Author: Eight percent per annum

Thoughts #19: Carlos Ghosn Escaped! Jho Low At Large…

Over the New Year celebration, we received news that Carlos Ghosn managed to escape Japan using a fake passport to board a private jet. He was willing to forfeit c.USD 15m of bail money and probably used a lot more to get himself to Lebanon in ways and means not available to mere mortals. Similarly, Jho Low, the mastermind behind usurping billions from Malaysians is still at large, using the billions at his disposal to find countries willing to give him a safe harbour. Money does makes the world go round the way you want it to.Could this be another...

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2020 Happy New Year Post: Investing in Niseko, Good or Bad?

Skiing has always been a status sports given the cost (easily costing a few thousand dollars per person), the exoticness and the instagrammable pics of the family in ski-wear and gear with snow-capped mountains in the background. In the last 10 years, we have seen a huge explosion in tourist numbers to high end ski destinations globally: Whistler in Canada, Aspen in US and Zermatt in Switzerland, just to name a few. In Asia, the number one destination is Niseko, Hokkaido, Japan.Some of these destinations had always been premium locations since modern leisure skiing started. The most important features...

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Charts #27: Carol Dweck’s Growth Mindset

Carol Dweck’s seminar work has resonated ever since I found it on Google. It links back to work, education and personal improvement. The FT chart below is a keep.We might have seen how fixed mindset people trap themselves in their own bubble. By ignoring feedback, they are locked in their own deterministic world. The way to defeat them is then working hard on our own growth mindset. Find lessons that move us forward and widen the gap between us and them.This could be continuously reviewing the options, working together with like minded peers and innovating much faster and better...

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Negative Yield Corporate Bonds

There are c.$13 trillion of negative yielding bonds globally. This accounts for 25% of all investment grade bonds. Please take a minute to digest this. Investors are willing pay $13 trillion for an investment that would not give them back their principal. This amount is a quarter of the bond market. This is the warped logic that the world of investing has come to accept.It first started with sovereign bonds. When the ECB went into negative interest rates to boost the economy, the governments who could get away with negative bonds issued them ie Germany. Japan then followed suit....

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People, Management and Networking – Part 2

In the last post, we talked about people and management in companies. Today we shall delve into personal networking and how it can help us become better investors. Investing is too difficult to be done alone. While there are probably some super smart, genius investors who require no mental sparring partner to come to the best conclusions about stocks and investing, most of us do.Warren Buffett has Charlie Munger and George Soros had Stan Drunkenmiller. Most of the best investment outfit in the world are made up of small teams and the decision makers constantly challenging one another’s assumptions....

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Books #7: Bad Blood, Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup

Bad Blood depicted the story of Theranos from its inception to its bankruptcy over the span of 15 years. At the heart of the story was Elizabeth Holmes, the blue eye blonde who dropped out of Stanford to start her healthtech company aimed on revolutionizing blood tests. Alas, it was all a big fairy tale as Theranos never had any breakthrough technology nor the culture to bring anything together. It was a slow motion corporate train wreck and a cautionary tale with many lessons for investors to learn from.For those who aren’t familiar, Theranos was another Silicon Valley startup...

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People, Management and Networking – Part 1

Investing is fascinating because it touches so many facets of life. We need to know finance, we need to understand business models. But that is not enough, we have to look out for trends and what are the new innovations in life and in society. Finally, we also need to look at people and culture. People, or rather relationships, play complex roles in both business and life. We can read a book and learn many a lesson, but most of them are just being understood at a very surface level. When the same lesson is shared via someone’s life...

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Thoughts #18: Money Flees When You Need It

The recent collapse of Thomas Cook brought about an old revelation: money flees when you most need it and vice versa ie money attracts money until extraordinary investing returns are longer possible. On the former, Thomas Cook’s share price below shows the story well. Thomas Cook, the 178 year old company was not in any kind of trouble until late last year. Its share price was healthy and it even added airline capacity to capture strong demand during last year’s summer. As usual, it was the bond markets that first saw the warning signs. Thomas Cook bonds started showing...

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Books #6: Shoe Dog

This post contains spoilers for Shoe Dog, if you intend to read the book, click the “x” at the top left or right corner of the browser right now, thanks! Do come back next week! Shoe Dog written by Nike’s co-founder Phil Knight was published in April 2016. It was written in plain English and immediately shot up the bestseller list as one of the best business books ever. Phil described how he tried to build up Nike, the difficulties he faced, the juggles between work and family and the seemingly insurmountable task to beat Adidas, which in 1965...

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Charts #25: Trade War Update

Here’s another trade war chart from BBC. The last two bubbles are simply increasing tariffs from 10% to 25%.Interestingly, the cumulative amount of the trade war impact was smaller than Lehman’s financial assets at USD 600 billion when it collapsed in Sep...

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Thoughts #17: How much can one spend?

As the 1MDB facts come to light, we caught a glimpse of the capacity of crazy rich people. Or rather, the max limit if you have unlimited amount of money to spend. It was reported that Najib, his wife and several others spent 700m ringgit or close to USD 200m on 12,000 pieces of jewellery, 284 designer handbags, 423 watches and 234 pair of sunglasses. In my mind, I believe this marks the possible cap for a lifetime of spending for rational people. No rational person would spend more than USD 200m in his lifetime. Note that the key...

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Activision Blizzard – Part 3: Risks

This is a continuation of a series on posts on Activision Blizzard. In the last two posts, we established the investment thesis and laid out the positives for this stock. Today, we shall delve on the most important topic – the risks. Every investment has risks and it is important to lay out all the risk scenarios. I did not lay out the worst case scenario for Hyflux in 2011 and lost 80% of my capital. So, no matter how positive we are on a potential idea, learning the risks and debating these with other like minded friends would...

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