Q2 2019 Portfolio Review – Navigating Turbulence

We are now at the halfway mark of 2019 – time flies! In this Q2 2019 portfolio update, we will look into portfolio updates and a brief commentary of the markets once again.

The US-China trade rhetoric has bounced between opposite ends of the spectrum in recent months following the Q1 rally at the start of the year. From the Huawei US trade ban and then a restorative truce at the sidelines of the G20 summit, events are as unpredictable as the sporadic tweets from the US president, driving market volatility in the financial markets up with no end in sight.

The markets are now expecting a rate cut from the Fed following a weaker US jobs report and worsening trade tensions, fuelling the recent rally in Singapore REITs and fall in US 10Y treasury yields.

I remain cautiously optimistic about the global macroeconomy – trade war tensions will eventually calm but the fight for technological dominance between the two superpowers will continue on many fronts. The journey there, however, could get worse before it gets better, and riding the fluctuations of the stock markets could get increasingly painful.

In Summary:

  • I sold off my SIA 3.03% 5-year retail bonds and bought Astrea V PE retail bonds
  • Building a SSB bond ladder of $500 amounts and preparing a war chest of funds for potential REIT IPOs and retail bonds
  • Continued my StashAway, STI ETF and VWRD monthly allocation strategy
  • No other major portfolio shifts

YTD performance

I will only include ETF portfolio performances in the review as part of my new asset allocation strategy from 2019.

If you’ve read my earlier posts on building a sustainable and long term ETF portfolio, my strategy includes a mix of global and local ETFs.


1) Freedom Fund at 36% risk level

  • +$227
  • +12.5% (time-weighted)

2) Balanced Fund at 20% risk level

  • +$218
  • +12.0% (time-weighted)


  • 12.7% (time-weighted)

Closing Thoughts

Interestingly, all three portfolios come quite closely to each other in terms of time-weighted returns. Net of fees, my DIY portfolio on IB outperforms StashAway’s riskiest portfolio by a tiny margin – although 2019 has been largely a strong recovery in the financial markets compared to the 2018.

I’ve noticed that my StashAway portfolio does better when markets are falling – as they have a higher long-term bond and some gold allocation that performs strongly  in uncertain times.

Once again, if you’d like to read my StashAway review, or try StashAway such that we both get $10,000 managed for free, please use the links to support my content!

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