For economic boom we must timely implement right policies with patriotic resolve
Interview with Syed Ali Raza Bukhari — Head of SMA, National Investment Trust Limited
PAGE: Tell me something about yourself and your career please:
Syed Ali Raza Bukhari: Prior to joining NITL as Head of SMAs, I have had the opportunity to set up and successfully manage a Pakistan Stock Exchange Member Brokerage Firm, bringing it up as an institutional trading platform. I have also been associated with the asset management industry for quite some time now, spreading my +15 years of specialized financial services experience into a diversified landscape of multiple professional domains like marketing/sales, advisory, distribution, product development and core operations. I have also had the honor to have represented our financial markets on myriad investment forums in Pakistan with a couple in UAE and China, alike.
PAGE: Could you give your views on the financial services in Pakistan?
Syed Ali Raza Bukhari: Broadly speaking, it goes without saying that our financial services industry has come a long way, atleast ever since I have gotten acquainted with it. Be it regulatory consolidation, structural fortification, procedural facilitation or the Fintech advancements. All the necessary aspects of our financial services industry have shown phenomenal growth and maturity with complete harmony, keeping up with the needs of continuous inclusion and diversity. I have always had a palate for digitization and to improvise, I must say that we are headed in the right direction. Having been associated with a specialized field of financial services in Pakistan, I can say with all the confidence that the much needed and on-going Fintech revolution is fostering the precise environment that helps in flourishing optimum growth and confidence. It is imperative to mention that the government’s inclination and support to nurture this tech-revolution is indeed the turning stone for manifold growth of the financial services industry in times to come.
PAGE: What benefits in general have the industries gotten from the financial services offered in Pakistan?
Syed Ali Raza Bukhari: I need not to mention but may be refresh the mere fact that the robustness of financial services should ideally serve as the requisite spine to bank on, for all the industries alike. More the merrier fits in just as precise as it could go. As I mentioned earlier, that the digitization revolution being introduced in the financial services industry is poised to spur and facilitate necessary growth and transparency in the economy. Holistically, every industry should benefit by starting from ease of managing businesses to offering accessibility to virgin potential territories. Financial inclusion should be witnessed from all sectors of our economy, be it industries, agriculture, services, savings, health, education, etc. From commoners to executives and industrialists, all should be able to benefit from such a paradigm shift in the efficiency of our financial services, eventually elevating the standard of living of the society in general. Currently, we are witnessing the start of this era of growth of the digitization trajectory.
PAGE: What are your views on the financial services being offered globally?
Syed Ali Raza Bukhari: I think when it comes to throwing light on the financial services globally, we will have to confine ourselves to what we could relate to or in other words acclimatize to, if not easily but atleast persistently. Globally, Fintech has been beefed up to a whole new level of auto pay buy and walk-out stores to VR based shopping experiences. Not to mention the automated supply chain management systems integrated back to back for quickest possible processing. Advanced and complex data mining algorithms are crunching and converting plethora of public/material financial and non-financial information into robotic advisory, be it investments, industries, transportation, health, law and so forth. In other words, AI algorithms are enveloping the financial markets by leaps, to talk of FX, Bitcoins, Blockchains, etc. I hope I am not quoting something too old as I know it’s difficult to catch up to the global dynamism in Fintech. All in all, the ‘internet of things’ is just taking the customer experiences to a new paradigm of mind boggling experiences with adequate transparencies and efficiencies. Nonetheless, rolling back to where we hail from, I am more than positive that the pace that we are setting on, it’s not too far from reality when we would also be thinking about implementing all this in our context. It might sound a little, if not too silly, but I am sure there are people who would be thinking or must have finalized of bringing some of it to our country already.
PAGE: What is your opinion about the economy of Pakistan at present?
Syed Ali Raza Bukhari: Even though I don’t consider myself to be an economist per say, nonetheless, I do tend to keep a keen eye on some of the key economic indicators of which making out a simple blue print is not that tedious a task. I do not wish to pull the readers into the economic gibber that occasionally spreads out and that too by those who know not, as much as claimed of how our economic machinery operates. On the contrary, I find it imperative here to propagate a point of view that instills hope and positivity which should eventually offer some pints of solace to an ailing and burdened commoner. I think it would only be just to not simply quote how the economic indicators slid to the south; making it a talk of the town, but it’s also worth stating that aggressive policies are being followed in parallel, to recoup the lost traction of our economic growth. I am not advocating a rosy picture here, but I am for sure trying to portray hope and positivity for the future. Agreeably, we are treading on a rough terrain as an economy, but I could assure that the development and timely implementation of right policies, attributable to a strong patriotic resolve, should sail us out of this stormy and murky environment soon.