Master Macro Trader Chua Soon Hock continues Asia Genesis' stellar track

With a stellar trading record and 39 years of experience, Singapore-based Chua Soon Hock is one of Asia’s eminent macro traders. He started his career trading global markets at the Monetary Authority of Singapore and later at the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation.

Poached by Salomon Brothers, Soon Hock moved to Tokyo where he was Vice President for Fixed Income and learned from the Black Monday on 19th Oct 1987. He held senior roles in interest rate trading at Bankers Trust and was Chief Strategist and Head of Interest Rates and Arbitrage Trading at Sanwa Bank before setting up Asia Genesis Asset Management.

Asia Genesis Asset Management was one of Singapore’s largest global macro managers with USD 800m AUM. From March 2000 to September 2009, its Japan Macro Fund returned net 18.7% p.a. and 26% annualised over its last six years with low downside volatility. It was ranked the best risk-adjusted macro fund globally over 3, 5 and 7 year periods before Soon Hock took a break in 2009 and was managing his own money prior to relaunching Asia Genesis in 2019.

The firm’s investment strategy is “all-weather” and trades the most liquid exchange-listed futures and options, with no negative years since 2002. In 2022, the strategy returned over 15% net while the S&P 500 lost more than 7%. Asia Genesis currently has a team of 16 with 5 on investment and 11 on investor relations and operations.

This interview is a fascinating, in-depth portrait of a leading global macro thinker and star trader. Soon Hock and Matthias Knab discuss:

  • Personal Background (01:39 (min:sec)) & what’s behind Soon Hock’s decision to relaunch the fund in 2020 (09:31)

  • Soon Hock’s macro outlook for the 2020-2030 decade (13:12):
    • In his 39 years of trading, Soon Hock historically made money in bull and bear markets, with the strongest results achieved in range bound markets
    • Understanding the drivers that create range bound markets
    • Why we’d likely experience six years of bull and four years of bear market in this decade
  • Investment Style and Risk Management combine micro and macro trading (19:43):
    • How Soon Hock is able to deliver consistent uncorrelated returns with low downside volatility across “all-weather” conditions
    • Attractive risk/reward profile with 70% – 75% winning trades in stock indices, interest rates and FX
    • Why Soon Hock’s risk-adjusted returns got better, the bigger his fund grew
  • The Psychology of a Master Trader (25:52):
    • Having trained over 100 traders, Soon Hock says his “dual personality” of risk taker and risk averse at the same time is extremely rare
  • Adapting and securing success in a changing world (29:28):
    • Why an all-season profitable trader needs to be a thinker, strategist, tactician and operator
    • How to win in global macro against AI and the machines
    • 30 years of studying markets’ psychology gives an edge
    • Sticking to a process and also knowing when not to trade
  • Can wisdom and experience give traders an edge in trading over the machines and AI? 44:40
    • Why machines and AI in investing may be a self-defeating proposition
    • The strengths of a sensitive, feeling human
  • Exemplary and unique alignment with investors (50:30)

  • “I can still improve” (56:39): How a jar of tiny sweets set Soon Hock on his success path when he was in grade 2

Chua Soon Hock is CIO of the Asia Genesis Macro Fund with 39 years of experience in fund management and proprietary trading. He founded Asia Genesis Asset Management in 1999. He was the CIO and key trader for its flagship fund, Japan Macro Fund, an Asia-focused, macro hedge fund where he achieved steady strong returns consistently. Japan Macro Fund was amongst the few top performing Asian macro hedge funds with a long-established track record since March 2000 till its closure in 2009.

From 1983 to 1985, he was an investment officer (Japan portfolio) in the International Department (Foreign Reserves Management) of the Monetary Authority of Singapore. From 1985 to 1988, he was Vice President, Fixed Income – Sales & Trading at Salomon Brothers Asia Limited, Tokyo. From 1988 to 1994, he was the interest rate trading manager and proprietary trader at Bankers Trust, Singapore, and later as a SIMEX local. In 1997, he became the Managing Director of Koch Capital Asia Limited. In 1998, he was the Chief Strategist and Head of Interest Rates and Arbitrage Trading at Sanwa Bank Limited, Singapore.

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