News Articles

Scouring Accounting Footnotes to Prevent Tunnelling


The Business Times, 19th August 2015

IMAGINE that the S-chip (Singapore·listed China stocks) fraud with its “missing cash phenomenon” and the penny stock scandal never happened – because there was a way to prevent them. 

Education 2.0 In Indonesia: Inspiring Bamboo Innovators


Jakarta Post, 11th May 2013

“What use is an esoteric academic theory like Einstein’s theory of relativity?” scoff street-smart students and ‘practical’ businesspeople. Answering this question using the Bamboo Innovator framework can help foster resilient value creators

Be like the bamboo, not the oak


TODAY, 8th April 2013

“Singapore is too small and its talent pool is too small to produce a world-class manufacturing giant of the Fortune 500 class,” Singapore’s founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew once said. A cryptic remark, indeed, because it does not imply that he thinks Singapore cannot produce knowledge-based giants, or resilient “bamboo innovators”

Creating ‘Bamboo Innovators’ in S’pore


The Straits Times, 1st April 2013

“Can my kid watch how you milk cows?”
“Can my kid see how you print the newspaper?”
These were questions asked by Israeli inventor and entrepreneur Gil Shwed’s mother when she took him on educational “adventure trips” when he was young, exposing him to a diary farm, a printing house, and his father’s office in 1972, where at age five he saw a computer for the first time.

Lion Infrastructure is the way to go


The Business Times, 30th December 2010

HUNDREDFOLD. That’s the breathtaking growth of Singapore’s gross domestic product (GDP), from US$1 billion after its independence in 1965 to US$100 billion in 2004 when Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong took over the reins from his predecessor, Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong.

Why ‘Democracy’ and ‘Drifter’ Firms Can Have Abnormal Returns:


– Published in the Special Issue of Istanbul Stock Exchange 25th Year Anniversary Best Paper Competition of the Boğaziçi Journal, Review of Social, Economic and Administrative Studies, Vol. 25(1): 3-55.
– Presented in the 23rd Australasian Finance and Banking Conference in Sydney, 15-17 Dec 2010

Investors willingly entrust their capital to managers on the assurance that the self-serving managers will exercise their discretionary rights appropriately to increase shareholders’ wealth and not expropriate their assets for their own profit.

Reforming Corporate Governance


The Business Times, 25 November 2010

CORPORATE governance, as elucidated by leading finance researchers Andrei Schleifer and Robert Vishny, “deals with the ways in which suppliers of finance to corporations assure themselves of getting a return on their investment. How do they make sure that managers do not steal the capital they supply or invest in bad projects?”



Lianhe Zaobao, 9th August 2010

你可知道由 “股神” 沃伦 • 巴菲特 (Warren E Buffett) 呕心沥血打造,拥有1800亿美元的企业集团 — 伯克希尔 • 哈撒韦 (Berkshire Hathaway) — 和新加坡有什么共同之外吗?

What do Berkshire Hathaway – the US$180 billion insurance, industrial and consumer conglomerate that billionaire Warren Buffett skillfully crafted – and Singapore have in common?

Stock Return Synchronicity and Technical Trading Rules


10th July 2010

We explore the potential source of returns from technical trading rules at the firm-level by examining the cross-sectional relationship between technical trading returns and stock return synchronicity. Inspired by Roll (1988) and Morck, Yeung and Yu (2000), we use R2 of a regression of individual stock returns on the market return as our measure of synchronicity. If a low R2 is largely attributable to noise trading, stocks will have lower synchronicity with market factors and lower R2. Low R2 stocks earn higher expected returns, according to De Long, Shleifer, Summers, and Waldmann (1989, 1990), or due to limits of arbitrage (Shleifer and Vishny, 1997), a predicted relationship which we termed as the Noise Hypothesis. Overwhelming support in prior literature is in favor of lower expected returns in low R2 stocks, or the Price-Informativeness Hypothesis according to Morck, Yeung and Zarowin (2003).



Lianhe Zaobao, 12th July 2009

回顾上世纪70年代的银行检测及 90年代的储蓄贷款银行危机所引 发的‘为盈利而走向破产’局 面……同样的情节是否即将上演呢? 答案是一个重重的‘是’!

Unpublished Articles

Long-Term Entrepreneurs Globalizing Their Australian Businesses and Singapore’s Can Do Spirit


Kee Koon Boon

Snake venom with a S$550 million market cap then in 1994; a 54-fold multibagger since and a S$30 billion global biotech champion now. Data management software with a S$40 million cap then in 1994; a 150-bagger since and a S$6 billion global share registry solutions provider now.

How did these domestic small-medium enterprises in Australia scale and globalize their operations successfully right under the noses of powerful incumbent giant rivals?

Surpassing Stall Points in Scaling New Heights


Kee Koon Boon

2011 marks the 50th “anniversary” since Ray Kroc, 59 years old then, bought out McDonald’s for US$2.7 million from the McDonald brothers who were the original pioneers of the fast food restaurant “system”– an expensive valuation then and with no secret recipe for hamburgers, no patents, and no technological breakthroughs. Since fully taking charge of McDonald’s destiny, Kroc, the visionary leader, enlisted the help of a team with Fred Turner as the execution extraordinaire, June Martino as the human resource specialist, and Harry Sonnenborne as the numbers guy who advised him that real estate was the key to a franchise’s financial success.

The Scale of Life in Business and Performance-Based Value Investing


Kee Koon Boon

Commerce would not have progress beyond the barter system without the invention of a system of weights and measures. Before there was the traditional Chinese steelyard (gancheng), buyers and sellers eye the heap of goods to determine their weight. It is difficult to achieve a fair trade. With the gancheng, the object to be weighed hangs at one end of the beam, while the weights at the other end are slided left or right until a perfect balance of the beam is found. Reading of the mark where the weight-string rests is made to determine the weight of the object. There are 16 markings on the arm of a gancheng, such that 16 qian is equivalent to 1 liang and 16 liang is equivalent to 1 jin (or 604.79 grams). The Chinese unit of measurement was based on the number 16 instead of 10.

But why 16? The wisdom behind this number will help us understand why..

The Global Roar and Heartbeat of Japan Inc’s Outstanding Entrepreneurs


Kee Koon Boon

If there is a vantage point for the roar of the far-sighted and hardworking entrepreneurs to radiate globally, symbolizing that profound panoramic awareness-looking everywhere, it would be from the temple-topped hills of Kyoto.

Kyoto, the ancient capital city of thousand-year old temples with a population of 1.5 million, had become a hub of entrepreneurial activity in post-war Japan. Spared from the annihilation of Allied bombing campaigns, Kyoto was one of the few places with infrastructure intact enough to set up small to medium-size businesses, chu-sho kigyo, while other parts of Japan laboriously rebuilt old conglomerates.

Turkey’s Long-Term Entrepreneurs and Value Investing


Kee Koon Boon

Godiva chocolate – owned by Yildiz Holding’s Ülker. New York’s 26,500 “Taxi of Tomorrow” for the coming next decade – high chance of being manufactured by either Koç Holding’s automotive group or Karsan Otomotiv. The third-largest household appliance brand in Europe, behind Sweden’s Electrolux and Italy’s Indesit – owned by Koç’s Arçelik. Europe’s fifth largest brewer (and also the largest independent European brewer) and the sixth largest bottler in the Coca-Cola bottler system worldwide – Anadolu Efes.

These are some of the integral economic engines powering “the new indispensable nation” of the 21st century, or how Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan describes his country which has a GDP of $770 billion, now the world’s 17th largest and Europe’s 6th largest economy.

Eclipse of the Jin and Hui Merchants: Lessons for Entrepreneurs and Value Investors


Kee Koon Boon

Pinnacle to pits. Such is the tragic and thought-provoking path of the powerful Shanxi-based “Jin Merchants” and Anhui-based “Hui Merchants” during China’s Ming Dynasty till their demise in the late-Qing Dynasty as they could not cross the chasm to “Stage 2”.

They were richer than the emperor and their business empires stretched as far as to Asia, Russia and Europe. The powerful Shanxi “banks” (piaohao) offered a full array of financial services, establishing the remote inland Shanxi province’s Pingyao and the nearby Qixian and Taigu counties as the premier financial centers or China’s Wall Street then; the first and largest of them, Sunrise Provident (Rishengchang), was the modern equivalent of JPMorgan.