An array of dour gentlemen with their ill-concealed hard sell tactics compelling the audience to trade in forex, stocks and shares, or buy property from near and far, oil wells, storage warehousing, palm oil ventures and even fine art. Somebody did wake me up though, with her witty delivery, intelligent tips for investors and lack of bias – Ella Sherman of Worldwide Investments. A much needed breath of fresh air in a stuffy over-crowded seminar hall.
Catching up with Ella Sherman afterwards, she is a charming mix of brains and beauty. She enthuses “I genuinely care about my clients investment choices and ultimately want them to make a good profit. A satisfied client makes me happy. Of course, there are brokers out there who would sell air to people without any conscience, there are good and bad people in all professions, but personally I don’t want to come back as a cockroach in my next life!”
What would you come back as? “What kind of question is that? A pampered pooch!”
Her love for dogs is obvious as she digresses and talks of her volunteer role on the Management Committee of Singapore’s Society for the Prevention of Cruelty Against Animals (SPCA), all very worthy and endearing, but I manage to steer her back onto the subject at hand.
So what makes a good investment? Ella Sherman emphasizes that Worldwide Investments conduct extensive due diligence, meet developers and advisors in person and go on site inspection visits, giving their clients extra peace of mind that they’re investing in something seen rather than just a glossy brochure.
“My friends think I’m lucky going on business trips to exotic places like Sri Lanka, Bali, Koh Samui and Boracay, but the reality is I’m clambering over a dangerous construction site in the blazing sun without a portaloo, seeing the ‘before’ rather than ‘after’ version of the development or resort. I’ve seen plenty of snakes – and I’m talking the slithery kind, not just unconvincing Developers! I also market mines (Oil, Gas, Coal, Gold, Platinum) for sale and joint-venture, which can be located in the middle of nowhere. It’s not the glamorous jet-set lifestyle people assume! But I do get the benefit of buying at a discount for my own property portfolio, which is much better than coming home with a duty-free Prada handbag.”
“It’s a refreshing change to have my clients currently investing in distressed property in Florida and London rather than off-plan in South East Asia.”
What has changed to make people invest in property in the USA and UK? “The financial crisis has given investors a unique opportunity to buy an existing property, already tenanted, in a prime location, for below build cost in places like Jacksonville and Sarasota (Florida, USA).”
Ella Sherman explains “Why wait three years for a development to be constructed in Phuket, which carries the risk of delays or incompletion, when you can earn exceptionally high rental yields within just one month? It’s a no-brainer in my opinion, and not since the American Great Depression of 1929 have we had this extraordinary window of opportunity.”
Decisions, decisions, maybe it’s a good thing I‘m a journalist a few zeros short of investment funds, I only have to decide what to eat for lunch.
“Selecting wisely is crucial, as there’s so much choice available.” Ella Sherman sums up “The key to investing successfully is distinguishing the good from the bad and the ugly, combined with a compelling business rationale. That’s the role we perform at Worldwide Investments and we take it very seriously.”
That may be so, but with a great sense of humor, Ella Sherman injects fun into investing.