How do I track and monitor my investments?


I often tell people that I am a strong advocate of buy-and -hold strategy in stocks for the long term. Time and time again I have been emphasising the importance of being a patient investor and allow the market to help you compound your returns over time. Of course, for such a strategy to work, you will need to  invest in great companies with wide economic moats, great management and highly predictable profits and cash flows. My friend, Liong Hai had wrote a great post on economic moat earlier. Do refer to this link if you would like to read more on this topic.

It is also vital for a company to have a good management team. Good management can lead a company to higher revenue, profit and growth. I promise to talk more on how to evaluate the management of a company in my next post. Last but not least, in any business the bottom line is always important! As an investor, we want to find companies that generate high profits and cash flows.

A question that most people like to ask me is -“How often do I track and monitor my investments?” I tell people that you don’t have to monitor the stock market everyday as the fundamentals of a company don’t change overnight. As a buy-and-hold investor, you must see yourself as a business owner. As a business owner, you must give your business time to grow and perform. So I usually track my investments on a quarterly basis, relying mainly on the companies’ annual and quarterly reports.

Annual Reports & Quarterly Earnings Results

The annual report is a comprehensive publication on company’s full year’s performance and results. It has vital information on the company’s business plans, long-term strategy, financial results and a very important aspect of management assessment – corporate governance. But most folks shun away from reading the annual reports, complaining that it is lengthy and time-consuming. Well, investing is simple but not easy! To be successful in investing, we need to put in the time and effort.

A good way to start off is to read the CEO/chairman’s letter to shareholders. In it, you will find a good summary of the past year’s business conditions and performance. The reason why I also track the quarterly results is to look out for any major changes in the company’s financials. And if there are, I will then proceed to investigate and find out more. So monitor the annual and quarterly reports four times a year at minimum.

The annual reports and quarterly reports can all be found and access directly from the company’s website under ‘Investor Relations’. Alternatively, you can always do a google search “annual report of….”.

News and Announcements

Although I mentioned earlier that the fundamentals of a company don’t change overnight, I will still monitor and track the news relating to the company that I am investing in. Even if we have done our proper due diligence and we followed the stock investment framework religiously but there’s still a possibility that there are things we cannot fully predict or anticipate. As such, I will monitor any news or announcements closely to give me timely and the latest information about the company that I am investing in.

For US stocks, one quick and easy way I recommend to monitor news on any stock is to use Google News Alert. Google will email you any relevant news or information regarding your stock daily. You can even set it to real time if you choose to. Head to www.google.com/alerts and key in a company’s stock ticker and let Google take care of the rest. Go try it, it is really useful.

For Singapore stocks, I will use SGX website. Go to http://www.sgx.com/wps/portal/sgxweb/home/company_disclosure/company_announcements and under “Security Name” search for the company that you want.

Following the news and announcements closely is to ensure that your investment thesis is still intact and nothing negative is going to affect the future business of the company that you have invested in.

Analyst Research Reports

Another useful way to track your investment is to rely on analyst reports. Analyst reports are investment research reports written by sell-side brokers’ analysts who give their opinions on particular companies. I believe we shouldn’t believe and trust totally on analysts’ recommendations but I still find it useful to read their reports (after reading the annual report ourselves) to give us a quick update on the overall sentiment regarding a stock. At the end of day, we must always remember it is our own money that we are using to invest and we should be the one responsible to make our own decision and analysis.

Here you have it, this is how I track and monitor my own investments.

I hope you will find this post useful and do leave me a comment if you have any questions or feedback for me.

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