With the year 2022 coming to a close, I felt it is timely for me to share a review of my investment and trading journey this year.

If I were to sum up the entire year in one word, it will be the word “challenging.”

Here are some of the key highlights about my year (as a retail investor cum trader) to note (both the good, as well as the bad…)

1. The Most Popular Member in InvestingNote for 2021

Back in February this year, I was voted by fellow community members of investing platform InvestingNote as the “Most Popular Member.” Deep down, I felt really honoured to receive the award, and very thankful to everyone on the platform who have casted their votes for me.

This trophy, which is the first I have received in my professional career, is something I really cherish. It is currently sitting on my work desk, just beside my monitor, serving as a good motivation for me to keep going to continue to churn out more contents for people who have been supporting me all these while (because without all these support, I don’t think I will be able to continue with all these writing right up to this very day):

A Big Thank You Once Again to Fellow Community Members in InvestingNote Who have Voted for Me to Win the "Most Popular Member" Award
A Big Thank You Once Again to Fellow Community Members in InvestingNote Who have Voted for Me to Win the “Most Popular Member” Award

Along with the presentation of the trophy, I was also being interviewed by the COO of InvestingNote, Mr Ethan Ho, where I shared about my thoughts about the market situation then, along with investing in REITs in general. You can check out the video below:

This was also the first time I did a “live” in-person interview, and I’d like to thank to InvestingNote for the opportunity. As this is my first “live” session I have done, it wasn’t the best, and I have identified areas which I can improve the next time round (particularly on the body posture.)

2. First “Live” Zoom Sharing on the Hong Kong Market

Many thanks to InvestingNote for the opportunity once again, I did my first “live” Zoom sharing about the Hong Kong market last month.

For those who have missed out the video, you can check it below:

To be very honest with myself, I felt there were a couple of areas for improvement – particularly in the cutting down of some of the words I have said repeatedly (it’s a habit of mine as well when I speak to people.) Another area will be in the presentation of my technical analysis on individual counters – I should have done screen captures and put them in PowerPoint slides beforehand instead of loading it directly from TradingView as I was presenting them – the presentation would have been “smoother.”

3. Launch of The Singaporean Investor on Instagram

Some time back in December last year, I have started an Instagram account for The Singaporean Investor, where followers will find summarised and pictorial versions of company analyses on the account (if you have an Instagram account, you can follow The Singaporean Investor’s Instagram Page here.)

The Singaporean Investor on Instagram
The Singaporean Investor on Instagram

This account focuses more on analyses of US-listed companies, as I want to reach out to a more international audience on a different platform. Moving forward, I will also be sharing pictorial analyses of Hong Kong-listed companies on that account (so for those who are into Hong Kong-listed companies, do keep a lookout for them!)

4. Heavy Loss in the Options Market

Prior to March, I have been pretty heavy in the option market – where one of my income sources came from selling “out of the money” call and put options (at prices that are at least 20-30% away from their current traded prices.)

People who have knowledge about the options market will know that it is extremely risky selling “naked” options (what this means is that I do not have shares of the counters in the options I was selling.)

I was “stung” by the sudden spike in market volatility back in March, where one of my “sell call” option was being “exercised” and I was forced to buy a huge quantity of a particular counter using margins, as I do not have sufficient cash in my account. To make matters worse, the counter saw a sharp decline the following day, and I was being “margin called” – this led to me suffering a huge loss, and following this incident, I’ve decided to cancel my “margin account” and stick to just a “cash account” from hereon.

This loss is a very, very painful one for me, and at that point in time, I was literally “loss for words” because the amount was a huge one (not going to mention the exact amount but the loss was big enough for me to decide to close off my “margin account.”)

For those of you who are reading this, and thinking of “selling naked options”, do take note of the possibility of being “wiped” and suffer from huge monetary losses as a result of a sudden surge in market volatility.

5. Bearish Market Meant that Trading Opportunities this Year are “Few and Far Between”

Fellow short-term traders will probably agree with me on this – as a result of the bearish market, it has been very difficult to find “good trading setups.” And for those of you who are seeing their trading results in negative figures, you’re not alone, as mine is the same as well.

On this front, unfortunately, there’s nothing much we can do but to patiently wait for good trading setups to come – never enter into trades just for the sake of it, as more often than not, it will lead to a negative outcome.

Another thing to note in this highly volatile environment is to make sure that you do not just focus on the potential gains, but also how much you could potentially lose should the share price movement of the counter you are trading moves in the opposite direction, and you can minimise your loss (and at the same time, protecting your capital) by having a “stop-loss” in place, where you promptly get out of trade when your “stop-loss” price is hit.

6. Singapore and US Long-Term Investment Portfolio also Down for the Year

I’m pretty sure I’m not alone here as well – as a result of the current economic condition, both my Singapore, as well as US long-term investment portfolio are in red for the year.

For my Singapore investment portfolio (you can check out a list of companies I have investments in, along with my average prices, here), the reason for negative returns is because it is heavy on REITs (and their unit prices have tumbled from their highs due to headwinds from a high interest rate environment); for my US portfolio, it is due to the fact that most of the companies I’m invested in are tech companies (Amazon, Alphabet [aka Google], PayPal, HubSpot, along with Singapore-based SEA Limited), and usually, a high interest rate environment does not bode well for these companies.

Despite of that, I have held onto all of my investments (and continue to collect dividends while waiting for the broad market, along with share prices of the companies I’ve invested in to eventually recover), as the business fundamentals of all the companies continue to remain sound. Also, in my opinion, the high interest rate environment is only a passing phase (just like what we have seen over the years, where they will come down eventually.)

For those of you who are wondering if I am looking to increase my shareholdings in these companies at lower prices, the answer is yes – while a bearish market does not bode well for short-term traders who are “long” on the market (meaning entering a trade to buy a counter at a low price, and sell at at a higher price to generate a profit in the difference between the buy and sell prices), but as far as long-term investing is concerned, times like this present opportunities for us to increase our stakes in fundamentally sound companies at discounted prices.

7. Resumption of In-Person Events

With most of the safe management measures being eased as Singapore moves towards “living with Covid”, in-person events have gradually resumed – and opportunities like this allow like-minded individuals to get together to network and mingle (and the information exchange during such sessions are invaluable.)

One of such events I attended was SGX’s Green Field Trip featuring CapitaLand Investment Limited last month (where I was privileged to be invited by the CEO of InvestingNote, Mr Shanison Lin, to be one of the attendees.) Apart from gaining a much better understanding about CapitaLand Investment Limited’s sustainability plans, I’ve also met a number of retail investors, where we exchanged thoughts about the various Singapore-listed companies, and investment strategies – personally, I’ve learned a lot from them, as they were very open about sharing their many years of investing experiences with me:

Pleasure to be Invited by CEO of InvestingNote, Mr Shanison Lin (on the Right) to be an Attendee in SGX's Green Field Trip featuring CapitaLand Investment Limited
Pleasure to be Invited by CEO of InvestingNote, Mr Shanison Lin (on the Right) to be an Attendee in SGX’s Green Field Trip featuring CapitaLand Investment Limited

Just last Friday (16 December), I’ve also attended my first company general meeting as a shareholder in more than 2 years – as EC World REIT, a China-based REIT I have investments in, held its EGM to seek unitholders’ approval to divest 2 of its properties to raise at least 25% of the borrowings it had to repay to the borrowers by 31 December 2022 (after the meeting, I have published a post to summarise the key pointers for the benefit of those who weren’t able to attend. If you are interested, you can read about it here):

EC World REIT's Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) at Amara Singapore on 16 December 2022
EC World REIT’s Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) at Amara Singapore on 16 December 2022

It was great to meet up with my blog readers in-person, and in 2023, with physical AGMs/EGMs set to resume, I look forward to meet up with more retail investors.

Closing Thoughts

The above are some of the key highlights of 2022 as a retail investor cum trader to share – I hope you’ve had a much better 2022 than me. If you like to share your experiences with me, you can either share them in the “Comments” section below, or if you prefer to share them with me privately, you can send me a message here.

Looking at 2023, with headwinds caused by the continued high interest rate environment, worsening geopolitical conditions between US and China, and also the war in Ukraine showing no signs of abating, my opinion is that the first half of the year is likely to be as tough (if not tougher) than this year. Market volatility in my opinion is also likely going to be higher than usual – so for those looking to invest in fundamentally sound companies at discounted prices, your chance is still here; for short-term trading, due to the market volatility, it becomes all the more important for you to first have a trading plan (where you have your target entry price, profit-taking price and stop-loss price) in place prior to entering the trade – also, you should make sure you stick to this trading plan very closely.

With that, I have come to the end of today’s post. Hope you’ve picked up a nugget or two from the contents above. Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas, and a very fulfilling and prosperous 2023 ahead!

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