Ex-chief of Pheim Singapore back to lead company

Dr Tan Chong Koay.
PHOTO: The Straits Times

A veteran fund manager who fell afoul of the Securities & Futures Act several years ago is back at the helm of the multi-award winning boutique asset-management firm he founded.

This comes after the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) gave its approval for the re-appointment of Tan Chong Koay as chief executive officer and an executive director of Pheim Asset Management (Asia).

In November 2012, the MAS issued an order prohibiting Dr Tan, a 40 year veteran of the industry, from carrying out fund-management activities in Singapore for three years; he was also barred from involvement in the fund-management business for four years from Nov 29, 2012. On appeal to the Minister of Finance, this was reduced to two years, so the prohibition ended last Nov 29.

The case involved window dressing shares of Singapore-listed wastewater firm United Envirotech from Dec 29 to 31, 2004.

Dr Tan pleaded his innocence, but stepped down as CEO and CIO of Pheim Singapore on Jan 1, 2011. He also voluntarily surrendered his representative licence to MAS on Aug 1 that year.

The Pheim Group, which included Pheim Singapore and Pheim Malaysia, which he also led, suffered client withdrawals of more than US$1 billion within a year of the Court of Appeal's final judgement in 2011.

Dr Tan said: "I am thankful MAS has allowed me to build my business and continue to provide employment in the fund-management industry.

"I believe Pheim Investment Philosophy will benefit equity investing in volatile Asia. It will also inspire others, especially the young ones, to overcome the challenges of equity investing. Pheim has a long-term track record, weathering through crisis by practising the investment philosophy of not being fully invested at all times."

He said he would stick to his fundamental principle that a fund should be fully invested near the bottom of the market, and trimmed near the peak.

He shares his investment philosophy in his new book, Rising Above Financial Storms, which is now in the shops.

Pheim has been a top performing Asian fund manager, with its funds consistently outperforming in their respective categories. With a cumulative return of 497.3 per cent (in US dollar terms) over a 20-year period ending Feb 3 this year, Pheim ASEAN Fund took top position for the one-to-20-year periods among all equity ASEAN funds in the Lipper Global classification. Pheim Asset Management (Malaysia) manages about RM1 billion (S$329 million) in funds; the Singapore unit has a fund size of between S$80 million and S$90 million.


This article was first published on November 3, 2015.
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