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Phuket Business: Beware of the hammer and nail approach

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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PHUKET: There is a very famous quote that often comes to mind when speaking with many of my colleagues in the wealth management industry: “When the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail”.

Unfortunately many advisers fall into this trap, and despite the fact that everyone’s situation is different, they will recommend the same solution to every person that they come across.

This has become apparent, even within my own company in some instances since we will not “step on each other’s toes”. Often, after sitting down with the same person, two colleagues will come away with two radically different ideas on a solution.

This might seem surprising but this bias is wired into the way we think as humans. Since advisers can’t be experts at everything, they tend to become better educated about either investments or products that they have had success with and these are often mismatched with the client’s time horizon or risk tolerance. These are the two common mistakes I see being made on a regular basis.

Since the most widely publicized financial or “paper” investments are stock market based, a vast majority of advisers will recommend these, even if the client has a time horizon of a few years on the money.

My opinion, which is echoed by the vast majority of academic institutions regarding this subject, is that, unless it is speculative money, you should have a 10-12 year time horizon to safely “invest” in the stock market.

If a client has a shorter time frame but an adviser is not familiar with the alternatives, they are often too afraid to stray from what they know and thus make the mistake of mismatching the time horizon of the investment.

Another area in which the offshore industry often mismatches needs with the “easiest sell” is with savings plans. These can be great value if one ‘dollar costs’ averages over the life of the term by consistently paying premiums. Unfortunately many people I sit down with, who hold these policies, stop paying in or reduce payments when the markets are declining, which is exactly the wrong thing to do. By doing a few scenario exercises with the client beforehand an adviser might discover that a savings plan is not the right investment vehicle.

Personally, I prefer portfolio bonds since the investment options are enormously better. Of course these require even more discipline to continue contributing in bad times, which history has shown is always the best time to invest.

The hardest part about avoiding the above mistakes is that they are in fact honest mistakes. Many of you will have good gut instincts to avoid the unscrupulous advisers out there, but none of those red flags will be waving if the adviser is simply giving less than perfect advice because of technical shortcomings.

Clients usually go with advisers they like and feel they can trust, which is generally a good thing. The best way to avoid one of the above mistakes is to take the time to understand the potential downsides of any recommendation given to yourself.

There is always a trade off somewhere and if you take the time to think , it usually becomes evident.

Lazy thinking, or seeking to avoid thinking critically all together, is the root cause of many mistakes by clients and advisers alike.

David Mayes MBA lives in Phuket and provides wealth management services to expats around the globe, specializing in UK pension transfers. He can be reached at 085-335-8573 or david.m@faramond.com.

— David Mayes

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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Turbulence ahead for Thailand’s aviation industry | VIDEO

The Thaiger

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Turbulence ahead for Thailand’s aviation industry | VIDEO | The Thaiger

When the airlines, in particular, were asking the government to put their hands in their pockets for some relief funding in August last year, it was genuinely thought that international tourists would be coming back for the high season in December and January. At the very least local tourists and expats would head back to the skies over the traditional holiday break. And surely the Chinese would be back for Chinese New Year?

As we know now, none of that happened. A resurge in cases started just south of Bangkok on December 20 last year, just before Christmas, kicking off another round of restrictions, pretty much killing off any possibility of a high season ‘bump’ for the tourist industry. Airlines slashed flights from their schedule, and hotels, which had dusted off their reception desks for the surge of tourists, shut their doors again.

Domestically, the hotel business saw 6 million room nights in the government’s latest stimulus campaign fully redeemed. But the air ticket quota of 2 million seats still has over 1.3 million seats unused. Local tourists mostly skipped flights and opted for destinations within driving distance of their homes.

As for international tourism… well that still seems months or years away, even now.

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Domestic air passenger numbers double those of January

Maya Taylor

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Domestic air passenger numbers double those of January | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Vietjet

Passenger numbers on domestic flights within Thailand have doubled within a month, rising from 4,000 in January to over 10,000 this month. Having nearly recovered to pre-pandemic levels, domestic travel plummeted once more when Covid-19 resurfaced late last year.

Apirat Chaiwongnoi from the Department of Airports says 15 of Thailand’s 29 airports are now operating domestic flights, with more expected to follow. He believes the aviation sector will continue to recover further in the coming 6 months, bolstered by the national vaccine rollout.

Around 120 domestic flights a day are now operating, which is twice the number that were operating at the lowest point in the crisis. Prior to the resurgence of the virus in December, domestic passenger numbers had recovered to 30,000 – 40,000 a day, around 80% of pre-pandemic numbers.

The DoA says airports must continue to adhere to the Covid-19 hygiene measures put in place by the Health Ministry and the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Samut Sakhon’s shrimp market to remain closed until February 15

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Samut Sakhon’s shrimp market to remain closed until February 15 | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Kom Chad Luek

Samut Sakhon’s Central Shrimp Market, the epicentre of Thailand’s recent wave of Covid-19, will remain closed until February 15. The market can reopen once the overall hygiene situation at the market and surrounding area has improved, according to the province’s disease control committee.

Local officials say the shrimp market needs to remain closed until the market structure and nearby residential facilities are inspected. People who violate the order face up to a year in prison and a fine up to 100,000 baht.

More than 12,000 people in the province have tested positive for Covid-19. The increasing number of infections is a result from the active case finding to contain the spread of the virus.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World | Thairath Online

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