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Thomas Kim, 29

Occupation Financial services

The portfolio

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About 75 per cent in stocks, including iShares S&P/TSX 60 Index Fund, iShares MSCI ACWI Index Fund, Microsoft Corp., Intel Corp., Companhia de Bebidas das Americas (AmBev), and Molson Coors Brewing Co.; rest in cash

The investor

Thomas Kim has the chartered financial analyst (CFA) designation and a keen interest in financial markets. He finds inspiration in financial journals, magazines, blogs, interviews and books (currently reading Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman).

How he invests

Mr. Kim's portfolio "has four main buckets." The first is the passively invested component that provides market returns at lowest cost, through exchange-traded funds (ETFs). An example is the iShares MSCI ACWI Index Fund, which tracks a benchmark for global equities.

The second bucket contains "dividend-paying stocks with potential for growth." One position is Microsoft, which has "a return on equity of more than 40 per cent, low debt, diversified revenue sources, and makes products – such as Excel – that can't be easily replaced."

Molson Coors was bought "when it seemed out of favour and was yielding well over 3 per cent." Brazilian beer company AmBev offers exposure to the rising fortunes of Latin America, and to the World Cup and Olympics coming to Brazil.

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The third bucket is for "high-risk trades to gain exposure to positive surprises," as inspired by Nassim Taleb's book, The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable. Within this category, he invested in SilverBirch Energy Corp., a spinoff from UTS Energy Corp.

The fourth bucket is a large cash position, which he views as "a kind of self-insurance" against unexpected life events. It's held in high-interest savings accounts, and in guaranteed investment certificates purchased in the summer of 2010 when rates were 4 per cent.

Mr. Kim used to hold bond ETFs but sold them all. "It's hard to convince myself to put money into bonds at such low yields," he explains.

Best move

"Buying SilverBirch Energy around $5.50 and selling at $9.65 after it announced a bid from Teck Resources."

Worst move

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"Buying Research In Motion call options before the stock lost 75 per cent of its value."


"Keep educating yourself and developing your thoughts about how markets work." Mr. Kim also comments on markets at

Special to The Globe and Mail

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