As a young girl born and raised in Pakistan, Hina Kassam always knew what she wanted in life – to start her own business, be her own boss, and be successful. Very successful. And she endeavored for that very early in life.
“I always wanted to lead rather than be led,” says Kassam.
At the age of 19, she sold double-glazed glass to a window company, and thereafter sought every opportunity to satiate her entrepreneurial energy.
Kassam has been involved in forex trading since the beginning of her career, working for investment banks. Today, she has worked with diversified businesses across three continents including Europe, Asia and Africa and is well-versed with financial analysis in various industries. She is the COO of ACM Gold, a forex trading company she founded with her brother Irfan Pardesi in 2005 in Pakistan, before moving to Dubai. The company currently enjoys a R400 million ($36 million) turnover and the siblings have made South Africa their base.
“Over the past six months, our numbers have tripled and we see tremendous growth going forward, our staff is growing, and we are very confident about the whole African region,” says Kassam.
ACM Gold was awarded Africa’s Best Forex Broker 2013 by World Finance. The company is now eyeing the rest of Africa.
“Kenya is an interesting market because they love to trade on the phone, and they love the app and the technology. We are very much a technology company.” However, the company’s head office in Johannesburg isn’t moving anytime soon.
“It’s the financial hub for the whole of Africa, people want to come here. Everybody looks to Johannesburg as their capital,” says Kassam.
She also understands the effects a great team can have on the success of a company, so she constantly strives to seek and develop new leaders.
And like most businesswomen with a love for beautiful things, Kassam’s passion for trading, mining stocks and leadership is complemented by her love for jewelry, and this too she has managed to turn to her advantage.
Her sparkling track-record has also included starting her own business selling fashion products in the United Kingdom as well as exporting these products to other parts of Europe.
The Power Dresser
The single mother of two never leaves home without make-up. Her personal style oozes confidence.
“You need to wear high heels if you want people to listen to you, if you want people to respect you. You don’t need to be loud and to shout; you need to dress well,” says Kassam.
Loyal to the Chanel and Louis Vuitton brands, Kassam describes her style as “powerful”. Her ultimate power kit at work is “a well-fitting blazer with wedges or high heels”.
And where does she indulge her sartorial senses? Her favorite shopping destination for the latest fashion finds is London, where she has lived the longest. She shuttles between Dubai and Johannesburg, but her line-up of labels in the closet of her Johannesburg home is a reflection of her achievements. For every big contract, new office or business, she adds a new Gucci, Prada or Louis Vuitton bag to her copious collection.
Kassam’s current obsession is lace but no matter the season, you will never catch her without jewelry. Her latest splurge is a R100, 000 ($9,000) Chopard watch. An apt self-gift for a person who has clearly made the most of her time.