Friday, 3 February 2017

Over $1 billion invested in Singapore Savings Bonds since start of programme in Sep 2015

By Rachael Boon, The Straits Times, 2 Feb 2017

More than 37,000 people have invested more than $1 billion since Singapore Savings Bonds (SSBs) were first offered in September 2015, said the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) yesterday.

The MAS said in a statement: "The programme has appealed to small savers, with 55 per cent of all applications comprising investments of $10,000 and below."

The MAS data also showed that 21 per cent of investors wanted to invest an amount of $40,000 to $50,000 for each application.

Many SSB investors are older, with those aged 48 years and over comprising 44 per cent, while those between 18 and 30 years of age made up 16 per cent of investors.

Applications for the next monthly issue of SSBs opened yesterday and run until 9pm on Feb 23. Up to $150 million of the bonds will be available in this round.

This issue promises an average annual return of 2.38 per cent if held for the full 10 years, the second time in recent months that the average annual return exceeded 2 per cent.

The MAS previously said that up to $2 billion of SSB - a safe investment option aimed at retail investors - will be offered this year.

Unlike regular bonds, SSBs offer accrued returns to investors who redeem the product ahead of the full tenor.

The capital-guaranteed bonds are not tradable, so they are not affected by market fluctuations.

The individual limit for the new issue is $50,000, while the individual holdings limit is $100,000.

Investors must have an individual CDP securities account, with the direct crediting service activated, to apply.

The CDP helps investors keep track of their holdings and facilitates the crediting of interest into bank accounts.

Applications can be lodged via DBS Bank, POSB, OCBC Bank and United Overseas Bank (UOB) ATMs and the DBS and POSB Internet banking portals.

New channels have been added - such as OCBC's mobile application OneWealth and UOB and OCBC's online portals - after the MAS found "a significant number of investors" applying online.

Experts say these convenient channels are useful as SSB competes essentially in the same space as bank deposits.

"It's a lot easier to go down and put money in the bank as the three local banks are everywhere in the neighbourhood," said CIMB economist Song Seng Wun. "There's no big incentive or near- term gratification, even though it's better for you in the longer run and gives higher returns than in the bank.

The MAS will also provide regular e-mail updates to subscribers which will include information on the latest SSB interest rates.

Those interested can sign up from March 1 on, where the issuance calendar also can be found.

* MAS scraps $50,000 issue limit for Singapore Savings Bonds from 1 March 2018
The Straits Times, 2 Mar 2018

The $50,000 limit on the maximum amount an individual can invest in a single issue of Singapore Savings Bonds (SSB) was removed yesterday.

Removing the cap will simplify the programme and allow investors to apply for a larger amount of a particular issue, said the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).

The individual limit for an investor's total holdings of the bonds at any one time will remain at $100,000.The allocation mechanism will continue to ensure that the bonds are distributed as evenly as possible with smaller applications to be filled first in the event of an over-subscription, the MAS added.

It noted that more than half of all SSB applications were for amounts less than $10,000, reflecting the programme's appeal to small savers.

Over half of SSB investors are over 41 years of age.

More than $1.9 billion of the bonds have been issued to about 57,000 investors since their launch in October 2015, with about $362 million issued in the first two months of this year.

January saw the biggest demand so far with the bonds oversubscribed for the first time. Lured by the highest first-and second-year yields so far, over 6,300 investors submitted applications for last month's issue totalling about $172 million, exceeding the $150 million issued.

The MAS said yesterday that it will offer around $2 billion for the whole of 2018 and continue monitoring subscription levels in determining monthly issue sizes.

Fully backed by the Government, SSBs are considered a principal-guaranteed, risk-free, affordable and low-cost investment option for retail investors.

The SSB rate steps up over time, so over a 10-year period, the average interest is generally higher than that for fixed deposits.

An investor needs at least $500 to buy these bonds, lower than for conventional Singapore Government Securities, which require $1,000. The investment amount must also be in multiples of $500.

More Application Channels for Singapore Savings Bonds -1 Feb 2017
Removal of the S$50,000 Issue Limit for Singapore Savings Bonds -1 Mar 2018

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