Sunday, August 19, 2018

After Action Review : Financial Independence, REITs and Leverage talk.

Here are some thoughts on yesterday's talks :

a) General Performance

My first rule for free talks is that the Sponsor must succeed commercially for future talks to take place.

As this is a talk sponsored by Maybank Kim Eng, what is important to me is that they find sponsoring not just me, but other financial bloggers, worthwhile.

As the talk is free, we have a 45% rate of folks showing up based on sign-ups which was about average for the industry but we have a decent number of folks opening accounts on that day so I am very pleased that the sponsor met their objective.

This clearly opens the doors to more talk of this nature in the future where BIGScribe fans can attend a finance talk for free.

b) Open-mindedness is important to be a good corporate sponsor

At this stage, I also liked to thank the sponsor for making things very easy for myself.

Working with financial bloggers means taking some of the bad along with the good because we want to come across as being authentic rather than being just a shill for financial institutions. I think yesterday's event was a game changer in that I was able to be very candid with the audience about some harsh truths about leverage and keeping the cost of investing as low as possible to succeed over the long term.

Some of the stuff I say may actually offend some sponsors. My talk has sections on minimising brokerage and keeping borrowing expenses to a bare minimum may not go down well with corporate sponsors who may not be as open-minded as Maybank Kim Eng, but these guys has been really sporting by allowing me to speak openly about it.

This also reflects another aspect of financial independence, I'd turn happily turn down an opportunity if I am disallowed from being authentic to BIGScribe fans.

c) Areas of Improvement

There was one glaring area which could have been improved.

Initially, we wanted to send folks who sign up with the sponsors a list of screened stocks based on the criteria I selected but the risk of offending the SFA was simply too high, so we mutually decided that either party was taking too much risk if we sent out information on the actual stocks.

I am going to try to work with future sponsors on coming up with the proper disclaimers to make this possible in the future but this means more lead time.

If any reader has a suggestion on how to proceed, let me know.

d) Question posed during

Some of the questions posed during the talk can make solid blog articles on its own.

One question was whether its ok to deviate from equal weighting and weighing counters based on dividends yields instead. I actually believe that it may actually lead to better performance. For now, I do not have the skills to backtest portfolios like this.

Other questions clearly overestimate the ability of financial bloggers. I was asked whether Singapore faces a Lost Decade like Japan. I'm not even sure whether PM Lee can answer a question like this. My only answer is that if we remain open to foreign talent, we're likely to be able to avoid this  scenario from taking place. If we become xenophobic like the Japanese, sure, we will trigger the Lost Decade instantly once we start aging.

Another possible answer is that given that the STI has not advanced beyond its peak in 2007, we are already at the tail end of the Lost Decade ! But I think this kind of pessimism is unwarranted given that household incomes have been rising for quite a number of years already.

e) Bridging into the Workshop and preview coming Tuesday

Some fans expressed interest in the Preview for my Workshop coming Tuesday. Note that 50% of the material has been used for yesterday's talk.

I encourage more fans to write to me privately if you want to show up for my talk on Tuesday.


caelitus said...

Good morning Christopher, I am keen on your Tuesday's talk. May I have your email address?

Christopher Ng Wai Chung said...

So sorry all tickets for tomorrow are sold out. You cam email me at to see if you can be invited to a future preview.