8I's Value-adding Journey

Apr 27, 2017

What defines 8I and its people

What started off as a mastermind group on value investing has become a grand vision.

8I (the Group) was established in 2008 by Clive Tan and Ken Chee at the height of the subprime crisis, with one purpose in mind: “To create a platform to share value investing knowledge and to inspire people’s lives forward through value investing.”

The 8I family, Clive likes to put it, is founded upon, and stands by, its mission to provide the right resources to inspire and empower the growth of 100 million lives through Education, Investment and Business.

Through its value investing methodology, the Group achieved tremendous growth with its Education, Public and Private Markets Investment teams, and have since been listed on Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) since 2014.

In line with its vision of being the one of the reputable Value Investors of Asia, 8I Holdings continues to invest knowledge and resources into existing stakeholders and potential businesses to power their growth through value investing.

We caught up with Clive Tan, the Executive Director of 8I Holdings Limited, to find out about the unique culture and values that allowed 8I to grow from a bootstrapped business to where they are today.

8I’s Value Statements

In our opinion, to truly grow as an individual and as a company require us to master and enjoy the work that we do, and be happy doing it. Very few people enjoyed being micro-managed and to micro-manage others. Our team members belong to a class of people whom we believe can live the value statements that guide us.

To live in this world is a Great Blessing and if you are not having Fun living your life and getting stressed unnecessarily at work, it means that there are adjustments and changes needed at your end. We keep in mind a basic principle that: “For Things to Change, First I must Change.” We are mindful that our Corporate Personality (if there’s such a thing) is not the typical serious and restrictive type so often portrayed in the Press and coffee shop talk. We possess a zest for life that rival those who truly desire for themselves a great life that develops them into an always evolving, growing and developing conscious human being.

Last but not least, being an investment company, a statement about our financial beliefs is fundamental. We believe in being Value-Conscious (expressed as one of our value statements), which means that we are careful with spending company funds on various pursuits, be it in investments, company expansion, team member remuneration and benefits, and capital expenditure. We focus on making much more than we spend, and this can best be realised by looking to the example of Berkshire Hathaway & the Singapore Government. This is in alignment of our objective of creating sustainable long- term wealth and success for all stakeholders.

As with many human matters, one would be silly to write down all the Rules, as it is not feasible, viable and waste of time to envisage every possible scenario. What we want to do is set out some “out of bound” markers. Whenever there is doubt arising, use your discretion with the “Business Owner” perspective (that is, what would you do if you own the business?). That will make all our lives so much easier and enjoyable.

8 Core Values of 8I Holdings

The people of 8I Holdings live by a set of core values, that is practiced every day in their daily activities.  

1. We Uphold the Trust of Our Stakeholders

“What this means: Trust, Serve, Accountability, Sustainability.

Trust is hard-earned but easily lost. Our beliefs, behaviour and actions will dictate whether trust can be upheld over the long term. Trust is the glue that will enable us to grow quickly as an organization with our Stakeholders.”

2. We Take Care of One Another Like Family

“What this means: Love, Family, Care, Compassion, Empathy

There can be no true teamwork if we are not looking out for each other. By taking the extra step to reach out to one another, we develop empathy and compassion for each other just like our family.”

3. We Enjoy What We Do

“What this means: Passionate, Fun, Positive, Commitment, Perseverance

By Doing what we Enjoy, we can not only produce better work, we can keep improving and keep it long term and sustainable. When we are passionate about what we do, we create a positive, happy & fun working environment. With passion and commitment, we can do anything.”

4. We Do What We Think and Say

“What this means: Integrity, Congruence

We are doing the right things even when no-body is watching. This will enable us, as individuals and as a company, to be aligned, both internally and as a team. This will also foster honesty, open communications and better alignment in the team.”

5. We Work Towards Mastery Without Invalidation of Self & Others

“What this core value means: Constant Learning, Growth, Excellent, Mastery

Our lives and our Company path is not going to be a perfect straight line; we will have to adjust and correct along the way, and invalidating and feeling sorry for oneself and others will prevent us from truly correcting what actions need to be corrected. Be open to give and receive feedbacks as that will help us with constant learning and growth to achieve self-mastery.”

6. We are Value-Conscious (For the Price Paid)

“What this core value means: Value-Conscious

We are aware that every single dollar should be utilized fully and not wasted on frivolous pursuits.”

7. We Keep Our Hearts & Minds Open

“What this means: Openness

In 8I, our company encourages team members to have an open heart, open mind & open communication, enable us to connect & communicate wholeheartedly.”

8. We Make it Simple

“Like what this core value states, Simplicity, Effectiveness”

What 8I Stands For

Inspiring you forward though Value Investing.

We admire and respect Warren Buffett as a role model; believing that one can achieve Greatness by doing good and operate with full integrity fused with sound business reasoning. We benchmark Berkshire Hathaway and BlackRock as a multi-holding company, creating sustainable financial abundance and freedom for our shareholders, team members and loved ones. Ultimately, we use these tangible rewards and experiences to increase humanity consciousness on planet earth through businesses, investments and education.

Business Goals of 8I

The business goals going forward for the next 5 years seem to be very far-fetched. But if you think about it, what we have achieved in the first 5 years is also unrealistic and far-fetched when we first started. While these goals may appear “far-fetched” and even “unrealistic” at the time of goal setting and even now, we will work and march towards these goals with all the hearts and minds aligned, with the intention of achieving these goals.

We managed to get hold of one of the welcome letters that every team member of 8I Holdings would receive when they first join the company. You can read it here at: http://sbr.com.sg/solution-center/8i-holdings-looking-model-berkshire-hathaway/paddling-in-sync-creating-corporate-cul