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Pakistan’s economy and industry faced tough covid year, but manages strongly into 2021

Pakistan’s economy and industry faced tough covid year, but manages strongly into 2021

  • Shariah compliant income funds post consistent performance during 2020
  • Advance hi-tech way of business likely to boost economy in the coming year

Interview with Miss Tara Uzra Dawood — CEO and Founder of 786 Investments Ltd


Miss Tara Uzra Dawood is CEO and Founder of 786 Investments Limited, one of Pakistan’s pioneer asset management companies. It is publicly listed on the Pakistani Stock Exchange. She also currently sits on the boards of Pakistan State Oil — where she chairs the Audit, HR and IT/Innovation committees — Pakistan Refinery Ltd, Dawood Family Takaful Ltd, and Mutual Funds Association of Pakistan, and previously served on the board of Lahore Electric Supply Company (LESCO). She is further serving on the Energy Sub-Committee of Advisory Committee of the Planning Commission under Asad Umar, Federal Minister for Planning, Development, Reforms and Special Initiatives (PD&SL).

She is certified in Corporate Governance by both Pakistan Institute of Corporate Governance and Harvard Business School. She holds a Doctorate in Judicial Science from Harvard Law School — where she specialized in Shariah law and finance, as well as mergers and acquisitions — and Bachelor of Arts Honors from Cornell University and Oxford University. She worked for law firms in New York, Toronto, Amsterdam, Brussels and California before launching 786 Investments Limited.

She has served on the Faculty at Danube University Krems (Austria) as recommended by The International Investment Funds Association and EBAMA. She speaks globally at numerous international mutual fund and banking conferences as an authority on Shariah-compliant finance as well as finance for women, and most recently represented Pakistan at ALFI Rentree 2020, the annual Association of the Luxembourg Fund Industry, where she has previously been a speaker on Islamic finance in both 2013 and 2014.

She also was invited to France to assist the Association Française de la GestionFinancière on the launching of their Shariah mutual funds industry. She is well known for her philanthropic work for women and children, in partnership with Facebook’s internet.org foundation and with the support of the World Bank, as well as distribution of emergency supplies during the SWAT earthquake and most recently, food rations during COVID-19/Sindh floods.

PAGE: How would you comment on 2020 as a year for the industry of Pakistan?

Tara Uzra Dawood: The latest report released by the Mutual Funds Association of Pakistan (Mufap) shows assets under management (AUM) of all funds amount to Rs884 billion. Al Meezan Investment Management Ltd, with AUM of Rs157bn, followed by NBP Fund Management Ltd, with Rs153bn, then UBL Fund Managers Ltd, with Rs83bn AUM, followed by National Investment Trust Ltd, with Rs79bn. There are more than a dozen funds with AUM ranging between Rs74bn (MCB-Arif Habib Savings and Investments Ltd) and Rs0.11bn (First Capital Investments Ltd). There is growth this year for the industry but it’s been a tough year overall. We at 786 Investments Ltd. specialize in Shariah compliant income funds, which had consistent performance during this time.

PAGE: Your views on the impact of coronavirus on the economic growth:

Tara Uzra Dawood: The economy has had a tough time during Covid-19, both locally and globally, with the exception of tech companies. That being said, the market seems to be rallying now. Many small businesses simply had to close their doors and will likely never reopen. Others have gone completely virtual. That being said, the asset management industry is still a heavy sales in person sector and although becoming more technological, there is a while to go, and was able to serve customer needs quite efficiently during lockdown. However, many clients have been struggling with their own businesses, so it was more a time for sustainability than growth.

PAGE: What is the current state of the economy and the industry?

Tara Uzra Dawood: The market is rallying and 2021 should be a stronger year.

PAGE: What do you anticipate in 2021?

Tara Uzra Dawood: A new virtual way of business becoming more solidified and tech and e commerce companies growing. Mutual funds and financial institutions will become more technology focused and meet customer needs through upgrading their online systems and facilities.

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