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Editor's note


HAVING built a successful career at Goldman Sachs, Melvyn Pun, chief executive of Yoma Strategic Holdings, faced a dilemma that many other second or third generation scions of wealth owners grapple with.

Mr Pun is the son of tycoon Serge Pun who established a sprawling business in Myanmar with a presence in real estate, aviation and agribusiness, among others.

"I wanted to learn from my father, but I felt it would be diffcult to have my own legacy under his company,'' he tells Wealth magazine.

Now he is making his mark, sharpening Yoma's focus on its core businesses, all of which tap into the needs of Myanmar's growing economy.

Mr Pun is convinced that Myanmar will beneft from an in?ux of foreign investment interest over the next few years, and is girding the group with what he sees as its competencies and strengths. These include an intimate knowledge of the local milieu in which businesses must operate, a commitment to empower staff in decision-making, and a single-minded adherence to a corruption-free business practice. Underlining all these is a longterm mindset, which he has set as a criterion for potential business ventures and partners.

In this edition of Ultra Wealth magazine, we present insights into issues that matter. In our Roundtable, experts examine the sustainability of the increasingly frm sentiment on the Singapore residential property market, a subject close to readers' hearts.

Eli Lee of OCBC Investment Research cites three factors underpinning the sustainability of an expected rise in home prices. One is an expected decline in housing completions between 2018 and 2020, which is set to reduce vacancy rates and drive rentals upwards. Second, he believes the risks of a recession and a rise in interest rates are overdone. Third is that a growing trend of collective sale deals reinforces market fundamentals, as it reduces the stock of homes available for occupancy for some years.

Also on our panel, CBRE's Desmond Sim says the greatest optimism is around the luxury segment where prices have adjusted to more acceptable levels and demand has revived since 2016.

In the Real Estate column, Alice Tan of Knight Frank also examines the prospects for Singapore's high-end non-landed homes. Ultra luxury non-landed homes have seen continuous price growth over six quarters since Q1 of 2016. The segment, she argues, still presents an attractive value proposition compared to prime homes in other gateway cities.

Elsewhere in this edition, Stephen Banfeld of Withers KhattarWong sheds light on a hot topic – cryptocurrencies whose mainstream potential is immense. The potential benefts include increased speed and accuracy of payment processing, greater access, and a detachment from centralised monetary policy. The trend towards government intervention is in response to the interest in investor protection, he writes.

In the area of Asian equities, Guillermo Felices and Lydia Rangapanaiken of BNP Paribas Asset Management cast their sights on the IT segment of emerging markets equities. The IT sub-sector has outperformed the broader MSCI EM Index so far this year. Unknown to many, this outperformance since January 2013 has been stellar – the IT sub-index has returned 84 per cent compared to just 4 per cent by the MSCI EM Index. While there are risks on the horizon, they continue to favour the sector, should cyclical or temporary adjustments occur.

Meanwhile, Leonardo Drago of AL Wealth tells investors to be wary of investment pitches that project today's successes far out into the future. Today's share prices, he writes, are likely to have taken into account future earnings growth, leaving investors with little room for error.

On a lighter note, Tara Loader Wilkinson takes a dive into selected unique and gorgeous resorts in Koh Samui, Thailand, where villas are carved out of the indigenous landscape and built with a keen eye on sustainability. Ten villas of Samujana, a 27-villa resort, are priced between US$1.1 million and US$5 million, with an expected rental yield of 2 to 5 per cent. The views, to be sure, will be stunning.

We hope you enjoy this edition and wish you a rewarding investment journey.

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