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Meet Yeap Ming Feng From Seedly, A Finance Writer & Marketer By Day, And DJ By Night

Balancing between his responsibilities as the Head of Marketing at Seedly during the day, and his DJ gigs at night is no walk in the park.


This article was written in collaboration with IG, the world’s No.1 CFD provider (by revenue excluding FX, June 2020). All views expressed in this article are the independent opinion of DollarsAndSense.sg based on our research. DollarsAndSense.sg is not liable for any financial losses that may arise from any transactions and readers are encouraged to do their own due diligence. You can view our full editorial policy here.

Can finance and music go together? If you ask Yeap Ming Feng, the answer is most certainly a resounding yes.

For those who don’t know Ming Feng, there is a good chance that you would have either read some of his finance articles on Seedly, or even heard him spin his music in clubs or pubs that you frequent.

Currently the Head of Marketing at Seedly and one of its earliest employees, Ming Feng spends a good part of his day overseeing the content that is published on Seedly, as well as the vibrant financial community that Seedly has grown. At night, however, he spends his time working as a DJ in some of Singapore’s most prominent nightlife locations, including CÉ LA VI.

As a “financial DJ” (as he is sometimes known), Ming Feng is certainly no stranger to two exciting industries—finance and nightlife. However, not many know that prior to joining Seedly, Ming Feng also worked as a proprietary trader where he spent a good part of his day (and night) trading assets in the financial markets.

Before that, Ming Feng worked at both Moody and Bloomberg, and he was also part of the early DollarsAndSense team from 2014 to 2017 before joining Seedly.

In this edition of #TheNewNormal, we talk to Ming Feng about his experiences in both the finance and nightlife industries, how both these industries have been impacted in vastly different ways because of the pandemic and how #TheNewNormal could transform both these industries in the foreseeable future.

Timothy Ho (Timothy): Finance and nightlife are two industries that have experienced drastically different paths since 2020. While the nightlife industry took a huge hit and was at times even non-existent in Singapore, it seems like just about everyone around us was talking about finance and what they were investing and trading in. As someone who can be considered an insider in both industries, how much of a contrast has the experience been for you?

Yeap Ming Feng (Ming Feng): What happened to the nightlife industry was unfortunate. Most of my peers in the music and nightlife industry were at a loss for what to do and there were also limited information and few updates on the plight of the industry.

Collectively, I would say the industry is pretty understanding of the policies that were rolled out to curb the spread of the pandemic. Initially, we were optimistic in light of the pandemic situation, but it quickly turned into a cruel realisation that the end was nowhere in sight.

Most of my friends from my DJ collective realised after a while that they needed to start focusing on themselves and over time, they did. It was a difficult period for everyone around me.

Now, if you allow me to put on my cap as an employee of Seedly, the pandemic has piqued many Singaporeans’ interest in finance. I remembered receiving calls from brokerages requesting for permission to use our content for their customer service responses. The volume of account openings and trading during this period went through the roof.

The demand for Seedly’s content during this period also increased. Every day, people were actively sharing the results of their trades on social media. The finance industry became more vibrant during this period.

Timothy: What were some of the biggest financial trends that have erupted over the past two years?

Ming Feng: Beyond the fact that people in Singapore are investing more, we are seeing a shift in behaviour and the types of products that new investors are drawn towards.

  1. Cryptocurrency now takes up a portion of investors’ portfolios.
  2. Social media hype has become an indicator of the stocks to invest in. An example is the rise of meme stocks.
  3. Singaporeans are also not afraid to discuss and share their trades with their peers. This is unlike the past where investing and personal finance were topics that were not discussed often.

Timothy: Do you see a lot more people getting interested in investing and trading from a younger age? What are some potential dangers that new investors and traders ought to look out for?

Ming Feng: Younger investors tend to be more open to taking risks and that is one potential danger.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s okay to take more risks when we are at a younger age. With time on our side, it makes sense that we dedicate a portion of our portfolio on investment products that are of higher risk but can potentially give us higher returns. The danger, however, lies in the type of indicators that some of these investors use. For example, they rely heavily on “hype”.

In other words, young investors have been jumping on the bandwagon of what we call meme stocks. Social media mentions, the amount of internet memes and recommendations from the online community are the key indicators they use to decide on the meme stocks to invest in.

These meme stocks have a cult-like following of investors who disregard the fundamentals of the company. These investors then go on to publicise their trades on their social media to influence and get more investors interested in the product which they are investing in. Many times, they even quote their positions in the market and the amount of returns they are making.

However, the fundamentals of the companies are questionable for most meme stocks and the price can be extremely volatile and risky in nature. To make things worse, some of the young investors “bet” their entire savings on it.

Timothy: You used to be a proprietary trader. How difficult is it to be a full-time trader?

Ming Feng: It’s not easy to be a full-time proprietary trader. Those were some tough times, but I am happy to share my experience.

Before I got recruited into the programme, I went through a test that lasted two months. During this period, I had to trade almost every night on a desktop trading platform. Imagine doing this outside of working hours and trading in the US time zone. This exercise allows the trading firm to determine the type of trader you are by accessing and observing your trades.

If you pass the first round, you will attend a series of tests and interviews that includes a mathematics test with a long list of questions. You are not supposed to spend more than 10 seconds on each question. The objective of the test is to assess your proficiency in mental calculation. After that, you have to sit through a theory test on macroeconomics to determine your knowledge of the economy, followed by a theory test on trading products such as futures and stocks.

If you make it through these rounds, you will be placed on a two-month trading programme as a junior trader. As a junior trader, you are given a budget to trade specific products determined by the company. I was doing spread trading back then and traded a few sets of futures. As you progress and prove yourself to be profitable, you will be assigned a higher budget and given more products to trade.

The trading hours back then were extremely long, given that I was trading the Asian, Australian and European markets. There were times when I would stay back in office to trade or observe the US market. On some days, I remember starting my day as early as 6 a.m. and ending work at midnight. I was sleeping and showering in the office.

Timothy: What got you interested in trading and is there any advice you would share with aspiring traders who are thinking of trading more, either for leisure or on a part-time or full-time basis?

Ming Feng: I have always enjoyed the thrill of trading. The adrenaline rush I get from trading is a feeling that I cannot get anywhere else. Of course, I was also interested in making money off the market.

For those who are interested in trading, I suggest reading the book, The Hour Between Dog and Wolf: Risk Taking, Gut Feelings and the Biology of Boom and Bust by John Coates. In the book, Coates discusses the Jekyll-and-Hyde transformation traders go through when under pressure. This book can help you gain insights and understand your body better when you trade.

You should also formulate a trading plan before trading and stick to it. A trading plan can help you make better decisions when you are trading and reduce the risk of your emotions getting in the way of your trades. Over time, you should review and improve your trading plan.

While most people think that they can trade, very few can do it well. You will need to decide if you are willing to put in the time and effort into trading well. Unlike investing, high-frequency trading involves longer hours of monitoring the markets and charts. Most traders also utilise leverage which is riskier. Traders should also learn to manage their risk and not trade more than what they can bear to lose.

Timothy: As nightlife in Singapore restarts and you resume some of your gigs, how do you strike a balance between your work and responsibilities at Seedly, your DJ gigs at nights and other life commitments that you have? What does a weekly schedule look like for you?

Ming Feng: I am fortunate that I can find joy in my work at Seedly while still being able to pursue my passion for music at such a level. I am very appreciative of the opportunities that both Seedly and CÉ LA VI have given me.

To be honest, it can be challenging at times, but I have a detailed calendar of my schedule that I review every week. I also try to ensure that I am spending time with people I love amidst my busy schedule.

I typically start my day at 9 a.m. every day. My official working hours at Seedly usually end around 6 p.m., but there are days when I work past that time. On weekday evenings, I schedule meetings after work to catch up with folks in the start-up scene or personal finance space. I am a mentor on ADPlist and if I am available, I will mentor anyone who has booked a session with me. There are also days when I advise start-ups on growth and marketing outside my working hours.

Given that health is wealth, I try to hit the gym at least twice a week to make sure that I can still fit into my pants and shirts. Every month, I go for floatation therapy to help ease my mind. My weekends are usually spent resting and spending time with my loved ones. I will also take some time to go into deep dives on topics that are of interest to me. I am currently into the Web3 space at the moment and have been doing quite a bit of research and reading up. On Saturday nights nowadays, you can find me dropping my favourite tunes at CÉ LA VI. I have also started attending church every Sunday morning.

Timothy: Any advice for readers out there who wants to get the best of both worldsbeing a DJ (or fulfilling other passions that they have) and working in finance?

Ming Feng: I know this may sound cliché, but given that we spend the bulk of our time at work, it is important to find meaning in whatever you are doing. Learn to love the work that you do.

It is also important to always develop a hobby outside of work. Not only do hobbies help develop character, but also serve as an avenue for you to escape your daily work routine and as a safe haven for your mind.

Timothy: We know where we can read your finance articles. But where can we find you playing your music these days?

Ming Feng: You can find my latest earworms on my regularly updated Spotify playlists. I cater to quite a few genres: https://open.spotify.com/user/11138457023?si=6f4b07981f79422b

I also randomly upload my mixtapes on https://www.mixcloud.com/MinGs/

You can also follow my Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/gnefsgnim/ where I keep everyone posted on my gigs.

The Financial Markets Can Be Exciting, But It Also Comes With Its Own Dangers

While interviewing Ming Feng, I couldn’t help but draw parallels between the nightlife industry and the financial markets.

We all know the nightlife scene can be an exciting place, but we must take precautions whenever we are there (i.e., don’t overdrink, keep our belongings and ourselves safe). Similarly, the financial markets, particularly over the past two years, have been an exciting place as many financial assets have seen sharp spikes in price and volatility. This gives traders a chance to make profits off the constant price movement.

With products like Contact For Differences (CFD), a trader can easily gain exposure to the price differences of the financial assets that they trade, without having to invest directly into the asset itself. A CFD is a contract between two parties (the buyer and the seller) to exchange the difference between the opening price of an asset and its closing price. Unlike listed companies, CFDs are not traded on an exchange. As a retail investor or trader, we can buy a CFD from a CFD provider and one such regulated CFD provider in Singapore is IG, the world’s no.1 CFD provider based on revenue excluding FX.

Proprietary traders (like Ming Feng when he traded full-time previously) can use tools like CFDs to gain exposure to a wide variety of asset classes. With IG, we can trade more than 13,000 markets using CFDs across different asset classes such as shares, forex, indices and commodities. We can also trade futures and knocks-outs on the IG platform.

Read Also: Knock-Outs Trading: What You Need To Understand About This New Product Before You Start Trading It

Traders prefer using CFDs because it allows them to take positions in either direction of the market. If we think prices will increase, we can buy a long CFD. If we think prices will decline in the short-term, we can buy a short CFD.

Another advantage of CFDs is that as a leveraged product, CFD traders can gain a larger exposure in the financial market than the capital they put up. This means that we can potentially gain a higher return on our capital in exchange for higher risk. This could be attractive for some traders seeking higher returns in the financial markets, particularly in the short-term. The flip side, however, is that leverage is a double-edged sword. While leverage can increase our investment size—thus, higher potential return—the opposite is also true. If prices move against the position that we take, our losses are magnified. Not only can losses be significant, it’s also possible that we lose more than the initial capital we put in if it moves against us.

As emphasised by Ming Feng, the use of leverage makes trading a riskier activity than a long-term investment without it. This is why retail traders have to be mindful and ensure that they adopt the right risk management strategies in their trade. These would include having a stop-loss on every trade, not risking too much of our capital for any particular trade and focusing on trading well, rather than worrying only about making money.

Read Also: Active Trading: 5 Risk Management Habits You Should Adopt To Become A Better Trader

Even as a proprietary trader, it takes time before a prop firm gives their traders more capital to trade. Ming Feng started out with a small capital size and was given more capital and markets to trade only after he proved to be consistently profitable.

For retail traders starting out, we should likewise start small. One way is to learn how to trade using a demo account. A demo account allows us to learn to trade using virtual funds so that we can try out trading strategies and familiarise ourselves with the platform we use before we deploy actual money in our trades. We can open a demo trading account with IG and get $200,000 in virtual funds to start trading. An IG demo account will also give us access to exclusive educational content on the IG Academy such as live webinars, online courses and exclusive events. We can also be part of the IG Community and discuss our trade ideas with like-minded traders from all around the world. When you’re ready to start trading with real money, you can proceed to open a live account to execute your trading strategies.

Read Also: What Rayner Teo, One Of The World’s Most Followed Traders, Thinks About Trading In The #NewNormal

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