Eye Surgeon Lost 15k USD in Options Trading


Dr Francis Oen, an eye surgeon, is featured in the Invest column in today’s Sunday Times.

Having invested money (and lost some) in stocks, property, exchange traded funds (ETFs) and options, I believe it’s fair for me to call him a veteran in investments.

So maybe we can learn a thing or two from this veteran.

Dr Oen’s best investments are in property. His first property more than doubled in value, while his 2nd and current one is up by 60%. Not surprising, considering that many shrewd investors think property is the way to go in land-scarce Singapore.

Property – good.

As for his worst investments, he has two. One is his Clob portfolio, and the other is – drum roll – options trading.

I’m sure he’s aware of those options trading seminars that claim “X% profit in just 1 trade” or the like, and he would have attended them if he thought they are worthwhile. See my post on get rich seminars.

He lost US$15,000 trading options, and has given up on it (he switched to ETFs).

Options trading – bad.


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  1. You can’t really decide that it has been a bad investment only after you have done it, and very badly at it. Vice versa for the good investments.
    That’s why it is important to do asset allocation. One rule of thumb is to limit any exposure to a narrowly-focused asset/sector to no more than 10%.

  2. The more highly leveraged a product is, the greater the risk, and options are at the very highest end of the leverage spectrum.

    Property in SG, might be a shrewd and straight-forward investment but it requires high initial capital that not everyone may have access to and there are many barriers to entry, while options are highly liquid and easily tradeable.

    They were invented to hedge large long exposures, then evolved to take speculative positions, and now to the frenzied approach of “easy money” we have today. Quick returns are great, but not so easy to sustain in this volatile environment. The Black-Scholes option pricing model is not able to price in forward looking volatility and investor irrationality!

    If you are a serial gambler and cannot help yourself taking a punt, do cash equities instead… you risk relatively less.

  3. he must be an idoit that do not do proper research, read news and know how to read indicators properly, and psychologically not prepared to trade. In trading, psychology is the key. 80% – 90% in trading depends on psychology.

  4. The thing about options trading is that it requires a lot more knowledge than properties, stocks and any derivative instruments that have ever been invented. Don’t let those seminars tell you how easy it can be. Learn for yourself for free at http://www.optiontradingpedia.com and see how vast options trading is.

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