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TTI’s REVIEW OF THE LATEST KID ON THE BLOCK – USMART SECURITIES

In recent times, we’ve had several new entrants burst onto the retail brokerage scene in Singapore. All this new competition to the traditional, entrenched players have helped to inject more vibrancy, and is undoubtedly good for all consumers. The latest kid to join the fray is uSMART Singapore.

About uSMART Securities

uSMART Securities, the leading online brokerage firm for intelligent investment, aims to provide professional Smart Investment experience via innovative technology to their clients globally.

These guys were founded in 2018, and now have headquarters in Hong Kong, Singapore, China and New Zealand.

uSMART’s mission is to “provide leading smart investment services to global investors, and to maximize investors’ value through monetary, knowledge and positive emotions.”

Financial Strength

Despite being new in SG, uSMART Securities is actually backed by several big wigs!

The most notable one being HK conglomerate Chow Tai Fok Group, one of the world’s largest jewellers. uSMART’s Group CEO, Torry Hong, is a core management member of the uSMART team who previously hailed from Tencent and Alipay.

The rest of the core management team comprises members from Tencent, Alibaba, Yahoo and Microsoft etc.

The participation of core management team members who have experience in notable firms does lend credence to and serve as a strong backing for uSMART Securities. They have a history of rich financial innovation, and utilize technology such as the analysis of big data, research and application of quantitative strategies to throw weight behind this innovative investment platform.

uSMART is also very well capitalized, having only completed their Series B funding last year, raising approximately US$100 million.

uSMART Securities (Singapore) Pte. Ltd. just received their Capital Markets Services Licence under the Securities and Futures Act from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) in Dec 2021 and hence, are now cleared to launch in SG.

So yeah, they are not some run of the mill small outfit that may be here 1 day and gone the next.

In addition, funds and securities of clients are kept in segregated custodian accounts as per regulation requirement from MAS, so there’s your extra assurance!

uSMART’s Unique Features

uSMART is positioned as an intelligent investment platform, rather than a traditional securities firm. It has pioneered the launch of intelligent investment solutions. With the power of technology, it breaks the high threshold of high-quality investment advisory services which only belonged to a small group of high net-worth people in the past. Now, the general retail public will have the opportunity to be served and benefit from these services.

Now, aside from the usual features that most brokerages would offer, uSMART SG comes with some unique capabilities:

SMART ORDERS – They currently have 4 different “smart” orders (Breakthrough Buy, Buy-Low, Sell-High, Breakdown Sell) with more different orders likely to be incorporated in future (this is just my guess, because their HK app has 10 different orders!)

I think this feature would be pretty useful for the retail public, especially those who have day jobs and won’t be sitting in front of a screen looking at the prices every other second, yet want to execute a certain trading plan.

The app does a great job explaining in detail what each order type entails, but anyway, the name of each order type is pretty self-explanatory:

DISCOVER TAB – The “discover” tab has 3 sub-tabs to it:

  1. Opportunity
  2. Community
  3. News

Under the “Opportunity” sub-tab, they basically highlight and showcase a series of different strategies, how they construct their portfolios under each strategy, and the results over a long period of time. All that “greenery” was too eye catching, and I got a bit side tracked to go look into each of these strategies.

This “Opportunity” sub-tab is what I think is the most interesting. Aside from the featured strategies, you could also use it as a screening tool as they have screens based on certain parameters. If you are a trader and/or a technical analysis guy, this same sub-tab even provides TA charts for the companies that you are interested in! Simply key in the symbol for the company and it does all the work for you!

The “Community” sub-tab is what I’d describe as “financial twitter for investors”. It’s basically the entire community of users with short snippets of their observations or really, whatever they want to say.

And finally, the “News” sub-tab is basically a reel of the relevant news that might affect your investments. You can customize it by adding in a “watchlist”. It can also be categorized based on country specific news (US, SG, HK)

LEARNING TAB – The learning tab consists of 2 sub-tabs: “Expert” and “BeeRich”.

Now, this is where it gets REALLY interesting to me.

Under the “Expert” tab, you can basically chit chat and communicate directly with a number of investment professionals or entities. There are courses and even a Q&A style segment where you can ask questions and the relevant expert will give you an answer.

Now, admittedly, it’s still early days currently so there’s only a fairly limited panel of experts listed. Most of the questions are answered by James Ooi only, and the courses offered are also from him. Did a little digging and realized that James is uSMART’s Market Strategist, SGX Speaker and has been in the financial industry since 2007. I think it’s also fairly obvious where this is going. Over time, as more and more individuals/entities are added, you can see the additional value add this segment provides.

To top it off, the next sub-tab gets even more interesting: BeeRich

Obviously modelled after TikTok, it’s best described as TikTok for finance.

I legit ended up scrolling through several short videos to check it out.

It’s basically a compilation of finance related TikTok videos, presented in an entertaining manner. Boy, this is really unique. I don’t think I’ve seen any other brokerage do this yet. And it’s not exactly just purely about investing per say. For eg, here’s a short video on 4 money mistakes that will make you broke:

And yes, there are dancing videos as well (but with a finance related theme!)

Impressive. Very Innovative indeed.

I found out that BeeRich is actually the education arm of uSMART and has an app by itself. They want clients to be hardworking as a bee in their journey to enrich their knowledge, thus the name BeeRich.

Account Opening & Funds Transfer

With singpass populating your data, account opening can take as fast as just 5 minutes.

During account opening, you get to choose between 2 types: uSMART Standard or uSMART Trader.

There is a 3rd type: the Intel account. You can upgrade to this Intel account level after opening either a Standard or Trader account.

Here are the differences and features between the 3 account levels:

Upgrading to the Intel account can be done via the Me tab.

Alternatively, one can also stick to the Trader or Standard account, and add on a uSMART Intel Subscription to enjoy unlimited Discover tab features. This can be done via the Me tab too. For the first 30 days, the cost is just SGD 0.01, and for the subsequent 30 days, the cost will be SGD 18.80.

Funding your account is relatively easy and straightforward. uSMART is the first broker to support eGIRO fund transfer. Similar to the DBS DDA method, once the one-time setup is completed, future fund transfer only takes seconds to arrive! eGIRO also supports 9 banks.

Fees

uSMART SG offers one of the lowest fee structures in the markets today.

This is a brief summary of the fees:

The exact details of the fees for the various account types, for the different exchanges can be found here:

https://www.usmart.sg/pricing

Welcome Gifts & Referral Rewards

Welcome gifts are always… …. welcomed.

Do note that the promotion period lasts till 31 May 2022.

More details regarding the welcome gifts can be found here:

https://www.usmart.sg/help-generator?id=10560

uSMART also rewards users who refer friends with SGD 88 for each successful referral.

After you have opened a uSMART account, you can visit [uSMART SG App > Me > Invite Friends] to check your unique referral code and referral link.

Refer friends using your referral code and link, and after your friend completes his/her account opening and makes a very first deposit (in a single transfer) of the account amounting to at least SGD 2,000 (or equivalent in other currencies) during the promotion period, you receive your SGD 88 referral reward.

Do note that the deposit has to be in a single transfer.

Cash voucher issued to your uSMART account under this promotion can be found in [uSMART SG App > Me > Rewards Centre]. The cash voucher has a validity of 90 days and requires a minimum of 3 trades (trade value ≥ SGD 100) to use.

After using, the corresponding value on the cash voucher will be credited into your uSMART account within 1 working day.

If not used, the cash voucher will expire worthless after validity duration.

Concluding thoughts

The innovative new features, particularly under the “Discover” and “Learning” tabs, make uSMART stand out in terms of novelty. There’s certainly a lot of value add coming up, and I think that over time, they’d beef up their content creation further to provide even more value to users.

Sign up for a new account here.

Written by: Team ThumbTack

Disclaimer: This article is written in collaboration with uSMART Singapore. All views expressed in the article are the independent opinions of Team ThumbTack. This article is intended for information purpose only and should not be construed as financial advice. This article has not been reviewed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

ThumbTack Fund Report 11 – 2 Year Anniversary

TTF was incepted in Feb 2020, so this month marks the 2 year anniversary for this baby fund. I guess it’s timely to check the data and see how TTF has performed in the past 2 years.

But first, some very much overdue thanks and accolades are in order:

I read about the long queues for bak kwa during the CNY on mothership:

https://mothership.sg/2022/01/lim-chee-guan-queue/

Heng, I don’t need to queue to enjoy some high end atas bak kwa, cos Kai Xiang from uSmart Securities (https://www.usmartsecurities.com/en) sent me some:

This is NOT an advert for Lim Chee Guan k, but I gotta say that their bak kwa really does taste different. Different cuts of the meat perhaps, but definitely not so fatty and not so greasy; even an uncultured, non-foodie guy like me can immediately tell there’s a difference.

I still won’t queue up for it though. It’s crazy. Singaporeans like to queue for everything like their time is not worth anything.

Also, obviously I’m kinda delayed in updating about this cos all this happened just before CNY.

On a different note, I also received a parcel on CNY eve from none other than my TTI associate/buddy, sent all the way from JB:

Eat all the birds’ nest and abalone until I think my lifespan got extended by a few hours.

Heh, thanks SC.

Finally, my friends at AP Floral (http://apfloral.com.sg/) also sent me some flowers. Look at how chio it looks:

Now, it gets delivered to my office, and sometimes, I’d just leave it there for decoration. But this one is so chio that I brought them home. There was 1 year where they sent me a bouquet for my birthday with some “ball chrysanthemums” which also look very chio. I brought those home as well. Too bad no photo of it, but they look so chio that I thought they’re not real. But they are.

Can’t find it on their Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/apfloral/?hl=en) but it looks something like this:

This time, the CNY one comes with golden pineapples for maximum huat-ness effect:


All the golden pineapples seem to be working though, cos TTF’s huat-ing away:

YTD (2022):

SPY: -6.08%

VT: -4.43%

STI: +9.53%

TTF: +4.77%

SINCE INCEPTION (FEB 2020), ANNUALIZED:

SPY: +19.29%

VT: +15.41%

STI: + 4.08%

TTF: +34.18%

For reference, the last fund report:

Note: Returns are MWRs, all figures in USD

TTF’s NAV: USD 1,411,084.92

Deposits/Withdrawals: USD 1,072,726.68

Nett capital gains since inception: USD 338,358.24

EPILOGUE

Surprise surprise… STI has been the runaway leader for 2022 thus far, coming in at 9.5%, which is a MASSIVE outperformance compared with S&P’s -6.08%. Heaven and Earth.

As for TTF, I’m pleased with the +4.77% cos with zero holdings in SG, it’s a miracle to just stay in the green YTD. I’m kinda dancing between raindrops and trying my best not to get wet.

Longer term, I’m also pleased with TTF’s annualized +34.18% MWR.

Dunno how long I can keep this up for, but if I can compound at this approximately 35% rate, it’d add up to some mind blowing NAV in 30 years.

How mind blowing? hmmm, actually I dunno. Wait, let me go excel spreadsheet it. Cos I’m legit curious now…….

Tadah! LOL…

woo hoo. USD 11bil? In 30yrs, I’d be 70. With science and medicine then, 70 will feel like the current 50…

Ok, I think I will be ok with this deal! Give it to me now!

Oh but wait, this doesn’t even include any capital injections along the way!

Gosh, imagine that, plus all that compounding.

COMMENTARY

In my last TTF report, I wrote:

“Cautious… really cautious. Much of the craziness in the investing world in the past 2 years stem from simply money printing. When this amount of liquidity floods the system, everyone’s having a good time. If you have a single digit % return in 2021, it almost feels like a loss, ain’t it? This is not normal. Neither is it sustainable.”

“Currently, markets are pricing in at least 3 rate hikes in 2022.

Personally, I think it’d have to be even more. Remember a time when 2% fed funds rate is considered rather low? Well, if the Fed raises by just a standard 0.25% each time, we’d be looking at at least 8 hikes, just to reach this 2% mark!”

“In this regard, I’ve been positioning TTF to have a higher weightage in short positions for 2022.”

My view reflects the postures in my portfolio since 2021 Q4.

Aside from that, my top 5 generals have performed admirably well since the start of 2022, with all beating S&P, except for ASML.

This was my top 5 generals list:

  1. DISCK (going to be merged with Warner)
  2. V
  3. BABA, 9988
  4. Tencent (700)
  5. ASML

Top general DISCK especially, led the charge this year with a +23.34% gain:

I haven’t sold a share and continue to hold my position.

General No. 2, Visa, also did pretty well, remaining in the green YTD with a +3% gain:

Even General no.3, aka the beating boy of 2021, BABA, did pretty well:

General no.5, ASML was the only underperformer amongst the list:

At a -18.22%, it trails S&P YTD.

The recent volatility in the market has thrown up several interesting opportunities IMO. It’s only been 1.5 months, but I think I’d soon have to change this top 5 generals list.

I’m not ready to provide an update to the general list though, DD takes time. But most certainly, I think with huge volatility, there’d be a lot of mispricing.

And mispricing = opportunity.


In previous years, partly due to chronic underperformance of most large enough active managers against a passive index, and partly due to the crazy money printing from the Fed, the world was awash with liquidity, and simultaneously, we saw a continued, significant and rapid wave of capital rushing into passively managed funds.

ETF investing and other similar tracker funds became more and more popular: And for good reason.

For most retail investors, investing is just a game with odds that’s heavily stacked against us. (Unless you believe Nancy Pelosi is really such a talented stock picker…)

But imo, all that attraction of passive investing leads to opportunities in selected spaces for the skillful, sharp and talented active investor to exploit.

In my previous report: (https://thumbtackinvestor.wordpress.com/2022/01/07/thumbtack-fund-report-10-hello-2022/), I’ve already written about a very specific example (SEAC). I don’t intend to share another right now.

But logically, if more and more active money is flooding into passive spaces, there’s a higher likelihood for mispricing in under noticed companies. No, I’m not talking about things that everybody has heard of: not stuff like your FB, or BABA, or MSFT or TSLA or MU, or wadever that rolls off your tongue. It’d be stuff that is little noticed, and probably not even on the radar of larger institutional monies.

I have every intention to hunt in these tiny little creaks and fully exploit the market’s follies.


Oh yes, if you noticed something looking different here, apparently yours truly TTI is now a “notable nominee” according to InvestingNote, hence the “digital award” aka logo on the right.

IN also sent me a “digital plaque”:

I get that these are all marketing efforts for IN: I run a business too, these are low lying fruits to garner. It doesn’t cost me much in terms of effort, and I know IN’s team, and they seem like nice folks, so there we go, I’m happy to support.

TBH, I am kinda tickled by “Notable Nominee” though. I’m imagining the marketing team sitting around a table and brainstorming, “eh, how about those who didn’t win aka the losers huh? What do we call them? Esp that thumbtack guy. He didn’t even do the writeup thing to try to garner votes.”

“Nominees”

“Yeah, but just nominees meh? Sounds a bit loser lei.”

“Then u go find another nicer word that makes it sound more zai and put it in front la. My england not so good. But find something that starts with “N” la, got alliteration, it’d sound better. Like “Hulk Hogan.” “

“Nice? Noble? Noticeable? Natural?”

“<absent mindedly> ok, noted”

“Huh, ok, u say one huh. Notable.”

And that’s how “Notable Nominee” came about.

Also, I’d like to take this chance to announce that the digital plaque and the digital award u see above, are now for sale as NFTs.

Come on, come and buy from me. I accept cash only k. It’s innovative.

It’d be the 1st ever NFT sold in cash. You’d have bragging rights. CNBC will report it. You’d be the envy of all NFT owners worldwide, since you’d be at the forefront of such a revolutionary idea!

Come on, pls email me at thumbtackinvestor@gmail.com to buy. Each one is for sale at $50,000.

That’s in USD, but just for the next 24hours, I’d take SGD too.

Someone commented on IN that the $7.2mil of NFTs that the sexy model girl (shit, momentarily forgot her name now) sold is worth it cos it’s like a bet on her future or something along those lines. Cos you could use that NFT of her in any way in future, and even if it’s damaging to her image, she can’t get you to take it down cos that’s your “asset”.

Something along those lines.

I don’t quite buy that train of thought, but ok ok, wadever. Just buy my NFT pls. Let me pitch it to you.

This “notable nominee” plaque is a bet on TTI’s future too.

As I’ve illustrated above, with a 35% CAGR for the next 30years, I’d have at least $11 billion, making me a bona fide billionaire, joining the ranks of Buffett and Musk and Bezos and that currently unknown kid who’s not born yet but will find a cure to cancer in 20 years using NFTs only.

Now, imagine that. Imagine you have an NFT of the 1st ever “Notable Nominee” award aka consolation prize aka loser award that Elon Musk won 20 years ago.

How much is that worth?

Like seriously. If there’s such a thing, I’m sure it’d be worth a lot a lot more than $50k.

Hell, even Elon Musk’s detractors will buy it, just to post it on reddit somewhere to troll him! I think David Einhorn will be the 1st in line!

So there, don’t say I bojio. While stocks last.

Remember, I only have 2 such NFTs for sale.

Cash only!

P.S. I’d throw in a sexy shirtless pic NFT if u want.