Q4 2019 Portfolio Review – stay invested, stay safe

In my last portfolio review, I talked about being cautiously optimistic about the global macroeconomy where trade war tensions will eventually calm.

Since then, geopolitical tensions has calmed with the US-China phase one trade deal, the U.S. Federal Reserve cutting rates for the third time this year and greater UK political and Brexit certainty with Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party winning a convincing victory and gained a solid majority in parliament.

We are now seeing an extension of the current economic cycle thanks to the resurgence of growth optimism. What this means is that risk assets like equities are poised to continue its uptrend into 2020 while we might see volatility from potential risk events like Trump’s impeachment return.

In September 2018, I wrote about staying the course in risk assets, and that strategy has worked well.

In Summary:

  • Finished building my six month SSB bond ladder from July to December
  • Finished building my emergency funds
  • Reduced my allocation to individual stocks like Capitaland China Retail Trust
  • Continued my StashAway, STI ETF and VWRD monthly allocation strategy
  • Added CFA and MBH in my monthly ETF allocation strategy

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.


Balanced Fund at 22% risk level

  • +18% (time-weighted)


  • 100% VWRD
  • 22.7% (time-weighted)

Closing Thoughts:

The year-long rally in stocks led by US technology stocks – the iShares U.S. Technology ETF is up 47% YTD and the NASDAQ index topped 9000 for the first time – has once again proved that the bulls are back and recession fears have been shortlived.

Those who have been staying on the sidelines since the H2 2018 market correction and waited for the right time to get into the market – you have missed out on one of the greatest recovery rally of the decade.

Looking forward to 2020, I personally believe that equities will still remain attractive as an asset class for long-term investing compared to bonds and gold when bond yields remain low. For those who remain fearful and sold early during the 2018 correction, it’s time to relook at your asset allocation and add more defensive assets like REITs, gold and bonds to protect against near-term risks.

Roboadvisors like StashAway can help you keep sane during times of market distress while not missing out on long term returns.

As we approach a new year and a new decade – and I wish everyone a happy new year and thank you very much for reading and supporting betterspider.

  1. Hi betterspider
    Enjoyed reading your posts

    1. Not gonna change to VWRA?

    2. Awaiting your review on Syfe which has lower fees up to 1mil compared to Stashaway. They will also have SRS which is expected in a couple of months.


    1. Thank you for reading! Will consider moving to VWRA in 2020. Regarding Syfe – I don’t have any plans to review them for now (a lot of backlog!) but will keep them in mind. Happy new year 🙂

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