Value Investing Summit 2018: Unlocking Hidden Champions
The two whole-day event took place last weekend at the Singapore Expo Convention and Exhibtion Centre on 27th and 28th January. Aimed to promote knowledge of value investing among investors, it would be the seventh time the Value Investing College has organised the annual event.
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Every year, VIS features some of the best investing minds in Asia and around the world, gathering renowned investors, business leaders or industry experts under one roof to share ideas, discuss investment strategies and support one another to navigate the investing scenes internationally.
The keynote speaker for the event was Professor Hermann Simon (above), author and Honorary Chairman & Co-founder of a world’s leading consultancy firm, Simon-Kucher & Partners, was also present for the conference. Providing a detailed discussion on macroeconomic trends, globalization, the implication on micro economies, innovation, digitalization, and the features of “hidden champion‟ companies. The insights that he shared were intriguing and were received very positively by the audience.
“Hidden Champions”, a term coined by Dr Simon himself, refers to relatively small but highly successful companies that are concealed behind a curtain of inconspicuousness, invisibility, and sometimes secrecy. They are world market leaders, mid-sized companies that no one really knows about. Companies that have a low level of public awareness, earning a revenue below $4 billion but are completely dominating the market share (number one, two or three in the global market, or number one on the company’s continent) would fall under the category of being a Hidden Champion.
On the first day of the summit, Dr Simon covered the topic titled “The Vanguard of Globalia, Success Strategies of Unknown World Market Leaders”. Sharing the characteristics of companies identified as Hidden Champions, he finds that these companies tend to pursue purely ambitious goals aiming for market and leadership and posess a long-term orientation. These companies are highly focused with world-class quality, however would require globalization to expand the reach of its niche market. Innovation and digitization is key, and these companies offer true value-to-customer while charging a good price. Overall, these Hidden Champions tend to have successfully developed several competitive edges for themselves.
According to Dr Simon, a Hidden Champion can “achieve exponential growth in 20 years”.
Further imparting his knowledge about leadership, in his second-day talk “Hidden Champions – Role Models for Leadership in 21st century”, the author of the worldwide bestselling book “Hidden Champions” identified key traits that a Hidden Champion leader would posses; namely, the unity of person and purpose, single-mindedness, fearlessness, closeness to customers and being a driver of innovation. He maintains that idea that if the mindset is applied, an exponential transformation is not impossible.
Kee Koon Boon (above), Chief Investment Officer and Chief Executive Officer of the Group’s Hidden Champion Fund, was another keynote speaker at the event. Kee gave an overview on the value investing approach and philosophy. Following the “Hidden Champions” theme, he also showcased several case studies of successful companies that fit the category.
Zhou Guiyin (above), General Manager and Chief Trainer of Shanghai Rongdao Culture Communication Co. Ltd. and 8IH’s China subsidiary, gave an interesting speech about how Chinese ancient culture and philosophy, could in fact, also be applied to value investing. As the Chief Trainer of 8IH‘s Value Investing Programme, he combined the wisdom of Sinology into value investing and developed a range of customised value investing programs tailored to suit the needs of China consumers.
Vishal Khandelwal (pictured above), founder of SafalNiveshak.com, an initiative to help people learn the art of value investing and behavioural finance, spoke about the irrational market. In his talk, he shared a couple of astute observations on how one could improve the stock screening process with rationality in order to safeguard investment returns.
Other notable speakers for the event include Sean Seah (Chief Executive Officer, 8VIC Global Pte. Limited), Makrand Appalwar (Founder, Chairman & Managing Director, Emmbi Industries Limited), Ms Judy Kuo (Chairman & Director, Nyquest Technology Corporation Limited), Getty Goh (Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of CoAssets Pte Ltd), Hemant Amin (Founder, Managing Director & Chief Investment Officer, Asiamin Capital Pte Ltd) and François Badelon (President, Amiral Gestion).
Inter-varsity Stock Challenge 2018
A key highlight of VIS 2018 was the Inter-varsity Stock Research Challenge. Also known as “The Challenge”, the yearly competition gathers university teams from Singapore and Malaysia and pit them against each other to put forth their best investing strategies.
Seeking to promote the study of Value Investing among university students, the Stock Challenge serves not only to advance their analytical skills and but also to provide them with exposure and recognition in the community of value investors. The platform also encourages full-time undergraduates to learn and practice their Value Investing knowledge from a young age.
From the pool of 26 entries received for the Challenge, 5 final teams were selected to present in the final round held on the second day of the event. Unlike classroom-based studies, the teams were required to apply their knowledge in the real world and while receiving guidance from the judges possessing extensive investing experience.
After facing the panel of judges comprising Amin, Simon, and Kee, the team from from Nanyang Technological University (NTU) emerged as the challenge winner. Zou Ye Ying, Ong Xin Yi, Shui Shan Shan and Vania Si successfully bagged a cash prize money of S$4,000 sponsored by 8VIC and a Challenge trophy engraved with their institution’s name for this year’s Challenge.
Financial education for millenials
Clive Tan, Executive Director of the Group, finds that VIS has grown in quality, depth of information shared and regional influence, and commented, “It’s encouraging to see the learning spirit and aspiration for financial freedom among the attendees, the majority of whom are millennials with increased spending and investing power. As the largest and the most active private financial education provider in Singapore and Malaysia, VIC is committed to assisting our students and the public in learning the knowledge to achieve their investment goals, through VIS and our other flagship events”.
Seeing the success and response for VIS, it is no surprise that 8VIC does not have any plans to stop holding the event. In fact, VIS 2019 has been scheduled next year on the 19 to 20 January in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.