This article was written in partnership with IG, the world’s No.1 CFD provider (by revenue excluding FX, February 2018). All views expressed in the article are the independent opinion of DollarsAndSense.sg
One of the best ways to learn more about the stock market is to be discussing about it with like-minded individuals. From Reddit, to Hardwarezone, to Facebook and even Twitter, there are numerous social platforms that investors and traders can use to discuss the hottest stocks, or to seek opinions on whether the trading strategies they are using can be improved.
InvestingNote is a social network platform for sharing investing and trading ideas on stock markets. Users of InvestingNote range from an amateur making his first foray into the stock market, to experienced professionals with decades of trading experience. As a social platform, InvestingNote allows users to share their latest ideas and discuss the latest stock movements in the market. Some users also use it as an avenue to pen down their thoughts and to clarify any doubts that they might have with the community.
Since its official launch in 2016, InvestingNote has grown quickly, having more than 50,000 users today with total pageviews of a few million each month. Thousands of users log in to the platform each day to monitor and track the stock markets.
We spoke to Shanison Lin, the CEO and Founder of InvestingNote, to find out more about his own investing and trading journey. Prior to InvestingNote, Shanison was a technical lead at ShareInvestor, leading a team of developers to develop large-scale financial portals and websites such as ShareInvestor.com, Business Times Invest and even the Bursa Malaysia Stock Exchange.
Shanison graduated from NUS School of Computing in 2009 without any knowledge on investing or finance. At ShareInvestor, the nature of his work required him to look at the stock market information on a daily basis, which developed his interest in the stock market. Soon after joining ShareInvestor, Shanison began his trading journey.
Due to his lack of knowledge and experience, he actively used discussion forums to learn about markets and discuss with other like-minded investors or traders. Through his first-hand experience of using stock discussion forums, he realized that the generic forum template where users follow a thread was not optimal for active stock discussions, with information being hard to find and discussions difficult to follow.
This sparked an idea to develop a platform dedicated solely for the stock market, to build a community that allows investors and traders alike to connect with one another while allowing them to monitor and track their investments easily.
DollarsAndSense (DNS): What was your first trade and how did it perform? #myfirsttrade
Shanison Lin (SL): My first stock was China Hongxing back in 2010. The reason why I bought this stock at that time was very simple – it was the brand of shoes that my family and I have been wearing for many years. Furthermore, China Hongxing was also a Fu Jian brand (which is my hometown) so I was investing in something that I use every day and I felt comfortable knowing that this stock also had many physical stores.
After a few months, the stock got suspended. Auditors discovered that the company had fraudulent activities. After 8 long years, they announced they were going to buy back the shares. I got back $32 of my $3,300 investment in the stock 8 years ago.
This failure made me ask myself what went wrong? One of the mistakes at that time was that I had no idea what I was doing back then. I simply followed the advice of my colleagues to invest in an everyday product without doing any of my own homework. This was also what got me started to read books related to investing and trading. You have to be very clear in what you are doing when you get started on your investing and trading journey.
DNS: How is InvestingNote different from other investing and trading forums in Singapore?
SL: What makes InvestingNote unique is the vibrancy of the community and an all-embracing culture where users have a willingness to share and help each other in their investing journey.
Traditional forums focus on the thread. However, InvestingNote focuses more on users and credibility. After a user writes a post, he can’t delete it after 30 minutes and every edit will have an audit trail that everyone can see. When it comes to investment, you want to know who is the one sharing the information and how his reputation is in the community. From the users’ profile, all these information are very clear. In InvestingNote, we believe that every investor has a voice and can be empowered to increase their investing and financial literacy through social sharing. There are also strict community guidelines and moderating done to keep our community in check.
Another difference lies in how we value the contributions and engagement from different stakeholders in the equities investing space, all while remaining neutral. Our community includes financial professionals, financial institutions, bloggers and micro-influencers – all under one roof. Each of these stakeholders are essential to help bridge the knowledge gap with retail investors.
We also hold various campaigns and events that benefit our stakeholders, such as giveaways, corporate visits and workshops. We make sure the learning and investing journey of a retail investor is a fun and engaging one. Essentially, we want retail investors to be the biggest winners.
DNS: Who are the regular users of InvestingNote and what do these users commonly share?
SL: We have a wide range of users actively using our platform on a daily basis. There are major stock brokerage firms in Singapore that have an official account with us and share their research reports every day. There are also stock broker/remisiers and financial bloggers who shares their investment analysis and their investment journey with other retail investors. A large percentage of users are retail investors, who can share news about stock market and their own analysis. Some of them are also leveraging on the platform to ask questions and to learn from other investors.
DNS: What keeps these users engaged and coming back to InvestingNote for more? How do you think your users have benefitted from Investing Note?
SL: The active and vibrant community is the key thing that keeps our users coming back. There are many experienced investors and professionals in our community who are sharing very actively. When you refresh the feed in the community, it is different every minute. With so many experienced users sharing pro-actively, you can stay updated with the latest happenings in the stock market.
We also try to improve our platform with more useful tools for investors to get timely data from the markets. We listen to our users’ feedback and try to improve our product offerings accordingly. We already have a list of financial tools currently in our pipeline and we can’t wait for the official release to our community!
With all these reasons combined, that’s how we’ve grown our community strong and people love us for it!
DNS: What features on InvestingNote do you think users like the most and why?
SL: Most users come to our platform to read the discussions and during then will spend most of the time with the feed. The market estimation and poll are also two popular types of posts that users used very frequently. They can use the poll to understand market sentiment and asking for other users for opinions easily. We also provide market data, official company announcements and research reports uploaded by our community members, all in the spirit of sharing.
DNS: What are some of the most useful tips you have read on your platform?
SL: #1 Patience is a key component for successful investing. One of our users shared that he made more than 1 million from the stock AEM over the course of three years, with all the proof. Most investors will sell the stock and take profit after it goes up say 10% or 20% and don’t have the patience and guts to wait for so many years. Multi-baggers stocks do happen but you’ve got to be patient and do your homework and understand fully what you are buying.
#2 Whether its investing or trading, being disciplined is extremely important.One of our users SimpleInvestor, who is also a blogger, made 31.69% return in 2018 compared to the ST’s -9.78%. The key to him is to be disciplined and follow through with his own method – the Moat Scorecard (refer to his year-end review here).
A lot of traders in the market, especially new traders, hope to make money as fast as possible. While it can be done, constantly profiting from short-term trading is difficult and definitely not for everyone. It takes a certain aptitude and experience to be constantly profitable in your trading.
One of the legendary Singapore traders Stockcham, whom I have known personally for many years, is very good at short term trading especially at penny stocks. He identified potential stocks movement by spotting if there are BBs (Big Boys) buying into the stock and monitoring their movement. However, this comes with more than 20 years of experience and a lot of hard work in monitoring the stocks every day.
#3 Measuring risks before measuring profit. Most traders, especially new ones, will already start counting how much they could make from a stock before they even buy it. If they feel they are not making enough, then they will increase their position sizing. This is very dangerous.
Instead of counting profit, traders should be counting how much potential losses they could make if they enter the stock at the price level. Only trade in the stock market with the amount of risk that you can afford to lose. And be disciplined enough to control the risk. Cut loss if you have to.
I’ve also heard stories – both good and bad – from users that serve as experiences and inspiration for everyone. Stories that make us think twice about making risky investing decisions, and stories that show us the possibility that retail investors can be millionaires too. We’ve seen first-hand the power of social sharing, applied to the world of stock investing.
DNS: How useful has all the discussions and advices on your platform been for yourself?
SL: As a trader, it is important to know what is the market trend and the market sentiment. Everyday, I will read posts from the community to discover if there are any interesting stocks to look at. With that, if any stocks grab my attention then I will add it to my watchlist and at the same time pull out more information from the platform to do further analysis.
At the same time, I have also gained a lot of knowledge from other users’ sharing. It is also a constant reminder that there are always better investor/traders out there and this keeps me motivated on learning and improving my skills.
DNS: Do you have any advice for traders and investors who use InvestingNote? What should they be aware of?
SL: InvestingNote is a great platform for users to monitor the stock market and discover latest news and development for the stock. Keep a look out for those stocks with active discussions, the opportunity might be around the corner, especially so when there are many experienced investors sharing actively.
Another interesting way of using the platform is to keep an investment journal. Most investors don’t even write any journals for their investment or at most keep an excel file for their stock holdings. But every time before you buy a stock, write down the reasons and the plan (entry, exit and risk management plan) – it will help you to make better decisions. Sometimes we get excited and buy a stock without any concrete reason. By keeping the journal and reviewing it from time to time, it will help you become a better investor and trader. Of course, you can choose to publish your journal or keep it private to yourself.
A large community always comprises users with different expertise, and different views as well. It is important for users not to follow blindly without doing their own research. Ultimately, our vision is for everyone to become a better investor or trader through using our platform and learning from others – just like how our motto says it best: Connecting Investors For Better Investing Outcomes.
Taking Advice With A Pinch Of Salt
InvestingNote encourages all users to share their thoughts and experience in a comfortable and inclusive environment. Advice might also come from someone that has way more experience than you do. Or you can decide whom you want to follow.
However, keep in mind that not everyone has the same investment goal. A strategy that was successful for one investor might not be the right strategy for you. A comprehensive discussion with peers on the platform can help to make a more informed decision, but remember to do your own due diligence before making your investment decision.
If you are looking to trade financial instruments, you will need a trading platform to facilitate your trades. As a financial broker, the company provides access to the market for traders who want to trade, via CFDs, various types of financial instruments, including shares, indices, forex and cryptocurrencies.
Even the most experienced traders continue to learn each day. To help them, IG provides daily news and updates on topics which traders will be keen to follow, and also the opportunity for you to speak with other traders and get assistance 24/7 from their IG helpline. You can even share trading ideas, market opportunities and discuss the latest products on IG Community.
If you are new to trading, a great way to start is to create a demo account. This demo account by IG provides you with $200,000 worth of virtual funds to hone your skills before you use actual money for your trades. A demo account will also help to familiarize you with the various tools available. For new traders, education in the form of courses and webinars on IG Academy would come in handy while you test out the various strategies available.
InvestingNote is one of the co-organisers of DollarsAndSense’s inaugural investing event, In The Footsteps Of Masters: Going Beyond #myfirsttrade, happening on 11 May 2019.
Supported by IG, this event brings together experts as they share with us their own investing and trading journey, the mistakes they have made, and how their personal experience has led them to adopt the investing and trading philosophy that they now practice and advocate for today.
Tickets have sold out, but you can visit our event landing page for updates and useful articles.