Invest well, or not at all: Meet Popular Investor Zheng Bin
Zheng Bin (@FundManagerZech) from Singapore has been trading on eToro for almost four years. “I trade as I would with my life savings,” he says. He is not here to chase returns or make his stats look good in the short term. Zheng believes in solid research and only taking risks in which he truly believes. “If there is nothing to buy, I don’t move.”
Tell us a little about yourself.
I am a BD Senior Manager at OiO Singapore, a blockchain development company dealing with crypto staking and business solutions. I am deeply passionate about finance and emerging technology. I really enjoy reading — I read around 50 books a year and honestly wish I had time for more — and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. I love just spending time with my family and my wife, to whom I’ve been married for four years.
Where do you do your research on the instruments in which you invest?
I have a few main market philosophies and influence: Reflexivity theory (à la George Soros) as opposed to traditional EMH theory; Hyman Minsky’s Theory of Fragility of the Market; Credit Cycle theory, mainly influenced by Ray Dalio, even though the concept can be linked to the Austrian School of Economics; and Nassim Taleb and his book, The Black Swan.
With these in mind, I search for unusual patterns in the market that have caused some mispricing. My sources of information are podcasts, books, financial data, and just observing the news and current events.
What is your experience with financial investments?
When I was six years old, my grandmother would ask me every day to check stock prices in the newspaper for her. I participated in my first trading competition when I was 19. On my 21st birthday, I went to the bank to open a brokerage account — the legal age to do so without my parents’ permission. This was during the 2007-2008 global financial crisis. I started with FX, and traded my way through university, studying accounting and the lessons of Warren Buffet for value investing as an undergrad. My first job after graduation was in investment banking, specifically in the debt space. I studied for my Master’s in Finance, which gave me an understanding of broad financial market structures, including options pricing, CAPM, and Fama-French factor models. I now work in the blockchain industry, building products and technology around blockchain and cryptos.
Do you have any specific profit goals for each year? How do you plan to achieve them?
There is very little control in the financial markets. You cannot will them to go up or down, nor can you predict anything with absolute certainty. There is also very little you can do to time the market. Instead, I focus on what I can control — my thought process behind each trade, doing my research, setting boundaries and risk management, not necessarily going by popular opinion and most importantly, having the humility to accept that I will sometimes be wrong. I believe these are the key success factors of the best money managers in the world, and I have copied them.
How has eToro changed the way you trade?
In my opinion, eToro is the only logical way to invest in the market for most investors, if done correctly.
The concept of accredited investors, or high-net-worth individuals was introduced to protect the average person from salespeople in the financial industry. But I believe that this has alienated most investors, because anyone below that bar are appointed salespeople whose job is to sell, not to look after investors’ interests. I believe the next logical step in the evolution of finance is eToro. As the manager of my own portfolio, I am acting in my own best interests; I am the one who oversees its performance.
What is your trading strategy and have you changed it at all recently to adapt to the volatile markets?
My strategy has not changed for a long time. It is by nature dynamic and not rule-based, hence, it will evolve and become more mature, but it is largely the same. As I mentioned above, I seek out obvious mispricings, but these are extremely rare. People only see, for example, the ten trades I make, but will not see the other 150 ideas that I have researched, but never came to the market. There are times where there are no obvious mispricings, so I wait. As Buffet says, you don’t have to swing at every pitch. “The trick in investing is just to sit there and watch pitch after pitch go by and wait for the one right in your sweet spot. And if people are yelling: ‘Swing, you bum!,’ ignore them.” 2020 was full of mispricings and it took almost 2 years for crypto to realize some of its value, hence, the larger returns.
What are the benefits of being a Popular Investor?
The main benefit is absolute truth. One person, one account, no do-overs, only absolute truth. Where I placed my trade, when and why. It helps me prove my opinions and commentary on the market. eToro helps me communicate my ideas to others, and put my money where my mouth is.
What message would you like to give to your copiers?
I am not for everyone, and that is all right. I just love finance, the markets and everything that comes with it. Through my investing, I express myself and my views. I am not searching for a “lottery ticket” over the next 1-2 years. Instead I want to prove that over an extended period of time — 10, 20 or even 30 years — I can outperform most. I hope you will join me in my journey.
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