Sunday, March 16, 2008

My notes on equity investing in Singapore

I have moved out of Singapore and am (today) in the UK. I will now post my findings on the best way local investors can sensibly invest in Singapore.

IMHO Investors in Singapore seem averse to an open sharing of ideas, I have no idea why. Unlike trading, Investing is not a zero sum game.

It took me a long time to get comfortable with investing here. If I had this information earlier it would have made me more money.

Here are my thoughts on how to go about things.

1) In my personal opinion between DBS Vickers and UOB Kay Hian I prefer
DBS Vickers for the fundamental investor, it has tools for screening,
more access to company financials and research reports, and the UI is tolerable.
UobKayHian seems more tuned to the trader than the investor. I was unable
to check out Phillips Capital. If you invest in markets like Korea - Phillips Capital seems to have access from Singapore unlike the other brokers.

2) The Share Investor magazine is the best way to keep track of
fundamental developments in Singapore stocks. It is the "Valueline" of
Singapore. A must have. Unfortunately there is no internet access to it. It is stocked at nearly every 7-11 store in the central business district.

3) Reuters has good pages (free) for almost all Singapore stocks. As an example see the Reuters page for Bright world precision machinery.

4) There are no taxes on capital gains or dividends (for the stock
investor), this makes Singapore the perfect place to invest.

5) The SGX announcements are a must read for insider info,
unfortunately SGX does not allow you to subscribe to announcements for
only your stocks of interest.

6) If you want stock related rumors and gossip there is the sharejunction site

7) if you want broker research you can get it at

No investor should listen to the buy and sell recommendations from
his broker but the research is sometimes highly readable as it
presents the data clearly and explains business issues you may have
missed. The buy or sell recommendation at the end of the report is
best ignored. Based on the same numbers my opinion almost always differs
from the broker.

8) You will get sued if you make nasty comments about other people or
stocks so keep your online presence polite. Free speech rights you may be used to in the USA do not apply in the same way in Singapore. Defamation is taken very seriously. If you allege on a internet message board that a person is lying or dishonest you can expect to hear from their lawyer.

Some other suggestions:

1) Do not buy if insiders are selling, insider buy/sells are reported
on the SGX announcements page and in several daily broker reports.

2) Trust in dividends, if a company is profitable and yet cannot pay
dividends be suspicious. There is no excuse for not paying dividends in
Singapore. There is no tax on dividends, so no reason not to pay surplus cash to investors. I do not like companies that need cash to grow. The best companies can grow while paying out cash dividends and taking on zero debt.

3) Do not buy broker "buy" stocks, brokers are too generous with
"buys", buy only the "best" stocks.

4) Ignore technical analysis if you cannot prove with rigorous back testing that
it has worked in the past.

For those of you who still wish to follow my global investing adventures you can subscribe to my many groups as shown on the right panel "My favorite Links" of this blog.
Right now I am most active on my UK Group LongtermequityUK . These groups are spam free and have wide variety of real investors who try to help each other. There is no spam or advertising in any of these groups, only individual investors trying to help each other.