Stressed? Not this remisier

PHOTO: Stressed? Not this remisier

SINGAPORE - Share trading and chancing your arm in risky foreign currency markets sound like a recipe for stress, but it has not worked out that way for remisier William Chua Teck Chuan.

Mr Chua says switching from a job as a relationship manager at a local bank to broking has been a passport to a calmer life.

He had long thought of becoming a remisier while also trading for himself, but took the plunge only after the birth of his second child about two years ago.

Mr Chua, 40, says the move to become a remisier and financial adviser with Phillip Capital as well as a full-time trader allows him to play a big part in his children's lives while doing something he likes.

"I used to work from Monday to Sunday and till late on some days. Now, I try to reach home by 6pm to spend time with my kids," he says. "I am less stressed and can enjoy seeing my kids grow up."

Mr Chua, who began developing an interest in investing when he was in national service, says that while others may shy away from forex trading, he relishes the thrill of it.

"It suits me as I am the sort who cannot sit still."

He also trades local shares and does his own research, based on inter-market analysis.

It involves looking at the relationship between currencies, equities, bonds and commodities to determine the strength or weakness of the financial markets or asset classes being considered and to predict future market performance.

"The financial market has changed. It now moves very fast and everything is inter-linked. You can't rely on just technicals or fundamentals," he says.

Mr Chua has the support of his wife Christine Ng, 35. The regional marketing manager with a tourism board is a risk-taker like him.

They have a son Matthew, five, and a daughter Megan, two.

Q: Are you a spender or saver?

I was more of a spender during my younger, carefree days but am now a saver as I am a father of two.

My idea of savings is to park my money into money market funds and Treasury bills (T-bills) rather than spend on dining out or quick holidays.

I do spend on my kids though. I am very willing to spend on their education and food. I recently spent almost $1,000 on Lego as those are educational toys.

Q: How much do you charge to your credit cards every month?

I charge about $2,000 to $5,000.

Q: What financial planning have you done for yourself?

I'm a firm believer in insurance and make sure my family has adequate protection. I have whole life coverage of $1 million.

I've witnessed a few financial crises and know the market has become highly volatile. Therefore, I try to keep my investments highly liquid to make sure I am not tied down by any period or market condition.

Typically, about 60 per cent of my money goes to high-risk investments while the rest is in very safe and liquid products such as T-bills. When I need more funds, I can just liquidate these investments.

I do not invest in the property market as transaction costs such as stamp duty and agent fees are high and properties are not liquid.

I've seen some of my clients who over-invested in the property market face cash-flow issues during the 2008 financial crisis when the banks asked them to top up their loans.

I would rather focus on quick, liquid investments.

I have a property and could have fully paid up the mortgage of $500,000 but I would rather not as interest rates are very low.

I calculate my investment returns carefully to ensure that they are able to cover the bank charges for my loan.

Q: Moneywise, what were your growing-up years like?

I grew up in a big family with four sisters and two brothers. My mother was a housewife and my father was a seaman.

But I am the youngest child and thus did not have to worry too much about supporting my parents.

Q: How did you get interested in investing?

I got interested in investing in 1993. The market at that time was very hot. You could buy any stock and make money from it.

And people were queueing up to open Central Depository accounts so that they could trade shares.

My first investment was in SingTel shares. That was back in 1993 when I was 21 and SingTel (initial public offering) shares cost just $1.90 a share. I made a profit of a few thousand dollars some months later.

That encouraged me to continue investing in shares. I also taught myself about the stock market.

I like the challenge of analysing the market and seeing how I can make more money.

Q: What property do you own?

I sold my flat and bought a private condominium unit in the east in 2010. It cost $850,000 or $650 per sq ft.

Q: What's the most extravagant thing you have bought?

This has to be my car. I actually own two cars. My parents-in-law used an off-peak Chevrolet Aveo to drive my children to and from school.

They have recently relocated to France to be with my sister-in-law, who has a one-year-old kid. I thus plan to sell the second car.

Q: What's your retirement plan?

If retirement means staying home to watch TV, I have no plans for it. I enjoy what I'm doing now. I think I will need $5,000 a month and I am confident of generating this amount from my investments.

Q: Home is now...

A 1,249 sq ft condo unit in the east. It is valued at about $1.25 million.

Q: I drive...

A silver Honda Airwave.

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