Why Do Older Singaporeans (Who Never Bought Stocks) Have SingTel Shares In Their CPF Account?

For many years, SingTel shares have been great to own. With a market capitalisation of S$63 billion as of the time of writing, SingTel is Singapore’s biggest public listed company.

SingTel also pays out great dividends to it shareholders. For every 1,000 shares, SingTel shareholders can enjoy dividends of about $175 per annum (based on FY2015).

What you probably not know however is that some of your parents or even grandparents may own SingTel shares. This may happen even if they never ever invested in stocks before, or do not even have a stock brokerage account.

These SingTel shares they unknowingly have are also known as Discounted Singapore Telecom (SingTel) shares. Incredibly, the CPF website also talks these shares.

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There is also a complete FAQ on the CPF website specifically to address questions pertaining to them.

How Did These Singaporeans Came To Own These SingTel Shares?

Back in 1955, SingTel was a statutory board known as the Singapore Telephone Board (STB). In other words, it was part of the government. These changed in October 1993 when the company was listed on the Singapore Exchange.

Unlike the Initial Public Offering (IPO) that we typically see these days, where a large majority of the available shares would be privately placed via major financial institutions and a much smaller proportion made available for retail investors to subscribe to, SingTel’s IPO was done in a different and much more unique way.

Singapore citizens were able to subscribe to the SingTel shares offered during at a discounted price. This was part of the government’s initiative then to encourage Singaporeans to participate in the nation’s wealth building and for them to partially own a company, which forms a big part of the country.

The shares were offered in various tranches. A Singaporean who subscribed fully would have about 1,540 shares today inclusive of bonus shares. The shares could only be bought through CPF savings.

Read Also: We Look Into Singtel Annual Report. This Is What We Found…

How Many Singaporeans Own SingTel Shares Today?

Due to this unique exercise back in the 90s, more than a million Singaporeans still own SingTel shares to date. In comparison, a similar sized Singapore company such as DBS have about 66,000 shareholders in total.

Because a large group of Singaporeans may have subscribed to the discounted SingTel shares without monitoring them over the past 20 years, there is a good chance that many older Singaporeans would still be SingTel shareholders today without even being aware of it.

In fact, it was reported in 2013 by SGX that about 15,000 SingTel discounted shareowners are not even contactable, as they do not have CDP accounts.

The good news though is that because SingTel have generated good returns as a stock both in terms of dividends payout and stock price appreciation since the 90s, most Singaporeans today will be sitting on a tidy profit from their original investment.

How Can I Find Out If Own Some SingTel Shares?

To find out if you own some SingTel shares, simply log on to your CPF Account to check. Alternatively, you can also check your CDP account to see if you have some SingTel shares.

Because the IPO for SingTel shares was done in 1993 for those of the age of 21 and above, you need to be at least 45 years old to have a chance of owning some of these SingTel shares.

Happy checking!

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