Bold. Focus. No nonsense. Always thinking out of the box. These are common descriptions of Kenny Teoh, founder and managing director of Hectarworld Group.
From humble beginnings in Taiping, Kenny moved to Kuala Lumpur during his teenage years with his mother and younger sister after the passing of his father and elder sister, seeking a brighter future in the capital city. Kenny had to work as a part-timer in various jobs while pursuing his studies in economics and IT as he strongly believed that education is the key to success and the best solution out of poverty. Finally after years of hard work and perseverance juggling work and studies, he successfully obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Economics (Hons), Diploma in IT, Economics and Business Administration.
After graduation, Kenny was hired by an ICT MNC for an entry-level job and quickly rose through the ranks after working with a few top 500 Fortune MNCs. Within a short period of time, he was overseeing Asia and Oceania regions. It came as a surprise to many when he decided to resign from his high-flying position after 8 years – because deep inside, he knew that this was not the dream that he was chasing. He left this comfort zone and joined the real estate industry where he started from the bottom again – as a real estate negotiator. Coupled with his never stop learning attitude, he continued his studies to pursue his Diploma in Real Estate Agency by BOVAEP. It was not long before he started his real estate company and other real estate related businesses, bringing with him his years of vast managerial experience and innovative, technology driven approach.
Under Kenny’s leadership, Hectarworld Group has now involved into everything real estate related – including real estate agency, property management, training and education, end-to-end real estate investment services and co-development with property developers. With some 1000 members and staff, the Group is able to provide service coverage in the northern, central and southern regions of West Malaysia, together with a service delivery team in Australia and affiliates in Singapore.
Kenny envisions to make Hectarworld Group the leading real estate company, a fully-integrated real estate investment and development firm. It is also in his goal to bring the Group to the next level – by expanding its wing to the South East Asia region in the near future.
Developersand designers have to understand that the olden ways of just building four walls with basics are not applicable in this ‘New Normal’ era.”
Malaysia has had its fair share of key players in the property market, whom are either highly respected seniors or are next-in-line to succeed their parents’ empires. However, a new group of young and successful individuals have emerged and made a name for themselves. They may not be as well known and experienced as the former, but they are definitely a force to be reckoned with in the near future.
ZNEN Group Director Tan Wei Xin is among the emerging that has shown significant results in the Penang property scene. This small yet mighty property company led by Tan has propelled through the current COVID-19 crisis and even sold the Metropol development achieving 95% of secured sales. Metropol is a 30-storey development with 326 units serviced apartments and shops which is expected to be completed in 2021. Moreover, Tan has also started another project – Grains Residences, which is scheduled to be officially launched in 2021. Grains Residences will be the tallest building in Bukit Mertajam with an astonishing 45 storeys consisting of 401 units serviced apartments and shop lots. Remarkably, all shop units have already been booked.
During these few months, Tan has expanded his property development portfolio by investing in Hectarworld Group and eBox Group. “Collaborating with Hectarworld is an important strategy to create a customer and client centric platform where property developer, agents, buyers and investors can come together in an effective block chain synergy,” said Tan. He further added that joining eBox Group is another strategic move coinciding with today’s technology world. “Investing in PropTech or property technology does not only allow individuals and companies to conduct efficient research, buy, sell and manage real estates through data analysis, but this digital innovation also helps connect SMEs and start-ups to new potentials.”
Having a Bachelor’s Degree in Business and a Master‘s Degree in Applied Finance from Australia, Tan applies modern concepts with an emphasis on creating a lifestyle instead of just constructing a building. His perspectives stem from studying at Monash University in Melbourne, which was also where he met his wife Yan Chen. Tan believes that by living in the world’s most liveable city, Melbourne, he has gained valuable insight on how Australians strike balance between work and life. “I am grateful that my parents sent me to Melbourne, but I felt on top of the world when Yan Chen agreed to come back to Malaysia with me,” Tan explained with a big smile on his face. They have now been married for six years and have two beautiful children.
Tan and Yan Chen always wanted to share their experiences and happiness back in Penang. “We want to create a contemporary yet artistic lifestyle feel once the residents enter the main gate. A place they can look forward coming back to after a long day. A place to rest, recharge and spend quality time with their loved ones. Not only in their apartments but also being able to enjoy the facilities, environment, and artworks around,” said this loving couple. When asked about the new expectations of consumers moving forward, the young entrepreneur answered: “Developers and designers have to understand that the olden ways of just building four walls with basics are not applicable in this ‘New Normal’ era.” Lastly, Tan stressed that “We need to make Penang the next world’s most liveable place.”
“Correctly and practised honourably, feng shui can change the course of one’s life, avert disasters and pitfalls. When the yin and yang is in perfect harmony, then one can have the best of everything.”
Sporting his signature pencil beard, beret and scarf, David Xuan looks like a worldly French artist, but most people know behind that renaissance look is a highly intelligent, sensitive and intuitive artist, a master craftsman of Chinese geomancy or feng shui – the art of energy flow, orientation of designs and environment. A mind so attuned to the universe, he probably might have a special preview into the next dimension. Light-hearted and bubbly in personality he is intensely serious, analytical and astute when it comes to the realm of feng shui and metaphysics.
On the right side of 50, the world-renowned Xuan is based in Penang and has achieved recognition within corporate organisations and private clients. His disciples and students are in far-reaching countries like Russia, America, Australia, Indonesia, Hong Kong and Singapore. Besides being an advisor to numerous companies, he has been invited to do consultative and investigative works in the geographical study of feng shui and to give talks in China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand and Taiwan.
Interestingly Xuan started as a businessman but soon grew weary of the material world. Devoting his life to spirituality, he joined the monastery as a monk. Amidst deep meditation, oil-lighting and flower-bathing duties, Xuan heard a guiding voice. A few days later one feng shui master walked into his monastery. Xuan implored him to share his knowledge. Hence his professional journey into the science of feng shui and traditional Chinese metaphysics began in 1991.
The protégé dived into the study of the I-Ching Divination, Eight Trigrams, Eight Mansions, I-Symbol feng shui, San Yuan San He, Water Dragon, Xuan Kong Da Qua, Four Pillars of Destiny (Bazi), Zi Wei Dou Shu, Flying Stars, Eight Gates (Qi Men Dun Jia), Plum Blossom Oracle, Yin and Yang Yang feng shui, Meteor and Mountain Methods.
Constantly improving himself, Xuan incorporates modern technical devices in feng shui with science and logic. “Feng shui is not a religion but closely related to science and geography. It is a study on spatial arrangement, natural elements and energy flow. I’m always studying, researching and consulting with science professors and lecturers in universities about the diversion of chi flow on surfaces. Most of them fully agree with me. My techniques are compliant with science.”
Xuan’s mission is to share the authentic and organic knowledge of feng shui and Chinese metaphysics to create meaningful spaces within environments, improve professional and personal relationships, provide better health, lifestyle and happiness besides increasing wealth and success for other people.
Some say David Xuan is arrogant. His famous quote “If I cannot achieve a certain feng shui task, then most of my peers would not be able to accomplish it either” did not go down without criticism and smirks. “I’m not arrogant. For the last 20 years, most of my waking moments have been spent on compiling, studying and researching feng shui principles extensively. I scoured all the books in depth as well as laterally and I’ve gone through all the lineages of the art. My comprehensive system and approach can support a one-stop feng shui establishment. If I come across a stumbling block or problem, you can be sure that I’ll persevere to the ends of the universe to solve it. I never give up. If I can’t do it, then it simply cannot be done.”
Besides tenacity, being ethical is paramount to him. “My aim is to give all my clients effective and realistic audits. I do not hold anything back, not even with my students and disciples. I am open and I teach them everything, reveal every secret and weapon in my arsenal, in the hope that they will be better than me. I’d feel proud if they are.”
In this information and technology, Elon Musk-era, would feng shui ever be obsolete? Not according to Xuan. “Everyone and every living thing need feng shui. It is the basic building block of equilibrium and balance. The right feng shui can harness and propel you to unbridled success, boost your energy and life force. Everyone needs this supply, this awareness.”
Sadly, there is a dark side to feng shui. “Some people manipulate the principles of feng shui to do hocus pocus, to equate it with religion or to run scams. However, applied correctly and practised honourably, feng shui can change the course of one’s life, avert disasters and pitfalls. When the yin and yang is in perfect harmony, then one can have the best of everything.”
Success to Xuan has never been about materialism. “My ultimate goal is to see the world in peace, harmony and prosperity, to see a happy, healthy and better world.”
Founder of Doux Visage, Dr Goh Cosmeceutical, PhD in TCM
by Billie Ooi-Ng Lean Gaik
“I want to research, study and improve because my patients deserve more accurate and comprehensive answers.”
Aristotle once said, ‘Personal beauty is a greater recommendation than any letter of reference’. Dr Jenny Goh is the epitome of that quote in all manner of interpretation. If we can package beauty, health and wellbeing in a universe, Dr Goh would be the master of that universe.
A child of hardship many years ago, she was one of four siblings that helped her parents run their family coffee shop in Sri Petaling, Malaysia, at the age of seven. At a crossroad, after high school, she was torn between pursuing a career in the travel or beauty industry.
She became a beauty therapist but yearned to learn more. “When I flicked through my beauty course books I realised that this was what I liked – learning about anatomy, skin structure and its treatments. I Told myself – if I cannot be a doctor then I can be a skin doctor.”
A qualified acupuncturist and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioner today, Dr Goh has garnered over 25 years of experience in the beauty industry since 1996 and 17 years in the field of TCM since 2003. She received her PhD in TCM (Acupuncture) from Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine with a focus on hormones, stroke, cancer, cardiovascular and skin disease in 2017 and is currently undertaking her second PhD in TCM (Chinese Medicine) with emphasis on cancer, dietetics and cardiovascular issues. “I firmly believe in addressing health issues internally and externally. To treat a person adequately, I must address the fundamentals behind each problem and not just treat the symptoms. That was how I conceived the idea of combining the best of both worlds, eastern and western therapies – to include TCM into regular facial, slimming and total body wellness. My clinical treatment Doux Visage® stemmed from this belief – the combination of eastern acupuncture with western modern technology for total body wellness.” .
An advocate of natural and self-healing, Dr Goh highly recommends acupuncture and chi balancing to achieve true beauty and wellness. “I don’t believe in injections nor invasive surgery. I believe in TCM because it is my heritage and I’ve studied and researched the subject extensively. More than 5000 years of treatment cannot be wrong. Now some western doctors are also endorsing acupuncture, chi and energy flow as alternative treatments.”
Besides being published in the Shanghai Journal of Acupuncture Moxibution in 2015, Dr Goh also won the Star Outstanding Business Awards (SOBA) in 2016. With all that success buzzing around her, she manages to stay grounded. “I was very happy and excited but tried to remain calm and not be distracted from my work.”
Dr Goh is the SOBA AWARD WINNER 2016 (Most Promising Award for Doux Visage Sdn Bhd), 2017 (Female Entrepreneur of the Year) and 2019 (Female Entrepreneur of the Year and Most Promising Award for Dr. Goh Cosmeceutical Sdn Bhd).
Her philosophy in life is simple and effective. “Do things right. Keep on learning. Stay happy. Don’t set impossible goals. Go with the flow and more importantly – adjust and balance your chi before you have to seek treatment.”
Dato’ Mark Yeoh Director of YTL Hotels and Resorts
Good hotels are everywhere. The edge is always customer service. You can have gold taps and diamond chandeliers. At the end, what matters in hospitality is always the service.
Scion of the formidable YTL empire, Dato’ Mark Yeoh is the youngest son of the late Tan Sri Yeoh Tiong Lay, a billionaire and philanthropist who founded YTL Corporation. Executive director of YTL Hotels and Resorts, Dato’ Mark Yeoh is also part of YTL Power International’s mergers and acquisitions team involved in the acquisition of ElectraNet SA (Australia), Wessex Water Limited (UK), PT Jawa Power (Indonesia) and PowerSeraya Limited (Singapore).
Born in Klang, young Yeoh grew up in Kuala Selangor with his early education at Pasar Road School before attending Victoria Institution. Completing his A Levels at Brighton College UK, he went on to read law at King’s College London and passed the bar exams at Grace Inn. “I was the only son who was not gainfully employed at that time, therefore was summoned back to help the family. I started the hotel business without knowing a single thing.”
At his first ITB Berlin, the world’s largest tourism trade fair in 1988, Malaysia was unheard of and often confused with Malawi. Dato’ Yeoh took steps to place Malaysia on the map with the help of the Ministry of Tourism which launched many projects to promote Malaysia. Three decades and many welcoming slogans later, YTL Hotels and Malaysia finally established a respectable position on the world tourism barometer. “Competition is very tough now. Vietnam which never used to be a market is now an aggressive player. My first trip to Maldives, there were hardly any resorts, and I still remember the pillows made from coconut husks.”
There is a secret formula that holds YTL Hotels in good stead. “Our tagline ‘treasured moments, treasured places’ means that we are the purveyors of dreams and fantasies. We have every moment count. That’s the mantra we’ve been driving into our staff. Our hotels’ high occupancy rates reflect the popularity of our properties and our abilities to fulfil guests’ wishes.”
Hotel business is like fashion, there is no cookie cutter approach. You need to reinvest and reimage every seven years, to stay relevant and profitable.
For someone who started with not knowing a single thing in the hospitality industry, Dato’ Yeoh certainly has been put through the wringer. Yet he emerged an effective and revered leader and entrepreneur. “We call our staff stars. In most leadership structures the boss is the head of the pyramid. Ours is a reverse pyramid. I’m the most unimportant person in the company because I don’t see the customers. The moment my team wear the uniform when they start work, they are on parade. The show starts and they must smile, greet, be courteous. The challenge is to produce stars who understand our philosophies. That’s why we have the YTL International College of Hotel Management where we invest in training and hotel development programmes. Youth is the future of our business.”
With properties in Asia and UK, Dato’ Yeoh’s brand of management is holistic and immersive. “Working with partners like The Marriot and Hilton allows us to be more focussed, where we can dissect and segmentise our areas of expertise. The universal distribution system in the world is such that the big will get bigger so it’s good to have partnerships with these giants.”
Dato’ Yeoh’s superpowers in the hospitality realm are evident in some of his latest triumphs. One of them the Monkey Island Estate, a centuries-old retreat in Bray-on-Thames, Berkshire that nestles on an island in the River Thames; The Academy, London is a charming collection of five restored Georgian townhouses centrally located in London’s West End and finally the Higashiyama Niseko Village will be opening in December 2020, channelling unparalleled luxury to Japanese skiing in a hand-selected hideaway destination.
Dato’ Dr Nick Ng Founder of Mega Fortris Malaysia Sdn Bhd
The reason for our success is because we had went through a lot to get there and most important of all, we keep to our integrity and principles
Ng has always had an adventurous streak and he attributed most of his success to the adventures he had as a young man. He literally left home to see the world at the age of 18 years. With little money on hand, he took a ship to India and from there, made his way to Europe. It was a trip that formed who he is today. It taught him perseverance and a die-hard attitude. What he remembered most about that epic journey that spanned several years was how he had to suffer and starve in the beginning due to shortage of money. “I was adventurous and I was determined to make it, I don’t give up easily so no matter how much I suffered, I refused to go home, I wanted to stay on,” he said.
If one were to tell Dato’ Dr Nick Ng that he would reap huge success in selling security seals back when he was young, he would have laughed it off. Never in his imagination had he thought that his eventual success in life was from selling security seals that initially only earned him a few sen of profit per seal.
Ng had ventured into the security seal business with his brother Adrian, who is 15 years younger than him, in 1996. When he first started, he was quite sceptical of the profit as each security seal costs about 9 sen which they had to sell at 12 sen. “Yet, we had to push on, we wanted to penetrate the market,” he said.
The brothers persisted and thanks to Adrian’s sales skills, Ng said they started making it big and soon they were venturing overseas. Before long, Mega Fortris was manufacturing its own security seals and exporting it to various countries. It is now one of the leading security seal manufacturers in the world.
“I was adventurous and I was determined to make it, I don’t give up easily so no matter how much I suffered, I refused to go home, I wanted to stay on,”
Even after he came back to Malaysia, Ng found it hard to stay put in Penang. Life here was monotonous and boring so he left again and this time, he went to United Kingdom to work as a window cleaner for three years.
He came back to Malaysia from that stint and tried a few businesses which failed. This never deterred him. Instead, he pushed on with his die-hard attitude as he believed he would eventually make it.
The Ng brothers started Mega Fortris with a RM2 million debt and it was their joint hard work that led to their success today. ”The reason for our success is because we had gone through a lot to get here and most important of all, we keep to our integrity and principles,” he said.
His advice to the youths is to venture out and take risks. “I was bold enough to take risks and this was where I learned important lessons about life,” he said.
“The cornerstone of RUMC being a successful medical school lies not only in the quality of the education it provides, but also in its students’ motivation in pursuing a career in medicine.”
RCSI & UCD Malaysia Campus (RUMC) is Malaysia’s first accredited private medical school, owned and established by the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) and University College Dublin (UCD), two world-renowned medical universities in Ireland.
As the demand for doctors continues to grow, there is a greater need to ensure that Medicine graduates are industry-ready. It goes without saying that the road to becoming a doctor is paved with ambition, discipline, and dedication from the get-go. And perhaps above all, it begins with the right drive and attitude that make RUMC’s students stand out from the rest.
RUMC is the first Irish Foreign University Branch Campus (FUBC) in Malaysia. This is where students begin their transnational journey in Dublin, Ireland and receive an Irish medical education as they undertake a high quality two-and-a-half year’s pre-clinical study at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) and University College Dublin (UCD).
Upon completion, the students return to Penang, Malaysia for a two-and-a-half year’s clinical phase where they will receive on-site training as they interact with patients at Penang General Hospital, Seberang Jaya Hospital, and Taiping Hospital.
This means that RUMC doctors-in-training would have better access to patients, allowing them to focus and nurture their patient-care and medical skills to its full potential. Graduates are conferred a National University of Ireland (NUI) degree, a globally-recognised medical education qualification, and are industry-ready thanks to the immersive clinical years.
The cornerstone of RUMC being a successful medical school lies not only in the quality of the education it provides, but also in its students’ motivation in pursuing a career in medicine. Today, RUMC is amongst the top medical schools in the country in preparing students for Housemanship.
“As an elite FUBC, our staff works in an environment that drives forward the pursuit of knowledge and aims to impact society around us”, said Professor Stephen Doughty, President & CEO.
RUMC’s unique relationship with the Malaysian Ministry of Health allows exclusive use of the Penang General Hospital for the students’ clinical training. Students graduate as doctors, receiving an internationally recognised medical degree, namely the MB BCh BAO (Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery and Bachelor of Obstetrics) followed by a two-year placement as House Officers.
“Today, RUMC is amongst the top medical schools in the country in preparing students for Housemanship.”
The University is recognised by the Malaysian Medical Council (MMC) and Irish Medical Council (IMC) as graduating high performing doctors. Students are recognised for practice in the USA, Canada and others by the ECFMG and FAIRMER with the institution listed as an Irish medical school in the World Directory of Medical Schools (WDOMS).
In ensuring that its top-of-the-class standard is maintained, RUMC’s medical education is delivered by a faculty of experienced and highly qualified practitioners and academics, supported by a diverse executive team and staff.
Established as Penang Medical College (PMC) in 1996, RUMC was awarded University status by the Malaysian Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE) as a Foreign University Branch Campus in 2018, one of the highest levels for a foreign-owned institution in Malaysia.
“We want to ensure that the living space of the community consists of value added features such as major public amenities and upgraded infrastructures.”
Royalty is a novelty. So unless you’re born into it or through marriage, most of us just live ordinary lives. But in the property world, you can become royalty through the old fashioned way of hard work and merit. That is how executive chairman of Ideal Property Group, Tan Sri Datuk Alex Ooi became the “Property King” of Penang. He has definitely earned this commendable title through his dedication and passion. From nothing, he started Ideal Property Group in 1997 and is now an award winning and well known Penang institution with an array of impressive local and international projects under its belt.
Some of its notable developments include the Attwood Business Centre with a gross development value (GDV) of USD15 million in Cambodia in 2006 and I-Avenue in 2007. Ooi has wrapped up SummerSkye Residences with Solaria Residences and is looking forward to the completion of One Foresta in January 2019.
With such a vast portfolio of projects and more in the pipeline, the 46 year old remains humble and says that property is a passion, rather than an ambition. He is also the chairman for FIABCI Malaysia Chapter Penang Branch, the vice president for Penang Chinese Chamber and Commerce and Convenor for Penang Development, Construction and Management Committee (a Group under Penang Chinese Chamber of Commerce).
Ooi strongly envisions the improvement of Penang’s transportation infrastructure and currently has a 20% stake in SRS Consortium Sdn Bhd, the project delivery partner of the Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP). The PTMP is a RM27 billion investment that was formed by the Penang state government to improve transportation by providing alternative transportation modes to combat worsening traffic congestion – such as Light Rail Transit (LRT) and monorail lines.
“While I have multiple roles, what’s really important to me is CSR for the Penang community. Some of my causes were to build infrastructure and amenities like markets, hawker stalls, community centers, a fire station for the Sri Tanjung voluntary firemen. I’ve also supported the build of the St.John service centre, constructed the new access road of Persiaran Rajawali and widened the road along Jalan Tun Dr. Awang. We’ve also raised the road level and upgraded the drainage system in Relau, Bayan Lepas for flood mitigation purposes,” says Ooi, who is also a dedicated family man.
“While I have multiple roles, one thing that is important to me is carrying out CSR for the Penang community.”
He believes that Ideal Property Group has been successful because of its consistent CSR projects. On the business side, Ooi maintains his competitive advantage by delivering sustainable community-oriented development rather than offering just tower blocks as shelter.
“We’re prudent in planning developments where the surrounding environment is well taken care of. We want to ensure that the living space of the community consists of value added features such as major public amenities and upgraded infrastructures,” he said.
By doing this, the Property King will continue to reign as he will create more community-oriented and affordable development and at the same time, deliver more property gems and ultimately contribute to the nation’s economy.
“即使身兼数职，但对我来说重要的一件事是为槟城社区履行社会责任。我的一些目标是建立公共和便利设施，比如市场、小贩摊位、社区中心、Sri Tanjung 的志愿消防队员的消防站。我也支持了圣约翰服务中心的建设，还有 Persiaran Rajawali 设新通道的工程，包括 Jalan Tun Dr. Awang 的道路拓宽。我们还提高Relau的道路水平和提升排水系统，以缓解防范 水患问题。”他认为，宏升集团之所以成功，是因为坚定贯彻企业社会责任项目（CSR）。在商业策略方面，黄继樑持续透过建设社区为主要导向的发展，而不仅是提供楼宅作为住处以保持市场竞争优势。
Several months ago in 2017, Malaysia’s stock market seemed robust and full of potential, however, today there are rumours of an impending slump in the market due to various factors. On that note, Malaysia’s first quarter performance in 2018 has indicated a less than impressive earnings performance. Although investment experts explain that markets tend to rise and fall, it is always wise for one to be cautious and well-informed of how to navigate the volatile market place, while achieving positive outcomes.
To strike a good balance, the buzzword today is to consider goal-based investing which is to simply prioritise a series of key life goals and objectives, and duly put away funds with a view to accumulating these goals a somewhat complex affair.
“Recognising that our customers need help in navigating a complex market environment with the aim of optimizing returns from their investments, we have set in place a five-year strategy that is aimed at delivering greater value to our customers. One of the core areas of our FIT22 strategic direction to gain greater market share in the affluent segment through differentiated products and services which offer greater value and helps customers to strengthen financial portfolio and achieve their goals,” explains Dato’ Khairussaleh Ramli, Group Managing Director, RHB Banking Group.
Less than a year ago, the global investment environment was awash with positive sentiment. Technology stocks were the darlings of the fund management industry, and seemingly everyone wanted a piece of premium tech equity. Malaysia’s own stock market was rosy; for a while in the 2017 in- vestment climate, it almost seemed impossible to lose money.
Fast forward to today, and the conversation has turned distinctly from one of unbridled optimism in company earnings, to whispers of the next market slump. Malaysia’s stunning General Election results this year further threw a wrench in an already softening financial market. Malaysia has seen a less than impressive earnings performances in quarter 1 of 2018. But why is this relevant? Markets may rise and fall, but the need to fund major financial milestones is constant. The market may well be softening, but you can ill-afford the same fate for your finances.
Building the nest egg 构筑安乐窝
So, you’ve resolved to take the bull (market) by the horns and get your long-term finances in order. Well done, but the challenge is only just beginning. Goal-based investing, that is, prioritising a series of key life goals and objectives, and then putting away funds with a view to accomplishing these goals, can be a complex affair. Not everybody has the funds to accomplish all of their goals, so prioritising is key.
In this regard, Encik Nazri Othman, Acting Head of RHB Group Retail Distribution opine allocating different weightages according to the urgency of these goals. Once you know how much you’re willing to commit to which goals, start working on these goals as early as possible, and let the compounding interest do all the hard work. As a general rule, a goal with a longer-term horizon can have a more aggressive investment allocations, while shorter-term goals should ideally be played more safely. Short-term investing typically lasts no more than three years or so, which means you’d need a larger than normal initial investment amount. Alternatively, one might have to commit to fairly frequent top-ups in order to achieve the goal, if there is any shortfall. However, being short-term does not mean being reckless; over a shorter-term investment horizon, your allocations should mainly go into defensive as- sets such as investment grade bonds with shorter maturity dates, as well as resilient blue-chip equities with strong dividend track records.
Advise from the experts is always welcome, but even so, investors should never take their eyes off the prevailing investment climate. Managing volatility can mean all the difference in terms of having enough for your children to take their pick of the top universities. It may be understandably tempting to make a play for a bit of alpha and go bargain-hunting in the current softening environment. However, undervalued equities should not be the sole reason for diving headfirst back into the current equity market. So, what is a person to do in this softening environment?
In the view of Calvin Goon, Head of Affluent, WM & Banca, RHB Bank, investors to stay invested, but to also periodically rebalance their portfolios in order to keep up with market forces and the overall outlook. After all, money hidden under the bed is money that isn’t working for you. Softening markets can offer alluring opportunities to bargain hunt, sure, but it is also a good time for goal based investors to strategize and go defensive with their portfolios. Calvin further explained that funds have flowed out from equities and the high yield space, into investment grade bonds. Investors would be well advised to revise their asset allocations to favour inflation-friendly commodities like precious metals, downside protected structured products, as well as investment grade bonds. These assets will be more appropriate in late economic cycles or even periods of recession.