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    Monday, October 15, 2007

    Kehati Lestari Mutual Fund

    In support to the Blog Action Day 2007, I'm writing about a new mutual fund which was just launched last July. That mutual fund is Reksa Dana Kehati Lestari. So, what is so special with this mutual fund? Well, the issue of this year's Blog Action Day is about the environment. Reksa Dana Kehati Lestari is the first socially responsible mutual fund in Indonesia focusing on the issue of environment sustainability. It is co-managed by a local investment company, Bahana TCW Investment Management, and an environmental foundation, Yayasan Keanekaragaman Hayati (Kehati Foundation).

    The Kehati Foundation is a fund raising non-profit entity and its main mission is to facilitate local organizations and build their capacity to benefit from the natural resources and at the same time conserve the natural biodiversities. The Kehati Lestari mutual fund enables individual and institutional investors to participate in the philanthropic activities to benefit the foundation. Investors would be able to invest and donate at the same time, by allocating either their full investment, full return only, partial return only, or just the management fee, as streams of donations for the foundation as long as the investment is kept in the fund. This investment structure is called quasi-endowment fund, where investors still hold ownership to the investment principal, though they can also opt to donate the full principal as well in the full endowment scheme.

    While quasi-endowment structure may not be uncommon in the western world, a mutual fund is probably the better vehicle, if not the only vehicle, for large number of Indonesian investors to invest and donate consecutively as the trust (the common vehicle in the west) law is virtually non-existent at the moment. Although one may argue that the law of waqf (religious endowment) may undergoing better progress and can substitute for the trust as the investment vehicle for this type of philanthropic needs.

    I think this innovative product is suitable for a wide range of investors who want to support the environmental cause in a long-term and sustainable way. Investors may increase their participation level and switch their investment allocation to more generous options as their overall net worth grew and their wish to leave a legacy present itself. Moreover, institutional investors may claim their good act of corporate social responsibility (CSR) by investing in this mutual fund.

    Saturday, October 13, 2007

    Have a Blessed Eid!

    Today's the awaited Eid al-Fitr, the celebration after the fasting during Ramadan. I woke up early, and prepared for the prayer in Masjid Al-Ihsan, a mosque nearby my house. I ensured myself to have a breakfast, even if only a cereal beverage, as it's a recommended act of "break-fasting" the day. It is forbidden for Muslims to fast during the 1st of Shawwal, the day is meant for celebration.

    Then, I put on my new Eid clothing, courtesy of my sister-in-law, and went to the mosque. I prayed and listened to the sermon, which I think is quite controversial and subject to a post of its own. We came back about an hour and a half later, and performed our Javanese tradition of sungkeman, where we ask for forgiveness to our parents and siblings. It was probably an hour or so before the guests started coming.

    Yes, we have an open house. It's an annual occurrence where guests coming to celebrate Eid, have good food, forgive each others, and catch up to their latest stories. My mom said that this year's Eid recorded the largest number of guests, more than 50 perhaps during the 10-hours event. The open house tradition is pretty much similar across different Muslim cultures. I attended such events for almost every Eid celebrations back in the States.

    Well, before I hit the bed, I wish every one of you a very blessed Eid and may peace be upon you.

    Friday, October 12, 2007

    End of Ramadan 1428 H

    Today marks the end of Ramadan of the Hijri year 1428. Tomorrow, my family and I will be performing Eid prayer together in a nearby mosque. Not unlike the previous Ramadans, certain events also surround this year's Ramadan:
    • Millions of people from many metropolitan cities in Indonesia perform a "ritual" exodus (mudik) to their hometowns across the countries. During this once-a-year event, trillion rupiahs get distributed from financial hubs such as Jakarta and Surabaya, as people bring stuff and money as gifts for relatives and friends back home. Indonesians abroad working in service and manual labor also sent in their hard-earned cash via remittance so their families can celebrate Eid more joyfully.
    • The massive phenomenon of mudik brings with it various others phenomena: from hotels full of families being left out by their servants and chauffeurs, roadway casualties of travelers (pemudik) caused by increased traffic-related accidents, distribution of alms (zakat) that rapidly turns into a riot, to the inflationary effect that economic seasonality brings with each Ramadan as people spend more during the month.
    • Expecting to reap as much blessings as possible during Ramadan, Muslims drove in numbers to the nearest mosques, praying and asking for God's forgiveness. People who usually are not very religious become quite ardent in the month of Ramadan, performing good deeds left and right. A phenomenon that is quickly taken advantaged by certain groups.
    • This particular Ramadan also witness the rising volcanic activities of Mount Kelud. Though it has not erupted, yet, the likely event may be a part of something potentially big.
    Well, I guess that's enough late night observations for today. Better get some sleep. Tomorrow's pray schedule is rather early.

    Thursday, October 11, 2007


    Last day on the job before a long weekend of Eid. I've noticed that a lot of blogs regarding workplace and investment stuff put their disclaimer on. To follow the best practices, I've put mine as well.

    Sunday, October 07, 2007

    Euphoria No More - Part 1

    It's almost 5 months since I was promoted to the Equity Research division. The euphoria was long gone and the fatigue has set in. I didn't get paid leave and won't get it until after the first anniversary of my placement as an employee (pegawai tetap). So, this is what happened:
    • I got accepted as a Management Trainee (MT) on May 2006. I didn't get paid leave (cuti) since I wasn't considered as the company's employee. All of the MTs were, are, and probably will be treated this way. So, fine then.
    • I got promoted as a Junior Analyst a year later, in 2007. According to the company's rule, an employee is not allowed to get paid leave until the first anniversary of the employee's first working day.
    • The closest thing to a leave (unpaid, of course), would be the gap between my working period as an MT and as an employee, which is immediately after the one-year period and prior to my signing contract as an employee.
    • Depending on each MT's individual bosses, one may not get to use that gap (1-10 working days max) and lose the opportunity to get the unpaid leave, effectively not getting any leave for the period of 2 years.
    To make the story short, I was one among those MTs. And to add salt to the wound, all mandatory leave instituted by the government (such as extended Eid and Christmas day-offs) are to be applied to my paid leave days in the next year, on top of the mandatory leave for that year that is going to further reduce my quota, possibly putting me and other MTs in a paid leave "debt" situation.

    Saturday, October 06, 2007

    Astrocenter Report - Part 10

    [I guess it's okay to be back to the 'ol Astrocenter Report and finish it in several writings before year ends, and start other psychological assessments]

    Strongest Domains

    Relations with Others:
    YOGA may in time experiment with a dual form of companionship (marriage or intimate relationship) which symbolizes two aspects of his psyche.

    Other people tend to imitate YOGA. They try to merge with his personality and demands, or influence him in a harmful way. tends to identify strongly with his childhood experiences. His past is deeply imprinted on him, and linked to an array of warm, positive impressions, but it also conveys the feelings of vulnerability and weakness inherent to childhood. Psychologically, YOGA is ruled by the
    Mother-Image - that is, by a need for security and protection. The relationship he had with his mother, or a mother-figure, means a great deal to him. This image is associated with the idea of emotional security, but it may also be related to an insecurity about orality, the woman, and food.

    As an adult, YOGA will probably find that women play an important role in his life. In everyday life, his mood follows the meandering of his feelings of security. He is sometimes hesitant and anxious; fairly passive, he is often borne along by events instead of causing them. Generally, he makes use of his subjectivity to perceive reality, and he is very sensitive. He likes change and novelty, as well as appearing in public, although he is sometimes shy.

    [Ruled by the Mother-Image. Hmm.. there is some truth in there, where I long for security and protection in a relationship. I can do well on my own, but I guess I look for those qualities in my future relationship, or is it why I haven't been in one?

    Hesitant and anxious, passively allowed events to shape oneself. This one also rings some truth. I actively affect changes, but probably more than I would allow to admit, I got affected more by the revolving events around me than the other way around. I don't know, some people like my easy-going attitude, and probably this confirms it.

    I am mostly shy, but then again, maybe that's just because I am an introvert. I like trying something new, and that's probably why I like changes. And come to think of it, I guess I do like appearing in public judging from the number of invitations I attended this year alone, be it formal or informal.]

    ~ to be continued ~

    Friday, October 05, 2007

    My Top 5 Financial Goals

    Okay, I told you about the financial goals which I have to identify before making sense of my investment strategy, right? Well, the following are my top 5 major financial goals as of this writing, and the approximate time when I should reach those:
    1. Graduate study -- before turning 30 (about 3 years from now). By far, this is the most immediate, and the most time-consuming in term of preparation (admission form, test, interviews, essays, etc. not mentioning choosing the school itself). There are at least two alternatives to a regular Master degree of which I expect to take, 1). Get a professional certificate instead (such as CFA), or 2). Go all the way for a Doctorate degree (PhD or DBA). For financial planning purposes, let's assume the regular option.
    2. Retirement -- around the age of 50, give or take 5 years. Honestly, I don't think I would ever retire in the usual sense. My boss said that she'd like to have the option to work, meaning that she'd like to work out of choice instead of necessity. Ideally, I'd like to retire as soon as possible in a sense that I only work because I want to in a job that I like without sacrificing my standard of living. Yeah, who doesn't?
    3. Getting my own place -- assuming graduate study takes 2 years, then 5 years from now, after I graduate. This one is tricky, since I don't know where I'd end up. Depending on the situation 5 years from now, I could be in Jakarta or other continent altogether. Or, my job could require me to be nomadic, without permanent location. Should that happen, then instead of having my own place, I could rent it for awhile.
    4. Getting my first car -- the most affordable, yet facing the same problem as Goal # 3. Unlike a roof for you to stay, a car would most likely depreciate and a nomadic condition would just burn a hole in my pocket faster than keeping one car for several years. I like my car compact and small, and among today's options, the most expensive in the list would be a BMW Mini Cooper.
    5. Pilgrimage (Hajj) -- before turning 40. Arguably cheaper than a car, but this one needs spiritual readiness which is not readily affordable.
    That's all the top 5 I could think about. As for the amount of money I need to fulfill those goals, that'd be another discussion with my financial planner.