Search This Blog

Monday, 8 January 2018

A free $10 Ang Pow!

Looking much like a click bait? But no, Budget Direct Insurance is promoting something rather interesting. A little bit of a cheap thrill, I guess that's what it takes to expand and increase awareness. If it's easy and free money why not? This isn't a sponsored post but rather they seem like they want to attract more people on their platform through social media. Depending on whether it is worth the effort. Enjoy!

Just click here for the referral Link and then forward it to your own friends and family thereafter: Referral - Budget Direct Insurance

See how much you can earn!

When you successfully refer...Your total incentive will be...
1 to 4 new friends$2 for each friend
5 to 9 new friends$20
10 to 14 new friends$38
15 to 19 new friends$68
20 and more new friends$88
Happy clicking. Cheers! and an early CNY...

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Travel Hack: Promo Coupon Code to Thailand on SQ

This is rather unexpected and interesting find on the internet. Looking for a short getaway and on a premiium airline where it is presumably safer than most and yet have full flight service and entertainment? Look no where to Thailand on SIA. I guess the deal is while stocks last or end of promotional period.

Promocode: BKK170 (Roundtrip to Bangkok-All in)

Conditions: Book by 30 Sep 2017, minimum of 1 passenger, minimum stay of 2 days to maximum stay of 14 days, no cancellation no refunds and no itinerary change

Some outbound restrictions are involved:
Outbound travel period
Sun 01 Oct 2017 to Wed 15 Nov 2017
          Thu 28 Dec 2017 to Sun 31 Dec 2017

Validity: as long as the flight is completed by 14 Jan 2018

*A small perk though, if you have miles to spare, the flight could be cashless for you.

You can earn miles on this flight but no miles upgrade though.

Valid outbound flight: Valid on SQ976/SQ978/SQ982 only                               
Valid inbound flight: Valid on SQ973/SQ975/SQ981 only

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Investments, Deals, Value & Perception and a new project

It is really been a while since I last wrote something on my blog but it takes really quite a bit of effort in building something like that. Then also, I have been rather ambitious to seek value buys, budgeting, thinking of value before putting my money into something.

Then it really then occur to me to note down something that I can look back many years later. That in searching for the most value investment out there, there is this very strong perception of "value". What is considered value to one doesn't mean it is to another but in all, Singaporeans love free stuff and considers that value. I've personally seen people who display that they are entitled to free stuffs without asking.

Typically we live in a no-free lunch world today, what is your gain is another person's loss. The loss may not be quantifiable in terms of monetary but rather in time, effort and energy. So while we are lucky enough to be able to not worry about things our forefathers did. Let's just stay grateful and be graceful whenever we have the luxury to obtain certain privileges beyond the common man.

I was just typically looking at some of the singapore stocks to add value to missus and my retirement portfolio and they looked typically like any other commoners out there - Singtel, Singapore O&G, Comfort Delgro (Not now actually) and Raffles Medical. Then it really struck me that all of us are really different, which is why the market shows efficiency while it is inefficient. That in my opinion means opportunity. I'm no Warren Buffet, neither can I eat a buffet at my current age anymore (all rights that was rather cold)

I've been looking for value for some time now and it is really difficult to find these investments out there that you want to keep for a really really long time. Fintech and coins were somthing I was looking at for the longest time but with the recent hiatus, I'm staying put for a short while but I do think that coins are the typical high risk, high returns kind of profile which I am willing to expose some risk to take on such investments.

After all, our little one is almost out in 2018 and its our first and precious little baby. Done the sum and the budgeting, oh boy....some money is going down the drain and it's probably deficit for a short term.

Speaking of which, I really like to find a good deal which is why I'm probably going to diverse the blog into a promotion/deal finder together with investments information. The deals are probably going to be more finance related, offering more channels to do reading and researching which I personally love to do to find a good "value" buy.

Speaking of which, I was rather satisfied I got into some of Singapore O&G at the recent low of 0.45 (with a yield of about 3-4% p.a.) I'm happy with this new addition to what I call Missus and the PS Asset Management which is relevant for our retirement planning. Life is never that simple, we've been through a great deal and are hopeful  that things will pick up before end of this year and I will continue to run PS management without any outflows.

As I also mentioned earlier, it is almost another ambition of mine to manage what i call the children fund (i.e. education fund and well I'm quite a sucker for these kind of stuff and so I came up with a name LN Foundation based on our incoming first born initials) but I had to hold that off for the moment.

I read online about Rosthchild Family (their shrewd management of their family funds) and their history as well as the famous bankrupted Vanderbilt (3 generations of wealth and it is gone) That kind of sparked me to want to be able to do this specialty fund for the next generations so that the basic necessities of life such as education and shelter is provided for and the opportunities that lies ahead of them will be their own to grasp.

Stay tuned for more. I just had a bit of a research done on Private Integrated Shield Plans and I probably will touch a bit on that.

Friday, 18 August 2017

A revisit to ETF Reits

As it turns out, I'm revisiting the other two ETF reits that were launched earlier this  year. Quite a number of people were rather yield starved and with that bullish USD interest rate hike that was like a guaranteed bomb. I blame the media for setting off such rumours, the central bank will never act on just pure speculation but rather more than data and in today's world, even more data that they can ever get. A big economy like the USA is something that most people watches although that has slowly diminished after successful propaganda by the emergence of our Chinese neighbours. Don't get me wrong, it is kind of good that they are getting their act together, it is just that there's much more skeptism more than ever since anything and everything can be fake. Profits over anything else some people say so I say stay alert.

Well, back to the point here. I was trying to look for yield related stuffs that could add on to the portfolio and when I did a quick filter away from reits, there isn't much that is available on the SGX that is sizeable (i.e. blue chip enough) and so to diversify that reits risk thingy, I went into the details and tried to see if I could mimick the fund portfolio. As it turns out, it might be too much of a challenge.

Diversity lies in the location: Singapore, Hongkong, China, Australia with the scope to add on more countries according to the fund manager.(Exposes some FX risks)

Diversity in the types of holdings: Office, retails, industrial, others and more diversified real estates (Exposes to certain sectors that are cyclical in nature)

Lower fees as compared to a fund, as it is structured as an ETF (Exchange Traded Funds), it's annual management fees are also lesser than usual. (Cheaper but more passively managed)

Yield: approximately 4-5% p.a. nett for all the trouble, perhaps even using different brokers and also different FX rates. Believe it or not, institutions get a better Forex rate just because they have the size to do so and sometimes, the fees on the allocation can be rather cheaper than a retail. It's pretty much how you value it. Some people prefer total control, counting the pennies (every cents counts) while some delegate with a little bit of fees paid that is reasonable to them.

NIKKO AM - Straits Trading Asia Ex Japan ETF (Check that out here: Nikko AM reit ETF) and Philips SGX APAC dividend Leaders reit ETF (Check that one here: Poems reit ETF)

Pretty much in similar context jus that with Philips, the majority holdings will be Australian reits (about 60%) while Nikko AM will be the majority with Singapore reits (about 60%)

Always do your due dilligence, after all everyone has different risk levels. After all, this is all about learning from one another and hopefully over time, the financial literacy increases while the naysayers and the keyboard warriors decreases.

Sunday, 30 July 2017

The need for an Emergency Fund?

So, the last few weeks I saw and discussed with many others about the need for an emergency fund, the purpose of an emergency fund and the reason for an emergency fund. I can't say more that I am a pro-believer of an emergency fund. Yes, the nay-sayers are out there thinking about the every single penny that is without a higher interest cost. After all, everyone is programmed differently and we react differently in the response of what we termed as a "decision".

How much one's emergency fund really depends, a fresh graduate (For example who make three grand a month) may not have much disposable income after netting off parents' allowances, school loan if any and daily expenses. A typical planner would say probably three to six months worth of cash fund to tide through any sudden surge in expenses. I'll say that is rather quite a decent sum to begin with. How then should the emergency funds look like for someone who is in his 30s, 40s and 50s? A $9k emergency fund ten years down the road does not reflect an emergency fund 20 years down the road. People change, society change, lives change and money value changes certainly. I can't speak for everyone but I do see that almost everyone's spending pattern increases when they get a promotion, get married, buying a house, buying a car, having children, family members becomes sick, friends who are retrenched, friends who fall into financial debt and many more. We are not the person we were at ten years old so neither will we be at twenty years old.

Against others who says there isn't a need for such funds, perhaps the only uncertain thing in life is to know that no one ever knows what or when something is going to hit us hard and fast until probably we have to come facing it on our own. It is probably then too late to realise so. If there isn't a need or purpose to think of that in such a manner, at least think of it as paying/investing in yourself first before other things. Away with the thoughts of "Spend first save the rest or Save first and spend the rest" There isn't really a one size fit all theory. Afterall, how many of us are blessed to have people taking care of our education, exposures, overseas trips, trend and fashion purchases when we were still young and not understand the meaning behind financial planning.

To pay/invest in yourself, perhaps there is that profession certificate that you are aiming for or even to build those first $100K before age 30 or 25. Even before you dwell into that, put that emergency funds aside because there will be a time where there will be a use for it and it could prove to be extremely useful when the time comes.

So, I hear folks who tells me bonds, equities, funds are liquid and they can easily get funds out when they need them. I'll probably say no because emergency funds are defined as emergency funds and you got to understand the reason why it is called that. It should be as liquid as cash on hand, cash in bank and at most in Fixed Deposits that can be pre-terminated early.

Bond price, equity prices, fund prices will rise and fall. In times of recession, the true sellers outweighs all buyers and it is a false sense of security on the understanding of liquidity. In times where there is immediate use of the cash on hand. Emergency funds gives that comfort and security in doing so and I find there there is no better way at this moment unless there are disruptions that change the way we may be able to do these.

Friday, 2 June 2017

The types of China Shares

Ever wondered what kind of investments are there available no the China and Hong Kong Stock Exchanges? Well, you could simply goggle them and you will probably find the answers but ask yourself again in 2 months time and most likely you will be doing the same again without putting it right in your memory block. Unless, you have an interest for China equity market that story might be different but if you are in it for the quick kill then it probably doesn't really matter much from this post down.

A shares -  Securities in China market refers to stocks that trade on the Shanghai and Shenzhen exchanges.

B shares - Similarly, B shares are the same as A shares but their shares trade in USD. These stocks, known as “B shares”, and most likely used to raise capital overseas. B shares also allowed foreign investors to invest in the market without the restrictions.

H shares - Securities trade on the Hang Seng Index rather than on the mainland China and they are priced in HKD

Red chips - State-owned Chinese companies incorporated outside the mainland China and traded in Hong Kong.

P-chips - Nonstate-owned Chinese companies incorporated outside the mainland China and most often in certain foreign jurisdictions and traded in Hong Kong.

N-shares Chinese companies incorporated outside the mainland, most often in certain foreign jurisdictions, and U.S.-listed on the NYSE or Nasdaq (ADRs of H-shares or P-chips)

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

The Changes to this Dynamic World and our Struggles

One of the most interesting Macro aspect of the world today and what lies in it for the future on the fourth industrial revolution. This is something that caught my attention as well as made me ponder for a long while then it started to interests me and on a wider perspective, country and globally that is, a topic that is known to all, unknown to many. Why is that so? We probably look to trends in the world today and we know the problems and issues we face while having no answers to all of this at all.

The first 3 industrial revolution talked about the importance and worries of the labour force as a concept.

1. The first revolution: 1784 invention of the mechanical production and steam power energy.

2. The second revolution: 1870 the invention of mass production and electrical energy

3. The third revolution: 1969 the invention of electronics and IT

4. The fourth revolution: Today? Artificial Intelligence and Big Data? Or something else?

What do they have in common? That is Automation and Connectivity as proclaimed by Nicholas Davis, the world economic forum Head of Society and Innovation.

The first and utmost reaction to structural change is always a fear for job security. Similar to the 1970s, the fear for replacement by computers over current fear over replacement by robots is nothing new but in vary in existence in various forms. Certain Jobs will be lost and many others will also be created so a successful economy is likely to match 4 criteria:

1. Labour market flexibility
2. High skills in the attribute of flexible skills
3. Flexible infrastructure
4. A robust Legal system

The Labour market is one that empowers a lot to substitutes for every country. Whether a particular job results in an inefficiency towards the introduction of technology or a job preservation at the expense of currently inefficiency level, that may ultimately result in the non-existent of jobs in the later part of the revolution which have been the key issues into the third revolution.

Skills factor is an subjective matter. In short, a more skilled worker will thrive and eventually earn more in income than a less skilled worker but that being said does not work all the time in all aspects and in all economies. Teaching, self-learning and flexibility to adapt to work trends is crucial to an every evolving revolution of technology.

An industrial revolution is about changing economics structures. Many of these capital intensive infrastructure has been built, developed and enhanced over the longer term and some of these may deemed obsolete. Brick and mortar shops have been significantly reduced since the introduction of internet which pave ways towards e-commerce which is currently a partial result of a complementary support of smart technology, digital connectivity and a more than efficient network.

As the economy moves towards a more virtual world, "trade" is likely to become in the form of intellectual property rather than a physical product. Legal protection and legal issues will be the main source of contact point to protect, secure and patent a particular idea or product in order to obtain exclusivity over a virtual world in that sense.

Another point to note would be the power of brand, a quality assurance towards a particular brand that could come in the form of a service/quality or even assurance may be able to enhance the brand power. The opposite also holds for brands that faces competition, margins and quality control or even a layered middle-man system can be greatly reduced in the face of the revolution.

Very likely, we would be very used to seeing powerhouses and many others who have the resources to keep the basics before the revolution and tweak them to provide a transition phase of moving into a new economy or as we know it, new world. Developed nations, emerging markets look likely to benefit from such a drastic change and the next generation of technology and age will be something different from the hardworking baby boomers.

Who benefits from the industrial revolution?  Like many other things we do in life, It's never a one size fits all concept but keep on learning because that is the way to stay relevant. Do not stop to innovate and make the necessary changes. Shit happens but being uncomfortable makes us regularly improve and be creative. Imagine a situation when we sit and wait for things to happen, more often than not things doesn't pro-create on its own. Like a volunteer, their small acts of kindness usually leads a long way and we never know what might be in store for us.

So I say, keep the faith and keep on thriving in uncomfortable and uneasy situations.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Modi and Rupee (Rs)

There isn't really much trust when it comes to money these days. Or rather, there isn't much to begin with since very very long time ago and it was only made more transparent over time and more discussed about in forums, news and external media. Taxation and the wealthy has made the headlines for many many years now, sprouting a lot of distrust and unfairness in many. India is one country which the disparity between the wealthy and the poor are deemed one of the most obvious and can be depicted as a self made building in the most prestigious neighborhood of a metropolitan city versus slums in a backward village.

Modi, the main guy at the centre of attraction now made drastic move to do away with 500 and 1000 Rs currency notes by the end of 2016. What does that really mean? Briefly, most of us would think that   how is this going to help in fighting corruption in the country? Well I would also think of it exactly the same way as many people out there but as I pondered, I think that there seem to be a certain rational that is going to affect those who have taken money under the table or if not did not abide by the rules.

Looking at how 500 and 1000 Rs notes being taken off the shelf unless they are brought into the financial institutions for tracement and legit purposes. Well if you think about in the sense of criminals and gangs who take part in cash transactions and most of these bills could have been marked and difficult to get rid of. In two months time, whatever that they have made in cash terms which are not bankable by any sense will become useless very soon.

On the wealthy side, I'm kind of certain some kind of safe are built into their personal buildings or underground that houses that kind of money (I'm thinking hollywood/bollywood style) but I think that you get my point over here. True enough, those money might have been used to buy into many other things over the years for the wealthy or even brought offshore and out of their country (Buildings, cars, luxury items, luxury holidays, brought overseas, gold, commodities and many more) but if these are money that cannot be declared, most likely a lot of these might be in case now. Definitely, there will be cash left behind from their ill gotten gains. By declaring, assuming that it is clean enough would mean that the wealthy have to pay taxes now. Whether if there will be a taxation pardon or reduction like what the Indonesians are implementing at this moment still isn't that clear at the moment.

Now I think that Modi do have guts to push and roll this policy out but how effective will be this be, we'll just have to wait and see. Economists will have plenty to say about the effects of the policies but I'm certain that these are reforms done for the greater good of the country. In a way, wiping away some form of corruption and habits. In the world of the politics, it is indeed a dog eat dog so it does pay to not even let anyone get a foot into what may seem like a scandal or bad press.

The CAD, police, internal governance/affairs or as whatever every country calls it requires investigative proceedings and to a certain extent some of those disclosed affairs might be setup as well. I do think that the basics to just discontinue these notes are the most basic form and yet most effective to date. It would most likely clean out a big chunk of what the political government have been trying to stamp out.

Meanwhile, I'm sure that the administrative hassles in which the change in the notes will create other kinds of troubles as well. Now that domestic issues are being sorted out, how about offshore and international issues?

Money has never made man happy, nor will it, there is nothing in its nature to produce happiness. The more of it one has the more one wants. Benjamin Franklin

There is some truth to what Benjamin Franklin says.

Man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes form the mouth of God. Matthew 4:4

Monday, 21 November 2016

FinTech, BlockChains, BitCoins, Fourth Industrial Revolution

What is really ruling the finance world today? We hear a lot about FinTech funding and block chain technology along with Bitcoin as an alternative way implemented into bank payment systems recently.

It is rather difficult to bring across this concept and idea as it works better in demonstration as compared to talk about it.

What is FinTech? It is mainly disruptive technology that has the capabilities to replace financial services (Can be in the form of cheaper way or a more convenient way) but at the same time more efficient and in a certain way safer too.

Just to get yourselves interested on the concept of block chains, do watch this quick video: BLOCKCHAINS

I really like to see, read and hear about Bitcoins in which they are a small subset of the bigger ecosystem and this is a good introduction to start with: BITCOIN

Such block chains systems should be a secure channel as a third party using bitcoin as part of the transaction which in turn can be redeemed back into the real currency thus creating a market and a natural one in doing so.

The World Economic Forum 2016 early this year in Davos discussed deeply into the trends and how the world is moving into and in summary, it could possibly be the fourth industrial revolution. Revolutions are usually something not easily dealt with because of significant changes that destabilizes and question the status quo but eventually changes pushes through over time but the question about whether it works is unquestionable. The first revolution might bring about a new form of problems coming many centuries into the future (Such as air pollution, breaking the ecosystems, genetics and food production techniques just to name a few)

Source: WEF

Such significant changes brings about many existing issues as well, such as loss of jobs/income, the non-necessary skills required previously and to a certain extent reduce amount of time and effort required to get things done. Eventually, new skills and new jobs will eventually be created thus it is important to stay relevant. No longer are the years of loyalty you pledge to your company and you'll be set for life anymore. Companies are also faced with the same task of returning ROI on every dollar of shareholders' money and that in my opinion is vested interests.

The big subset of block chains in my view is Big Data. That is IOT, Internet of Things combined with many many different concepts to build a computer server that can maintain and sustain all of this. Many of us know this and that is Cloud computing. In time to come, Superhuman computers may be developed into watching over security (AI, Artificial Intelligence) and bringing security into a whole new level. I would believe that Amazon and IBM resources would have the capabilities to bank on such new technology. I do see a lot of the practicality developing into China and a lot of these are going on aggressively but the level of secrecy and confidentiality still plays such a big role as a former communist country. My guess is that China will bring block chains to a whole new level all together and that would be a footprint into the new world technology.

Financial Institutions are not tapping greatly on FinTech to date. Looking back at Nokia, sometimes it makes us think about embracing changes because one step could be just too late for any recovery at all. The Financial services are also part of a new form of Robo-Advisorts (Another form of artificial intelligence) and without a doubt services are going to be transformed into a new level all together.

The change is here and FinTech and Bit coins are also an alternative way of investing. That would add on to the list of asset allocation in the previous posts.

Only Steve Jobs believed in the future of smart phones and tablets before it came here today.

"If at first, the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it." - Albert Einstein

Saturday, 19 November 2016

Another one fights the dust

Anyone out there that has been looking at Singapore equities for some time now would know that the Marine, Oil & Gas industry is going through trying times for some time now. Going forward, it is going to be difficult to say what is next for them. It all started with the headline news of Swiber filing for bankruptcy and following which went into judicial management. A couple of days ago, again another offshore marine company known for its rig business and vessel chartering business, Swissco filing for the same interim judicial management and it all happens because they have lost the capability to restructure their bond by their own leading banks.

We know that bad times don't last so are the bankers just out there to fend for themselves only? During good times when the company books are looking great, bonds are being issues to help provide the working capital for these companies. The moment the cash-flow stops, the banks stop lending or restructuring. Quite a tough and sad moment though.

I discussed about bonds/debts a few posts back and talked about public/private financing in the capital markets. What Swiber did was to find some banks to finance their working capital and they would pay off interest to bondholders over a period of time. What the lead banks provided are in turn offered out to retail/institutional/HNWI to take on a portion of the bond. Most of the time, financing is offered in terms of Loanable Value.

Let's use this example: I buy Bond S.Limited on point of purchase for the initial offering at Par Price (100.00) and as a bank I syndicate this capital raising and offer a portion to other parties so as to diversify the risk the bank takes on. When "Sophisticated" investors take on these investments I offer a 60% Loanable value, it just means that for every $1 worth of S.Limited bonds, The bank will be willing to finance you $0.60 and all you need is $0.40 worth of cash and on each reinvestment amount, you get another 60% in loanable term. When S.Limited declares bankrupt, I supposed that this is highly strung and then same bank who finances the bond syndication would deemed these investments as invaluable now and decides to tell you that you can't lend anymore from the $0.60 previously as what they have valued the investment at so you have to make back the full amount in a few days' time. I would think that this is as good as lenders telling the company that they will stop lending. To raise $0.60 from elsewhere isn't really a problem for most people but how about $600,000 or $6,000,000 which I really doubt many of us have that kind of cash waiting around somewhere.

Just to put in down in illustration and mathematics so that it can be easily understood (not really isn't it looking at this complicated piece of calculation table) This is basically a long form of maximizing the full loanable amount and then re-investing them back into the same investments and over again:

Name of SecurityCash for InvestmentLoanable ValueLoan AmountCash UsedBalanced CashValue of Portfolio (Nett of Loans)
S.Limited 6.00% 20251,000,000.00S$60%600,000.00S$400,000.00S$600,000.00S$1,000,000.00S$

Okay, in short form it really is Total Amount / (1-Loanable value) = $1,000,000 / (1-60%) = $2,500,000

So, With $1, the bank can loan you up to $2.50 presumably that you reinvest them into the same bond. Your total investments become $3.50 (Nett of loans, $3.5 - $2.5 = $1) Your nett portfolio value still remains the same but that comes with plenty of risks:

1. You leave no buffer for any mark to market movement
2. You become concentrated into one single asset class and one company
3. Loans means you have to service the interests on a regular basis so with increase in interest rates, that brings your return lesser though you have taken more risks
4. In times of liquidity and crisis, most likely you will not be able to sell your holdings as fast
5. When you hit a margin call, you most likely have to top-up your cash balances as soon as possible or that would become a sell-out eventually at the current price.

On the flip side,

1. You maximize fully what leverage can bring you
2. Your Yield is increased because of the leverage factor
3. Returns will eventually increase with a higher risk taken

Again, it brings us back to basics again. What is your investment profile? That high risk taker with a long horizon? The conservative investor that is skeptical? Don't be surprised though that there are high risk takers who are willing to take the risk. Then again, if you know the risks you are taking then take it with integrity and principles. I've met and known people who can't lose and yet take on aggressive investments but the bad times arrives, they do put the blame and point the finger on others even though they know the risks involved. When it comes to money, humans are not exactly what they are. As the saying goes, tough time don't last but tough guys do.

Rickmers Maritime Trust is another company which has most likely burned out all its resources over the years to come to this stage where their trust company on the listed exchange is no longer required. They are unable to come to a restructuring plan of the note they have issued and unable to pay the interest and any accrued interest up to date. If you look carefully into their cash-flow statements, they are on a negative scale. In layman, they do not have cash retained in their accounts but their distributions are paid out on a regularly basis and for a long long time. There can only be a few reasons to do so:

1. Keep investors happy that they are receiving the dividends
2. Ensure that their stock price on the exchange stays stable
3. Waiting out for the bad cycle to ride through and business to pick up again.

But by doing so:

1. The money paid out have to be taken from somewhere and most of the time it is from a bond and restructured many times most likely
2. Anyone who digs deeper into the company details will know the state of their company
3. The cycle may not ever recover for the company to be relevant anymore

A group of bond holders have issued a letter of demand to the company in terms of payment of interests but a company without cash-flow is as good as broke so that we shall see what might happen next and which other smaller companies might be hit for now.