirmizi argues the opposite is true.

“Our goal is to bring money into Pakistan, not send it abroad,” he says. Elphinstone aims to be the first Pakistani financial institution where people “have a full relationship” with their investments, including in foreign assets, he said.

For example, if you are Pakistani and have an investment account with a well-known US company, it will be difficult for you to invest in Pakistani stocks. International financial institutions serving retail investors have little exposure to Pakistani stocks.

Pakistan has over 500 listed companies. There are well-managed mutual funds here for dollar-holding Pakistanis to invest in, he said. However, dollar-denominated investments by overseas Pakistanis rarely return to Pakistan, except for consumption.

“We are the only player that can direct funds to Pakistan for investment purposes. It’s the only company that can say to direct part of its investment to Pakistan…it will remain a single investment company,” he says.

Tirmizi therefore argues that the product promotes capital movement, not capital flight.

“We do not want to be seen as a company to rely on to withdraw money from Pakistan. We want people to think about their money in a global perspective. We want institutions to connect them,” he says.

An MBA from the University of Notre Dame, Tirmizi worked as a journalist in Karachi for many years.

His startup has raised $1.2 million in pre-seed and seed rounds by October 2022.

“The core premise of our company is that Pakistan is a great place to invest and build wealth. It’s better to stay here than move to another country to build social stability,” he said.

Published at dawn on January 8, 2023

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