From The CEO's Desk

The tragic outbreak of war in Gaza adds unneeded complexity to today’s uncertainty.  We pray for peaceful resolution of the conflict and for comfort and peace upon the people affected by this.  

Here are our thoughts in response to this latest development.

As uncomfortable as the migration away from the equity portfolio was, it has proven to be a necessary act of prudence.  Indeed, the withdrawal of global investors from China and Hong Kong has weakened prices significantly, while returns from Malaysia’s well managed companies have been undermined by the weakening Ringgit.  Year-to-date it has devalued by 9% against the SGD.

Even so, investment opportunities are emerging as a result of de-risking, climate change, technological advancements, and population demographics. 

We’ve gained exposure to these green shoots through our participation in well priced, attractively valued, growth-oriented companies in the Asia Pacific and beyond.  The Ascending Steward Asia Fund, Dimensional, Chatrier and DPMS funds serve us well.  For example, Chatrier’s exposure to Japan benefitted us when the Nikkei 225 revisited the old highs of the 1990s.  Each fund’s active management permits timely action to either lock in profit or avert loss. 

Our measured diversification has proven to be of strategic importance. 

Give to be Truly Rich

Against a cloud of uncertainty, our focus in life is what gives or deprives us peace.  Only when we embrace the reality that we are but sojourners through this world – marching on to a place of promise and hope – that life takes on a richer meaning.  We become willing to step into brokenness with the motive of bringing hope and healing.  Thereafter, using our finances to multiply our impact becomes exciting and empowering. 

Here are four worldviews that explain people’s motivation to give.

1. Prosperity Worldview – You give to get.  It is rooted in the expectation that you will be blessed when you give.  A karmic slant dominates this worldview.

2. Poverty Worldview – You give out of fear of judgment.  It tends to be calculative and legalistic.

3. Philanthropy Worldview – You give out of obligation to give back to society.  It is often motivated by social and tax rewards.

4. Stewardship Worldview – You give to be a blessing.  It is characterized by delight that stems from transformative faith and generosity.

Charles Feeney died on Monday, 9 October 2023.  His isn’t a name we recognize, but I think you’ll find his worldview encouraging.  Here’s a NY Times article that tells his story.  

We hope to see you at our webinar on 18 November 2023!

– Winston Chong