1) Was It Worth It?
I only read about the event on another blogger's post and decided to take the plunge based on his past year's description of the annual event. Paying the early-bird price of $239 for two pax, I did have pretty high expectations of learning things that I could not simply find on the internet or didn't already know. As such the jury is still out on this question.
Out of the 7 speaker line-up over two days, I felt that probably only 3 were really interesting to listen to. Ken Chee, the event organizer was a definite joy to listen to. He has very good charisma and was funny and engaging. Eric Kong, of Aggregate Investments, was also interesting, although part of his material was somewhat recycled from his colleague Teh Hooi Ling's earlier research that was covered in the papers. The most interesting IMHO, was Roy Chong, who was a last minute replacement but yet gave the most insightful presentation.
The worst presentation was probably by Benjamin Goh from CIMB, not that his presentation material or skills were bad, but to give general outlooks and general broker recommendations was the last thing anybody really wanted in this event, not me at least. These were information that those who read the news everyday would've been able to sum up themselves. For the other presentations, either there wasn't that much I didn't already know or the entire presentations came off as being 'salesy', so I wasn't very impressed.
2) The Good
I enjoyed the case studies. They were probably a contributor to whether going to the event was worthwhile or not. Ken presented them very well, with good and compelling reasons as to why he felt the companies covered were undervalued. I wish there were more of these, but over both days there were only 3 case studies, which was a disappointment, to say the least.
Aside from that the general organization of the event from the presentations on stage to the volunteers shepherding the participants was very well coordinated and orderly. That's something I really appreciated.
3) The Bad
There were many instances where the presentations reeked of hard selling, which was something I didn't really appreciate. Even though alot of the presenters said they weren't selling anything or gave stuff out for free, you knew the underlying gist was to simply whet your appetite and wow you into finding out more about their courses or products. Ken Chee obviously had his MIP (in fairness he didn't pitch it that much in the auditorium), Chris Chan had his insurance reviews, Benjamin Goh had his colleague, the CIMB broker come ask everyone to open an account, Attlee Hue had his REIT Program, John Chan had the Iskandar projects (terrible IMO).
4) The Ugly
What is with the throwing of frisbees with money and giving out $10 angpows to the first 10 who would run on stage to grovel? It was such a disgusting sight to witness the ugliest of Singaporeans flying down the steps of the auditorium culminating into a scrum right below the stage hoping to be lucky enough to be given a $10 red packet! Then the next 100 pax has a surprise here and there yada yada, cue pandemonium and stampede-in-the-making. I mean if the VIS organizers wanted to do this right, either they give freebies that everyone could share (yes, every single participant) like in those on talkshows like Oprah or Ellen. Else don't give anything and let those ugly Singaporeans keep their dignity. From the looks of the crowd, not that many were interested in those limited freebies anyway.
5) Would I Come Back For Value Investing Summit 2015?
At this stage, it's a 'no' for the wifey and a 'maybe' for me. If they can line-up better speakers and content that would not be repeated, plus more case study types, I might actually pay to come back. The investment ideas and knowledge gained was refreshing (even if it weren't as much as I expected) and I guess it may be a small price (the entry ticket) to pay to potentially discover a strategy or stock idea that could change or heftily improve my fortunes.
I will continue to monitor developments via their website for next year's event.