Friday, 9 July 2021

Eating Humble Pie on Earn More


First read this:

Nickle Trading's 1 Billion Fraud

When I first read about "earn more" lawyers being scammed, I initially dismissed it as a simple case of highly paid professionals working 60-hour work week that have no time for picking up the craft of investing.

So you do the next best thing.

Outsource the investing to others. Leverage on Other People's Talents (OPT)!

If you have not done investing yourself, you would probably had no idea that a 15% return per quarter (or 75% annualised) is already beating Temasek, Warren Buffett, and Peter Lynch!

Wait. Wouldn't you know it if you were working in Temasek? Even if you not on the investment side of the team?

That's until I read the article further...

Investing professionals were scammed too!? And they are not bei kambings!

Could it be their track record were so good, earning multi-baggers every other year, hence a "mere" 75% annual return is nothing out of the ordinary?

So dealing with a firm that on the MAS Investor Alert list is no source for concern?

No licence from MAS for asset management some more?

Look, I don't care about others; I care about myself.

The humble pie question to myself is, will I exercise independent thinking and have conviction enough to walk away if a snake oil offered the same 75% returns to me?

Especially if the snake oil revealed the who's and who's on his client's list?

How many of you invest in a company because some famous investors have done so? 

Like Temasek is a shareholder... So you invest too! 

Thinking it must be safe for how will Temasek let the company go bankrupt right?


  1. Smol,

    Don't scare me leh LOL!

    My ahkong money is managed by ahkong investor Temasek. If Temasek kena hoodwinked, then maybe some people inside don't know that they don't know what they doing?

    Wait ... I go check their performance ...

    Hmmm, how come CAGR coming down from 11% over 30 years, to 6% over 20 years, to 5% over last 10 years?

    Nevermind, we got $12 billion in dividends for FY2019/20, highest amount in 15 years. We are such yield hogs!!

    Let's see how they did for FY2020/21 when they report later this month.

    1. Spur,


      Dollar amount returned too small, flex in percentages...

      Return in percentages not sexy, flex in dollar amounts!

      At their current portfolio size, even if the dividends were to become "pedestrian" like as in 2.5% to 4%, it will always be billions in
      dollar amounts ;)

      The only explanation I can come up with to justify how professional institutional investors can be scammed is that their positions with Envy Asset Management, although big in numbers (in the millions), were merely 1-2% of their total portfolios.

      Then its merely "tikum, tikum" money.

    2. Smol,

      Your explanation is logical. If the investment decision was driven purely by money considerations, taking bigger-than-normal risk with small 1-2% positions is acceptable. With a proven edge, profits from other positions will more than cover this small loss.

      A lot of times, decisions should not be driven purely by $ alone. Even investment decisions. With the benefit of hindsight, as investment professionals of reputable funds, it makes sense to take into account the reputation damage if one is listed as a victim of an investment scam with visible warning signs. The loss is not money only.

      It probably sound presumptuous of me as a retail investor who has never worked in the financial industry to say the warning signs are visible. A fund that promises returns like average 15% over three months, no license from regulator, on MAS investor alert list ought to ring very LOUD alarm bells, at least to me. That "alleged" scammer must really be very skillful until savvier, smarter, more experienced players can become victims, despite the visible warning signs.

    3. hyom,

      That's why from one snake oil to another, I'm impressed.

      Smart people who think they are elite or better than everyone else, I can sort of guess what buttons the scammer pressed...

      The nation building press is not making friends by publishing the names of these well-heeled "victims"...

      I would think they would rather write off their losses "in the shade" than to have them aired in public for all to see - the way my laundry on bamboo poles are today!?

    4. SMOL,

      "That's why from one snake oil to another, I'm impressed."

      The word snake-oil carries negative connotation. I've been wanting to say this for some time. You use this word snake oil too loosely and do yourself disservice. In your weekend work, you are selling a useful product that serves an essential function to every home. The products you sell work as promised. You and your colleagues are decent salesmen. You are not a snake oil.

      Can't say the same for Jho Low and Envy. I don't envy him at all.

    5. hyom,

      Its meant to be exactly what it is! I'm not a saint or bodhisattva!

      I can sugar-coat it as determining the customers' needs/wants, unlocking their motivations, etc.

      The reality is all about discovering which buttons to press. It can be very Machiavelli...

      In order to look at myself in the morning, at best I'll do the Robin Hood thing - milk and fleece the rich and pompous, and give to those less well endowed - financially and/or intellectually.

      I'm sure some lawyers do the same. Do some pro-bono work to balance out the sickening feeling of defending ass-holes all the time...

      I'm tainted.

    6. Smol,

      If salesmen don't push right buttons, how to earn a proper living for themselves? Trying to be a saint is unnatural. It is ok to be selfish. It is Zen to be selfish.

      I readily admit I am a selfish bastard to myself when I make money from sheeps in zero-sum financial games. I'm also tainted. LOL.

      Besides selfish interest, salaried salesmen owe a responsibility to their employer to push right buttons to sell the goods. Take people's money, should help them make money.

      What puzzles/irks me is when people who are already rich continue to sell their soul for money as snake-oils. If a person is selfish in an enlightened way, after he has hit his first pot of gold, he should stop the money-grubbing as snake-oil and switch to a more legitimate way to earn money, be more generous, less penny pinching. It is easier to be happier this way. Isn't ultimate aim of money to buy happiness?

    7. hyom,

      LOL! You're quite honest to yourself too!

      If one does not know when enough is enough, its avarice.

      When new on my journey, I was puzzled why gluttony is a sin like avarice too???

      Slowly I figured out why, even though I've turned atheist...

      Hence, I like to poke money grabbers in our community who disparage those who do not seek FIRE or those who never plan for retirement ;)

      Sometime we in the community don't realise we are the "sad" ones...

      Imagine just leaving school and immediately care about retirement?

      Somebody got "poisoned" and don't even realise it...

      I rather cheer rainbow chasers!

      Or at the very least, chase skirts!!!

      What's the point of money when we have no one to share it with?

      OK, I go cry in the corner now. No wife; no children... (Heng ah!)

    8. "No wife; no children... (Heng ah!)"

      Lol. You live life in your own way as Man of Leisure. Happy, can liao.

      Someone good may turn up later, who knows? No matter what, stay happy.

    9. hyom,

      I'll pay for it in my 90s...

      Those documentaries on single Japanese seniors dying alone in their apartments is not something I look forward to...

      We had several cases in Singapore too where the bodies only discovered when neighbours complain of the stench or blood seeping through the ceiling!?

      I guess unless I get a xiao mei mei in my 90s, I better move into those retirement "villages"?


      No free lunch.

      Even for Man of Leisure :)

  2. SG has talent even we are so much smaller than US. We have our Madoff! LOL!

    1. CW,

      I actually quite impressed with the 30 plus young "alleged" scammer...

      Unlike lower league snake oils who had to burn weekends and weekday evenings to milk a few thousands here, a few thousands there from retail bei kambings, this "attas" level guy only goes for the high net worth whales!

      That's how you fund a $2 million a month lifestyle!

      I see him as our own nano version of Jho Low.

      Hope what happened to Malaysia's sovereign wealth fund will not happen to Singapore...

      Then again, big daddy's town councils have lost millions in search of better yields in the past...

      The road to perdition is paved with good intentions!

  3. Smol,

    Ahkong money still safe ... Temasek increased their networth by 22.5% from Apr 2020-Mar 2021.

    This should bump up their last 10-year CAGR from 5% to around 6.5% hoo-ah!

    GIC should also have a bumper FY when they report later this month.

    1. Compared to 2 famous sovereign funds:

      Norway -- world's largest SWF (their FY is Jan 2020-Dec 2020): 10.9% increase.

      Japan -- world's largest pension fund (FY is from Apr 2020-Mar 2021): 25.5% increase.

    2. Spur,

      That's probably due to the lucky "calendar effect" for both Japan and our Temasek performance ;)

      I mean March 2020 bombed big time, and using April as index 100 benefits from the low base effect...

      Still, glad that Temasek is still making money!

      Its better to be spending money from our reserves to support businesses and citizens affected by the Wuhan virus, than from money printing or getting into foreign debt!


      I sleep better tonight :)


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