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Well-known Samui business makes its home in Chiang Mai

Sawang Optical now on Nimmanhaemin

Namchai and Wanpen Nattavutthisit moved to Chiang Mai to send their child to school and plan to retire here some day after starting their business in Samui 20 years ago.

Chiang Mai Mail reporters
Sawang Optical, already well known in the South of Thailand has been in business for more than 20 years according to owners Namchai and Wanpen Nattavutthisit. Originally opening their first shop in Trang, the couple expanded to Koh Samui as they had found that their standards and experience had earned a good reputation among their customers.

Newcomers to Chiang Mai, the couple moved their business to Chiang Mai last year as their child started school here and the couple hope to retire here when they get older.

Wanpen Nattavutthisit said that they have a lot of repeat business and referrals from customers for their services as they provide high quality services and products. They use such modern tools as digital lens cutting and high quality auto- refractometer.

By offering excellent products and expert technicians the couple has found success in the eyeglasses business. One of the services that they have found to be popular is a card carrying the customer’s prescription information. Sawang Optical is located opposite Soi 1 on Nimmanhaemin Road, open Monday- Saturday from 10.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m., Tel. 053-223440, 084-851-7770.


Lifestyle products market expects continued growth

Thailand’s lifestyle products grew 3-4 per cent this year and will possibly expand by 5 per cent next year, according to a local manufacturer.
Supat Srivannavit, president of the Association of Thai Lifestyle Products Federation, said total sales of lifestyle products increased from Bt100 billion last year to Bt105 billion this year thanks to strengthened markets in the US, Europe and Japan, and improved economies in Southeast Asia, China, South Korea, Australia and the Middle East.
China has become one of Thailand’s most significant markets with a satisfactory growth this year, he said.
He said the weakened baht, expected to depreciate to Bt33 against the dollar next year, will contribute to expansion of Thai exports, adding that half of locally-manufactured lifestyle products are for export.
Expressing concern about higher wage, he said some political parties may raise the issue of higher minimum wage in their political campaign.
Many small and medium enterprises including the wood products and ceramics industries have closed since earlier this year after the countrywide increase of daily minimum wage to Bt300, Mr Supat said. (MCOT online news)


Halal entrepreneurs work to develop potential in seminar

Thai Halal, to be the best in the world

A seminar on Halal Standards was held at the Chiang Mai Ratankosin Hotel in December 25, 2013 and was attended by members of the Islamic Committee of Chiang Mai and the Chiang Mai Chamber of Commerce.

Nopniwat Krailerg
The Islamic Committee of Chiang Mai held a seminar on Halal standards for Muslim entrepreneurs at the Chiang Mai Ratankosin Hotel on December 25, 2013. Chiang Mai Permanent Secretary Chokdee Amornwat presided over the opening ceremony of the seminar that was attended Kwintorn Wongluekiet, chairman of Islamic Committee of Chiang Mai and other local businesspeople involved in the production of Halal Food.

The Chairman of the Committee said that the office of the Provincial Islamic Council of Chiang Mai was established to follow the Act on the Administration of Islamic Religious Organizations, B.E. 2540 (1997). He noted that the Halal Standards of the Central Islamic Council of Thailand had been registered legally under the Act on the Administration of Islamic Religious Organizations, B.E. 2540 (1997).

Additionally, Chulalongkorn University has established a Halal Science Center which is supported by the Halal Standards Institute to “confirm by religion, support by science.” The Chiang Mai Chamber of Commerce has cooperated with the Federation of Chiang Mai Industries to develop Halal food industries and support domestic and foreign marketing.

The seminar was held to instruct local business people in the process of halal certification develop knowledge in the field of manufacture and manage halal food under Islamic law. Around 100 Chiang Mai businesses have been certified under Halal standards.

A signing ceremony of cooperation was held between the Islamic Committee of Chiang Mai, the Chiang Mai Chamber of Commerce, and the Federation of Chiang Mai Industries. Permanent Secretary Chokdee Amornwat and representatives from the Central Islamic Council of Thailand took part as witnesses.

The Chiang Mai Halal International Fair 2014 will be held February 6 – 9 at Chiang Mai Hall, Central Plaza Airport Chiang Mai.


Understanding Financial Advisor Fees

By Don Freeman
Let’s be upfront and say that while no-one likes paying fees, there is no such thing as a free lunch and I as a financial advisor providing financial advice along with those on Wall Street who create investment products all need “to eat” so to speak.

With that said, there is no reason for you as a client to pay unnecessary or excessive fees for financial advice or investment products once you have a firm understanding of how financial advisors on Main Street earn their money.

Understand How Financial Advisors Get Paid

Financial advisors will usually follow one of the following compensation models:

1. Fee Only. Financial advisors who are fee only will typically charge you a percentage of the account value they manage and they will tend to favor individual stocks, bonds and low-cost ETFs because they cannot accept commissions from financial product sponsors. That’s because fee only financial advisors have a “fiduciary responsibility” to choose investments which are in your best interest and not because someone is paying them a commission on an investment product. Just be aware that not all fee only financial advisors are the same as some charge lower fees because they provide more basic investment management services while others charge higher fees because they provide full financial planning services (e.g. a complete financial plan or roadmap).

2. Commission Only. Financial advisors who don’t charge a fee will usually receive commissions from transactions and/or from those who create the investment products they sell. And while there are commission only financial advisers who provide excellent financial advice, many others are merely good salesmen who’s advice tends to be driven more by how they are being paid rather than by doing what’s best for you the client. For that reason, you can expect commission only financial advisors to steer you towards annuities and managed funds that pay them the highest commissions.

3. Fee Based. So-called fee based financial advisors will charge you a fee and receive commissions on the products they sell. This means they do not have a “fiduciary responsibility” to do what’s in your best interest and that may end up costing you more than what a fee only or even a commission only financial advisor would charge.

4. Hourly Rates or Retainer Arrangements. There are also some financial advisors who charge by the hour or a set fee - often to complete a special project that would otherwise be too complex even for a retail investor who is accustomed to managing his or her own money.

What Arrangement is Best For You?

Generally speaking, going for a fee only investment financial adviser who does not take commissions from those who create investment products like annuities or managed funds will end up being a better deal for you over the long term as they will steer you towards low cost investment products rather than those with the highest fees or commissions. Likewise and even if you are an experienced do-it-yourself investor, there might be times when paying an hourly rate or a retainer will also make sense (e.g. a large or complex 401k roll-over for American investors).

Just be aware that many fee only as well as commission based financial advisers will require a minimum sized account to manage before it makes sense for them to take you on as a full time client. However and even if your account balance is small, don’t be afraid to check with a financial advisor to see if some kind of arrangement can be made to assist you if you need help.

Finally and no matter what type of financial advisor you use, make sure you take the time to understand what services he or she is offering for the fees you are being quoted. At the very least, your financial advisor needs to provide you with a detailed service and fee disclosure form.Fees create a reverse compounding effect and reduce your nest egg over time. The higher the fees, in general, the greater the hit and reduced account size. Call me to discuss ways to reduce your portfolio fees and get your account growing efficiently.

Don Freeman is president of Freeman Capital Management, a Registered Investment Advisor with the US Securities Exchange Commission (SEC), based in Phuket, Thailand. He has over 15 years experience and provides personal financial planning and wealth management to expatriates. Specializing in UK and US pension transfers. Call 089-970-5795 or email: [email protected]


AirAsia new direct flights to Hangzhou

Thai AirAsia will launch the first direct flight to Hangzhou from Chiang Mai on February 21, boosting Chiang Mai’s position as an air hub to China. Hangzhou is known for its silks, as well as the UNESCO World Heritage site Xi Hu, also known as West Lake, and Lingyin Temple as well as the shopping havens Song Dynasty Replica City and Qinghefang Ancient Street.

It is also easy to reach Shanghai by high speed train, only one hour away. Promotional fares start at 1,990 baht one way and flights depart Chiang Mai daily at 5:25 p.m. arriving in Hangzhou at 10:15 p.m. Flights depart Hangzhou at 11:10 p.m. and arrive at 1:55 a.m.


HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]

Well-known Samui business makes its home in Chiang Mai

Lifestyle products market expects continued growth

Halal entrepreneurs work to develop potential in seminar

Understanding Financial Advisor Fees

AirAsia new direct flights to Hangzhou