Saturday, August 29, 2020

Letter to Batch 16 of the Early Retirement Masterclass

Dear Students of Batch 16,

It’s been a great honour and privilege to be able to conduct a 2-Day Early Retirement Workshop for you.

We see a gradual downsizing in ERM classes as the effects of the pandemic bite. Further, this has allowed us to expand our offering, and the course is inching ever closer to becoming a three-day program. Batch 16 is also the first time we are officially making and the use of Interactive Brokers part of our training program that allows students the opportunity to do back-testing on Singapore markets on their own without the need for Bloomberg terminal.

Having four consecutive days of webinars also allows students to digest material at their own pace. The ERM can highly rigorous for the first two days, but breaking the material down into four digestible parts is seeing a marked improvement in Batch 16’s quiz performance relative to previous batches.

One area I am contemplating is the introduction of Dark Horse investment for every batch, but this has a mixed record. Our first Dark Horse counter was Accordia Golf Trust for Batch 14, and it gained 26%. Our second Dark Horse for Batch 15 was First Shipping Lease which inflicted a 15% loss when dividends failed to materialise this quarter.

Batch 16 did not have a Dark Horse stock, but I am glad that we were able to have an in-depth discussion on HPH Trust which is currently yielding over 11%. A student in the port industry was able to provide her two cents worth on this counter. Eventually, HPH Trust did not make it into the final portfolio.

Finally, I’m glad that some students were able to share their insights on hiring help for start-ups in Singapore. An HR practitioner told me that UX and Design specialists are quite hard to find in this job market and if I am willing to get interns a more pragmatic move would be to hire fine arts graduates and then train them for whatever tasks that lie ahead of them. In almost every batch I taught, I was both a trainer as well as a student.

Moving forward, I hope that Batch 16 would participate actively in the FB group. We should be able to see each other again soon as I am preparing for a webinar for all ERM graduates in September.

Christopher Ng Wai Chung

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