Peak Hour

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Tay Hock Meng, Contributing Writer, Sharesinvestcoach.com

The articles on the Peak Hour blog site are penned by Tay Hock Meng, a contributing writer for Sharesinvestcoach.com

Hock Meng is an avid financial writer and has been working as a finance professional for the past twelve years, including five years in the United States as a hedge fund research associate with a small hedge fund company with assets under management (AUM) totalling approximately US$400 million during its peak in 2008.

Altogether, Hock Meng studied, lived, and worked in the United States for about ten years from 2000 to 2009. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in banking and finance, followed by two graduate degrees in business administration and economics. Hock Meng started his Wall Street career in Portland, Oregon first as a summer intern, and later, after completing his Masters of Arts (Economics) degree with Central Michigan University 2005, came on board full-time.

During the years leading to the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) in 2008 – 2009, Hock Meng saw signs of an imminent collapse of the entire mortgage and housing industries being built on leveraged debt loads after seeing his hedge fund employers receiving unsolicited phone calls asking to trade such financial instruments which contain layers of unrated and sometimes unscreened mortgage loans being packaged together and marketed as high quality financial debt instruments known as collateralised mortgage obligations (CMOs). The US housing sector was also booming prior to GFC, with long lines of Americans queuing up during show flat visits, home building construction activities were lively, and Wall Street bankers enjoying big bonuses, among others. The bankers were thriving with highly levered debt being sold as good quality loans and it was one of the first signs of a financial collapse waiting to happen.

When the GFC came in early September 2008 just as Lehman Brothers announce their bankruptcy, and employees were seen streaming out of its downtown Manhattan office with boxes of documents, and other personal effects, it was an eye opener for me to experience such financial turmoil happening on the home soil in US. The financial markets opened on the day when Lehman collapse and fell hard. Wall Street traders and bankers were all left shell shocked by such rapid developments, and the US Federal Reserve had to intervene by pumping several rounds of liquidity to calm investors’ nerves. It was quite a surreal experience for a young lad like me during those days.

Upon Hock Meng’s return to Singapore in early 2010 after spending many years living in US, he decided to search for new jobs in his home country. While searching for jobs, Hock Meng sat and passed his Level I Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) examinations in June 2011, and gotten the Chartered Alternative Investments Analyst (CAIA) certification in October 2011.

Hock Meng found work with several employers including a US-based independent research company, Singapore Press Holdings and The Edge Publishing Pte Ltd. During these work stints, Hock Meng developed his skills and knowledge about equity and real estate investment writing.

Hock Meng is currently writing for several publications including BestPropetyBuy.com, Sharesinvestcoach.com, and Smartkarma Innovations while on the lookout for other financial sector jobs.

Hock Meng is married happily and enjoys spending time with his wife, family, reading and following the financial markets. Hock Meng also enjoys long-distance running, and has participated in several local running events including the StanChart Half-Marathon, The Straits Times Run, and NTUC Income Run 350, among others.