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He Quits well-paying job to invest full-time

By Leong Chan Teik
The Sunday Times

His returns from mostly commodities trading are a few times his previous five-figure monthly salary.

After Mr. Francis Ho achieved his master's degree in engineering many years ago, he got hooked on finance and investing. He went on to achieve growing success in his personal investments. Now, after some 15 years of investing, the 43-year old has decided to be come a full-time investor. Hehas recently tendered his resignation from his job as productivity manager at the Singapore research and development laboratory of one of the biggets technology companies in the world. The job pays a five-digit salary every month. "My investments earn me a few times what I make as an employee," he says in an interview at his terrace house in Serangoon Gardens. "Otherwise, why take the riskof being on my own? I have family to take care of. " But I have the confidence, and enjoywhat I do, and I want to focus on that." His passion has led him to write a blog showcasing his analysis and financial investments at www.futurespro.blogspot.com, wher he callshimself Frank. His wife Yvonne, 41, has recently quit her job, as an engineer-manager, to spend more time with their only child, Arthur, 7. Q. What led you to start investing? A. About 15 years ago, soon after I started work, I attended an investing seminar and became very interested in investing. I read lots of books on the subject. Q. What was an unforgettable investment from those early days? A. at that time, currency investing was popular. I did some of that, and learnt a most valuable lesson after losing $30000 to $40000 over about six months. It was a lot of my savings. I didnt know how to protect my capital, how to manage risk. I betted that the pound sterling would go up against the US dollar. The pound fell instead. I increased my bets, but the pound fell further. I was a beginner, yet I took big risks. It was so painful that after that experience, I didn't invest for two to three years. Q. What led you back into the market? A. My passion for investing justkept growing. I continued to attend investment seminars and read books. when I returned to the market, i knew I'd invest properly. i didn't have much cash, so I used my CPF savings to invest in stocks. I made a fair bit of money. About five or six years ago, I discovered commodities trading, which offers lower returns at a lower risk. Q. Where there any very interesting books? A. There were two. One was "Think and Grow rich by Napoleon Hill, which taught me to set financial goals and explains the importance of developing a burning desire. the other book is Rich Dad Poor Dad by robert Kiyosaki. it tells me how I should invest, and argues that I should work for myself, not somebody else. Q. Relatively few Singaporeans trade commodities. why does it attarct you? A. I realise that if you invest mainly in stocks, if the market dives, your stocks will dive too. I discovered that the movements of commodities such as corn, sugar, wheat and gold don't correlate with the stock market. And you can make money in a bull or bear commodity market, unlike stocks. About 70 percent of my portfoliois now in commodities. i trade on US exchanges, which open at night. I am confident of 6 to 8 percent gains a month. And taht's a conservative figure. Q. Don't you need to understand the commodities markets very well? A. It's not difficult to understand. what causes prices to move up or down is transparent. And you can find out what the smart money is doing as the data is published weekly. In addition, there are seasons in the production of commodities, such as corn, which affect prices. You can analyse all that. Q. What about investments in equities? A. I don't invest much in equities. about two years back, I picked a big winner-InterRoller Engineering. I invested a lot of money in it and I sold it for a 150 percent profitafter 1 1/2 years. Q. Have you inevsted in other assets? A. Some of my investment profits have been channelled into property investments, so they can give me passive income. More than 10 years back, I bought a property in Malaysia. Afew years back, I invested in a residential property in Perth. Its value is up about 50 percent. I recently bought a luxurios hotel apartment that is being developed in Auckland, New Zealand. In Singapore, my home is my only property, the rest are mortagaged. Q. How muchdid you pay for your home? What was your previous home? a. This home cost $900,000 plus. Its land area is about 2,200 sq. ft. I bought it five or six years back, and the price hasn't moved since. We spent $50,000 to $60,000 on its renovation. Before that, we were living ina five-room HDB flat in Pasir Ris.