Our story begins with Mr. Kok Ah Too, a school teacher trained in Raffles College. While teaching at Methodist Boys School, Mr. Kok studied the principles of investing to grow his savings to support his family. Through good old-fashioned hard work and common sense investing, Mr. Kok realised that there were some very good companies that offered outstanding returns. Seizing the opportunity, Mr. Kok mortgaged his house and invested the proceeds in tin companies such as Berjunta Tin and Selangor Dredging. These companies paid dividends significantly higher than his mortgage payments, which ultimately paid for his own house and also gave him a constant stream of excess cash.
In recognition of his strong investment prowess, Mr. Kok gained attention from the investment circle, who nicknamed him ‘the Master’. Acknowledging Mr. Kok’s investment abilities, Mr. Kok was invited to be a Partner at stockbroking firm Malayan Traders & Co (MTC).
As Mr. Kok continued investing, and in his pursuit to be the best in his profession, Mr. Kok became a very well respected figure in the investment world, and subsequently became the first Malaysian to become the Chairman of the then Stock Exchange of Malaysia and Singapore.
While historically known as Stockbroker, Partner and Chairman, towards his later years Mr. Kok was more known as the savvy investor who, using the principles of value investing, grew the wealth of his family and others that followed him. Over the years, Mr. Kok accumulated substantial holdings in high cash generating companies such as Straits Trading and Batu Kawan. His largest holding was in Guiness Anchor, of which he was a significant shareholder of for many years.
As Mr. Kok was close to retirement, his daughter and son, Ms. Kok Wai Leng and Mr. Kok Khee Wee respectively, were groomed to take over the baton from Mr. Kok and continue the family’s heritage. While Ms. Kok was Managing Director of Malayan Traders & Co. for a while, both Mr. Kok’s children decided not to continue running the Company, choosing to focus solely on managing the family’s own wealth. As a result, Malayan Traders & Co. was sold.
Fast forward to 2012, Mr. Kok’s grandson, Devan Linus, and Devan’s other founders Aaron Yew and Donovan Ng revived the Malayan Traders legacy, having been nurtured in the principles of value investing and having the mission to continue the Company’s vision of managing wealth for generations.