May 6, 2011

Asset Allocation - End of March

Portfolio review for Q1 2011 has been way overdue and I would like to apologize for the delay in updates to my portfolio holdings and its performance. Based on my investment objectives for 2011, I've made significant changes to my unit trust portfolio.

At the beginning of the year, I've sold of Hwang-DBS Global Emerging Fund (HGEMF), Pheim Income Fund (PIF), Hong Leong Global Value Fund (GVF) and AmOasis Global Islamic Equity Fund (AmOasis) even though the first two funds have been generating positive returns to me. I've sold off HGEMF and bought AmGlobal Emerging Markets Opportunities (AmGEMO) because its comparative performance to HGEMF but with much lower sales charge at 2% on Fundsupermart online platform. I've also sold off PIF to concentrate on PB Fixed Income (PBFI) and AmDynamic Bond (AmDynamic) funds as my core fixed income holdings. As for GVF and AmOasis, I've hold these two funds for two and three years respectively and they have been underperforming their peers in the global equity and global islamic equity funds. Therefore, I sold off these funds at a small loss.

May 3, 2011

Battle of the Online Unit Trust Platform - Fundsupermart Malaysia vs eUnitTrust

I'm have been an active users for both online unit trust platform available in Malaysia currently - Fundsupermart Malaysia (FSM) and eUnitTrust (eUT) for the past two years. Both platforms offer the sales of selected unit trust funds with discounted sales charges. Typically, the sales charge for equity funds sold in these platforms, and the sales charge for fixed income funds ranges from 0 - 1.5%.

However, I prefer FSM over eUT for the few reasons highlighted below:
  1. Promotions: FSM always have thematic promotions for funds with even lower sales charge (1 - 1.5% for equity funds) from time to time. I have yet to see eUT platform offer such promotion.
  2. User-friendly platform: The whole web site is fairly easy to use for an average computer literate user. For eUT, the layout seems to be cluttered and "old fashioned".
  3. Wide selection of funds: Admittedly both platforms have quite similar range of funds available online. As of to date, FSM has 147 funds and eUT has 143 funds for sales online.
  4. Payment methods: FSM offers wider range of payment method, ranging from Cash Management fund, cheque deposit, funds transfer and Internet bill payment. Currently, you can directly pay for your purchases from your CIMB and HLB bank account. eUT does not offer Internet bill payment facility.
  5. Live Help: If you need help, just buzz Live Help for real time help from FSM helpdesk. I find this very useful especially for beginners where you will get help from a person, rather than just shooting email to support.
  6. Research: FSM chunk out tons of research reports and papers to analyze current economic and market conditions. Admittedly, some of the papers are skewed towards promoting their funds/investment themes. But, hey it's a willing seller willing buyer market no offence to me!
  7. Forum: FSM has an online forum where fellow investors can discuss and share their knowledge on investment topics, although the forum is currently not as active. eUT does not have such feature.
The only disadvantage of both platforms is the limited selection of funds from popular fund houses such as Public Mutual, Hwang-DBS, MAAKL Mutual and etc. These fund houses focuses their selling efforts via their agents and hence the lack of motivation to offer online discounted sales charge.

So, why pay 5 - 6.5% sales charge where you can get most of the funds online at 2% sales charge or even lower? Remember, the basic rule of investments: keep the investment costs as low as possible to stay profitable!

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