Category: SG Wealth Builder

Singapore Savings Bond versus OCBC 360

Singapore Savings Bond is a new type of government bond that was launched by the Monetary Authority of Singapore in 2015. The bond is considered to be a safe and flexible product that allows Singaporeans to meet their savings and investment needs.

However, demand for Singapore Savings Bonds had been lacklustre in the initial years, presumably because products like OCBC 360, had been giving it a run for its money (literally). Nonetheless, recent developments had caused Singapore Savings Bond to be very attractive. And that led to a change in my view of this bond.

In my previous article on Astrea IV bonds, I shared that I am not ready for fixed income at this stage of my life yet. My stance has not changed. Basically, my family is looking at a safe financial product to store our emergency fund. Thus, we are looking at Singapore Savings Bond from the perspective of wealth protection, rather than wealth building.

In this article, I will share my insights on how Singapore Savings Bond can play a part in strengthening your wealth portfolio through passive income and how it fair in comparison to the popular OCBC 360 account.

Locked-in Interest rates

The first …

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SingTel and StarHub stock prices sank on MyRepublic’s debut

21 June 2018 would be remembered as a day of reckoning for local telco players as MyRepublic set the mobile market on fire by offering one of the most innovative and competitive data plans in recent years – Smart 35. On the day of the launch, SingTel and StarHub stock prices got bombed-out. Whether the corrections are knee-jerk reactions remain to be seen but MyRepublic certainly debuted in style.

It would be sweet revenge for MyRepublic which had lost out to TPG Telecom in the bidding for the fourth telco license back in 2016. Despite losing the spectrum bid war, MyRepublic vowed to make a comeback back then. And it certainly did. With a bang.

Without having to make heavy investments on the network infrastructure, Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) like MyRepublic is seriously giving incumbent telco players a new dimension of challenge. The biggest winner out of this telco war is of course the consumers. But should investors be punching the wall as SingTel and StarHub stock prices suffered melt-down?

StarHub stock

MyRepublic turn on the style

Smart 35 comes with 7GB data, 1000 minutes free talktime and 1000 SMS. There is no contract needed and customers may change …

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StarHub share price plunged to 13 year low

On 21 June 2018, StarHub share price plunged to a 13 year low. Trading at $1.64, this popular stock is a shadow of its former self. Even during the dark days of the Great Financial Crisis in 2009, StarHub share price had never dipped to such abysmal level.

Certainly, nobody could have predicted Starhub share price would suffer from such a devastating run. When it comes to technology disruptions, it is always a wild card. In the good old days, StarHub can bank on SMS, IDD and Pay TV for growth. But the advent of technology has significantly eroded margins from these former cash cows for telco players.

StarHub’s recent payment row with American entertainment giant, Discovery Channel, also casts a dark shadow over Pay TV business outlook amid stiff competition from video streaming players like NetFlix.

For those who bought StarHub shares at $4.20 in 2015, they would be staring at massive paper losses, even if you factored in the dividends issued during that period. Incoming new CEO, Peter Kaliaropoulos certainly have his work cut out for him when he takes over in July 2018.

But before writing this stock off, it should be highlighted that the current StarHub …

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Does Hyflux deserve a comeback like OSIM?

Can Hyflux stage an incredible comeback like OSIM? Or rather, does Hyflux even deserve to be rescued? The embattled water treatment specialist has obtained a court protection to restructure its outstanding debts. It has also stopped payment of distribution on its $500 million 6.00% Perpetual Capital Securities which was due on 28 May 2018. The swift turn of events caught shareholders by surprise and marked a treacherous chapter for Hyflux.

Under current circumstances, investors who pumped in their hard-earned monies on the shares and perpetual bonds have every right to be angry with the management of Hyflux. How on earth did the former A-list company end up in such a sorry state is beyond me.

Whether Hyflux can emerge stronger and leaner from this embarrassing fiasco remains to be seen but the corporate drama is so bad that its good, at least from my perspective. When this counter reopens in six month time, investors should ask themselves whether they should run for their lives or risk throwing good money after bad.

Hyflux

I wish I did not have to write this but those who are vested in Hyflux shares or bonds should hope for the best but expect the worst. Check …

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SingTel share price plunged to six year low

After leading SingTel to achieve an impressive record net profit of $5.45 billion for FY2018, CEO Chua Sock Koong must be stumped for words when SingTel share price plunged to a six year low on 18 June 2018. At $3.17 a piece, SingTel share price is technically entering into a bear mode territory. In the context of the current SingTel share price, is this counter a value buy or could it be a falling knife?

Many investors had pointed that the entry of fourth telco player could have played a part in the sharp decline of SingTel share price in recent months. But then again, the earnings from Singapore mobile market is significantly much lesser than that from its Australia Optus and Indonesia Telkomsel. In this regard, the current headwind should be due to its poor performance from its regional associates rather than the heightened competition in Singapore market.

Falling SingTel share price

At current dividend yield of 5.5%, SingTel share price is indeed alluring if you compared it to the coupon rates of the recent Astrea IV bonds and Singapore Savings Bonds. Barring unforeseen circumstances, the Group expects to maintain its ordinary dividends of 17.5 cents per share …

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Buy private property to protect wealth

The mission of SG Wealth Builder is to build and protect wealth. Real estate, especially private property, offers one of the most viable routes to reaching financial freedom for many wealth builders. In this article, I will discuss the outlook of both public and private property in Singapore.

Hard truth about HDB flat

In 2017, Minister of National Development Lawrence Wong rocked the real estate market by clarifying that not all older HDB flats would be eligible for the selective en bloc redevelopment (SERs) scheme. Of more chilling is that all HDB flats must be returned to the government at the end of the 99-year lease. The stunning revelations raise the question on whether Singaporeans should buy private property to protect their wealth.

To put things into perspective, Singaporeans should wise up to the fact that the mandate of HDB is to build affordable homes for Singaporeans. It is not the role of HDB to build homes for Singaporean investors to build wealth. Thus, there is a need to adjust our mentality and refrain from thinking that HDB flats is a form of investment asset.

The Terrace

The Terrace Executive Condominium

You can definitely rent out your HDB for asset monetization purposes …

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Fairytale of Mapletree Commercial Trust

With a market capitalization of $4.53 billion, Mapletree Commercial Trust (MCT) is the largest REIT sponsored by Mapletree Investments Pte Ltd. Temasek Holdings has a majority stake of 34.71% in this REIT while other big boys like AIA Group and NTUC Enterprise own stakes amounting to 4.92% and 2.42% respectively.

With such stellar group of major shareholders, Mapletree Commercial Trust is certainly an attractive real estate investment trust. But could it be an investment trap or potential multi-bagger?

Since this REIT debut in SGX Mainboard in 2011, it has consistently outperformed STI. The total returns (including capital appreciation and distributions paid out) is 138.5%. For the longest time, I am torn between investing in Mapletree Logistics Trust or Mapletree Commercial Trust. In this article, I will attempt to make an investment analysis of Mapletree Commercial Trust.

Business Profile

Looking at the portfolio, it is not difficult to understand why this REIT is so popular among Singaporeans. MCT has five properties in Singapore namely, Vivocity, PSA Building, Mapletree Anson, Bank of America Merrill Lynch HarbourFront and Mapletree Business City I. All these assets are either premium office or properties that are strategically located in the CBD area. VivoCity is also Singapore’s …

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5 reasons on why I decided not to invest in Astrea IV bonds

It seems like yesterday when more than 10,000 retail investors in Singapore lost more than $500 million during the Lehman Brothers Minibond saga. That was in 2008. Fast forward to 2016, many accredited investors lost at least $250,000 after investing in Swiber junk bonds. And then in May 2018, Hyflux stunned the market by halting the trading of its $500 million perpetual bonds and the payment for the coupon payments. Given the spate of bonds tragedies suffered by investors in recent years, one must be wondering if “this time it is different” for Astrea IV bonds.

For sure, it would not be fair to compare Astrea IV bonds to Minibonds, Swiber Bonds and Hyflux perpetual bonds. Even though they are all basically debt instruments issued by companies to raise capital, Astrea IV bonds is indirectly issued by Temasek Holdings (the Sponsor, Astrea Pte Ltd, is wholly-owned by Temasek Holdings). With such a strong issuer, the possibility of default is extremely improbable, to be frank.

Astrea

Furthermore, the CEO of Temasek Holdings is Madam Ho Ching, the wife of Singapore Prime Minister. For Temasek Holdings to offer such unprecedented innovative product to retail investors, there are surely safeguards designed to ensure …

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SembCorp Marine to ride out the storm?

It had been a harrowing ride for SembCorp Marine as the world number 2 oil rig builder faces crisis after crisis in the aftermath of the global oil slump. The past few years had seen Sembcorp making an explosive impairment amounting to $609 million in FY2015, a legal battle against Marco Polo Marine and the intriguing possible link to Sete Brasil corruption scandal.

However, in early 2018, United States President Donald Trump had proposed an aggressive plan to transform the country into a superpower energy plan. Against the backdrop of improving oil price, can SembCorp Marine ride out the storm?

The four key capabilities of SembCorp Marine are Rigs & Floaters, Repairs & Upgrades, Offshore Platforms and Specialized Shipbuilding. The businesses of SembCorp Marine are all in direct competition against fellow peer, Keppel Corporation.

But unlike Keppel, SembCorp Marine is a pure offshore and marine company and therefore don’t have the buffer from other business segments to withstand the impact from the downturn in the oil and gas sector. In this regard, the financial destiny of SembCorp Marine is perceived to be more impacted by the oil slump than Keppel Corp. To find out more about my analysis of the …

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But my boss told me I am safe from retrenchment!!

In Singapore’s context, there are only three category of jobs that are immune from retrenchments. Successful entrepreneurs, civil servants and full-time homemakers do not have to fear the dreaded retrenchment. If you have chosen to climb the corporate ladder, this is the golden rule you must always remember. The second rule is never to forget the first rule.

With disruptions brought forth by technologies and the emergence of new business models, it is definitely not “business as usual” for many companies. Changes in the industry will only gather pace and this means that businesses would have to evolve as well. In most circumstances, companies often choose the easy way out by laying off staff whose skills and competencies are considered obsolete. Through retrenchment, substantial costs can be saved and management is therefore able to provide answers to shareholders.

According to data released by Ministry of Manpower, the total number of retrenchments reached a peak of 19,170 in 2016 and subsequently tapered down to 14,720 in 2017. The job market is expected to improve significantly in 2018 as Singapore economy had shown signs of growing since the second half of 2017. Nonetheless, employees should remain vigilant of the headwinds in the …

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