Kim Iskyan, founder and editor of independent investment research firm Truewealth Publishing ,has worked in finance for almost 25 years as a stock analyst, hedge fund manager, capital markets consultant, and commentator in eight countries. Some of his interesting experiences included helping to build stock exchanges from scratch in countries that few people could find on a map, and advising Fortune 50 companies on political risk. He grew up in Spain, and lived in Russia for nine years, and have spent most of his life in emerging and frontier markets in the former Soviet Union and Asia. Currently residing in Singapore, Kim has embarked on a journey of educating people to build true wealth by cutting through the hype of mainstream financial media and self-serving private bankers, in order to give them real insiders’ insight.
How would you describe Truewealth Publishing’s mission?
Truewealth Publishing provides investors in Asia with independent, unbiased insight on finance and investment issues.
There is a lot – maybe too much – information on investment and finance available to anyone with a laptop, smartphone or TV. But much of it is there to sell you something or is sensationalised to attract viewers or readers.
Truewealth Publishing wants to inform and educate all investors about the worlds of investment and finance, and to give them the tools to make their own investment decisions.
Most people who make their own investment decisions want accessible, honest, easy-to-understand market insights – especially since there’s more uncertainty than ever in the world and markets.
How do you think the average person can become a successful investor?
Here are 5 suggestions:
1) Understand what you don’t know — and what you need to know. Use sources like Call Levels and Truewealth Publishing to get honest, unbiased insight. Use them to learn enough to know what you need to know to take care of your own business.
It’s like this… you don’t need to become a doctor to be able to cure yourself of most of the ailments you face. So if you learn some basic medicine, you can more or less take care of yourself. Similarly… if you learn the basics of investing, know what to look out for, and understand your own risk tolerance, you’ll be able to do a whole lot of things on your own.
2) Find a few trusted advisors, and use them as a starting point. This can be a blogger, a paid newsletter, or a few friends to bounce ideas off of. They can give you good ideas, or tell you when you’re on the wrong track.
3) Talk to a financial advisor or private banker. Not to open an account with them but to get information. Most of them are highly trained professionals who can teach you something. But remember, their objective is to make money off of you, not just for you.
All that said, you should visit one of these types just to hear what they say. Find out how they would approach your situation and what sort of strategies or products they would use. But be careful… they are also excellent salespeople and will try to talk you into signing up with them. So go in with the sole objective of collecting information.
4) Invest only in things that you understand. Whether it’s an annuity, insurance, options, a stock, or whatever — don’t do it if you don’t get it. If you can’t explain something to (say) a ten-year old, that means that you might not get it yourself — in which case you’re asking for trouble.
5) Always remember – and follow – Warren Buffett’s first two rules of keeping your wealth: “Rule No.1: Never lose money. Rule No.2: Never forget rule No.1.” And that’s a lot easier with discipline and some simple strategies to adhere to that discipline, like smart diversification and stop-loss orders (which are a lot easier to stick to with tools like Call Levels).
As someone who’s worked on the “inside” as a professional analyst, what do you think is the biggest disadvantage the average retail investor faces?
They’re not at a disadvantage when it comes to information. There’s vast quantities of data and predictions available on the internet. The big disadvantage is not knowing how to make sense of it all.
In the finance industry, large investors like hedge funds and pension funds are called the “smart money.” This implies that everyone else (that is, retail investors, who are the regular Kelvins and Samanthas) is viewed by the finance industry as less smart.
Of course that’s not true — there are plenty of very intelligent, knowledgeable retail investors, and of course the so-called smart money is very often anything but smart.
Institutional investors have dozens of analysts at their disposal who spend all day doing nothing but looking at financial statements and economic data to help them make a good investment decision. They often fail at this — but the odds are definitely stacked in their favor. Retail investors need resources to help them level the playing field.
What are some of the topics Truewealth Publishing focuses on?
We look for the most interesting investment, economic and business news and ideas in Asia and the world. We then tell you what it all means for markets and for your money. We also talk about opportunity and risk and what some of the world’s smartest investors are thinking. We’ll discuss anything that takes the mystery out of finance and investing so that our readers are empowered and informed to make their own investment decisions.
So far this year, we’ve also prepared special reports on the gold and silver markets, the cognitive biases that most affect investment decisions, what legendary investor Jim Rogers is doing with his money and how Donald Trump’s presidential bid is impacting Asian markets and what to do about it. The full list of special reports can be found on our website under “Insider Reports”.
What are some of the most popular topics for your readers?
Being in Asia, real estate and gold are of course popular topics. Insight into what’s happening in China and Singapore’s economy are also popular. There is also a lot of interest in ETFs and income generating assets like REITs. And recently, thanks to this historically unusual U.S. election, anything on Donald Trump and what he’s said about Asia generates a lot of interest.
Kim Iskyan is the founder of Truewealth Publishing, a Singapore-based independent investment research company, and the editor of Asian Investment Daily, a free daily e-letter with actionable insight about Asian investment, finance and economics. Truewealth Publishing is focused on taking the mystery out of finance and investing so that you are empowered and informed to make your own investment decisions.