Financial Success For Women: Learning The Art of Intelligent Investing

Last week I got to attend a session organized by PSX-Women Wing in collaboration with Investors to raise awareness about investing in the stock market for women. Stock Market is a domain dominantly controlled by male investors. Therefore, this session was much needed for women who have less venues for investment as compared to men although they contribute equally if not more in saving money.
First, let me introduce PSX-Women Wing. PSX-Women Wing is a Facebook Group founded by the multi talented Maham Alavi, a professional with several years of experience in different multinational companies (along with being an awesome dessert maker her recipe of chocolate éclairs dessert is favorite at my susraal).

Maham posted a query about stock investments on Soul Sisters Pakistan which led to an overwhelming response and led to the formation of PSX-Women Wing, a support group for women who are interested in investing in the stock market.
The sweet soul Maham is she decided to organize an awareness session for all the women out there who wish to invest but are unaware of the stock market, fear that they will lose their money or simply have no access or knowledge on how to gain from this investment avenue. This was the agenda of the session:

1. Introduction to the session and why must women invest
2. What is the Pakistan Stock Exchange and why you must start investing today!
3. How to pick winners in the stock market and invest for the long term
4. How to develop a portfolio.
5. How to read and analyze market data
6. Learning experiences – Investor Stories


For me, my interest in investing in stocks developed when on the recommendations of a colleague I bought some shares of an IPO which gained me a lot of profit (my money almost doubled…yayyyy!). The bookworm I am, this led me to reading more on the subject especially these articles, which helped me a lot.

The Case For Investing In Stocks by Farooq Tirmizi

How To Work Middle Class And Retire Sort Of Rich by Farooq Tirmizi

And the query which Maham put on the Soul Sisters group was the cherry on the cake. For the first time in my life I found that women do invest in stocks and I decided then and there to try out this market but the logical soul I am I never give anyone my hard earned money unless I am damned sure it will give me some return. (I am called a kanjoos meesni by my husband for precisely this very reason). I have been investing for quite some time but on the recommendations of that colleague only which is neither wise nor long lasting although his advice has never failed me. Anyways eager to start doing things myself, I was one of the first persons to sign up for this session.
The first speaker at the session was Maham Alavi who started with the importance of investing in the stock market. The primary avenues for women investors are gold or committees since buying property is out of question for non earning women (It is even difficult for the earning ones considering he exorbitant prices) . Therefore, Maham emphasized on the importance of learning and using the stock market to make your money grow.


The next session was an introduction to the stock market session by Sennen D’Souza, co founder of investors it is a website dedicated to providing knowledge for investors in the stock market).


In layman’s terms, let’s suppose you start a company with 1 lakh. It starts generating profits and now you have 1.5 lakhs. However to expand further you need Rs. 50.000 more. There are three options:
a) Either you borrow from a friend or family (not very easy)
b) Borrow from a bank (very high interest rates)
c) Or get your company listed on the stock exchange
Means you decide to raise the 50,000 you want by borrowing money from different persons by giving them shares of your company. For example if you keep a share price at 50Rs. You will need 1000 people who will buy your shares of Rs. 50. From this onwards, these people will be the owners of your company. If the company makes profit, the share price increases and vice versa. The companies listed on the stock exchange comprise the stock market. This is a very very basic definition.
The next session was by Sakina Javed Vohra, a woman who belongs to a family of investors and is a successful investor herself. She emphasized on the importance of researching before buying a company’s shares, avoiding hearsay and rumors; and not to panic sell.
The third session was by Sonia Agarwal, an analyst. Sonia gave a detailed description on how to research the stock market to make informed decisions. She reiterated that stock market is for long term investment and if you purely focus in short term gains, the chances of loss are higher so it is better to invest in companies which show a long stable growth pattern. She also explained the difference between value investing and trading.

Value Investing

Value investing is when you choose to invest in a company, which is in a growing stage. Every company makes money after launching a certain product or service. So honing on these ventures is important. Also, value investing does not get effected by daily market volatility and the investor’s main focus should be on value investing.


Trading refers to buying and selling shares for short term gains. The chances of loss on trading are higher so according to Sonia. 10-15% of a person’s investment portfolio should focus on trading and the rest should 9 0-95% should be composed of value stocks.


These are blind shots which you take with your money that is disposable. Sometimes these may work other times not. Therefore, the chances of losses in these shares are extremely high.

How To Become A Knowledgeable Investor

According to Sonia, to hunt for details check out these websites

Pakistan Stock Exchange Limited

When hunting for information, the main focus should be on a Company’s earnings, financial reports etc. quarterly reports. Every company on the stock market is bound to release their financial data. By analyzing that data, you can gain information regarding the company’s progress in the near future. You can also assess a company’s growth by visiting its website and looking for financial reports analyzing the management, its past growth and its future potential.

Types of Gain In The Stock Market

There are two types of gain in the stock market.


Dividend is a profit that the company gives to its share holders once it makes money although it is not mandatory for a company to give dividends. However not giving dividend is not a sign that the company is failing because instead it could use the same money to expand the company resulting in more profits. The company which gives 80-90% of their earnings into dividends are dividend paying companies.

Capital Gain

Capital gain is the profit your get on the increase of your share price. For example, you bought a share for Rs. 60 and sold it for Rs. 100. The Rs. 40, you gained as profit is capital gain.

How to Start Investing

Now how to go about buying and selling shares? In order to do that first you must have an account with a brokerage house. There are many brokerage houses in Pakistan. Call them up and ask for their procedure of opening an account. A brokerage account makes money by charging a certain percentage on the buying/selling transactions you make through their account. All brokerage houses these days have an online portal. Once your physical account is set up, you will get a username and password and viola! You will be all set for trading. And you do not even have to step out of your home for that as all buying/ selling is done online.
The brokerage house with which you will open an account will also send you analysis reports and research data and will occasionally send you recommendations as well on which shares to buy or sell. However, you should take everything with a pinch of salt. Do not rely 100% on the advice given by your brokerage house. As Maham Alavi put it, a brokerage house is basically like your rishta aunty. She will tell you about the boy, his job, his family etc but the researching and the final decision to decide whether to marry or not into that family totally rests on you and the aunty will take no responsibility in case things go haywire. Similarly, all the reports sent by brokerage houses end with a disclaimer that it will not be responsible in case of any loss.

Mutual Funds

If all the above information was mind boggling for you, you can give your money and hire someone to do all the researching, analyzing for you and you can just reap the profits. Is it possible? Very much so. The term used for that is “Mutual Funds” and the last session was by Hira Taufique, a representative from AKD investments about the same topic. In layman’s terms, a mutual funds company basically pools money from a lot of people, invests it in the stock market and gives the profits to the users. There are several mutual funds companies. You can find information from the Mutual Funds Association of Pakistan website.
All mutual funds companies release their earnings and financials. You can check them out as well to gauge whether you would like to invest in this particular mutual fund or not. This article can be helpful as well.

How to get started on investing in mutual funds by Farooq Tirmizi

Overall, this was an extremely informative and a much needed session for the women investors of Pakistan. After all money is power and sessions like these are a step towards women empowerment.

P.S. The best part if the session was this cute little diary though which somes up the session in more than one ways. 

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