INVEST! Day 2: A World of Storytellers and Number Crunchers

Article by Robert G. Tan / Photos by Marco Millan

Invest! is a two-day event that strives to provide an avenue for investment education and stocks training.

 

The Ateneo Management Economics Organization (MEcO) once again held its annual INVEST! With this year’s theme being entitled “Seek the Peak”, the organizers thought of inviting two speakers to talk – with the first one (link to article: tinyurl.com/INVEST-First-Day) being held a week before the other.
 
Last September 18, Edmund Lee, the head of a trading institute, had given a talk about the stock market and personal finance. On the 25th of September, however – the event’s organizers were able to invite a professional trader to talk about investing and trading, as well as the implications that arise from each of the two.
 
With Day One having a corporate CEO take the stage – Day Two of INVEST! saw Brian Ngan, the Chief Investment Officer of the Cedarside Holdings Corporation, grace the newly renovated halls of Escaler. MEcOnistas Alex Cordova and Nicole Salazar returned as the event’s hosts – first introducing Daisie Zeng, who lead the opening remarks in front of a jam-packed audience.
 
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Mr. Ngan began his talk by introducing two words – investing and trading, terms that are different but often used interchangeably. These two form the stock market’s first and second paradigm, respectively. The first one, investing, is when you buy stocks now and hold on to it for a long time. “Investing is about picking the right companies to invest in,” said the speaker. Trading, on the other hand, is when you buy a stock and sell it after a few days. He then said that you shouldn’t do both simultaneously and that it is “more prudent to be the first one – the long-term kind of investor.” This is because according to him, people either don’t have the time to invest/trade or don’t know how to altogether.
 
He recalls the story of when he met with a couple of people from Macroasia Corporation, an aviation company specializing in aircraft maintenance and catering. He did this after noticing something unusual in Macroasia’s income charts. The fact that it is a business owned by corporate magnate, Lucio Tan, gives it the identity of being the prime food provider in Philippine Airlines (PAL), also owned by the Tan family; and that is exactly what people think it is in the investment world. However, after meeting the people behind Macroasia and tasting their food (which he said rivalled that of five-star hotels), Mr. Ngan discovered that for eight years, Macroasia Corporation has been the food supplier of twelve airlines, including Singapore and Cathay Pacific. And the only thing they supply to PAL is their famous arroz caldo. He says that, “Not only is this company misunderstood. They are hedging their risks.”
 
He told this story to show the crowd that investing isn’t just about the numbers. It’s about the story. And from this, he claims, arise two types of people: the number crunchers and the story tellers. The reason why people didn’t know anything about Macroasia is because they didn’t ask. Mr. Ngan describes investing as a “bridge between the numbers and the narrative.” Storytellers need to learn the discipline gotten from numbers, while number crunchers need to get the imagination to know about the narratives behind them.
 
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Indeed, there is a place for everyone in the world of investing. But if one wants to do trading as a profession, Mr. Ngan points out that one needs to learn the rules of the game. Active trading is not for the faint of heart. And even though “the mind, the money management, and the method” are very vital in trading for a living, they are not the most important thing. “You need to have the fortitude or the mental preparation to win a lot or to lose a lot.”
 
If one were to survive in a world of story tellers and number crunchers, one has to have “balls of steel.”

The Filipino is Worth Investing For: Invest! Day 1

Written by Kevin Choa / Photos by Mark Anastacio and Issa Imperial
 
Invest! is a two-day event which aims to teach the basic skills and principles to anyone interested in investing, whether it be in the stock market or in other investments.
 
 
Last September 18, the Ateneo Management Economics Organization (MEcO) kicked off one of its flagship projects on financial literacy: Invest! This two-day event aims to teach the basic skills and principles to anyone interested in investing, whether it be in the stock market or personal finance.
 
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Day One saw Edmund Lee, a Chartered Financial Analyst and the President and CEO of Caylum Trading Institute, share his insights on investing to a packed, standing room-only crowd at the Escaler Hall. Much of his talk discussed about the common fears and debunked certain myths about the stock market to new investors, as well as explaining why the Philippine market is a good investment at this time.
 
Mr. Lee began his talk by mentioning that millennials are the luckiest generation so far. Information, according to him, is now within easy reach due to advances and innovations in technology. That being said, one’s success is not dependent on one’s access to such technology; it’s how one uses it to his/her advantage that counts. However, he mentioned that despite the enormous wealth of information one may have, there would always be a need to maximize it. Future generations, Mr. Lee said, would become smarter and more adaptive, therefore making it more important to build on one’s resources as much as possible.
 
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The speaker then proceeded to explain why investing was a simpler way to increase one’s wealth, emphasizing the fact that majority of the wealthiest individuals in the world built their fortunes on investments over inheritances. As costs increase and going into business becomes harder, investing is a viable option, as you “make your money work for you.” In saying this, Mr. Lee said that large companies and corporations are partners in the business world, considering the amount of influence and networks they have on the overall business community. While being an entrepreneur is still a common practice, many entrepreneurs turn to those businesses for help.
 
Moving on to the topic of the stock market as a representation of the economy, it is anything but certain, given the various rises and drops in the values of certain stocks at certain periods of time. An example would be the 2016 Philippine elections, in which no one could be certain that Rodrigo Duterte is the best option amongst all the candidates before he was elected. Mr. Lee further emphasized that until his or her term ends, no one can confidently tell or fully prove if a president is considered a good or bad leader. Such uncertainty during an election creates noise on who would be the best one, similar to the stock market itself.
 
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Mr. Lee then added that there are always scapegoats, negative press, and other sorts of distractions which affect the trading and investing decisions in the stock market. He emphasized that despite the constant news of dropping values, not every drop means economic recession. Not only was the Philippine economy not badly hit by the 2008 financial crisis in the United States, but also much of the Philippine GDP comes from outside the country (BPOs and OFWs), according to Mr. Lee. He also said that investors must focus on long-term effects any policy or event has on the economy, no matter the short-term risks it imposes.
 
Mr. Lee then encouraged the audience to begin investing, by saying that “Everyone wants to invest in the Philippines, except the Filipino.”, as well as encouraged investing in megatrends in the country and internationally. He then cited the stories behind the success of various companies, such as Apple, Yahoo!, Blackberry, and Universal Robina, companies which expanded their operations and succeeded as a result. All four companies’ stock prices had an upward spike in value at some point.
 
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At the end of the day, however, Mr. Lee encouraged new investors to fully understand the scope of their investments. He mentioned the value of brands, as well as the various trends and innovations which change people’s lives, stressing that unlike popular opinion, the stock market is anything but a gamble. It is full of points to consider: where one is in the market, what the market conditions are, and how one must act based on decisions and events which affect the business community. He then closed Day One by discussing the concept of a shared economy, crucial to new investors as well. The Philippines is full of demographics, young labor, and the development of technology which could soon arrive. As part of the market, we as investors share the economic activity and growth, which is dominant in a time where some of the richest companies own nothing and earn on sharing services from other people. Even with all this technology and knowledge flowing, there is nothing to gain if these are not properly shared and determine the overall activity of the stock market.
 
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Invest! Day 2 will be held on Monday, September 25 at Escaler Hall. Brian Ngan, Chief Investment Officer for Cedarside Holdings Corporation, will discuss the basic skills for trading and investing, the final step for new investors willing to seek the peak.