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Cyborg

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Cyborg last won the day on December 11 2018

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About Cyborg

  1. Cyborg

    The suiting thread

    Somehow hard to imagine such a Chinaman company splurging on suits
  2. Cyborg

    The suiting thread

    You might want to edit that photo and remove the phone numbers at least....
  3. Cyborg

    The suiting thread

    He’s my idol. The vast bulk of the “stimulus” package is funded by Other People’s Money. Imagine forking out $25bn and being able to show a headline figure of $250bn. Best ROI ever
  4. Cyborg

    The suiting thread

    Oh and 1 more thing. Generally unit trusts charge something like 1% p.a fees + 1% upon entry and 1% upon exit. EPF's operating expenditure was RM 3bil, of a fund size of RM 817.5 bil, which makes it around 0.4% p.a., with no entry or exit charges. And it comes with a government guarantee + 2.5% returns in the EPF Act. So it's really quite a cheap way of investing, and for me if I were looking at local UTs (which I don't), I would be benchmarking the total return of the UT against EPF and not the funds' composite benchmarks.
  5. Cyborg

    The suiting thread

    There are mitigating factors. EPF only began investing offshore only recently in the past 10 years or so. In the previous 50 years of its life, it basically grew so big it amassed huge stakes in many local listed corporations, not necessarily by choice, but because of limited alternatives. These stakes are so large that should they decide to liquidate it immediately, the wealth destruction will be basically a financial crisis in itself. This also means that the stakes have to be long term in nature, so they cannot profit take at their whims and fancy. By the same token, they are unable to cut losses as freely as other private funds. Tabung Haji's stakes highlighted above are essentially bound to the same problem. Every one of those stakes, if sold on the open market, would crash the stock immediately, and they would be in a worse position than they started off in. That is also why an NAV structure is equally deceptive for funds this large. Each sale of shares only indicates to the market that something is wrong, and each buy order is set lower than the last. Each transaction is then matched immediately because the stake for sale is so large that there is the market cannot absorb that amount of selling, hence causing a vicious selldown. Once the prices hit other funds' cut-loss levels, even more selling happens and the cycle goes on. Therefore NAV cannot be a good benchmark as the value is derived from mark-to-market, but the mark-to-market value is not the same as actual realizable value in the case of a fire sale. (Due to this reason, I cannot disagree with the declaration of dividends based on realised profits. If they measured on unrealised profits, the big fund boys would just buy and sell among themselves and manipulate the prices upwards.) If you look at the daily announcements on Bursa, you would see that EPF does a lot of buying and selling , but the volumes are not large. That's because the core stake has to be maintained, and any buying or selling is really small movements that would not significantly disrupt the market. This is also why a lot of outsourcing has to be done, because they are just too big to manage it on their own, and to maintain liquid assets since their own equity holdings are essentially illiquid. Of course, in the investment direction by these funds, there is a huge amount of political influence + national strategic interest involved. No comment on that bit, except that Khazanah would be an easier vehicle to manipulate. iMoney did a decent article on EPF. Basically they are taking comfort in the transparency of the fund in its disclosures. https://www.imoney.my/articles/facts-about-epf-investments-overseas. I would also take comfort in the fact that management wise, they managed to get fairly qualified CEOs and so far they have been less scandalous than the other funds.
  6. Cyborg

    The suiting thread

    Well, due to lack of data it's a bit hard to pin down, especially for the 97-98 crisis. The website only provides the annual reports from 2001 onwards, and other financial market data is tough to come by. For all I know they could have shorted the Malaysian market in 97. Essentially what could have happened was profit taking on the bond portfolio in 2008. BNM cut interest rates from 3.5% to 2% as economic stimulus. This could have pushed up the prices of the bond portfolio by a good 10% on 10 year bonds and all EPF would have needed to do is sell some to realise the capital gain. (Dividends are based on realised gain). As you pointed out, the majority of EPF funds was and still is in bonds/fixed income, so smart profit taking on a small portion of the large bond port would be enough to offset the (likely unrealised/unimpaired) loss on the equity port. The biggest hole in this argument is of course how the realised and unrealised gains/losses are taken into account when determining the profit and hence dividend. Accounting standards have changed hugely in the last 20 years, especially since the GFC, so methods could have changed over time. Also, choosing when to impair assets (recognizing a permanent loss of value) is largely a management decision. So in theory, what they could have done during crises is 1) not impair the equity port 2) sold down the bond holdings, thus inflating the 'profits'. But this type of manipulation of profit numbers is still within the rules of the game.....
  7. Cyborg

    The suiting thread

    Well, there are a few other factors you may want to take into account: 1) EPF board has some industry/union, non-governmental representatives to hopefully provide some additional oversight. TH has none. 2) The EPF Act guarantees the contributor's principal as well as a 2.5% dividend per annum. So the government can always print more ringgit to give you back your nominal investment. (yes I know this is not exactly the most comforting thing). 3) EPF's actual investment returns are higher than the declared dividend. The balance of the returns are kept as reserves against fluctuations in investment value. Of course the recent MYR devaluation has also helped their foreign investments show leveraged returns in addition to the typical equity appreciation + dividend. 4) EPF has the advantage of being able to invest in the entire universe of investment assets whereas TH is restricted to syariah compliant instruments. Regardless of actual performance/characteristics of syariah compliant assets, this does restrict potential opportunities as well as increase cost of compliance. 5) EPF's liability/asset ratio is much healthier at circa 6% compared to TH's (official) 50%. 6) EPF actually restricts non-salary contribution amounts. Not a typical Ponzi scheme characteristic, you'd think they would encourage more contributions rather than less. Clearly they recognise it's a tough job managing that much cash. They also allow withdrawals once your individual total EPF holdings has exceeded RM 1mil At the end of the day you will always have imperfect information as an outsider. But there's not a lot you can do about it...... I do know someone who uses EPF as a government guaranteed fixed deposit replacement.
  8. Cyborg

    The suiting thread

    Maybe they are approaching the topic from the POV that competitors are unconsciously helping each other out by their individual promotional efforts? In their drive to expand their individual market share, each competitor is in fact helping the pie to grow bigger for everyone?
  9. Cyborg

    The suiting thread

    Maybe I'm a little late to the party, but I'll add my 2 cents on the topic of selling fused suits from a (relatively) young guy's perspective. Quick background - 27 year old banker with a Singaporean bank in Malaysia, I would use suits for the occasional work event (maybe 3-4 times a year) and socially for weddings mostly. I'm the owner right now of 3 custom/bespoke suits: Suit A the typical Malaysian starter sack suit in black (2007- RM 1,200 - Valentino pure wool), Suit B a Thai 3 piece light grey suit (2002 - THB 12500 - Valentini pure wool) and Suit C a JT fused navy blue number (2016 - RM 2,200 - VBC Super 100's). Now, clearly the suits were made at different times, when I had varying fashion sensibilities and expectations of quality, and also a rather different perspective of affordability. Back then, affordable meant price. Now, I'm more willing to actually pay for quality items. From a usage perspective, I definitely do not need 3 suits. The thinking when I made the first one was that it was something I could use for formal occasions abroad as I completed my degree, to conform to the dress codes overseas. The 2nd, I thought was an affordable upgrade, for something a little different from the norm. The 3rd, something I could see myself using for various occasions, and easy to mix and match. I'm pleased to say, from both a tailoring experience and a final product perspective, JT's suit is evidently the best. However, from what I've seen here in Malaysia, the fact that you are wearing a suit is in itself a very formal, outstanding occurrence. Nobody gives a damn in terms of the quality of the suit. Of course you have the obviously bad outliers, like 4 button jackets and tacky fashion items, but the average off the rack suit, fitting reasonably well, will already outshine the vast majority of the suits out there. The next step up then, would be a good bespoke suit. The definition of good, for most, has nothing to do with the material. Wool is perceived as expensive and hot, so most would be content with some form of mixed or polyester material. "Good", then, would be assessed through the cut, and that means, form fitting, and in the not-so-distant past, skinny like a second skin. Hardly a classic look, yet the tailoring scene here has managed to adapt their sack cutting into skintight scuba suits for the Korean wave crowd. From a cost per use POV, bespoke has to compete with your off the rack items then. And thus many local tailors now have a starter item around the RM 800-1,000 mark for something polyester. And therein lies the rub. There is barely any demand for suits as it is not a part of our local dress culture. Therefore most people would maybe do a one off fused multipurpose suit, and since it is a rarely used item, would only be willing to fork out the bare minimum. The most common opinion I have come across is : 1 suit for starters, and 1 wedding suit for the rest of your life. 99% of suit owners have no idea what a full canvas is. (Why didn't I get a full canvas JT suit? Because I don't have a need for it! Since getting the suit I must have worn it 4 times at most. Hardly justifiable. I am a banker after all) Sadly, that also means the return customer factor is really relatively quite low. And hence my opinion that JT is really operating in a rather perfect niche, catering for the people with higher expectations, income and knowledge. For him to expand the fused suit business, into a market where price is the core issue, in my view, is not the best move in this market when his clear competitive advantage is in his fitting ability, his technical knowledge, and the adherence to a classical tailoring perspective compared to the ever changing fashion forward items, all of which would appeal not to the masses, but to a more mature, worldly niche audience. (of course, just cutting your profit margins would do it. the suits would fly off the shelves)
  10. Cyborg

    The suiting thread

    http://www.star2.com/style/men/2016/11/16/how-it-feels-to-get-suited-up-by-hugo-boss/ Article by The Star on Hugo Boss' MTM program. The only bit that really got my attention was this : "I could even get my signature replicated and stitched into the jacket’s interior and inner waistband of the pants." Now that is customization!
  11. Cyborg

    The suiting thread

    Came across this article and thought I might share. Bit of a random angle for political commentary but light reading nonetheless https://www.1843magazine.com/style/last-trump-for-the-suit
  12. Cyborg

    Collateralised debt a.k.a. The Cloth Thread

    Hi all, long time lurker here. I was thinking of getting a new suit done and came across this material, could I get some opinions on it? 3.4m seems a little shorter than the usual 3.5m, would it be enough for someone about 5' 10" in height? Thanks all http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/100-SUPER-120-s-WOOL-SUITING-FABRIC-Dormeuil-TECNIK-MADE-ENGLAND-3-4-m-/322110643711?hash=item4aff4a5dff#shpCntId
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