All You Need To Know About Singapore Savings Bonds
You may have heard the hype about the Singapore Savings Bonds recently, but are not quite sure what it is about. While the Singapore Savings Bonds product is not something that is recently launched, it has been gaining traction of late, with its applications for August 2022 surging by a whopping 85%.
So, what exactly is the Singapore Savings Bonds, how does it fare in a volatile market, and how can one buy or sell it? Fret not if you’re an investment newbie, for we will delve into these questions so you can make a well-informed decision.
Read on to find out all you need to know about the Singapore Savings Bonds.
What is Singapore Savings Bonds
The Singapore Savings Bonds were first introduced in 2015, and are a type of Singapore Government Securities (SGS). This means that the Singapore government issues the Singapore Savings Bonds and provides a certain degree of guarantee.
At the start of every month, new tranches of the Singapore Savings Bonds are released, along with fixed interest rates that increase for every year they are held, and can be invested for up to 10 years.
Advantages & disadvantages
As with any investment product, the Singapore Savings Bonds come with its own set of advantages and disadvantages.
Let’s get right into it:
1. An easily accessible option
The best part is that you don’t have to invest a large sum of money — you can start with a mere S$500. This sum can be paid using your Supplementary Retirement Scheme funds, or with cash. Each application comes with a S$2 transaction fee. Once your savings bond is issued, you will receive interest every six months. However, unlike your regular SGS bonds, this saving bond is not tradeable on the open market.
2. It is virtually risk-free
Since the Singapore Savings Bonds are backed by the Singapore government, this investment is virtually risk-free. International credit rating agencies such as S&P, Fitch, and Moody’s have given the Singapore government a strong credit rating, which means you can have peace of mind investing in such a product. Furthermore, these savings bonds are not traded, meaning that your invested capital will not be affected by fluctuations in interest rates. In other words, you can always get back your principal sum.
3. High levels of liquidity
If you’re worried about financial liquidity, then this investment product might be for you. Although the Singapore Savings Bonds are issued with a 10-year maturity term, you are allowed to withdraw or redeem your savings bond at any time. The following table explains the average returns based on the duration invested, from 1 to 10 years.
There will not be any penalties, and your accrued interest will also not be affected — unlike other investment products such as fixed deposits.
1. Long processing time for withdrawals and relatively low returns
In the event that you require funds urgently, this investment product might not be the best option for you. This is because withdrawals are not immediate. In fact, they can take up to 30 days to process. Furthermore, there is a non-refundable administrative fee of S$2 imposed on redemptions and applications before the 10-year maturity. For those investing small sums, this may affect your returns.
2. Different interest rates are issued every month
Interest rates differ from month to month. According to the statistics, the July 2022 tranche pays an average of 2.71%, while the August tranche pays an average of 3% over a 10-year period. These interest rates far surpass those of the May 2022 tranche, which only pays an average of 2.09% over a 10-year period.
However, you do have the option of redeeming your bonds (with a S$2 transaction fee) to invest in the newer Singapore Savings Bonds tranches.
3. There is a limit of S$200,000
There is a S$200,000 cap on the amount you can invest in the Singapore Savings Bonds. Additionally, this cap is dependent on your particular tranche’s demand, so there is a chance that you may not be able to get your full requested allotment.
How to buy
Step #1: Open a CPD account
The Singapore Savings Bonds are open to individuals 18 years old and above. To purchase, you will require a bank account with one of the banks — DBS/POSB, OCBC, Citibank, HSBC, Maybank, UOB, or Standard Chartered Bank.
Additionally, you will also need a CPD account linked to your bank account via direct crediting service (DCS) for you to buy the Singapore Savings Bonds through ATMs. Your CDP account will also process your applications, interest payments, as well as your investment redemptions.
Step #2: Apply through ATMs or Internet Banking
Make your application through an ATM or internet banking, or your bank’s mobile application, if available. Prepare your CPD account number for this application. Upon application, the money will be taken away from your bank account directly.
For each Singapore Savings Bonds issue, the period of application starts from 6pm on the month’s first business day, up till 9pm on the fourth last business day of the month. For instance, if you want to apply for the September 2022 issue, you can only apply from 6pm, on 1 August 2022, to 9pm, on 26 August 2022.
Once you have applied, a S$2 non-refundable transaction fee will be imposed. If you want to invest your SRS funds, you can apply through your respective SRS Operator’s internet banking portal.
Step #3: Check for your allotment
On the month’s third last business day, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) will allocate these new Singapore Savings Bonds to the successful applicants. In the case of oversubscription, you may get a lower allotment of the bond.
On the first business day of the month, the Singapore Savings Bonds will be issued. You will be notified through mail of your allotted amount. Alternatively, you can verify by calling CPD at 65357511, or via the CPD Internet service.
How to sell (redeem)
As mentioned earlier in the article, you are allowed to withdraw or redeem your savings bond at any time, even before the 10-year maturity period.
If you would like to redeem your savings early, you can simply put in a request via DBS/POSB, OCBC, UOB ATMs or internet banking. You can redeem more than one bond every time, and you can redeem bonds partially in multiples of S$500. Remember that these withdrawals can take up to 30 days to process, and come with a S$2 transaction fee if you redeem them before the maturity period. This amount will automatically be credited into your bank account the next month.
To invest in the Singapore Savings Bonds or not?
All in all, the Singapore Savings Bonds are a virtually risk-free investment backed by the Singapore government, but its returns are unlikely to make you an overnight millionaire. However, this investment product is a great option if you are looking to diversify your portfolio with a low-risk investment. Additionally, its interest rates are at an all-time high, since it was introduced in 2015.
Of course, every investment product comes with its limitations. In order to reap the full benefits of the Singapore Savings Bonds, you will have to see it through the 10-year period. Furthermore, the returns are considered low as opposed to investments such as dividend stocks, or even your CPF interest rates.
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Originally published at https://plannerbee.co on August 31, 2022.