Showing posts with label Investment. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Investment. Show all posts

How to Make Money Online Blog and YouTube

With the increasing access to the Internet in Papua New Guinea, many young people have the privilege others never had in the past - having access to social media, blogs and vast sources of information online. 

This post is about investing your time and effort wisely on your phone and computers which will help you to make money online in the long run.

Investing time & effort

Just imagine in 5 years time you earn US$200 per month in passive income for the effort you put in now by blogging or YouTube-ing. 

It's better than wasting time on social media channels that do NOT reward you for sharing your ideas.

How to make money online

Start A Blog - Earn Money Online

A good way to utilise Internet access is to talk about our beautiful country, your passion and things that interest you.

Start your own blog for free, an example is this blog. The reward (money you make) depends on the visitors to your blog.

In addition, the benefits of blogging are massive

Apart from sharing information, you remember vital facts - facts that are relevant to youIt is rewarding - both educational and monetary gains. 

Let's have a look at the 3 ways to make money online and how to monetise your work. 

Three Ways to Make Money Online

Here are the practical tips to start earning some rewards online. Click on the links provided to explore the opportunities.

1. Start a Free/Paid blog

This blog is an example of a free blog, started in 2014. It took 2 years before we had good traffic to monetise. 

Bear in mind that blogging is not for the faint-hearted and quick-reward-seeking opportunists. F
ocus on your interest. Make blogging a hobby and the rest will fall in place. 

It will take years before you get good traffic/visitors and monetise your work.

We've got great Blogging Tips with pictures and guides here: How To Start a Personal Blog  & How to A Blog on Wordpress.

2. YouTube Channel 

YouTube channels are a great way to showcase things you are good at. 

Successful YouTubers are those that have the ability to make some 'boring subject' look amazing. If you are one of them, you can do that right now. Some examples are:
  • Gardening Hobbies
  • Musical/Singing Talents
  • Producing how-to videos
Videos eligible for monetisation are usually those that are unique. In fact, how-to and music videos are popular and get lots of views on YouTube. 

The more videos and interest you generate from views and impressions will make you money.

To monetise you'll need at least 1000 subscribers and 4000 hours of watch time. That means that if you put in the work now, you can monetise your video in the next 12-24 months.

3. Write and Earn Money or Mobile Credits Online 

PNG Insight is looking for writers to write interesting articles for us. You can make money online now by submitting your first article to us. Read about the PNG Writers' Initiative

Here are some of the works produced by PNG Writers. Take a look if you need inspiration.
Write for us today and earn cash or mobile phone credits - your choice! The contact email is

Latest On YouTube - Monetise Shorts

If you love to share photos and short videos from your mobile phone, YouTube #Shorts is going to be your thing.

In 2023, YT will monetise those videos - check out how to get into the YouTube Partners Program for Shorts.

Two Ways to monetise a blog, website or YouTube

Two ways to monetise a blog and YouTube.

Setting up a blog, website or YouTube Channel is the first step - only the starting point. 

As mentioned earlier, it can take years (if you are lucky, months) to fully monetise and start making money. 

1. Amazon Associate Account - Worth Trying

Amazon associate program is one way to make money online. You can join and start immediately by referring your friends and visitors.

There are several platforms you can use to earn from Amazon. You can promote them via social networks like Twitter, Facebook, etc or on blogs and websites.

Amazon has an easy-to-use URL shortener and widgets to help you on your way to making extra money online.

Please note that not anyone can become Amazon Affiliate today. Amazon has changed its Terms and Conditions and therefore it has become difficult for people in certain countries like PNG to join the program. 

However, Papua New Guineans living overseas (Australia, New Zealand or the US) can join the affiliate program and use it later.

2. AdSense - Takes Time But Works

AdSense is Google’s technology. It shows advertisements to customers. If they click on them, you make money. 

The money you make online will depend on 
  • how competitive visitors' keywords are; 
  • how many people visit your website or view your YouTube video; and
  • the location of your visitors.
In fact, Google is paying you for space you make available for the advertisements and how many people are actively viewing the ads.

To get an Adsense account you have got to own a website, blog or YouTube channel. So, start now.

WordPress and Google Blogger are available options. I would recommend Blogger if you are starting off.

Here are tips to get started on How to Start a Blog and Make Money Online. You can submit an article to use here - Submit Articles to PNG Insight

Passion for Personal Development

You can also use the opportunities to your advantage regardless of where you are, whether in PNG or overseas. 

Start something you are passionate about and reward yourself for it. 

Make no mistake, if you are thinking of making quick money online, you might as well try something else.

These four words of encouragement will help you to make blogging a successful hobby: 
  • First, have a passion for what you do, and focus on the big picture instead of how much you make monthly. 
  • Second, remind yourself that monetisation is normally done years after you started a blog.
  • Third, it will take a lot of time and effort, so be patient. 
  • Finally, do not put your whole life into it – this is not a job to be serious with, let it be a hobby – let it be passive. 

Be a successful young person

This is a collection of articles for making money by writing and building blogs or websites based on your passion. I repeat PASSION.

This blog is an example of using the free BLOGGER platform. You only need your Gmail Account to start a blog on Blogger.

If you have a talent for something or someone tells you that you are creative, these ideas will make you successful. CLICK ON THE LINKS TO GET FREE INFO.

How to Register Company with IPA Online (Investment Promotion Authority)

This is an extract of frequently ask questions for registering a business in Papua New Guinea with the Investment Promotion Authority (IPA). The information first appeared in the Post Courier and we share it here for our readers. 

In this info-article, you'll find out about the different companies you can register; how to register a business either offline (in person) or online; the cost of registering a business what to do when you've applied to register a business. 

How to register a Limited Company with IPA PNG

How do I register a business? 

There are a number of differences which one can register:

  1. A Limited Company,
  2. Business Name, 
  3. Association, 
  4. Business Group and 
  5. Foreign Enterprise
Upon registration, one can receive a registration certificate under the entity type they register.

How do I go on obtaining an IPA Certificate?

The IPA Certificate is given to foreign entities that are after company registration is required to lodge a foreign enterprise application.

How do I obtain this important document? 

One can obtain extracts or certificates of business entities, from IPA Website. However, at the IPA front counters, IPA does not provide soft-copy searches or printed extracts.

How to register business offline?

  • 1. Business name registration fee offline is K200.00
  • 2. You must submit the completed business name Form 1 to the Registrar of companies, via post if you are outside of Port Moresby or at our public front counter at Konedobu.
  • 3. The IPA postal addresses are; PO Box 1281, Port Moresby, NCD or PO Box 5053, Boroko, NCD, Attention: Registrar of Companies.
  • 4. In relation to payment, IPA does not accept cash, hence, fees can be paid via bank cheque, Eftpos on-site or direct deposit using IPA’s customized deposit form.
  • 5. If using the normal bank deposit form, please remember to attach the original deposit butt to the application form.
  • 7. Bank: WESTPAC Acc#: 295283 | BSP Acc#: 1001323865 | KINA Acc#: 1150909

How to register a business online?

You also have an option to register your business name and pay fees online using a visa/credit card or by registering yourself as a Deposit Account (prepaid) user on the IPA website. 

The filing fee to register your business name online is K150.00.


In order to use IPA Online Registry System (ORS) to access services other than conducting entity searches, one must first register an ONLINE USER account.

To register an online user account, follow steps 1-6 below. 

(If you are already a registered user, please skip to PART B).

  • 1. Enter the IPA website address as in 
  • 2. Click Register account 
  • 3. Enter your personal details 
  • 4. Enter a username
  • 5. Enter a password 
  • 6. Click ‘create’ to be automatically registered as a registered user. A dashboard automatically appears on the successful completion of this process.

Note: Ensure to record your username and password lest you forget.


The first step towards applying for any entity registration including Business Names is to make sure that the name you are proposing to register is available (or is not already registered by someone else). 

Follow Steps 1-6 below: Click Online Services from the tab as in below

IPA Online company Search


  • 1. Again, from your dashboard click Online Services 
  • 2. Click on Register Business Name 
  • 3. Fully complete all tabs as in below and click ‘Submit’
IPA Online company Search
  • 4. Once the Fee Payment screen appears complete details in full and click ‘Continue’. A follow-on payment screen will appear. 
  • 5. Fill in the details of your CREDIT or DEBIT CARD. 
  • 6. Click ‘Continue’ to complete the process.


  • WHAT TO EXPECT: Once the above process is complete, the application is queued in the internal work queue and can be processed imminently.
  • ESTIMATED TURNAROUND TIME: Approximate processing time for applications submitted online is 2 working days. Follow-ups may be staged after 2 working days.
  • ONLINE FEE: Online application/registration fee applicable for Business Names is K150.
  • PAYMENT METHOD: For any online submission, a fee is to be made by either CREDIT CARD or DEBIT CARD
  • FOREIGN ENTERPRISE CERTIFICATION: After completing the registration process as above, entities having foreign involvements will need to apply for what is called a Foreign Enterprise Certification. For this, refer to the information sheet titled ‘Using Online Registry System – Foreign Certification Process.
  • EMAIL CONTACT: The email address to be used for online queries is

Source: This article originally appeared in the Post Courier 

(24 December 2021)

Step-by-Step Guide to Investing in Stocks and Shares

In the first post, PNG Insight emphasises the importance of research before investing in stocks and shares. Here is the link to the earlier post 'Why investment must have the right balance of the three starters: Research, Money and Approach'.
Unlock your investment potential

This follow-up post is, basically, a beginner's guide to finding your own way around the stock market by:

  • Investigating the 2 common methods for analysing stocks; 
  • Identifying 8 key stock-picking tactics; 
  • up Stock and Share Account; 
  • Monitoring stocks over time; 
  • Choosing Research that works for you; and
  • Busting 5 stocks and shares investment myths.

The whole bullet point is a process.  It can take years to confidently make the first investment. 

If you think investing in shares is something you can do in the future, you’ve got to start now. Understandably, researching and understanding the market now adds to your knowledge base as a potential investor. As you grow older you become wiser, making the right investment decisions.

Let’s make a start.

1.    Analysing stocks – the key to successful investing

Two *common* methods of analysing stocks are called Technical Analysis and Fundamental Analysis.

The technical analysis is used where stock researchers use the price, volume, charts and behaviour of a particular stock to understand the overall performance of that stock before (during and after) buying the stock. This method is very technical in nature. Chartists are examples of technical analysts who use charts to identify patterns and trends to *predict* future share price movement.

Fundamental analysts research a company’s cash balance statement, management reputation, global and local economy, commodity prices, and the overall *intrinsic* value of the company. A key indicator many fundamental analysts look for is the company’s cash.

Note: Both Technical and Fundamental analyses can be used together depending on what works for you as an individual investor. 

The minerals and oil & gas exploration companies are the *high* risk investments. Many of the *exploration* companies do not have cash at hand. If you are going to tread there, it is important that you tread carefully. 

2.    Pick stocks for analysis

This step is supposed to come before the Technical and Fundamental Analyses discussed above. It is placed second because you need to know how to analyse stocks and shares before picking them. (No point picking stocks when you do not know how to analyse them)

The 8 ways to select shares before researching are listed in the table (not a complete list): 
Invest on stock and shares
PNG Insight Compilation 14/11/2017 (click on image to enlarge)

Do you have accounts with Nasfund, Kina Bank, BSP or into POM stock exchange? Check out the latest Financial News, Savings and Loans, and Superannuation updates on PNG Insight.

 3. Practice makes perfect: fine-tune your stock picking/research skills

Now that you’ve picked a stock that you *think* (Step 2) to be undervalued and *confirmed* (Step 1) the stock is undervalued in your analysis, it is time to put your stock to the test. This step is crucial to determine whether you can use the research technique employed here on serious investments in the future, or not. It is about finding out what works for you.

One way to do this is to create a Share Account with ASX and build your Watchlist. 

Step 1 – Open an account (free)

Go to MyAsx Registration page and sign up.

Step 2 – Create a Watchlist 

You can add, edit and view your Watchlist. Be realistic about the number of shares you are buying and how much you want to spend. Avoid adding random shares onto your portfolio - only add the stocks you researched. This will make it easy to test (compare) the stocks against your in-depth researches. A good practice.

How to invest in stocks and shares
Source: Screenshot 14/11/2017 (click on image to enlarge)
As mentioned earlier, it is important to track the stock you’ve picked and analysed (in Steps 2 & 1, respectively). And, to also find out *if* the research you did was worth replicating when making serious investments in stocks and shares.

Here is an example of a Watchlist. Though the monitory value is virtual (not real money), the other features (volume, chart, prices, announcements…) are live market feeds- delayed by 20 minutes. 
ASX stocks and shares account
Source: (click on image to enlarge)

Some people, interested in investing in the share market, thought that you would just sit and monitor the screen and make money. In fact, it is not true.

Myth 1 – You can make lots of money investing in stocks and shares

This is a half-truth. You are likely to lose money investing in stocks and shares. To avoid losing money people either do proper research before investing or pay advisors to guide them when investing.

Myth 2 – You cannot invest in overseas stocks and shares from PNG

You can. If you are serious about investing, BSP Capital and Kina Securities are the local brokers who can help you open a share account and start investing. My top hint is to find out about the recent issue with the foreign currency exchange, brokerage (Buy/Sell) fee, and minimum amount needed to open a Share Account. You can also invest in companies listed on the POM Stock Exchange.

Myth 3 – You should have a Degree in Finance and Accounting or related discipline to invest in stocks and shares

This doesn’t mean you cannot invest in stocks and shares if you know what to do. If you build up a good knowledge base, put them into practice and trust yourself – you can do it too.

Myth 4 – I’ll wait till I save enough money to invest

The best time to start is now. You can open free online accounts and test your findings using real-time data. When you have some money, you’ll know just what to do.

Myth 5 – Anyone can  make money in the stocks and shares market

No. The investors who do thorough research (or choose a brilliant advisor) can earn a decent return on their investment. It is not anyone’s cup of tea. 

I hope this post serves as the *seed* that grows into a big plant. If you have any questions relating to this post, kindly leave a comment below.

Do you have accounts with Nasfund, Kina Bank, BSP or into POM stock exchange? Check out the latest Financial News, Savings and Loans, and Superannuation updates on PNG Insight.


1. Brief

Image: MIT Environment
Solution Initiative 
Nautilus Minerals is a small cap Canadian company, registered in Brisbane Australia and majority owned by an Oman Group. Described as an *experimental* seafloor mining company, engaging in the exploration and development of Seafloor Massive Sulphide systems in the Bismarck Sea. The company has planned to use remote-controlled heavy machinery and hydraulic pump to mine the minerals, including gold and copper. 

2. Planned Experimental Mining

The latest project update indicated that the planned mining activity will start early 2019. But no definite date was announced. In fact, the company has postponed the start of production from 2017 to 2018 and (in the latest update) to 2019. 

Mike Johnston, Nautilus’ CEO was positive about the seafloor production system: 
"The system remains on track for initial production during the first half of 2019, subject to further financing as indicated previously.” (project update, 10/10/2017)
Nautilus Minerals concept of deep sea mining is not very popular among the people living along the coastal regions of Morobe, Madang, Sepik, Manus, New Ireland and East New Britain. There is also *strong* opposition to the project voiced by prominent locals, Church leaders and national politicians (click here for details).

IMAGE: Nautilus Minerals via  Massachusetts Institute of Technology website 

How to Start: Young Papua New Guineans Can Invest in Stock Markets

This post is the beginning of PNG Insight's take on why young Papua New Guineans should start investigating possibilities for investing in overseas share markets - especially the ASX, LSE and NYSE. 

how to invest in shares png
Investing is like starting a fire. For the fire to start, three things must be present: spark, fuel and air. It would be absolutely impossible to get the fire started if one of the three is missing. 

The investment must also have the right balance of the three starters: Research, Money and Approach.

Research: First, take the 'spark' as the drive to do something for you and your family not only now but also for the future. And that is to *find* out about investing - whether it be investing in the stock market (as intended in this post) or in other areas. Read. Read. Read.

After good research, put the research to test. This is crucial to find out whether the analysis (increase/decrease in price prior to the stock selection) is going to work or not.

One way to do this is to create an online account with the likes of ASX, AIM, ADVFN or any online platform that uses real-time stock market data. You can do this for free and easily. Here is a summation of 5 starter points: 

1. Create an online account (e.g. with ASX);
2. Select 1 or 2 companies (you can build the list of companies up over time) using your research;
3. Add the companies to your portfolio; 
4. Track your companies (from your research you should have a fair idea about the 'price-sensitive announcements'); and
5. Re-evaluate your research and choose what works for you.
* Note: If you are a beginner doing it yourself (DIY) the steps 2 - 5 can take several years before you are confident with your researches and, ultimately, where to invest your money.
Money: Second, the fuel is your capital - money. Young Papua New Guineans, especially those who earn a fortnightly income, *can* venture into capital investment.

Approach: Third, the right approach to grow your investment is like the oxygen to the fire. Starting a fire from a spark has to be a gentle approach. You'll have to make sure the wind that is blowing around you is not too strong or the soil too wet to get the fire going. Do not rush into an investment. 

You do not have to wait till you have got the money. You can start right now. Start with getting the *spark* going! Read about how to Invest in stocks and bonds or anything you could invest in for the long term and retire comfortably.

There are a few challenges of investing if you are living in the country. One of these is finding a broker. This is a topic for another post as it is a different stage - the stage where you are taking action. Right now is all about getting the little sparks going.

Starting is, in fact, the easiest bit. Most of you reading this post are on Facebook or Twitter. Follow the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) or London Stock Exchange or any account that meets your investment taste. 

Read the blog posts and articles about how to find the stock that is going to increase by 100% in the next 5  - 10 years.

Today access to the Internet is really cheap. For example, Telikom PNG data rates can enable you to read widely.

Some useful articles for you:

1) How to make money on YouTube

2) 5 Mobile Phone Codes to Make Your Friends Go WOW

3) 5 Popular Apps in PNG in 2021/2022

4) How to Make Money Using Your Mobile Phones

5) How to Send and Receive Free Credits

This post is the first of a planned series on investment in Stock Markets. The series will enable readers to *learn the importance of research and practice* before making a serious investment. Join PNG Insight on Twitter and stay in tune for more of the investment series coming up. 

Do you have accounts with Nasfund, Kina Bank, BSP or into POM stock exchange? Check out the latest Financial News, Savings and Loans, and Superannuation updates on PNG Insight.


SWF caption png

What are Sovereign Wealth Funds? 

According to the Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute, a SWF can be defined as follows.

“A Sovereign Wealth Fund entity is a state-owned investment fund established from balance of payment surpluses, official foreign exchange operations, the proceeds from privatizations, governmental transfer payments, fiscal surpluses and/or receipts resulting from resource exports”

Thus it can be said that the creation of SWFs are derived from two sources of funding namely commodity and non-commodity. Funding from commodity is derived from the exports of commodities, normally oil. Sources from non-commodity are normally through direct transfer from the official foreign exchange reserves which is the result of balance of payment surplus. 

The current SWF phenomenon is not a recent development but a product of more than a century of evolution. The first SWF can be traced back to the U.S Texas Permanent School Fund in 1854 which got its funding from oil revenue. The original $2 million fund was created for the purpose of helping the public schools in Texas and has since snow-balled to more than $30 billion today.

Do you have accounts with Nasfund, Kina Bank, BSP or into POM stock exchange? Check out the latest Financial News, Savings and Loans, and Superannuation updates on PNG Insight.

Since then there has not been much development in the SWF space, until towards the end of last century. Countries whose economies depended much on commodity exports realized that their resources are not going to last forever. There is a need to diversify their earnings base and thus has to figure out what to do with their pile of cash.

Kuwait Sovereign Wealth Fund

Kuwait was the pioneer in the Middle East in diversifying its earnings away from oil exports. The Kuwait Investment Authority (or KIA) was set up by Sheikh Abdullah Al-Salem in 1953 to invest both internally and externally. Sheikh Abdullah can be called ‘a man ahead of his time’ because during the time he set up the fund the literacy rate among the Kuwaitis is less than 30%. Initially KIA invested very conservatively by buying into large Western corporations such as BP, General Motors, and Citigroup and so on. However investing in these corporate mammoths means low returns due to their large market capitalization and huge shares outstanding.

During the early 2003, KIA began to overhaul its investment style. It began to look into the investment style of University Endowments. Under Bader Al-Saad, he studied and implemented the investment styles, portfolio allocation strategies and risk management techniques of the Yale University Endowment fund. The Yale Investment Model was developed by Dr David F. Swensen which incorporates the Markowitz’s Modern Portfolio Theory as part of its strategy. Under this internationally recognized model, the Yale Endowment fund has an asset allocation of 28% in hedge funds, 17% in private equity funds, 20% in real estate and the rest in stocks and fixed income assets. Thus KIA has now a more aggressive growth model which helped it to generate returns of more than 10% per annum.

What started as a deposit of a few hundred thousand pounds in the Bank of England has grown to a mammoth $420 billion today. The Reserve for Future Generations Fund was created in 1976 so as to provide financial security for future generations when its oil well dries up in the future. To keep the fund growing, initially 10% of all oil revenues are siphoned off and transferred into it. This amount has since been increased to 25%. As a result, KIA now owned equities in thousands of multi-nationals including hedge funds across the globe and Kuwait’s wealth per capita has risen to $145,390 in 2013.

The development of SWFs around the globe has escaped much attention due to the secrecy of their operations. Since all of them are state owned much of their operations are done behind the scenes or also known as the shadow market.

How does a SWF operate?

What initially started off as prudent investment strategies like buying into fixed income securities such as Government Bonds and Treasuries manifested into riskier investment approach. Not satisfied with low returns from risk free investments in fixed income assets, rich nations are beginning to venture into higher return assets such as equities and properties. In addition more SWFs are putting their money into hedge funds and private equities. What are these entities? Private equity as its name imply where private equity fund managers and the SWFs negotiate investments in companies privately rather than going through the stock exchange. Their main strategies are in the areas of venture capital, angel investing and corporate mergers and takeovers.

One of their investment styles is honing into distress or cash-stricken companies with the intent to taking over them. Once they take over these companies, they soon begin to rehabilitate and cleaning up their mess. Eventually, the fund managers will resell them at a profit that sometimes can go up to more than 200%. Such an operation might take years depending on the size of the company and normally it is huge due to leverage. As its name suggest, LBO or leverage buy out can be very profitable. It is also very lucrative for the private equity fund managers due to the arrangement where they are paid not only from the management fees ranging from 1.5 to 2.5% of the fund but also 20% or more from the profit in each LBO.

How about Hedge Funds? The first Hedge Fund was setup by an American Financial journalist by the name of Alfred Winslow Jones in 1949. In his article ‘Fashion in Forecasting’, he explored the various investment style used during that time. To avoid being wiped out during market turmoil, Jones employed both long and short strategies combined with leverage. He bought undervalued stocks at low prices and at the same time sold overvalued stocks.  Thus he has achieved the first hedging operation because when the market plunged he made money from his short position and vice versa.

Hedge funds operate differently from private equity due to the investment styles and strategies they deployed. A Hedge fund can simply be termed as an unregulated mutual fund. Some of the common characteristics of hedge funds are as follows.

·        Hedge Fund managers can go long or shot
·        They use leverage or gearing
·        Paid through incentives and performance fee
·        Often registered offshore
·        Hedge Fund managers are often partners in the fund
·        Seek absolute rather than benchmark return such as the S&P index
Since Hedge Fund managers are constantly seeking higher returns hence their approach tends to be more aggressive and riskier than mutual and institutional fund managers. They buy and sell a myriad variety of financial assets such as bonds, currency, treasuries, equities, derivatives and etc. Some of their investing styles are as follows.
·        Aggressive growth (High P/E and no dividend Small Cap Stocks)
·        Distress securities (Buying into troubled companies)
·        Value (Buying into undervalue and under-followed stocks)
·        Short selling
·        Special situation (Company re-organization or takeovers)
·        Event driven
·        Global macro (Capitalize on shift in interest rates or economic policy)
·        Market neutral  (Buy and sell stocks and convertibles in a company)
·        Pairs trading (Securities Correlation Strategy)
·        Emerging markets
·        Fixed income and quantitative hedging
·        Yield curve, warrant, merger, close end fund and index arbitrage
·        Combination of the above strategies

A simple strategy is to buy stocks in a company and at the same time short its bond and vice versa. To illustrate, I shall present you the following example. To begin with, interest rate varies inversely to the price of bond and stocks, as shown below.

↑ Interest rate = ↓ bond price & ↓ stock price

How can we capitalize on this relationship? 
Since this is a three dimensional problem, it may look complicated but it is not. In an environment with increasing rates, our best strategy is to be able to hedge our position and at the same time be able to earn interest rates. Given the scenario that the current interest rate is going up, how should we strategize our investments?

To achieve a win-win outcome, we will buy the bond and short the stock in Company A. When interest rates go up, both the prices of bonds and stocks will go down. There will be two outcomes. One, we will make money from shorting the stock. Two, we will lose money in the bond market. Our gains from shorting the stock will neutralize our losses in the bond market. Further, the fall in the bond price will be compensated by the interest rate payment. Hence, in this market neutral approach, it demonstrates that money can be made even in deteriorating market conditions.    

Global SWFs since 2008

However since the last financial crisis in 2008, SWFs have gained much higher profile. Their clandestine operations are no longer able to escape the radar screen of the public. The global financial crisis in 2008 has left many Western economies in tatters and as a result there is a credit crunch. Since SWFs are liquidity providers, they match well into the needs of Western countries that are besieged by the lack of liquidity as banks refused to lend.

During that time the SWFs are buying into strategic Western assets such as China’s $3 billion buying into the Blackstone Group and Abu Dhabi’s $1.5 billion investments into the Carlyle Group. At the same time Singapore’s SWFs is also investing $6 billion into giant TPG Capital. Buying into such strategic assets enabled SWFs to gain the insights and expertise in the field of fund management. Hence many SWFs now are more sophisticated and experienced than before. The growth in the SWFs can be illustrated by the following graph.

Graph for SWF by country

Since 2007, the market size of SWFs has grown from $3.259 trillion to $6.106 trillion in 2013. It represents an almost 90% increase.
Pie chart SWF Funding sources

From above, it should be taken into consideration that the composition of the funding has been altered. In the 1950s, most of the funding are from the oil sector but since then more SWFs have sprung up from non-Oil sectors such as China’s Chinalco which came from State Owned Enterprises (SOEs).
Since 2008, countries from the East are doing better than their counterpart from the West in their economies which resulted many of them running budget surpluses. As a result many of them have bulging foreign exchange reserves. This also helped contributed to the rise in the number of SWFs. Since 2008 there are more than 32 new SWFs formed. As can be seen below most of the SWFs are from Asia and the Middle East and together they make up 75% of the total market share.
Pie chart SWF by regions

Below is the table for the SWF by fund size. The largest single fund size came from of all the places, Norway. The rest of the top ten SWFs came from the Middle East and Asia. Malaysia’s Khazanah Nasional is in the 25th position with a fund size of $40.5 billion.
SWF size by country

Again, the table below shows the Total Funds by Country and the composition of their SWFs. Needless to say China held the top position followed by UAE, Norway, Saudi Arabia and Singapore. Although China held the top position but in terms of wealth per capita, it only managed to average about $844 per person. Whereas smaller countries like UAE, Norway and Singapore, their wealth per capita are $967,861, $161,500 and $86,442 respectively. Malaysia as an oil producer only managed to garner wealth per capita of $1382 ($40.5 billion/29.3 million people). It is much lower than Singapore even though it is a non-Oil producing country. 
Now the question is why are they more successful in their SWF strategy? To find an answer to the question, I shall present Norway as a case study on why their investing strategy is superior to us.
Table SWF by country totals

The Norwegian SWF Case

The economy of Norway hit pay dirt in 1969, when Phillips Petroleum discovered oil off Norway’s shore, beneath the North Sea in an area known as Ekofisk. Although it only contained an estimated 3 million barrels of oil but the find is nevertheless important. This is because it led to a ‘gold rush’ in oil exploration and drilling in North Sea. Eventually, more than 300 companies are setup to explore and drill for oil in the North Sea. 

This led Mobil to discover one of the biggest find in North Sea in 1974. Mobil discovered the Stat fjord oil field that contained an estimated 3.5 billion barrels of oil. Thus, Norway is suddenly blessed with an abundance of fortune and money started pouring in. To extract capital from oil means you have to deplete the resource and its Government knew that oil extraction is not sustainable. Hence it has to re-access its oil production policy.

Controlling Oil Production

Initially, it tried to cap the production level and thus this will limit its exports. But this turn out to be not practical because in the oil and gas industry it was the price of oil that determined the supply and demand and thus the production. Knowing that it can do nothing to influence the oil price as it is set by OPEC, it needed another strategy to preserve its oil wealth for its future generations. Instead of controlling the output of oil, it did an about turn to control its oil wealth.

Inception of the Petroleum Fund

To preserve the oil wealth for future generations, the authorities set up an investment fund to manage it. Thus in 1990, it launched the Petroleum Fund (later renamed as the Government Pension Fund Global) with an initial investment of $400 million.

Another reason for setting up the Petroleum Fund was to avoid being caught up with the ‘Dutch Disease’. Having noticed its neighbours namely the Netherlands and Britain inflicted by the ‘Dutch Disease’, where their oil wealth decimated and ended up worse than before. The term ‘Dutch Disease’ originated from the Netherlands during the 1960s. 

Vast reserve of natural gas was discovered off its waters and this led to a large influx of foreign currency. As a result this help push up the value of the Dutch Guilder and made the Dutch export of non-oil products less competitive and imports cheaper. This imbalance will later cause the Dutch economy to run into deficits. This helps decimate the non-oil sector and at the same time led to spiralling inflation due to the influx of foreign currency.

To diversify its oil wealth further, steps are taken so as to ensure that the performance of the fund will not be influenced by the fluctuations in the domestic economy. Since Norway’s oil revenue make up about 25% of its GDP, it will be prone to the fluctuations of oil prices in the Global market. To prevent it, the fund is banned from investing in the domestic economy and thus has to look elsewhere. Hence this helped to provide a hedge to the Norwegian economy. 

Another step taken is to ensure that the fund will be most Transparent. The task of managing the fund was taken over by its Central Bank also known as Norges Bank, which operates independently from the Government. Asset allocation and portfolio return are determined by the Ministry of Finance while the daily operations such as buying and selling of mainly fixed income instruments such as Government Bonds and Treasuries are done by Norges Bank. The fund is one of the most transparent in the world and received the highest rating of 10 in the Linaberg-Maduell Transparency Index as shown above.

This conservative approach was essential in preventing the fund from heavy losses in case there is a financial meltdown. However since risk commensurate with return, low risk means low return. It is not surprise that the first few years the fund was under-performing other SWFs because the fund was getting an average return of about 3-4% per annum.   

To increase return on investment (ROI), equities are permitted into the portfolio mix. Their investment strategy is based on market indexation strategy meaning their stock portfolio consists mainly of index-linked stocks. That means the movement of their stock portfolio will mimicked the movement of major indexes such as the Dow Jones, S&P or FTSE. 

Hence, as a result there is a shift from their initial portfolio asset allocation which consists of 100% Government Bonds and Treasuries to 40% equities and 60% fixed income. In later years, their portfolio mix is further relaxed to include corporate bonds, hedge funds and private equities. Hence, what is expected in the coming years was that most SWFs will morph into an entirely different investment vehicle along the lines of Fund of Funds. Instead of scanning and evaluating different stocks, SWFs instead will invest directly into different hedge and private equity funds.   

Ethical Investing – Santiago Principles

Due to prudent investment approach, the Norwegian Government Pension Fund Global has grown to $ 818 billion in 2013. This also helped Norway to achieve one of the highest wealth per capita of $161,500. Thus, this enabled Norway to sustain a high level Standard of Living not only for this generation but also the next. Apart from this, Norway’s GDP per capita has risen from about $40,000 to more than $65,000 in 2013. This can be shown by the chart below.

Norway SWF grouth graph

The oil wealth also helped to fund Norway’s Social Security and health care which is one of the most generous in the world. Norwegians are practically taken care from cradle to grave. Medical care such as hospitalization and medication are free. Those have terminal illness are still getting their full salary even though they are not working. Maternity leave for workers is one year with full pay and is required to stop work three weeks before delivery. Workers will receive full pension upon retirement and the amount depends on the contribution from their previous salary.

Apart from this, due to the sheer fund size, it is able to set its priority right and that is to promote responsible and ethical investment. The fund ethical investment approach is based on the Santiago Principles. The Santiago Principles, an effort of IMF are a set of guidelines for assigning ‘best practices’ for the operations of Sovereign Wealth Funds. Apart from this the Council of Ethics was set up to review companies operations so that it will meet certain standards such as environmental friendly, no usage of child labour or human rights violations and so on.

Recently, the Norwegian Finance Ministry barred the Government Pension Fund Global from investing in two Israeli companies namely Danya Cebus and Africa Israel Investments (AII) due to their ‘serious violation’ in human rights. It also barred the fund from investing in Vedanta, a company listed on the London Stock Exchange after the Council of Ethics found that their operations in India have caused severe environmental damage and human rights violation. 
Malaysia Sovereign Wealth Funds

In Malaysia Sovereign Wealth Funds are under-performing because of the way they are managed. Malaysia lacked transparency (Khazanah is rated 5 out of 10 in the Linaberg-Maduell Transparency Index), nobody overlooking how money being spent, no due-diligence reporting and hence resulted in much wastage and mal-investments. Thus it is not surprising to see lackluster performance from our SWFs especially the 1MDB (formerly known as Terengganu Investment Authority and modelled after the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority) that racks up more than RM 40 billion in debts.

Another reason for the poor performance is SWFs being used as private piggy banks or SIV (Special Investment Vehicles) to bail out loss making enterprises such as MAS and Proton. Khazanah Nasional Berhad’s stake in Proton prevented it from closing down and hence save some jobs while Khazanah’s holding in MAS prevented the share price from becoming toilet paper or worthless.

For the past 40 years, The Malaysian Government has been receiving more than RM 700 billion in dividends from Petronas. So the question is where has the money gone? If Malaysia were to invest prudently like the Norwegians or the Arabs then today their SWFs will be worth hundreds of billions of dollars. And the Malaysian wealth per capita should worth at least RM23, 890 (RM 700 billion/29.3 million people) instead of the paltry RM1382 as indicated above.

Assuming that Malaysia have invested all of the RM700 billion into U.S 10 year bonds with a yield of 2.76%. Then Malaysia should be getting RM 19.32 billion in yearly interest payments. Malaysian Government could have used this money to maintain its subsidies in oil, sugar and so on. Thus, this could have helped them reduce our cost of living.

Instead, Malaysia wasted or spent it unwisely and ended up in a much worse off situation than China even though their wealth per capita is only $844. Since China has a population that is 45 times larger than us, being an oil producer Malaysian wealth per capita should be much higher than theirs. In short, Malaysian Government has squandered our inter-generational oil wealth.

What can PNG learn from all these experience?

By virtue of resource boom in PNG, the establishment of SWF is not a matter of choice but one of a compliance issue. The NA led government after having initiated the development/construction of LNG project have consequently mooted the idea of having Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF) which is economically a sound move. 

The said fund could have been established well before the first and actual revenue flowed had NA continued.  However, when O’Neil and PNC seized the legitimate government illegally, SWF was not given much or urgent attention it deserves. 

It is now 12 months after the first shipment of LNG gas with revenue flows into some offshore account(s) and yet SWF is NOT established. The government has all the time in world to establish this economically important fund for management and development of the domestic economy but priority was never given to it until in February of this year that the legislation on establishment of SWF was passed. The long delay is presumably intended or deliberate.

To date the fund is not established yet though the legislation was passed in just February of this year (2015). The most important issue of concern here is the appointment of credible fund manager(s) and governing board to accomplish the short and long-term goals and aims of the fund and the overall impact on the domestic economy. However, if the government continues its usual and conventional practice of appointing cronies, It will be a disaster that will persist for decades.