Sunday, May 7, 2017

Reflection of my income streams and investment portfolio

I have a big roadmap of where my different income streams will be. For the past 8 years, I have been developing them. It is with this belief that will support my end goal of living a life that is contractually free, a 10 years plan in place. This post shall be a brief of where I am now and where I wish to be. By sharing, I hope to inspire everyone around me.

My Day Job

I have been strengthening my expertise in regional business development and cross-border negotiation, thereby building an excellent track record across diverse clientele in Asia and Europe. The positive mindset, constant thinking and humility of continuous improvement are extremely useful. The right characteristics offer me the pathway to senior roles, thus expanding my income base over the years. I seek to learn through newspapers and external publication, draw realistic scenarios from books and wade into deep waters to make tough agreements with c-suite business people. Finally, I pick up key abilities and personal experiences in closing deals face-to-face.

It’s important to self-reflect where you are right now and how you can have the relevant skills and expertise to scale up, so as to be hugely marketable. This should be the starting point for any young graduate, to invest in your skill bank for better income prospects.

My Investment

For my investment, I am looking at the objective of achieving “a monthly mid-range 4 figure sum”. In future, at least 90% of my investment revenue should be consistent and recurring. Meaning, I am able to get an average expected income per month. To do so, I have built a foundation, like a basic structure. So, I have been accumulating S-Reits (real estate investment trust) to get visibility in my cash flow. For now, Reits will form majority of my income producing assets. At the minimum, my average expected yield from reits is 6%.

The other is Singapore Savings Bond (SSB). Just parking away a sum of monies to get almost 98% risk-free with coupon rate of 2.63 % (paid twice per year) for 10 years period.

As for my growth stocks - I have defined my style, a “Market Opportunist”. I am not an armchair person, almost never to follow the herd but one who sniffs out opportunities. Once I pick out a potential lead, I will commence my desk research, followed by fieldwork and quantitative analysis to assess the financial health and probability of getting above-average returns. For cyclical companies - I have a systematic framework, using my personal worksheets, qualifying criteria and spreadsheets to help shape my thought process. It’s not going to be exhaustive; a fine balance to ensure my final decision has been well researched and informed.

My watch list is both the firms listed in Singapore Stock Exchange and international corporations who can be listed in America - think of the Uranium Producer in the Canadian mines, scalable IT companies in Russia to Spanish banks that have presence in Brazil, Argentina and Chile.

Other income streams

I have a freelancing business in enrichment and coaching - career management and sales development. It’s always self-satisfying and rewarding to make an impact on others in life, so that they have a helping hand to go one notch above.

Perhaps, this is something I might continue doing when I reach 55 years old!

I have also started a small stake in a Malaysian-based start-up whom I know the founders. There is an Exit Strategy in their business plan. Let’s see where this takes me.

The rest is mostly one off such as loan financing. Recently, I participated in one of the crowdfunding loan program in Funding Societies. It’s an Education company - 3 months loan, about 16% effective interest rate per annum. Put a small sum to test it out, pretty interesting! I received my Principle + interest amount over 3 months but I think equities would offer a better option from a risk perspective.

What’s next?

Of course, my days can’t be spent on commercial activities. I have to cater time for my family, business contacts and friends, nature and heritage watch, sports and gym. I am a big fan of experiences and memories, so I will be packing my bags to unique attraction and sites, as well as meaningful volunteer trips abroad. Actually, travelling broadens my horizon, giving me a window to know how others lead their lives, shape my analysis of stuffs around me. I made my personal maiden visit to the Cambodian villages. It’s a volunteering trip. Through a friend of mine, we have touched the hearts of many. This has indeed cast a strong impression. Truly engaging to support the under-privileged and making sure they know that education is the way out of poverty. The smile of the children and older folks are priceless. Despite the challenging conditions, they try to get the best out of simple meals and drinks.

Back to my investment……

Apart from continuously expanding my reits and shares portfolio to hit the monthly dividend target, I also will like to increase my exposure to more aggressive growth stocks. At an appropriate time to sell, this will give me additional financial ammo to reinvest into more income producing assets, thus my foundation of regular investment income gets stronger.

I do have fundamentally sound firms in place such as Boustead in my portfolio. But to capture the ever-changing growth trends, my key priorities are to look for turnaround prospects that have something in them and cyclical firms that are in spiral downturn but have valuable tangible and intangible assets. Cycle is up - I can expect a steep upside in my portfolio returns. On the other hand, I am not in favor of over-hyped assets through media publicity, neither chasing higher-up equity market prices.

Another of my focus is to invest in private companies, look for startups in seed funding round and possibly overseas properties that could provide above-average returns within my moderate-risk framework. All-in, my portfolio shouldn’t be too overly diversified. The aim is to be adaptable, move my funds around to seize opportunities (make money work harder) while the foundation (income-producing) is kept in place. To make this happen, I have learn to be sensitive to opportunities around me, for example I did a quick trend analysis to anticipate the probabilities. I will be investing in specific themes or firms in sectors that I am familiar/have prior knowledge.

In conclusion, my portfolio must be able to generate a solid pool of 4-figure monthly cash flow through income-producing assets, a vital component in the “Project Silver Milestone

I hope you have a clear vision of your portfolio objective.

Happy investing!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

My 10 years plan that gives me peace of mind in future

Time is your friend. Patience is a virtue. How true this is.

I set my financial sight to equities during 2008 sub-prime crisis, scooping up dirt-cheap shares of a prominent blue-chip Developer at less than S$1.50. In Jan 2015, I sold my Keppel Land shares at S$4.55 per share due to the privatization offer from the parent company, Keppel Corporation. That gave me more than 120% net returns, excluding dividends. Indeed, it was a hefty bonus for me! Being prudent, I channelled majority of the realized gains to my Emergency Fund.

Forward-looking vision - in 2016, I aim to build a pathway to semi-retirement. I call it “Project Silver Milestone”, a late chapter in my Book of Life. By the age of 50-55, I should have a comfortable mix of monthly four-figure net dividend and business returns that’s able to sustain my day-to-day lifestyle – neither extravagant nor meager. Most importantly, pursue something that I like to do such as personal coaching, travel and outdoor nature.

It’s crucial to envision a long term goal while implementing measures in short term. For Project Silver Milestone, the time period is 10 years. A portion of it is to:

Grow my Emergency Fund

I decide to increase my Emergency Fund to mid-level 6 figure amount in 10 years’ time. It’s to cover any medical bill shocks. Not to forget sudden lapses in financial judgment (of people that concern you the most) due to traditional money beliefs. I guess relationship matters most in life than just dollars and cents. My dividends from shares and Singapore Savings Bond, plus one off profit gains, would be the key contributors.

Increase my Average Monthly Dividends

There will be a point in time that I will like to receive more cash inflow. In simpler terms, what I get must be more than what I pay. Gunning for 10 years’ time frame, I will expect my Average Monthly Dividends to sit comfortable in the mid-range 4 figure sum. Henceforth, I plan to add more shares in companies that have an excellent track record and Reits that have a regular payout. For instance, I bought into Nera Telecommunication several years ago. Granted past performances can’t guarantee future returns, the historic records are still able to offer a reasonable benchmarking analysis.

Management inclining towards the interests of minority shareholders would be part of my holistic assessment. Thus, there will be yearly progressive revision in my dividend target till the quota is reached within my allocated time horizon.

Diversified Business Interests

These days, you can’t depend on a single pay check. So, I am a strong advocate of having multiple revenue streams. One of the ways is to buy assets to create wealth. Within 10 years’ time frame, I must be able to develop an excellent foundation, term it as "4 pillars of income." I have defined two of them – one is dividends and the other is my scope of work - full time job + personal coaching in career and sales development.

I hope you have put some thought on your long term financial project. It will take some effort of work, discipline and focus but if you do it well, you can be hugely rewarded.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Why does a Market Opportunist buys Keppel Corporation now

We have seen several global events unfold this year. The downward spiral of oil prices, US Federal Reserve interest rate adjustment, China economic slowdown, threat of terrorism and the continued sluggish commodity demand.

I have nothing much to shout in my portfolio. But it’s with the negative sentiment that I smell opportunities. Jack Ma once said “if 90% of those present at a business meeting vote in favour of one or other suggestion, I’ll always throw it out”. You can see more of his quotes here. What this means is that if everyone thinks about a particular idea, agrees and acts on it, the idea becomes stale because all, including your competitors will jump into the bandwagon. By then, it’s too late.

My thinking is different. Some call it “Contrarian”. Myself? I label it as “Market Opportunist”. I can buy stocks at a better valuation when majority remains superbly pessimistic. Don’t get me wrong. I will not select companies blindly but have a broader assessment of industry dynamics (mostly applicable for cyclical businesses) by weighing the risk-reward circumstances and the “what-if” scenarios by splitting columns of advantages and disadvantages.

There is no hard formula to quantify. Rather, a mix of historic numbers, cycle histories, emotional traits, qualitative assumptions (must make logical sense) and a forward thinking vision shaped by evolving trends. Some mind-mapping knowledge is required. It’s near to the trough that you can hunt for bargains. Analysts will debate that it’s not possible to time the market. I fully agree. However, one can hypothetically visualize by looking out for clues in your daily life and external sources. Investigation that suggests the sector is in a downturn without any positive indicators.

Keppel Corporation

Take for example, Keppel Corporation. A quick summary of their third-quarter earnings (1 Jul 2015 to 30 Sep 2015) can be found here


Although Keppel Corporation is able to depend their earnings on property and infrastructure, their key revenue contribution is in oil rigs. There is a high risk of order cancellation or deferred payment as their clients do not feel the urgency to have them due to an oversupply of oil barrels (read: oil crisis). Thus, Keppel Corporation will not receive 80% of the remaining payment from the contracts. Revenue is in millions and billions of dollars. And there is the Brazilian state-run oil company Petrobas in a corruption scandal, a key client of Keppel Corporation. A company-level problem due to structural issue. Another clue is the drop of oil prices below US$40 per barrel, a typical benchmarking basis.

Henceforth, as a “Market Opportunist” – is it a good time to buy Keppel Corporation?

Not so easy for one has to consider other factors. Keppel Corporation is in huge debt and there can be a chance of a cash call (read: rights issue or convertible bonds). A peer-to-peer comparison, Sembawang Marine is expected to post their first quarterly loss since 2003. That’s how bad the situation is. That said, it’s less unlikely that Keppel Corporation will file for bankruptcy since Temasek Holdings should offer their financial support.

Regarding dividends in Keppel Corporation, I will take it as a bonus. Their business nature does not constitute to sustainable payout nor a fixed dividend policy. In other words, I buy Keppel Corporation for capital gains.

My thought is this

If I am to plough my money into Keppel Corporation, I expect a longer time horizon. Personally, I foresee the oil crisis to hit equilibrium in supply and demand - estimated FY2018 – judging from the past cycles (there are graphical illustrations to look at – just Google it and you will see a convergence of happenings bounded together). Perhaps, oil producing nations and America are able to reach a compromise, influenced by allied countries whose income dependable on oil. After FY2018, there may be a gradual uptick of oil prices and demand starts to flow in. Projected time period of estimated FY2021 to FY2022 for bustling economies across regions driven by digitisation and technological advancements, as well as facilitated by easier trade movement from bilateral cooperation. This is where I will sell. Alongside, there can be unexplained sentimental changes for you can never anticipate unknown market forces. The key is adaptability to your target price. In my opinion, the difficult part is to sell and not buy. I need to be ultra-sensitive to certain actions undertaken by OPEC, BP/Shell/Exxon and the Middle Eastern countries. Therefore, I have included first and second layer of my selling price (in percentage terms).

At current moment, I have buffered the wider fluctuation of Keppel Corporation share prices and add more should opportunity arise. According to Google Finance, my range bound is between the low of $3.41 during the last 2008 crisis and the high of $11.90 in 2011 and $11.80 in 2013. Keppel Corporation NAV (net asset value) is $5.93.

Of course, such easy conclusion is prone to huge debate. 9 out of 10 people disagree. The downside is you will lose track, just like my days of buying into NOL (Neptune Orient Lines) where I would have sold in 2010 - but did not, anticipating 2013-2014 cycle upturn. Any wrong calculation results in a loss.

But, the truth is - it’s only myself that can make a difference. Successful Businessmen and time-tested Innovators venture into areas unknown, transforming into market leaders that few can dream of. They do not belong to the herd; don’t always stick to conventional ways but likes calculated risk that gives them above-average returns while balancing their current cash flow.

In short, I am long in equities – at the moment buying into potential bigwigs that have dropped drastically in prices. I like to use a concentrated strategy, building into a portfolio of dividend yielding stocks/Reits and cyclical firms.

At least for myself - that’s how a “Market Opportunist” works.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Here are 5 great ways to close a deal if you run out of ideas

You can be a great person to build relationships. But if your closing rate is low, it’s as good as losing your plot. Often, a salesperson struggle because

(a) he is shy to ask for the client’s signature

(b) he develops preconceived assumption about the prospect

(c) he can’t sense the buying signal in the beginning

Whatever the reason, the salesperson’s (Insurance Agent, Property Consultant, Furniture Sales Executive, Relationship Manager etc.) success depends on the total value of the agreements and the rate of closing.

1. Repeat the prospect’s requirements

During the selling process, you need an excellent listening ear. Hear the prospect’s buying signal carefully and write down, so that you remember. Usually, the same words and sentences are mentioned a few times – for instance, he likes things that are convenient. When closing comes, bring out similar phrases and wordings (i.e. convenient) again. Most of the time, the prospect is reassured, knowing that you have heard him. His guard is down and you go for the close.

2. Bring out your agreement and put on the table

Do an assumed close. The prospect will cast an eye on the contract while talking to you. It’s a sign that, if the prospect has not outlined any objections, you can professionally place the document (where the signature is) right in front of him with a nice fountain pen.

And wait for the magic to happen!

3. Offer a positive “what if” scenario

Use the “what if” opening statement – “I understand you like this product. What if, you have the means to buy it now, will you say a yes and purchase immediately?” This shapes the prospect’s mind into a positive frame of closing after reaffirming his preference.

4. Go direct

By now, you would have an idea whether the prospect is ready to buy. Be confident and ask a direct question. Praise the prospect’s foresight sincerely if his ego is huge - “you are about to enjoy the wonderful service” – can you kindly put your name at this section and I’ll make the immediate arrangements”.

5. Prepare 3 ready solutions

Be prepared to provide alternatives on the spot. Do not wait to schedule another appointment or phone call as the opportunity will be lost. For example, if the prospect highlights the expensive pricing, a ready option is “I understand and here’s what I will do for you – you can pay for the deposit first and we will accept the rest thereafter. Or "will you prefer a monthly interest-free instalment”. Close the deal upon the prospect’s choice. As a rule of thumb, think of 3 types of solutions, classified broadly into 3 sections - one is price, the other is concession (i.e. what others you can provide should the discussion goes south) and the last is post sales promise (e.g. warranty, check-in after 2 weeks – no other salespeople provide, only you)

There are many other closing techniques which are pragmatic and easy to adopt. Practise is needed through role plays. I will be happy to discuss further. Please get in touch with me at kentan at myktacademy dot com.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

The market feeds on your emotions. Stand firm and believe in your objective

You heard it.

Corporate earnings disappoint. Companies face challenging market conditions, from softening of the retail climate to rising costs of rent, manpower and production. Externally, oversupply of oil with prices plummeting and there are few signs of recovery. Slowdown in China with China Central Bank imposes further interest rate cuts.

Locally, Developers are pressing for favorable regulations to incite buyers’ interest in properties. Commodities slump as demand drops heavily from China, Russia and India.The story of “emerging Asia” becomes a theme of the past as funds flow outwards to Europe. Standard Chartered is the latest bank to retrench their staff and begin their corporate restructuring. Other financial institutions are also reducing headcount and cutting back on wayward lending.

In Europe, recovery remains fragile after Eurozone crisis due to piling of corporate debts, high national deficit (e.g. Greece) and unresolved unemployment, from Spain to Italy.

Many share investors feel jittery and are tempted to head for the exit. Some think that this must not be the right time to put their money in the stock market – perhaps consider fixed income instruments instead. For investors who are getting emotionally charged and begin to think irrationally, I do strongly encourage you to step back, off your computer and ignore the market till your vision is clear. Take a piece of paper. At the centre, write down your main purpose of investment - the words as big as possible. Place it somewhere that you can see it daily, such as your kitchen window, your study table or the walls of your bedroom! Your aim can be retirement, financial freedom or to gain a certain amount of funds to pursue a goal.

Look at the situation – are you there yet, halfway on the mark or just started?

For me, I have a clear pathway. From 2021 to 2022 estimated, I foresee the peak of a cycle where positive events converged together, using the historic computation of macro-happenings and business cycles, of industries and sub-sectors. As we see, countries in North Asia to Southeast Asia have readily explored deeper cooperation at regional levels with federation and councils at national level partnered together to map out feasible agreements with lesser cross-border trade restrictions. Technology in seamless applications accelerates productivity and increases output, thus promoting growth at a faster pace.

Disruptive innovation facilitates trend build-up, making consumers like you and I highly excited about new products, including objects that we interact daily – all bundled together at the push of a button. The next phase (from industrialization in the past to artificial intelligence, machinery automation, medical advancement and robotics) may result in breakthrough and this may cause a ripple effect.

I am not a guru. No one is able to predict but I am one who likes connecting dots together. Cycles are meant for benchmarking basis. That said, I envision that my shares (in companies of cyclical nature) will be sold during this period. It’s an exit for me – after all, investment is a tool, never my life and I can pursue something greater. From now till the journey, I am focused on buying more of my cyclical stocks while my income stocks and REITS will provide me with regular dividend returns. Alongside, there can be stock opportunities (I love them!) for me to exploit since I am a commercial person, taking on calculated risks. I am still a Fundamentalist in business analysis; not a Chartist. Of course, patience and discipline are characteristics needed.

Therefore, it’s only at this junction that opportunities appear. STI may not be the lowest and certainly, the index has dropped off the cliff at some percentage points

Without negativity of world events, an Investor will not have the chance to cherry-pick and buy companies at attractive prices. It’s a great moment to keep your eyes peeled closely. Your watchlist helps to provide a good screening of “must buy” companies. And for the bystanders, you can never be assured of a right price at the right time. Have the conviction to buy from your margin of safety after your due diligence is done.

Happy hunting in the stock market for this Christmas!

Sunday, September 6, 2015

5 ways to make money before year 2015 ends

Look around you. There may be money-making opportunities.

But the environment is cluttered with various schemes – some are dubious and raise suspicion. Flip the papers and you see an advertisement promising you double-digit returns with an investment that needs little effort. Surf the internet and there are many online link-ups informing that you can earn a 4 digit income within a few days by working from home.

I prefer to pursue something that’s credible and pragmatic. In 2015, the chances are here!

Do note that the options regarding investment are purely recommendations. Every individual has their personal risk appetite. Please assess the disadvantages and advantages carefully.

1. Stock market

Not many will agree this approach - I will focus on companies in cyclical trade. In the past weeks, the share prices of property-related, oil & gas firms are beaten down due to weak macroeconomic conditions such as declining oil prices, slower demand in China and the fear of rising interest rate. This can be an entry point for investors to buy and make a profit when their growth and sector improves in the near future (you need to have patience). During the property crisis, I bought Ho Bee and Keppel Land at prices that are huge discount to NAV (net asset value). Less than 7 years, I cashed out with more than 100% gains when their assets were revalued higher due to the location, demographics and appeal of their properties.

Property crisis = buy property-related stocks

Now, there is weak property sentiment with tighter regulatory environment. It’s a good time to re-visit the forward-looking plans and pipeline of property companies. Choose one that’s promising.

The other is the oil & gas companies. I won’t see an improvement to the industry in the next 2 years since crude oil prices need to reach a stable price level first. However, it’s an opportunity to buy when many are panic selling their shares. Identify the right firm that has the network, deep capabilities and regular track record of winning multi-billion contracts.

Sell when there is an upward demand of oil, exceeding supply or when the media emphasizes the rise of crude oil prices.

2. Singapore Savings Bond

For the risk adverse, the Singapore Savings Bond is a great alternative to make your cash work than idling around. You get your principle amount back (guaranteed by the Singapore government), plus the interest income. You do not get penalised for early redemption but it’s advisable to put it for 10 years – effective return per year of 2.63% should you put $10,000. The first rollout is on 1 Sep and 25 Sep is the closing date. 1 Oct is the issue date. For details, you can refer to their website.

3. Part time worker

Be an Uber driver. Sign up to be a weekend Household Captain (don’t be surprised! guys are doing the chores with a smile). Be a babysitter. Take on the role of a Dance Instructor. Find something that suits your skills. Register on popular apps/websites to get leads. I heard of cases where you can earn a small fee by doing research and this takes only a few hours.

4. Rent out your stuff

Ever think of dumping your old chairs away? Give it to your neighbour who has an event and charge a flat fee per hour. Someone needs a bicycle. Rent out to him per hour. Your friend is inviting some friends over and needs X-box with some games. Charge him hourly usage. Start a rental business of your own. Use website like Rent Tycoon to place your product.

5. Referrals

Social media is infectious. Imagine yourself recommending a good place to eat and you get a small reward. Your friend enjoys the sumptuous meal. Win-win! There is no need to know the other party. Firstly, build a presence in Facebook, focusing on a topic of your interest that you are known for. Talk about it regularly through small, insightful posts. When you get sufficient traffic, link up with companies and agencies that will pay you for the extra eyeballs. If you get a group of people to sign up their products and services, you get a commission. Not bad for a day’s work, isn’t it?

There you go! 3 months towards end Dec 2015. Use the variety of choices above. At least, it’s legitimate and you don’t end up financially burnt by get-rich schemes.

Most importantly, take action now!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

How to pull out key points from CEO/Chairman Statement in Annual Reports?

The AGM (Annual General Meeting) is coming. The annual report is printed with fancy images, painting a positive picture of the company. Looks like a colourful brochure to me. I flip the pages and more stunning visuals pop up. Selling the business may be appealing, however, that’s not important to me. What’s critical is the information beneath, which I need to tear out bits and pieces.

One of the first things I will look at is the CEO/Chairman statement. It’s an executive summary, providing an overview of the business. The statement is found in the first few pages of the prospectus. As example - I will use FJ Benjamin Annual Report 2012/2013. FJ Benjamin is in the business of selling apparel in retail outlets

Previously, I did a post regarding about the first 2 questions that a Retail Investor should ask in an annual report

Before going further, I will like to highlight that my interpretation is objectively angled, based on the aim of this article – what are the useful details to pick up in CEO/Chairman statement. The thinking process is the most important. Additionally, it’s practically challenging to connect many things together in an article. (easier to communicate verbally with visual drawings) Otherwise, the blog post will be lengthy. Therefore, I will cover a portion of it.

If you need to know more about the CEO/Chairman statement, please feel free to contact me (scroll down the page and the "contact me" box is on the right hand side of my blog) and I’ll send you a free copy of my template. And if you are keen to discuss further, drop me a note and I am happy to correspond with you.

Do kindly note that I do not own shares of FJ Benjamin. This report is used for educational purpose only. Seek your licensed financial advisor for professional advices.

CEO/Chairman Statement

Firstly, I will scan through the entire pages to get a “feel” about the business condition that impacts FJ Benjamin, understanding that it’s prone to macroeconomic shifts. It’s to gather the management’s opinion about the firm’s current (and future) scenario.

Next, I will write down a set of keywords found in the summary that emphasizes the business conditions:

1) Most challenging

2) Volatile times

3) Subdued sentiment in China

4) Dampened consumer outlook

5) Reduced spending in the lifestyle arena

The keywords are found on page 1 and page 2 of the Executive Chairman’s Review.

While it’s good to accept the details at face value, I will ask myself if the above reflects the current trend now – by checking external country statistics, press releases and compare like-for-like listed retailer, similar to FJ Benjamin. Sometimes, prior observation on the ground assists my cross-checks. For instance, I will randomly ask my female professional friends who are regular lifestyle shoppers and compare their feedback with published sources. (e.g. newspaper clippings and income figures)

After getting a cursory insight of the external environment, I will seek to comprehend the factors surrounding the overall business performances, using 3 pessimistic questions.

A. What causes the company to be in this stage of business performance?

B. Is this a permanent or temporary financial change to the business?

C. How did the management plan to navigate around the obstacles?

Illustration for questions A and C:

A. What causes the company to be in this stage of business performance?

It’s stated that the luxury timepiece business is the main drag on earnings, due to the subdued sentiment in China that affects consumer spending. Thus, the business in Hong Kong and Taiwan are affected.

Another reason is the inventory turnover – “orders for goods are placed many months in advance, we found ourselves with more inventory than required”

This probably may explain why the management aims to be “nimble and flexible”, as highlighted in the first paragraph, including this question that is answered briefly - C. How did the management plan to navigate around the obstacles?

I like to be on the downside, asking questions like the above. It’s during this transition that I am able to clearly discover the management’s tone and ability to turnaround the business. When the business is doing well, the CEO’s statement looks green and rosy to me and therefore, it’s hard to find out the underlying reasons.

Thus, I am practically studying the integrity of the management. No business is 100% foolproof. Since the keyword is “dampened consumer outlook”, I won’t expect above-average returns. A good way is to study the past 3 to 5 year’s annual reports and keep track whether the FJ Benjamin has been using the same reasoning. If it is, the question to ponder is “how will the top guys allocate resources, create opportunities and propel the business forward?” And has FJ Benjamin meet their supposed targets quoted in past CEO/Chairman statements?

To investigate further, I will read through the overall results of each division. The company will comprise of several subsidiaries/business units that contribute to the Group’s profitability/loss.

In this instance, I will turn to both the Chairman and CEO’s report. Here are some data facts:

There is the fashion, licensing and timepiece segment, split by country and region. You can also refer to the charts in the next few pages:

In the Chairman/CEO statement, there can be more to read within the lines. Extract essential intelligence, place them together in an A4 paper and this will make sense of where the company’s direction is heading, how they are able to react constructively during the bad times and where the business is moving forward in the near future. There can be some missing analysis. Don't worry, that’s fine. I can read up the rest of the annual reports and contact FJ Benjamin for further clarity. Certain inputs from external analyst reports are free and may help too.

Feel free to contact me at the bottom right hand corner of my blog should you need any assistance.

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