Apr 25 2013


International Teachers: Are you investing enough money?

To find out if you’re saving enough money, use my free, 13 minute seminar below:

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Permanent link to this article: http://andrewhallam.com/2013/04/international-teachers-are-you-investing-enough-money/

Nov 05 2012


Calling Fee-Based Financial Advisors

I want to profile (and encourage business for) financial advisors acting as true fiduciaries to their clients.

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Permanent link to this article: http://andrewhallam.com/2012/11/calling-fee-based-financial-advisors/

Apr 18 2015


WealthBar Can Build Index Fund Portfolios For Canadian Expats


There’s a new investment firm on the block called WealthBar.

And it’s going to help Canadian expats.

For years, Canadians overseas have had just a couple of investment options.

They could build their own portfolios through an offshore brokerage account.

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Permanent link to this article: http://andrewhallam.com/2015/04/wealthbar-can-build-index-fund-portfolios-for-canadian-expats/

Apr 15 2015


Why Marc Ikels Could Be Singapore’s Best Financial Advisor

Marc Ikels

Marc Ikels



“I had a choice between the in-flight entertainment system, and the live entertainment,” says financial advisor Marc Ikels. “I chose the live entertainment.” It was 2004. He was flying from Singapore to run the New York City Marathon.

His “live entertainment” became Marc’s future wife. He married the Singapore Airlines flight attendant in 2006.

On Singapore’s National Day, four years later, the couple’s twin boys were born. That’s when Mark decided to quit his job with American Express to become a financial advisor. “The American Express job involved far too much travel,” he says.


Screen Shot 2015-04-14 at 4.03.26 pm

A few years earlier, he had earned his MBA through INSEAD, a Wharton College exchange program. He specialized in Finance. And like a driven student, once he decided to become a financial advisor, he wanted to be one of the best.

To do so, he couldn’t put client money into investment linked assurance schemes. They’re also called Offshore Pensions. Such platforms are popular among Asia’s financial advisors because they pay massive commissions. They charge high fees to clients. And they charge whopping early exit penalties. So Marc couldn’t sell them. If he had done so, he couldn’t have slept at night.

Instead, he aimed to build portfolios of low cost index funds. Studies show they outperform actively managed products. They don’t pay commissions to advisors. What’s more, unlike offshore pensions, there are no penalties for redeeming them before a designated date.

Ikels contacted a firm called Dimensional Fund Advisors. It’s based in Texas. And it has the best client loyalty ratings in the world. They don’t pay commissions to advisors that use their products. And they’re a picky firm. To build portfolios of DFA index funds, financial advisors must undergo heavy scrutiny. Most have to fly to the United States for extra training.

“I’m the only financial advisor in Singapore qualified to sell DFA’s funds,” says Ikels. In fact, he might be the only one in Asia.

Marc Ikels isn’t the kind of guy who’s going to cold-call you at home, or at your office. Most of his business comes from referrals. “I’ve built a client base that includes many Singapore-based MBAs,” he says. And it makes sense. Knowing the difference between an advisor who builds a portfolio of DFA funds compared to an advisor selling high commissioned pensions with Friends Provident, Zurich International, Royal London 360 or Royal Skandia isn’t something most people know. And that’s a pity.

Those wanting a top quality investment portfolio, however, could call Marc Ikels if they fit his requirements. “It has to be a good fit,” he says. “I won’t invest people’s money if they want me picking individual stocks or chasing hot trends. That’s not how to make solid, long term gains.”

Instead, investors need to understand how low costs, diversification, and annual rebalancing provide the best odds of investment success.

Because Marc doesn’t earn commissions, he accepts clients with a minimum $500,000 (USD equivalent) to invest. “Otherwise,” he says, “the business model doesn’t make sense.”

He charges a flat $7000 a year for accounts valued between $500,000 and $999,000. For accounts above $1 million, he charges a percentage of the account’s assets. For example, a $2 million portfolio would cost 0.65 percent per year in fees. That’s $13,000. Accounts valued between $2 million and $5 million cost 0.55 percent per year. Accounts exceeding $10 million cost 0.38 percent annually.

Unlike with an offshore pension, these costs aren’t hidden. Most offshore pensions charge more than 3.5 percent per year, once advisory fees, fund fees and establishment fees are added up. By comparison, Marc’s fees are a bargain.

Marc Ikels is the only advisor based in Singapore who builds portfolios entirely with index funds. He won’t put an actively managed fund in a client’s account. Using index funds instead, puts the science behind investing.


Here are Marc’s contact details:

Telephone: (65) 8200 5507

Email: [email protected]

Permanent link to this article: http://andrewhallam.com/2015/04/marc-ikels-singapore/

Apr 14 2015


Why American Expats Overseas Should Invest With AssetBuilder


Image courtesy of Pixabay

I’ve been reading Scott Burns‘s articles for years. He’s one of America’s favorite financial writers. For more than 40 years he has brought straight-shooting coast-to-coast money columns to American breakfast tables. His syndicated column gets published in more than 80 newspapers.His no-nonsense approach led to the creation of the Couch Potato portfolio, in 1991.

He said the average investor could buy just two index funds: a stock index and a bond index. And if they did, they would beat most professional investors. The idea was simple. And he was right. Most people pay far too much money for their investment accounts.

Do-it-yourself couch potato investing is cheap. But not everybody wants to invest on his or her own.

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Permanent link to this article: http://andrewhallam.com/2015/04/why-american-expats-overseas-should-invest-with-assetbuilder/

Apr 14 2015


Think Like Warren Buffett When Vacationing Abroad


During the 1974 stock market crash, Warren Buffett said he felt like an “oversexed guy in a harem.” 

When stocks are on sale, Buffett loves to buy.  He knows he’s getting a bargain. 

Smart travelers do much the same thing. 

They travel when it’s cheap. And now may be the best time in ages for Americans to travel abroad. 

Thank the soaring U.S. dollar.

Image courtesy of Pixabay

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Permanent link to this article: http://andrewhallam.com/2015/04/think-like-warren-buffett-when-vacationing-abroad/

Apr 07 2015


Tips From The Best Stock Picker You’ve Likely Never Heard Of


I know that some investors will always want to pick their own stocks. 

I have no problem with that, as long as the stocks are icing on an index portfolio cake. 

For those wanting the best stock picking guide I know, let me introduce you to Norm Rothery.  

Image courtesy of Pixabay

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Permanent link to this article: http://andrewhallam.com/2015/04/tips-from-the-best-stock-picker-youve-likely-never-heard-of/

Apr 05 2015


Should This Investor Question His Investment Strategy?


Question: My ETFs have not been performing well since I purchased them last year and I was wondering if I am right in thinking I should just ride this out and not worry.

Or should I be re-thinking my purchases?

This is how each has gone down in value:

Vanguard UK FTSE 100 (VUKE): Down 15%
IShares UK Gilts (IGLS): Down 10%
Vanguard FTSE All World (VWRD): Down 1%



Answer: There’s only one certainty in stock market investing.

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Permanent link to this article: http://andrewhallam.com/2015/04/should-this-investor-question-his-investment-strategy/

Mar 31 2015


Building A Low Cost Portfolio With Socially Responsible Funds


Some of my friends don’t feel good about investing.

They want to make money. But they won’t support businesses that build missiles, hook kids on cigarettes or extract air polluting fossil fuels.

That rules out most actively managed funds and indexes. They don’t discriminate against specific types of companies.

Investors wanting to align their money with their ethics have two choices. They could select their own individual stocks.

Or they could buy funds called Socially Responsible Investments, also known as SRIs.

Image courtesy of Pixabay

Find out more in my AssetBuilder Article


Permanent link to this article: http://andrewhallam.com/2015/03/building-a-low-cost-portfolio-with-socially-responsible-funds/

Mar 25 2015


Do Vanguard’s Indexes Beat Their Own Actively Managed Funds?


Vanguard founder, John Bogle, is investing’s Pied Piper. 

He first blew his pipe in 1976.  Things started slowly.  But eventually, legions followed him into index funds. 

Actively managed funds, he says, are mostly a waste of money.  They earn lower returns because their fees are higher. 

But Bogle owns at least one actively managed fund—and it has thrashed the market.

It’s called the Vanguard Windsor fund. If $10,000 were invested in it from August 1976 until March 3, 2015, it would have grown to $967,947 versus $581,814 for Vanguard’s S&P 500 index. 

Few people think of Vanguard as an actively managed mutual fund company.  But it has more active funds than index funds. 

Image courtesy of Pixabay

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Permanent link to this article: http://andrewhallam.com/2015/03/do-vanguards-indexes-beat-their-own-actively-managed-funds/

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