Will office property rents bottom in 2017?

The prospect of interest rate hikes by the Fed used to spark panic among investors. This was due to the widely-held view that a receding tide of liquidity would spark a selloff in Asian assets that had been pumped up by years of ultra-loose monetary policy in developed economies. Now, it seems that growth is not only recovering in the US but across much of the world. And, higher US interest … [Read more...]

Farewell, ARA… What I learned from my very last meeting with ARA Asset Management

The Scheme Meeting of ARA Asset Management was concluded yesterday, 23 March 2017. A total of 1,056 shareholders and proxies attended the Scheme Meeting held at Suntec Singapore Convention Centre. 857 of them voted in favor for the Scheme of Arrangement to privatise ARA Asset Management at $1.78 per share. When the poll result was shown onscreen, a few shareholders cheered: “Huat ah!” While the … [Read more...]

Economists raise Singapore growth forecast for 2017: MAS survey

Economists have raised their forecasts for Singapore’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth in 2017, according to a survey by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) unveiled on Wednesday. The median forecast of 23 economists surveyed in mid-February pointed to a 2.3% GDP growth this year. This is an improvement from the 1.5% growth forecasted in the previous MAS survey published in … [Read more...]

6 Things I learned from SIAS – ARA Dialogue Session 2017

2 days ago, I attended a dialogue session organized by Securities Investors Association of Singapore (SIAS) for minority shareholders to meet John Lim, founder of ARA Asset Management, to understand more about the recent privatization offer. A few of my friends and readers could not attend the dialogue session due to work and travel commitments. So if you’ve missed the session, let me share … [Read more...]

5 red flags to spot a Ponzi scheme

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Have you heard of these companies called Sunshine Empire, Geneva Gold and Gold Guarantee? Unfortunately, there is one thing these companies have in common: they are all Ponzi schemes. A Ponzi scheme is a fraudulent investment scheme where a company pays returns to its old investors’ using capital injected by new investors. To keep up with the scam, more and more new investors are needed to … [Read more...]

How to choose which CPF LIFE retirement plan is best for you

In the past, CPF retirement options were confusing. There used to be 12 different methods of getting your pension which only had subtle differences. This has since been reduced to just two basic options: CPF LIFE Basic, and CPF LIFE Standard. Here’s how to pick between the two. What is CPF LIFE in the first place? It’s actually an acronym for the Central Provident Fund Lifelong Income … [Read more...]

3 ways to short sell a stock and make money on the way down

Most investors are used to buying long – you buy low and sell high (or that’s the plan anyway!). Short sellers, on the other hand, sell high and then buy low – they sell a stock first believing that its price will drop, and then buy it back at a lower price once it does. Short selling is an art that is rarely successfully practised in the investing world because it is riskier and more … [Read more...]

14 things I learned from reading Warren Buffett’s 2016 annual letter to Berkshire shareholders

It’s that time of the year again when Warren Buffett pens his annual letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders and the investment world sit ups and takes note of what Buffett has to share. (Buffett has been writing his annual letters since 1965 and you can read many of his past letters here.) I shared 10 things I learned from Buffett’s 2015 annual letter the previous year and, this year, … [Read more...]

5 things Singaporeans must have by the time they’re 50

“How much do I need to retire?” That’s the question that makes financial advisors and wealth managers sigh. It’s impossible to answer because it can range from a few hundred thousand dollars (three meals a day and a one room flat) to the GDP of a small country (I want a yacht, two helicopters, a penthouse). So while no one can give you an exact number, we can at least point out a few … [Read more...]

3 things you need to watch out for when investing in emerging markets

Historically, emerging markets have been both the darling and the crux of investors. This is because its emerging markets’ growth potentials have drawn excited investors who are seeking high returns on their investments, while the instability of these markets have also caused them heavy losses. If you look at our table below, it’s easy to glean that the developed markets like S&P 500, DAX … [Read more...]

5 things you need to invest like Warren Buffett – and why you’d probably fail anyway

He is the leading light for investors worldwide and every word he says is scrutinised and studied by throngs of budding investors. There are endless articles, videos and newsreels out there featuring the life of Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway. It has reached a point where there are listicles citing unverified quotes from Buffett being shared by millions on Facebook. Everyone wants to be a … [Read more...]

11 Malaysian REITs that made you money if you invested from their IPOs

Last week, I wrote an article about 15 Singapore REITs that would have made you money if you invested from their IPOs. Out of the 19 S-REITs that have been listed for listed for at least 10 years, 15 of them gave a positive overall return for investors. In this article, we will look at their counterparts from across the causeway and do a similar study on the performance of Malaysian REITs … [Read more...]

3 ways to make an extra $1,500 a month when you retire

When it comes to financial planning, small and specific goals are best. Aspiring to make $15,000 or $25,000 a month without working is all well and good, but don’t forget to take concrete steps to secure a realistic amount. With some discipline and prudence, it’s not unrealistic to aim for an extra $1,500 a month (on top of CPF payouts) after retirement. Here are three ways: First of all, why … [Read more...]

8 Things I Learned from F &N’s FY2016 AGM

This year I count myself lucky that I’m still able to share the insights I gleaned from Frasers and Neave’s (SGX: F99) recent AGM because I mixed up the location of the meeting and ended up in the wrong place. (I was probably half asleep while commuting!) Fortunately, the actual location was nearby and I rushed there quickly. I did not want to miss the F&N AGM because it is one of the few … [Read more...]

How hoarding money in the bank can destroy your retirement

Despite plenty of better options, many Singaporeans are still stuck with fixed deposits. Some of us are plagued with a “winning by not losing” mentality, where we think hoarding the money is safest. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, those who hoard rather than invest are the ones living on the edge. What’s wrong with just cramming money in accounts? The simple answer is inflation. … [Read more...]

Top 10 Singapore REITs that made you money if you invested from their IPO

Lately, Sabana REIT has been getting a lot of attention when a small group of unitholders moved to kick out the manager for delivering poor performance since its IPO in 2010. Early investors who bought Sabana at an IPO price of S$1.05 are now sitting on huge losses – Sabana last traded at just 43 cents per share. If we look at the history, Sabana REIT isn’t alone. There are several other … [Read more...]

5 things I learned from Frasers Centrepoint Trust’s FY2016 AGM

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Bedok Point, one of the Frasers Centrepoint Trust’s (FCT) suburban malls located in the east of Singapore, has been losing its charm ever since a new shopping mall, Bedok Mall, located right next to Bedok Point, came into operation in 2013. The poor performance of Bedok Point is reflected in its net property income from 2012 to 2016: Bedok Point Net Property Income (in SGD millions) Bedok Point … [Read more...]

13 things I learned from Frasers Commercial Trust’s FY2016 AGM

Frasers Commercial Trust (FCOT) (SGX: ND8U) is an office REIT with a portfolio of six commercial office properties in Singapore and Australia. The three office properties in Singapore comprise Alexandra Technopark, 55 Market Street, and China Square Central. FCOT’s overall portfolio is worth around $2 billion. FCOT first listed on the SGX in March 2006 as Allco Commercial REIT before it was … [Read more...]

10 things I learned from Ascendas REIT’s January 2017 EGM

Ascendas REIT (SGX: A17U) is Singapore’s first and largest industrial REIT. It has 102 properties in Singapore and 28 properties in Australia comprising business & science parks, industrial properties, and logistics centres. I attended A-REIT’s most recent EGM where unitholders had to vote on the proposed $420 million acquisition of three science park properties located at 12, 14 and 16 … [Read more...]

Why the USD will go on rising

The US Dollar Index is down a good 3%, to 99.9 on January 25 from a high of 103.3 on Dec 28. The main reason is uncertainty over the future of trade and international relations with the US. Since taking office on Jan 20, President Donald Trump has already yanked the US from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, called for renegotiations to terms of the North American Free Trade Agreement and will soon … [Read more...]