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As someone who started investing since university, I had encountered my fair share of investment-related questions that were puzzling to me.
For example, one question I had when I first invested in stocks on the Singapore Exchange (SGX) was why my broker couldn’t tell me what my shareholding portfolio was. I thought to myself, since I was investing through them, wouldn’t they have this information? It took me a while to understand the reason behind it. While brokerage platforms help us transact stocks on the exchanges, our holdings are kept in the Central Depositary Account, or CDP Account.
Another area that puzzled me was why it was difficult to consolidate our investment portfolio in one place.
For example, I like to use DBS Regular Savings Plan (RSP) to invest in the Nikko AM STI ETF (G3B), but would also invest in SGX-listed companies directly through other brokerage platforms. While this gives me greater flexibility in how I want to invest and enables me to use the most cost-efficient method to invest, the downside is that I have my Singapore investment portfolio held in different places. This makes it harder to keep track of the portfolio performance during regular review sessions.
How SGFinDex Helps Us Consolidate Our Financial Data
If you didn’t already know, the Singapore Financial Data Exchange (SGFinDex) was launched in December 2020. SGFinDex is a public digital infrastructure that allows individuals to access their own financial information that is held across different government agencies and financial institutions.
When we first wrote about SGFinDex last year, it was in its initial launch phase with 7 participating banks (including the three local banks), CPF, HDB and IRAS.
On 8 November 2021, MAS announced that the second phase of SGFinDex was launched. For Singapore investors, this is excellent news because we can now connect SGFinDex with SGX to retrieve our CDP information.
Operated by SGX, our CDP account provides integrated clearing, settlement and depository facilities for people in the Singapore securities market, including equities (i.e. stocks), fixed income instruments (i.e. bonds) and other listed securities.
Use DBS NAV Planner For An Overview Of Our Financial Status
While SGFinDex is useful, I need to clarify that this alone can’t serve much purpose to us, since we need to retrieve the financial information we want through a financial planning platform. This is where the DBS NAV Planner becomes relevant.
Offered by DBS, the DBS NAV Planner is a digital tool designed around a comprehensive financial planning framework to help us track, protect and grow our money. NAV Planner is free to access for all DBS/POSB customers who have internet banking access.
As I was already using the DBS NAV Planner previously and synced it with information from other financial institutions and government entities (CPF, IRAS, HDB) through SGFinDex when it was first launched, I could see some of my information, such as my emergency savings on the DBS NAV Planner.
However, when it comes to insurance and investment data, it doesn’t show useful information yet.
This is because for insurance, we still need to manually update our insurance policies since SGFinDex is not connected to insurers yet.
For investing, the initial launch of SGFinDex automatically included any stocks, unit trusts or ETFs that we have invested in through DBS. We could also add equities and ETFs that we own to the DBS NAV Planner. At that point however, we could not link our CDP account automatically to SGFinDex.
Now, the good news for Singapore investors is that we can connect our CDP accounts to DBS NAV Planner even more effortlessly (no manual inputs needed) with SGFinDex. It just takes 4 simple steps:
Step 1: Using your DBS NAV planner, log on to SGFinDex with your Singpass. Choose to connect SGFinDex with participating financial institutions. You will see SGX as one of the options.
Step 2: Proceed to connect SGX as it is where our CDP data is stored. You will need to log on for a second time via Singpass. This second login is to enable SGFinDex to link up with SGX. If you have investments or assets with other financial institutions too, feel free to select the institution logos so you can connect them too and get a more holistic view of your finances.
Step 3: After that, authorise SGFinDex to have access to your SGX data.
Here is the data held by CDP that will be provided to SGFinDex.
Once authorised and synced, your DBS NAV Planner portfolio may look different.
My portfolio above. Details omitted
One thing I really enjoy about this new addition of CDP data to SGFinDex is that, through a platform like DBS NAV Planner, I can have a quick overview of my CDP holdings whenever I log on to my DBS internet banking account. This makes it convenient to do regular portfolio reviews since my data is consolidated in a single location. Also, since SGFinDex also includes investments made via CPF or SRS, this will also be reflected on our DBS NAV Planner.
As an added advantage, I no longer need to manually calculate the market value of my shareholdings in CDP since NAV Planner will track daily price changes of all the equities and unit trust holdings that I have. Do note however that since CDP only sends the latest month-end snapshot of our holdings, any stocks purchased or sold will only be reflected in the following month when we refresh our data. By consolidating my finances with DBS NAV Planner, I also get to tap on the financial planning expertise that DBS offers, which is far ahead of the other competitor platforms currently.
As my DBS NAV Planner dashboard shows a slightly healthier investment figure. It then suggests steps that I can take to improve my current investment situation.
As a rule of thumb, the DBS NAV Planner suggests that we should aim to invest at least 50% of our net worth once we have enough emergency savings. This serves as a guide for me to know if I’m investing enough for my future.
The DBS NAV Planner also can provide personalised investment recommendations such as which unit trusts we can invest in based on our risk profile and knowledge level. This helps me grow my investment portfolio and ensure I am investing at a healthy level.
It is also easy to keep track of our portfolio performance on a monthly or even weekly basis with DBS NAV Planner as we no longer need to log on to multiple platforms to check and tabulate the value of our investment portfolio. DBS NAV Planner has daily market price feed updates so your investments are always kept up-to-date for your review.
One limitation that still remains (at least for now) is that, like me, you may have investments with other platforms that are not credited into your CDP accounts, or invested through DBS. For example, my robo-advisory portfolio made with non DBS platforms won’t be reflected automatically on SGFinDex and I would need to manually update this on DBS NAV Planner. Otherwise, the DBS NAV Planner would likely understate our actual portfolio.
Similarly, if we invest in overseas stocks, this won’t be reflected in our NAV Planner unless we 1) have invested in it through DBS Vickers or 2) update it manually onto our NAV Planner.
Nevertheless, as SGFinDex continuously improves and is made available to more financial institutions, government agencies, insurers and perhaps FinTech platforms, it’s likely that the DBS NAV Planner will also evolve to give us a better and more accurate overview of our financial situation.
One thing worth pointing out is that SGFinDex does not store any information. Rather, it only retrieves and transmits information to the financial planning platforms that we wish to share the information with. Also, we can choose to disconnect the access anytime we want.
For me, given that most of us in Singapore already have a DBS/POSB savings account and are likely internet banking users, using the DBS NAV Planner to sync the financial data we hold with other financial institutions and government agencies (via SGFinDex) seems to be the most logical and convenient option to get a bird’s-eye view of our finance.
So get started today with SGFinDex via DBS NAV Planner if you have not done so.