TTI’s 2021 Market Outlook And Review Of Tiger Brokers

Let me start 2021 off on SG TTI with something fun.

On the 1st trading day of 2021, I fired off a mini proton cannon shot at 1 listed company in SGX. Long-time readers would know that prior to that, I don’t own anything on SGX. Not directly in the personal portfolio at least. (Own some shares of FCT indirectly via a holding company, that’s about it)

I intend to add a little more to this position before I’m done.

See if you can guess what company this is.

Here’s the solitary clue:

Ah. Now that I look at it, this sure is a dead giveaway.

But maybe cos I know the answer… so everything looks damn obvious. LOL.

Let’s see how many folks get it right.

In my last post, I used the Rose of Jericho as a reference to year 2020. So what lies ahead after a year of resurrection?


I think there’s no debate that the world’s economies were temporarily saved by the loose monetary policies we saw all around the world. Money printing papered over several cracks that were threatening to destroy economies in the blink of an eye.

Yet, like an aspirin taken for a hangover, it gets worse when the effects wear off. When exactly would this happen, is a guess for everyone to make, myself included.

IMO, the effects of loose monetary policies continue for a tad longer into 2021. Democrats now have firm control in the US, and their policies all revolve around money printing. In fact, if anything, they’re more socialist than most other governments that I can think of.

And the thing is, they can do so… until they can’t. Right now, I can’t see anything on the horizon that’d put a limit to wanton money printing and continued bubble inflating. So expect to see that continue for the bulk of the year.

This doesn’t mean it’s smooth sailing, and things go up in 1 straight line.

Even in periods of economic booms, whether it’s fuelled by real economic activity or like in this case, fuelled by money flooding into the system, we will see periods of sharp corrections.

IMO, that sets the tone for 2021. More capital swooshing around in the system, with bouts of sharp corrections, with equally sharp recoveries.

This party continues unabated until… and here’s the irony……… until the pandemic subsides and things return to a semblance of normalcy. It doesn’t even need to be back to pre-Covid days. It won’t.

Pandemic just has to be controlled, numbers start coming down, and this, in TTI’s view, becomes the danger zone.

The rationale is that sooner or later, the punch bowl has to be taken away. It may take some time, but the Fed will have to tighten, and depending on how it’s done, it could be a real dampener on returns.

Returns are always a function of the base price. At such elevated levels, even the absence of more liquidity flooding into the system, never mind the lack of real growth etc, will be a real risk to future returns.

Of course, “lack of returns” usually just refers to market returns.

For the nimble, sharp and insightful investor, there’s always market beating returns to be achieved, regardless of how the markets perform.

Anyway, this is just TTI’s view of how the macro picture looks like for 2021, and that’s notoriously inaccurate.

It also actually doesn’t affect too much of my investing thought processes… except when deciding on the liquidity levels to maintain. That’s all.

With that, let me move on to the main reason for this post: To introduce Tiger Brokers.

Tiger Brokers

By now, Tiger should not be an unfamiliar name to many.

They offer market access to the US, HK, SG, China, and Australia stocks. Not extensive but it’s a good start for many retail investors.

What is most attractive to TTI is perhaps the rates that Tiger Brokers offers at the moment. For SG market, they currently waive the minimum fee and only charge a 0.08% trading fee. This drastically reduces your cost as the minimum fee (ranging from SGD8 such as FSMOne and SCB to SGD25 for local brokerages such as DBS Vickers) does add up and can eat into your returns.

By the way, do you know that if you trade on Tiger Brokers from now till 30th April 2021, you need not pay the minimum charge (used to be S$2.88 per trade)? Check out the promotion here for the minimum fee waiver for SG stocks:

Deep Dive into the Tiger App

TTI explored Tiger Brokers and had a look at the features and the tools.

The Tiger team incorporates social features into the app, which gives the users a social experience. This is a differentiator from the usual brokerage platforms where users merely use the app for monitoring their stocks and performing transactions.

This can be found in the ‘Community’ Tab, though I think more can be done to increase engagement.  

One feature worth mentioning is perhaps ‘News’. These are aggregated from multiple data sources such as Yahoo Finance, Street Insider, Dow Jones, Reuters, etc.

You can also take a look at the ‘Discover’ tab, where it shows stock activities (hot stocks with top buys and sells of the day).

For illustration purposes, I will be using one of the top generals, i.e. GME, for the walkthrough below. This walkthrough will include screen grabs from both the desktop app and the mobile app.

Mobile App & Desktop App Walkthrough

For serious investors or traders looking to deepen one’s analysis, it’s worth downloading the desktop application to enjoy Tiger’s extensive tools and resources. Here, I will share a few that caught my attention and those I use in my assessment.

Market Data

Tiger provides the following market data types for the respective markets:

  • US and SG: Level 1 (live market data)
  • HK and CN: Level 0 (stock market information needs to be manually refreshed by scrolling)
  • LON and AU: Delay (LON delayed by 15 mins and AU by 20 mins)

For a trial, I explored only the US, HK, and SG markets (in order of frequency). For the US market, the real-time, live market data stands out since you will need to pay a fee to access such market data on other brokerage platforms. For HK market, you’ll have to manually refresh every time to obtain the live prices, such as by scrolling the page. A bit more clicking and scrolling to do, but if it could potentially save you some dollars, why not – unless you trade the HK market actively, that is.

Tip: I just found out that Tiger Brokers offers free 30 days Level 2 US market data for signing up (refreshable by claiming in rewards centre).

Level 1 market data grants you access to the order book where you can see the best real-time bid-ask volume quotes. For longer-term investors who are not bothered by the slight change in stock prices, Level 1 quotes are more than sufficient. For more active traders looking to perform scalping or who are more sensitive to smaller price changes, they should consider Level 2 quotes as these will provide more information, such as market depth chart and big trades notice.

Fundamental Analysis

  1. Tiger’s fundamental analysis information is pretty comprehensive. It includes basic information such as the company’s profile, your finance 101 (e.g. income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statement), valuation analysis, and stock diagnosis, among other data.

Other interesting analyses that can be found include short interest, capital flow, and large orders.

Oh, by the way, does all this sound oddly familiar: short interest and GME? TTI once dived into the analysis of short interest here after GME rallied 44% in a single day. Certainly an indicator I would pay attention to.

Technical Analysis

Nothing much on technical analysis except wanting to highlight something that caught my eye: the Distribution of Chips (CYQ). Yes, the red-green graph on the right. Here’s a brief definition of Distribution of Chips from Tiger:

Here’s how the CYQ looks like from the mobile app:

Fairly interesting. Something fun TTI would add to part of the analysis to complement the chart reading.

Extension of Tiger Brokers’ Promotions

These are the two main promotions that Tiger is currently running:

  1. No minimum charge for SG stocks till 30th April 2021.
  1. Welcome gifts and referral promotions till 31st December 2021.

Once you open an account or if you manage to get a referral who signs up using your link, you get to enjoy the following promotions that Tiger is currently running.

Once you successfully open an account, you will get 5 commission-free trades for US and HK stocks.

If you get your referral to sign up, you will get free 30-days level 2 market data for US stocks.

Here comes the interesting part. Just for fun. I did some math and notice you will make the highest return on your capital if you deposit only SGD2000 and pocket the SGD30 stock voucher (that’s a whopping 1.5% return!). The return drops to 1%, 0.7%, and 0.33% for deposits of SGD5,000, SGD10,000 and SGD30,000 respectively.

If you are keen to give the Tiger Brokers platform a try, you can sign up here and get the rewards that I shared above.

Written by: Team ThumbTack, in collaboration with Tiger Brokers.

ThumbTack Fund Report 6 – Rose Of Jericho (2020)

A reader turned buddy just told me a couple of weeks ago that he quit his job, and will be embarking on the MBA programme at the uber prestigious MIT Sloan School of Management in 2021. He contributed a few articles some years back, so u can read some of his past work here. I’ve also shared some previous insight/discussions we had (with permission of course). I can’t believe these were all posted 3-4 years ago:

That’s such a nice way to end 2020 as I feel happy for my buddy. I don’t think anybody outta MIT Sloane’s MBA programme ever does poorly in life, financially at least. The alumni and the network you gain is just glitteringly strong. Also, many of the commonly used finance concepts and formulae, actually originated from Sloane.

Stuff like the Black–Scholes model,  random walk hypothesis and the binomial options pricing model. If I know about these, they must be damn famous.

The next few years will be tough though, cos the programme is a full time one, so there won’t be any income. Still, it’d probably work out to be 1 of the best lifetime investments for him. Investing is not always just about money. There’s an investment of time, investment of effort, investment of emotion, investment of intellect etc.

Ditto for returns as well.

Lemme get down to the customary year end fund report. But first, these are the other 5 TTF Reports I’ve posted previously:

ThumbTack Fund Report 6

YTD Money Weighted Returns for 2020: +89.83%

TTF’s NAV reached a new high to close out 2020:

Ending NAV: USD 333,721.16

Deposits: USD 214,153.23

Nett Gain: USD 119,567.93

Since Inception in Feb 2020:

SPY has returned +18.42%

VT has returned +18.45%

STI has returned -9.83%

TTF has returned +90.37%

Surprise Surprise… SPY and VT actually ended the year with the same performance.

After a horrendous 1H, STI did pretty well in Q4, recording a +15.29% to end the year with a -9.83%.

TTF had a stellar Q4, recording a +41.83% return for the last quarter of the year to end strongly.

This pie chart is extremely misleading though. Cos for eg, I could’ve large long positions set up via options, but it wouldn’t be reflected here.

Equity value (blue bar) dipped in Dec, compared to Nov, mainly due to profit taking on GME, which shot up… I dunno how many percent in the past week. Nett gain on GME was almost +100% on my direct equity positions. And that’s not even including profits from GME options. Correspondingly, cash holdings (green bar) shot up to a new high for TTF, since inception in Feb.

I got to find a new home for all that cash soon.

I’ve only utilized leverage once in Sep 2020 (green bar dipping into negative), and that’s mainly due to the large position in MELI. As 1 option contract = 100 shares, and MELI’s share price is in the thousands, having 1 contract assigned means it’d be a 6 digit position immediately. I chose to borrow in USD so as to avoid having to switch SGD to USD momentarily, seeing that USD has been, and still is, weakening against SGD.

IB treats currencies as a position, so the “Singapore” positions are actually merely SGD. I don’t have any position in SG equities. Not in this TTF at least.

Overall, it’s been a rather successful 2020 for TTF. Since inception (at the worst possible timing), I sought to hold minimal cash initially and hence, was caught out by the sudden plunge in the global markets. TTF’s returns continued to plunge throughout Feb and March, severely underperforming all 3 benchmark indices, even as I continued adding to positions in March.

The recovery though, was just as violent. After outperforming the indices in May for the 1st time, TTF never looked back, extending the lead with vigor, particularly so in November and December.

Dividends for 2020 came from AVGO, A and V, totaling up to USD 2,736.

This figure is before the 30% WHT tax though, so actual dividends work out to USD 1,915.20

It’s been a tough 2020 for some folks. Personally, I haven’t been affected too much tbh, aside from the increasingly irritance of not being able to travel and feeling the occasional cabin fever. But I’ve friends/acquaintances/relatives who have been really affected. So well… I’m kinda cognizant of this fact and am careful not to sound too cheery.

If you’re in the travel industry, for example, it’s hard for 2020 to be anything but a tough year. Life’s not fair, sometimes, some folks get into trouble through no fault of theirs’s.

A non-local pilot told me he just got retrenched a few months ago, as the airline had to “show solidarity with fellow Singaporeans”. He wasn’t bitter about it, in fact, he actually looked pretty cheery still.

Anyhow, just to illustrate the situation, the said pilot told me that aviation laws mean that a pilot cannot fly more than 100 hours within 1 calendar month. In Jan, he flew 98 hours in total. That’s like a career record for him. That’s how busy it was pre-covid. There was simply a shortage of pilots worldwide.

Yet, by April, he was flying a grand total of 0 hours. That illustrates how badly the entire industry went. It literally just dropped off a cliff. 1 moment you see it, next moment it’s all gone. The dude also told me he’s still hanging in there though, hoping to tide over this whole thing. He thinks when covid lightens up, travel will come back strongly, and pilots would be in huge demand, as the industry started with a shortage pre covid, and during this entire period, all the pilot training has been mostly suspended/disrupted.

Plus, anecdotally, many of the older pilots have chosen to retire early. The problem is, everybody knows air travel will come back 1 day. Nobody knows for sure when. If you are a pilot nearing retirement age, it makes sense to just call it a day sooner, instead of waiting and waiting. When air travel comes back, you might not even be able to fly anymore due to the mandatory retirement age.

So it’s obviously been tough for certain segments of the economy. And this is not a “oh it’s tough just hang in there for a while” situation. It’s a life and career changing kind of tough. New level.

This post is titled “Rose of Jericho” for good reason.

After an initial very tough start to the year and to inception, (recording a -55% drop at 1 point!), TTF recovered very strongly to end the year on a high. Just like the Rose of Jericho (also known as the resurrection plant), resilience and adaptability was the key in 2020.

I mean… just watch this, this is like alien level kind of stuff:

I hope TTF needs no resurrection in 2021 though.

No, thank you. My poor heart cannot take another 1 such hit.

Yeah, I wanna go to heaven.

I just don’t want to die to get there.