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Mig’s Investment Approach

Dato’ Brian Wee’s take on property investment locally and abroad

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Who doesn’t want to get rich and richer until they become a millionaire? One of the many ways is to start networking with the right people who will be able to change your mind set, to hunger for success, and to be transformed from being a zero net worth individual to a high net worth individual.

This is now a reality with the Millionaire Investment Group Network International (MIG), founded by Dato’ Brian Wee and Dato’ Stanley Wong, who both came with a background from the coaching and training industry.

“How we came about with the idea of setting up MIG was that we started up with a small group of investors, who have been our ardent followers, due to the various investment successes we had in doing some investments inside and outside of Malaysia,” said MIG chief executive officer Dato’ Brian Wee.

According to Wee, the investments are focused in Singapore, Hong Kong and in the United Kingdom. “From this small group, we continued growing to about 1,000 investors. The group is getting bigger and the members are not limited to Malaysian investors, but also in HK, Macau, China, UK, Australia, and the United States of America by the end of this year,” shared Wee.

“We are just a platform for investors to know, and gain investment strategies. We are a platform for aspiring entrepreneurs, especially young adults who want to make a mark in the market by establishing new businesses,” said Wee, who pointed that MIG is there to provide sound business advice.

At the same time, MIG would like to assist young adults to achieve their lifelong dream of investing in properties. Wee mentioned that MIG invests in other asset classes, such as commodities, financial products, and shares.

He shared, “We do all kinds of investments, but at the end of the day we believe in continuous innovation and creativity.”

He said, “MIG is into other sectors and industries as well, investing in property is just the fundamental of who we are, and subsequently MIG is moving out of property even right now.

“We are into natural resources, IT, farming, food and beverage, and even social media. At the end of the day, we believe, we are introducing the right business model to the market and giving more opportunities to people around us to know more about investing. The last puzzle of MIG is about charity,” opined Wee.

“MIG has embarked in a lot of charitable works, and at the same time, we believe that we want to give equal opportunities to those underprivileged  individuals to realise their dreams, because MIG is all about dreams and aspirations, and about achieving something that is unique, something that people can only imagine,” stated Wee.

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The ‘in’ and ‘out’ of investing

Wee opined, “Owning a property overseas seems like a taboo to many people, especially Malaysians, who thought that buying a property overseas is a challenge, and these are due to various reasons, including the distance between Malaysia and the UK, and the currency exchange rate between the Ringgit and Great Britain Pound (GBP).”

“But for MIG, to be able to equip those aspiring individuals to own a property outside of Malaysia, I believe there is certain information they need to know, not even to the extent of mastering it, but to know that buying property outside Malaysia is just like buying property in Malaysia. It’s the same thing, the only difference is you are paying it in a different currency,” shared Wee confidently.

Wee didn’t compare MIG with other industry players of similar sorts in the market, even in Malaysia, because what MIG has been doing is to add value. “We wanted to provide something that is very different, because we are not just a property investing group to begin with, we are beyond that.”

“If people were to ask me the same question, I wouldn’t say I am better or as good as the other industry players, but we are providing to a niche market to begin with, something that the market is not providing right now,” informed Wee.

Wee stated that by investing in education, and investing in a platform, this can allow individuals who aspire to grow from someone insignificant, to someone who might own 50 properties in the next 10 years.

“That is who we are, we want to see growth in individuals, not just ‘you buy and I sell’, and then that’s it.” Wee expressed disappointment when he stated, “That is what other industry players are doing now in the market. They recommend property for you to buy, and they get the commission.”

According to Wee, that is not the only part that MIG does (the selling), MIG wants to facilitate the whole purchasing and investing process. At the end of the day, MIG wants to see the end results where people are able to experience the monetary returns, as well as the long-term portfolio growth.

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Humble beginnings

“I came from a background whereby I needed to strive for success. I started my coaching business at 18 years of age to sustain my own studies and subsequently, I got the opportunity to be exposed to property in the late 20’s,” said Wee.

“Somehow, this opportunity was presented when I attended a boot camp on sales. My mentor questioned me on my dream. Somehow I was given the insight on what to do on my subsequent business,” he shared.

“My mentor said, ‘since you want to be successful in life, you need to sell, and you need to sell really well’, followed by this question, ‘what are you selling right now?’”

“I was pondering for a while and I told my mentor I was selling myself.  His following questions were ‘How much are you worth? What is the value that you can present to your client?’ It kept me wondering for a while.”

“Subsequently he gave me this advice, since you are selling Brian, why don’t you sell something that is niche and expensive that only the rich can afford it. I got his message, that was when I started to invest in property and my dream is to do even better than that,” shared Wee.

He added, “I hope to sell islands and even countries. That is a challenge -—to be selling property, jets and yachts. That is my life-long ambition now, which is to be selling, and selling it well, but at the end of the day, by selling and getting a very handsome commission, it is not just what I want to achieve in life.”

“I would like to leave a legacy, I would like to have my grandchildren’s grandchildren to know about me, I want to build a legacy on this, to be transforming not only property but also investing as a whole in the world,” explained Wee.

“That is why we at MIG are embarking on a lot of projects and R&D, in different sectors and industries,” highlighted Wee.

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Passion the real drive

“As for my partner and I, Dato’ Stanley, we were both in this industry together. We started off seven or eight years back, we came from a background of coach, teacher, and trainer,” said Wee.

“We have this dream of helping as many people as we can to achieve their life-long goals, be it in investing or in achieving their professional goals. It doesn’t limit what we can do, we will try our best to help them achieve their goals,” expressed Wee.

“I have encountered cases where from the very beginning, people aspire to own property, they started off owning nothing,” stated Wee.

He shared that through MIG, these aspirants will be prepared well-in-advance.  What this meant was that the aspirants will be given the proper education with the proper channels so that they can understand mortgage and taxation, be it outside or inside of Malaysia, and how to leverage on them.

He shared that these aspirants would need to go through this basic education to know the process of acquiring a property, and at the same time, to know where would be the best place to acquire property whether for their own use, or for property investment purpose.

“We have seen individuals, who are nobodies, and they purchase their first property, subsequently, they sell it off and then that was when they made their first bucket of money, during the years 2011 to 2012,” shared Wee.

“They are able to make that kind of return, and subsequently, they invested more, and today, after six to seven years of knowing us, they have been doing this for two to three rounds, and from zero networth individuals, they are now millionaires,” expressed Wee excitedly.

“(Of course) like any other business, we see reputation, and credibility is always in question. So people who come to us for the very first time, they will ask who we are and then at the end of the day, we believe that fulfilling our client’s expectation is the bottom line,” said Wee.

“People come to us as they want to know more about us, and we educate them by giving them the insight on what to invest in and what to avoid, and the know-how and because of these reasons, the credibility and the trust begin to develop,” stated Wee.

“Subsequently, we feel that after a few years down the road, people who are able to make it, they not only make some small returns, but they are also able to make big returns and then they are now millionaires.”

“Now the followers are increasing and we hope we can deliver consistently over the next 20 years or 30 years down the road,” he added.

MIG always believed in empowering people.  Wee boldly stated that, “I am here to empower people to achieve their dreams, that is my motto. MIG’s mission is summarised into three words — business, education, and charity.”

Wee has been coaching people on economic policies. He would share with people thoughts about the economic conditions around the world, and at the same time, he also touches on marketing and consumer behaviour.

“As of now, is Malaysia in a right economic climate to invest in? I would say I have some reservation, due to the current conditions, whereby the loans are not easy to come by anymore.”

“The supply of properties is at an all-time high, MIG believes this will pose a challenge to many  investors out there, especially since speculation is not the word to go around now,” shared Wee.

“People can’t really speculate now, although property prices are comparatively lower here than in many other parts of the world, but I would say sustainability is the key word now,” he further adds.

Wee asked, “As a beginner and also as an investor, how many more properties can you acquire now?

He elaborated that at the end of the day, you must realise whether you have the next takers for your property, for if there are no takers, “I would say that the challenge is going to be so huge, the probability of a default is real, my advice to the public is that you need to be really prudent when it comes to making a choice on the property you are planning to buy.”

He stated that good property investment is about having the wisdom to make a decision during this current economic climate. He showed an example, our neighbouring country Singapore which is facing a total standstill now as people are not buying properties in the country.

MIG decided to move upward north to China and have been in China for a few years now. MIG has slowed down in China due to the ever changing government policies.  

“We have decided to put on hold all our future developments in China, but somehow we realised that Hong Kong is where the market is still robust,” opined Wee.

He said that investors in HK are ever ready to invest, their disposable income is really high,  and individuals are ever ready to invest in places like Australia and in the UK.

Their average monthly income is in the 50,000 Hong Kong Dollar bracket.  “So for them to invest outside of their own country is not much of a challenge compared to what we are doing in Malaysia.”

According to Wee, Malaysians who are making the Ringgit as their income will have a bit of a challenge for them to invest outside of Malaysia.

The real scenario

“I would say the economic cycle comes and goes in different nations, so based on the current situation, for us, we at MIG encourage investors from Singapore to move out of Singapore, and the same thing for Malaysian investors, due to the falling Ringgit and mortgage policies that  are undergoing in Malaysia,” highlighted Wee.

“For our investors in China, they are ever ready to move out of China.  For my investors in the UK, I would ask them to stay put and continue to invest in the UK,” advised Wee.

“This is a real challenge to many investors especially those who go on the speculation path, I would say that this should come to a halt now, the hardcore speculation era will be officially over really soon,” advised Wee.

“People buy properties in the long haul, I always believe in Robert Kiyosaki’s methodology of buying and keeping sustainable property over the long run. You will be the ultimate winners,” he said.

“To those speculators out there, if you are still embarking on this strategy, buying and flipping it at the very near future, you are in danger now.  My advice to those speculators is not to speculate further,” gestured Wee.

 Property market bubble

“Nothing is so conclusive, other than the implementation of government policies, and I follow these government policies and economic policies around the world very closely.”

“Little things like interest rate hike are going to influence the economy as a whole in a country,  and it is going to affect the GDP of the country, which will affect the taxation and ultimately everything,” shared Wee.

“I believe that there has been a lot of speculation and a lot of news going around about the possible property bubble in Malaysia, but I would still say that this is applicable for high-end properties above RM2million.”

“This is a real scenario whereby people who don’t have the holding power, they will just let it go at a discount,  and they are probably going to default on the loan, and then you will see more auctioned properties coming out,” pointed Wee.

He said, “But for properties below RM1million, there is still demand, people who can still make repayments on that kind of pricing region. I would say that anything below RM1 million should be safe to invest in for now. “

“For first-time Malaysian investors, I would advise you to buy properties below RM1mil, if you don’t, don’t get anything at all. Just get anything within your comfort zones.”

“If you are making RM10,000 a month, you should consider something within the region of RM800,000 to RM1,000,000, which is 40 to 50% of your monthly income,” added Wee.

Investing in major cities

“Any investment in the major cities of the world is going to be something of a long run thing, so for those individuals who are more capable, especially those high networth individuals, I would advocate them owning as many properties in the greatest cities in the world, like London, New York, Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai, Singapore, Melbourne,” said Wee.

“We own properties in all the cities that we mentioned, we are subsequently turning those properties that we own, our portfolios right now, from individual houses into shop houses and hotels, slowly and steadily we are changing some of our portfolios now,” he added.

“For the UK, it is ever green in terms of property investing due to the reason that the UK is an education hub for the world, for that reason only, UK is a sure go for individuals who are ready.”

“For individuals who have the insights about UK property, it is much cheaper to invest outside London. It still poses a great deal of opportunity for individuals who are able to own a property in Central London,” opined Wee. (Read an in-depth analysis on the UK property market in our International Property market section, August edition)

Some of MIG’s developments are located in the UK. “Except London, we have our developments in Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool, Bradford–—the second-tier cities. The property prices are growing exponentially, especially Manchester and Birmingham, so that is where our developments are and where most of our assets are based,” said Wee.

“Because property prices in these areas are going to appreciate either steadily or exponentially, I would say that exponentially is not the word now, but steadily is a definite sure, so for investors who are ready, who have the capital and the resources to go into these major cities, yes, by all means, go ahead,” he advised.

“But then for those who are not so ready, then we have to be more selective, on building our own portfolios, the UK government is making Manchester city a second London now, with that government’s recommendation, I would foresee that Manchester which is now about a quarter of what it is going to cost you in London,” shared Wee.

He pointed out that a one bedroom apartment in London will cost you about GBP400,000, but in Manchester, it barely hits GBP100,000, but if you look at the capital appreciation in Manchester, “you won’t be surprised if it hits above 10% per annum, whereby in London, it is going to be significantly smaller in terms of percentage growth.”

In Wee’s opinion, Manchester will be the next big thing in the UK, and Glasgow and Birmingham have that kind of potential growth as well. But Manchester is definitely a big hit outside of London.

What does it takes to start investing in the UK?

“In terms of resources, to be buying a property and hoping to get a mortgage, that can only be done in zone 1 and zone 2 of London, outside of London, everything will be in cash terms, due to the property prices, because they are below GBP100,000,” shared Wee.

He stated, “I believe banks in the UK are quite reluctant to give out a mortgage that small, we are talking about Central London in zone 1 and zone 2, the banks will give you a mortgage of up to 70% depending on your background, and who you are, so for you to be investing in Central London, you need to have borrowing capacity.”

“The advantage of us investing outside of Malaysia, is that if you are over-leveraged in Malaysia, the CCRIS won’t cover London or even Australia, so you are safe to borrow more outside Malaysia.”

For example, if it is a GBP100,000 property, most likely you are going to end up paying about RM600,000, you have to prepare for that kind of cash, cash that you need to pay outright,” illustrated Wee.

He highlighted that “100% of the payment is spread over before completion and upon completion,  we are separating it into two stages, so you pay a booking fee of 50% ,and subsequently, upon completion, another 50%. We hope we can encourage investing in the UK by allowing our investors to enjoy future yield, since we provide rental facilities and management for them.”

UK a property hotspot

Wee shared that as a developer, if you were to acquire land in the UK, developers will normally  acquire it under freehold status.

“But when we subsequently sell it to investors or to purchasers, we give them a leasehold title,  it could be 100 years, 150 years or even 250 years, it doesn’t really matter,” explained Wee.

“But what really happens is the advantage of developing in UK as a developer, we are able to collect the quit rent, from all individual owners, year in and year out. On the other hand, in Malaysia, the government is receiving that. In the UK, the developer is receiving it,” added Wee.

“We are in the midst of acquiring more land in the UK, as much as we can.”

“(Of course) we also offer the opportunity to co-develop with us, to be injecting either resources or their expertise in whatever field that is relevant to what we are doing, we invite them on board as well,” said Wee.

Wee’s dream

“We are going to have a few companies listed on NASDAQ in a few years’ time.  We are flying to the USA this year to source for opportunity and we are going to have more companies that are going to be listed on American soil,” shared Wee.

“Our ultimate business goal is to be putting as many companies as we can onto the NASDAQ, and maybe the Shanghai exchange, as well as the Hong Kong Hang Seng exchange,” Wee related.

“Beyond that, it is about empowering individuals, educating them, and about contributing back to society, and not only in monetary form.”

“I always believe that when you do charity, you don’t just give money, you meet their ‘wants’ and their ‘needs’,” Wee shared enthusiastically.

“We see so many children out there but they lack the opportunity, so what do I do, I give them the opportunity, they could be good in business, or they could be talented in music, so my role is to facilitate that process and see them grow, and achieve success.”

MIG’s social responsibility

He stated that many property experts in Malaysia are out there to make a quick buck. “No doubt about that, they are here in the market to make fast money, and I believed that as much as money is important, I also believe in giving back to the community.”

“I don’t like to call it a responsibility, rather I would rather call it a gift, back to the community.”

“So how can I contribute back to the community? That’s why I don’t mind spending my hours or even days doing charitable works. I do it with my staff as well as my sales team, we do a lot of work, regardless of our background,” added Wee.

“My objective or my target is to assist at least 1,000 orphans to succeed within the next five years, so that is my ambition and my goal. At the end of the day, I always believe in setting a goal and a blueprint to follow through with that goal,” mentioned Wee excitedly.

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