Recently, we got in touch with Robin Han, one of the contestants of the SGX Bull Charge Stock Challenge as well as a veteran contributing influencer of the InvestingNote community, to understand more about his investing strategies, his philosophy, and what motivated him to get started in the first place.
With less than a month to go, some of the top participants have achieved double digit portfolio returns within the timeframe of just 3 months. Impressive! For those who are wondering, the SGX Bull Charge Stock Challenge is only open to professionals and influencers in the finance industry.
But the question we should really ask is, how did they do it? What is their investment or trading philosophy? Who inspired them? What styles of investing or trading are they using?
We believe that every one of these professionals have different styles of investing, expertise in different types of securities and also have their own story to tell.
Here’s Robin’s story:
Tell me more about yourself and how did you get started in investing or trading?
I started trading when I was a Ph.D candidate in NUS. My scholarship terminated after Year 4 and I tried to find some way to earn my daily expenses and tuition fee. I jumped into market without any knowledge hoping to earn some easy money. But that turned out to be a disaster and took me almost 2 years to clear my loss by doing tuition.
This very important lesson taught me to do trading by logic rather than by emotion. Throughout 3 years of trial & error, I learnt to not lose money consistently and even make some small profit in the market. Then I started to pursuit “trading for a living” in 2011. This allowed me to o enjoy lower trading cost, improve myself through sharing and also lower my pressure to squeeze every single cent from the market.
I became a Trading Rep with a local broking firm and have been with them since then.
What type of trader or investor would you say you are?
Basically, I believe market is a decision making game (competition) between all the market participants. Since it is impossible for us to collect all the information for the market (not even for a single stock), and whatever fundamental and technical factor must influence price through buy and sell action, I choose to be a trader who focus on reading of smart money flow, market traps and counter trade accordingly, generally short term to mid term time frame. Reading charts, patterns and market traps to find out the possible fund flow of smart money and develop trading plans with good risk/reward ratio is my daily job.
What are your best investment and worst investment since you started investing?
Since trading is my job, I have experienced numerous good and bad trades. But the worst investments were definitely those made in late 2007 when I just started trading, with zero knowledge. During that period, I almost never cut when losses were small and many of them grew into ‘big monsters’ as the market just started falling from peak. Eventually, my contra loss was much more than what I have in bank. I will never forget the feeling of panic and pain experienced back then.
There have been many good trades along my trading journey, so it’s really hard to tell exactly which one is the best.
However, one particular trade that I feel quite satisfied with myself and can recall was Super Group in late 2016. I bought at $0.885 and price move 10% within 1 week, then it suddenly had a trading halt and many investors worried it will gap down after some announcement. But I was not worried then, feeling it is likely to release good news according to the movement before the halt, based on my game theory analysis. Eventually, Super Group announced an offer with 34% premium, those who followed my InvestingNote estimate made 42% gross within a week plus.
Do you have an idol in investing or trading? If so, what’s the most memorable teaching from them?
There are definitely many people I learn from, through books, seminars and the InvestingNote community. But in terms of my idol, I would say it is George Soros, who “broke the bank of England” with great timing skill and his theory of reflexivity.
This quote from him always reminds me to be objective and pro-actively in handling my loss: Once we realize that imperfect understanding is the human condition there is no shame in being wrong, only in failing to correct our mistakes.
Do you have any rules to stock picking?
Yes, it’s a lot of detail rules regarding the trend, pattern, daily trading volume, certain fundamental and technical criteria. But the most important criteria is, the overall analysis must make me believe a explosive move is coming soon, according to trend, pattern, market trap analysis, etc. Although losing is always a part of the game, it greatly improved my skills in timing as well as my risk reward ratio. It often help me catch those fast moving opportunities, you can just refer to some of my posts or estimates (on InvestingNote).
What do you think of the current market conditions in Singapore right now?
Singapore stocks’ overall general valuation is quite low and attractive, but from my point of view STI is in a downtrend already, I tend to expect a trend will continue. So mid to long-term wise, I am not very positive. But for short term, STI is quite over-sold, we may see some nice rebound soon.
Which industry and sectors are you currently looking at and why?
I almost look at every single sector everyday with the help of my self-developed stock scanner. So my focus may change very fast depending on market conditions. But for the time being, I am paying more attention to Maritime and Technology stocks as these two sectors are showing some strength and indicating possible fund injection.
What is your day to day strategy towards investing or trading? i.e. a top-down or bottom-up approach for stock picking?
I pay more attention to movement of individual stocks and let the market tell me where big funds are heading to. So I am using a bottom-up approach.
How do you manage your portfolio, passively or actively and elaborate on it?
Definitely actively. I found that my risk/reward ratio will be much better when I enter a stock at a good timing as it starts to some explosive move soon. Therefore, I am active in 1) stock picking 2) timing the entry, and also 3) setting stop losses if prices go against me.
If you can go back in time to change one mistake about your investing/trading journey, what would it be?
I should’ve learnt the importance of stop loss BEFORE I start trading. I only learnt it after my severe losses back in 2007. If I know it earlier, many ‘monster losses’ can be avoided and I could’ve saved a lot of time on recovery, both mentally and financially.
Last but not least, what advice would you give to new traders or investors?
Always start SMALL and pay tremendous attention to risk management. Nobody can become millionaires overnight in the market, and the fact is many people often suffer huge losses within short period of time. We have witnessed many ‘good’ stocks that have dropped more than 60-70%, or even more for many energy stocks, in the past 3-4 years. Even Soros reminds us that being wrong is common, we should not expect us to be right all the time.
I suggest new traders/investors start from small capital (which you are afford to lose), and then set a fixed percentage (such as 20%) as a “die die must get out level” to protect our precious capital. Also, only increase your capital when you can make consistent profit for a few months and develop a good trading system for yourself.
We can learn all different kinds of strategies, but ultimately it will still take years for us to become consistently profitable investors/traders as experience matters, so it’s important to make sure we can survive the learning stage.
For more juicy analysis and personal stories by other financial influencers, check out our previous episodes on # InsightsInterview here:
- Ep 1: Terence, founder of TUBInvesting
- Ep 2: James Yeo, founder of SmallCapAsia
- Ep 3: Li Guang Sheng, founder of WealthCoachAcademy
- Ep 4: Rayner Teo, founder of TradingWithRayner.com
- Ep 5: Joey Choy, Top-Tier Remisier, founder of Trading-impossible.com
- Ep 6: Lynlynnakamori, One of the top contributors in InvestingNote
- Ep 7: ThumbTack Investor, one of the top contributors in InvestingNote
- Ep 8: Sporeshare, one of the top contributors in InvestingNote
- Ep 9: WellHandy, one of the top contributors in InvestingNote
- SGX Bull Charge Professional Contestants: Aylmer Tham
- SGX Bull Charge Professional Contestants: Dan Chang
- SGX Bull Charge Professional Contestants: Brian Halim
- SGX Bull Charge Professional Contestants: Chi Cao
To learn more on how to get started, we have other topics on investing here.
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