Story of Hassan Maqsood – A successful journey of an employee to CEO

Hassan Maqsood

1. Q: How did your education help you in becoming a successful business entrepreneur whether it was just your education or the exposure to international markets and other related techniques?

Hassan Maqsood: Education has a deep impact on the growth of an individual and business too, but only theoretical knowledge of a subject does not fulfill all the requirements of the whole business. 

In the theoretical study, you only learn the basics, and the corporate world, such as the international market of trading needs a lot more practical and experience-based approaches. It depends on an individual how he improvises the basic knowledge to utilize it for profit making. 

In my case, I feel lucky enough to get some great mentors who have guided me so well that I became able to understand the fundamentals and technical outlook of this market very quickly. 

I think that although I had an economics and finance background from prestigious institutions like Government College University Lahore & Institute of Business Management UET Lahore, my main exposure to this market was in the practical field.

2. Q: How do you see the world financial market and opportunities for emerging entrepreneurs?

Hassan Maqsood: There are always very lucrative and beneficial opportunities in the market. It is the digital era, and the business world is changing its dimension due to technological advancement very rapidly. So there are very less opportunities in the orthodox way of business. 

New and emerging entrepreneurs should focus on advanced ways of business and technological advancements. Likewise, trading markets have been shifted to high-frequency patterns due to high-speed internet and digital trading apps, so these fields are not saturated at all for new entrants. If we talk about the Pakistani market, it is a highly unsaturated market in financial sectors. 

According to a survey, less than 1% of Pakistanis are taking benefits from this market. So the market has a 99% share for new entrepreneurs.

3. Q: How did you tackle the setbacks that trade and investment suffered during the pandemic?

Hassan Maqsood: There were only 2 businesses in the whole world that not only survived successfully this pandemic but showed tremendous growth too. These 2 businesses are financial markets and IT-related businesses. 

For Example, NASDAQ 100 (US Top 100 Companies Index) has given a rise from $7000 (Feb 2020) to 14500$ to date because it is comprised of many IT companies, including Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook, Tesla, Netflix, etc. 

These IT companies have shown large-scale growth during the pandemic when all other businesses were facing lockdown and losses and we all know very well that NASDAQ is being traded in the financial market even at our national trading platform, which is Pakistan Mercantile Exchange.

 Another example is crude oil, which dropped to -47$ and, in one month, it recovered to 36$, which was a historic move for any energy sector commodity and it gave the best opportunity for online traders and investors to earn a lot. 

There are many other examples like gold, platinum, natural gas, etc. which were all so profitable with their upward move. So, I can say this pandemic did not affect negatively to our market at all.

Hassan Maqsood

4. Q: Please share the details of your company, Blink Capital Management, and the services you offer to the clients.

Hassan Maqsood: Blink Capital Management is a duly regulated financial company by the Security and Exchange Commission of Pakistan and a Corporate Member of Pakistan Mercantile Exchange. As a capital management company, we give financial consultancy, portfolio management, training sessions of trading, and fundamental & technical research services to online traders and investors across the country and even to overseas Pakistanis. 

The main key to earning is the up to date knowledge and forecasting for the market in this field. For this purpose, Team BCM has the finest professional traders and researchers who are busy forecasting and guiding the general public about this market 21/5. Our team is so efficient that so many clients who were totally unaware of financial markets have become very good traders themselves now and earn millions per month.

5. Q: The people in Pakistan have many misconceptions about investing and shareholding which largely deter them from investing in these markets. What in your view is the reason for that?

Hassan Maqsood: Basically it is just a lack of knowledge and education. Unfortunately, this misconception has deep down its root in our society due to the heavy losses and fraudulent activities by a large number of unprofessional traders and fake companies which were not registered in Pakistan and called themselves IBs (International Brokers). 

Stock Exchange has been working in Pakistan since before partition but there was no Mercantile Exchange which resulted in an open field for International brokers to play in the market from the late 90s to 2007. The formation of the Pakistan Mercantile Exchange aka PMEX in 2007 was a great step towards the betterment of our economy. 

This is the only legal exchange in Pakistan that gives a platform to traders for trading in International Financial Markets with complete transparency and security of funds and investors. Investors make profits that are subject to a normal tax ratio of 5% CGT (Capital Gain Tax). PMEX has started its full operations in 2012 and in the early days, the total volume of exchange was in millions only. 

With the passage of time, investors have shown so much confidence in this fully regulated and proper exchange which resulted in its volume a historic rise of 75 Billion Rupees per day in December 2018. I can say confidentially that in the coming years the people of Pakistan will be more educated and this market will flourish with huge volumes.

6. Presently, there are many online business and investment opportunities. What is your opinion about them?

Hassan Maqsood: Any business or investment (Offline/Online) which is not regulated by PSX (Pakistan Stock Exchange), PMEX (Pakistan Mercantile Exchange), SECP (Security and Exchange Commission of Pakistan) and SCB (State Bank of Pakistan) not recommended at all. Investors should be aware of all kinds of fraudulent activities and report them to the concerned departments. 

A lot of online trading apps circulating on social media these days with celebrity endorsements are irregular and unregistered in Pakistan. Any individual who is trapped by these kinds of companies or apps should withdraw his/her investment as soon as possible because, in the end, they will not be getting any penny of their invested funds. 

If anyone is interested to invest in exchanges, commodities or forex he/she should verify the company from SECP on its website or by sending the license number of that company or broker in a message to 8181 (A message service portal of SECP).

7. What in your view are the fundamental skills and abilities that go into making a successful businessman and investor?

Hassan Maqsood: In the beginning, every sector or business seems tough due to a deficiency of practical experience in that particular field but if anyone dares to learn and thirst of seeking more and more knowledge then Allah Almighty also helps those people. Self-Motivation and Dedication are mandatory elements in this process. 

In the financial sector first 2 years are always very rough and tough because no one trusts a newcomer to gain experience on the cost of their investments so many newcomers often face disappointments in terms of financial consultancy and portfolio generation but let me assure you that it is the best time to learn how to face the hardships of life and being consistent to your hard work. 

Just one good link in a portfolio creates a chain reaction and you start earning that much income that no job or work can offer you in the rest of the market.

8. What is the role of Pakistan Mercantile Exchange and what contribution do you make to this body?

Hassan Maqsood: Pakistan Mercantile Exchange is the national commodity exchange of Pakistan which provides a legal and technical framework to invest in futures contracts of 5 sectors of the international trade market.

  •  Metals (Gold, Platinum, Silver, Copper, Palladium)
  •  Energy Sector (Crude Oil, Brent Oil, Natural Gas)
  •  Currencies (Euro, Pound, Australian Dollar, Canadian Dollar, Swiss Franc, Japanese Yen)
  • Indices (Dow Jones30, NASDAQ100, S&P500, NIKKI225)
  •  Agriculture (Wheat, Corn, Cotton, Rice, Red Chilly, Spices)

General People, Investors, Traders, Hedgers, Commodity Brokers, and Financial companies from all over Pakistan & Overseas Pakistanis having valid Nicops are eligible to open an account with the Pakistan Mercantile Exchange through any valid corporate member of exchange like our company BCM (Membership No. 321 of PMEX). The journey of our company “Blink Capital Management” has started with the inauguration of exchange. 

BCM was founded as the first-ever Research House in Pakistan for providing International market insight with fundamental and technical research reports for individual and corporate clients but later on, it became a universal corporate member of the exchange by gaining the license PMEX. 

Only after 5 years of hard work and dedication BCM managed to make it place in the Top 10 brokerage companies of Pakistan and according to the latest quarterly ranking report of Pakistan Mercantile Exchange in the first quarter of 2021 BCM has been placed in 2nd position in terms of Trade Value leaving all its major competitors behind like Arif Habib Pvt. Limited, JS Global, BIPL Securities etc. 

These competitors have huge funds as they have their banks too but BCM which is relatively new in the market compared to these giants and without having its bank has gained the trust and confidence of its investors and clients in the International Trading Sector.

9. What difficulties have you faced in your initial role as Financial Consultant in Blink Management Company and how did you manage this to reach the position of CEO?

Hassan Maqsood: After completing my Master’s in Economics from Government College University Lahore I started my MBA in finance & Marketing from the Institute of Business Administration UET Lahore. During this duration, I started some part-time jobs like many of my batch mates. I realized that education only gives you a pass to enter any market but to get the proper experience of a market in real education and knowledge.

As soon as I completed my MBA I joined the BCM as a fresh candidate to learn about this market as this was most relevant to my area of specialization. Although I was a good student throughout my education career working in this field was different and difficult too.

After my joining BCM I was asked to do the basic work which is cold calling and pitching this opportunity to random prospects over a very nominal salary. I was told that the financial sector offers only lucrative commissions on your work instead of high salaries. These were tough times for me and my family too because my father’s business faced huge losses in foreign due to the new policies of taxation in KSA the restaurants and food industry suffered a lot so it was up to me to give support to my family. 

I started working on cold calling as asked for a few months but then realized that I should improvise my Marketing skills and worked on gathering corporate data. I selected corporate persons and industries and targeted their associations to get meetings with their Chairmen, Directors, Owners, CEOs, CFOs and Managers. According to a rough estimate I conducted more than 5000 meetings with different individuals and companies in my struggling days.

After so many meetings I managed to close my first-ever account of only half a million. After one month of trading, this account gave me a very handsome commission and my client was satisfied with his profits too. It was my first success in this market and then I decided to set this as my permanent path in life. Allah Almighty has given me enough strength and encouragement to cope with every kind of disappointment during this struggle. 

I got married in 2016 and Allah has blessed me with 2 daughters one after another. After the birth of my daughters, a time came when I became one of the highest-paid portfolio managers in this market. So being a Muslim it is my firm belief that daughters are blessings of Allah as per the saying of our beloved Holy Prophet (PBUH). 

Then the Covid19 Pandemic hit the world in 2019 and Pakistan in 2020 causing the collapse of most businesses. It was the decision-making time for me to take some huge risks in financial markets as the markets were at lower levels and I decided to take this risk with the prayers of my parents and family. 

I choose 2 commodities Gold and Crude Oil and 1 index NASDAQ100 for huge trade with my all savings, investments and portfolio. Time has witnessed a record-breaking spike in these above-mentioned products giving me a 300% jump in all of my trades. I thanked my Allah Almighty for this success and decided to purchase shares of my own company instead of spending it only on luxuries. 

By acquiring most of the shares from our previous directors I became able to be selected as CEO of Blink Capital Management the same company where I started my career as a financial consultant with over Rs.30000/- salary. My story has a lesson in it for everyone out there trying to do something big in his/her life “If you have firm belief in yourself and ready to take some risks in your life. Do your best and leave the rest on Allah Almighty.”

10. Are you also interested in activities other than business and investment, like music, sports and public welfare work? Please share details about it and the achievements that you made in this regard.

Hassan Maqsood: Yes, I do have many other activities as my hobbies which give me immense pleasure and relief after my hectic routine and tense work. Music is one of my favourite hobbies. I was President of the Nazir Ahmed Music Society at GCU Lahore and have been awarded the Roll of Honour and Gold Medal at the All Pakistan Music Conference 2011 as a folk singer during my student days.

Apart from this, I like Social Gatherings with friends, and humanitarian welfare works as according to me being Human and then Muslim it is our moral duty to look after those who need us and look towards help. I always support and donate endowment fund trusts for students who are supporting needy students in their quality education.

During this pandemic lockdown, we created a BCM fund for the needy families and staff of many organizations who lost their jobs in these crucial times. I have been a volunteer in many social welfare activities on the state level like the IDPs of the Swat cause, the Baluchistan Earthquake victims cause, and the Azad Kashmir Earthquake victims cause.

Now my only mission is to serve my country by contributing my part in the betterment of its economy with the success of both exchanges as these are the key indicators to measure the financial growth of a country.