CTS Global president and CEO Lawrence Lee gets asked a lot what’s the best thing his father, bilyonaryo fund manager Edward Lee, gave him.
“Is it money? Is it experience? Is it expertise? It’s the leeway and the ability to allow me to make mistakes, and boatloads of mistakes. It’s amazing,” said Lawrence in his Investa Summit presentation “Market Mindset and Mentality: The Psychology Beid Trading Systems.”
2007 was memorable for Lawrence not only because it was the year he got married, it was also the time he committed his most egregious mistake when he lost almost all of his investments on one stock
“From 05, 06, 07, I turned P800,000 into P10 million. It’s like markets are easy. Midas touch. It was easy. Akala ko magaling ako. That’s the problem. At the peak of the markets in 2007, I had P10 million in cash, P6 million in margin. So I was like, anong bibilhin ko?” said Lawrence.
“I put it all in one stock. Sabi ko long term na ako. Ang lakas ng negosyo ng kumpanyang ito. Everyday pumapasok ako sa opisina niya, punong-puno ng tao. 100 percent. Long term na ako dito at the very peak of 2007,” he added.
He made the call just before he went to Europe for his honeymoon, and when he got back, his investment was in tatters. .
“I remember that number very clearly. I turned P10 million to P900,000 in 2008. Totally wiped out my portfolio. It was a traumatic experience. You know what stock that was? What is the company I would see every single day… I’m in their office every single day. COL Financial,” said Lawrence.
“Here’s the funniest part. When I was buying at P14.50, my dad was dumping the shares. Ako ‘yung bumibili. At P2.88, he was the one who bought it back at P2.86. Syempre alam ko (that his father was dumping COL while he was buying it). Pero syempre, at that time, mayabang pa ako. He allowed it to happen, that’s the best part,” he added.
Lawrence said he was able to realize his biggest and most unforgettable mistake because his father allowed him to fail.
“I wiped out my portfolio because I went all in… My mistake was going into margin. If I bought just outright cash and I held it to P2.88, I was right because eventually it went to P22 two years later,” said Lawrence.