This article was contributed to us by Sheng Shi Chiam, CFA, Personal Finance Lead at Endowus.
One of the more popular options for investing our CPF Ordinary Account (CPF OA) is to top up our CPF Special Account (CPF SA) to get a 4% return, or to invest in the STI ETFs through CPF Investment Scheme (CPFIS) for diversification.
As someone who was working in a Temasek Linked Company, with a significant portion of my salary in variable bonus, I didn’t want to have more exposure to the Singapore market. I searched for options to invest my CPF OA funds for global stock market exposure and was disappointed with the options that were available.
Also, the cost involving unit trust investments for CPFIS is complicated. The more I read, the more confused I get. Upfront sales charges and/or trade costs, platform fees, wrap fees; perhaps it is better for me to just put it into to CPF SA and get it over and done with?
The way Endowus prices its fees is much simpler. All we need to know is that we are paying a 0.4% wrap fee to Endowus. This is an all-in fee that Endowus charges. At the fund level, which is the fees that the funds charge, it is net 0.58% for a balanced 60:40 equity bond portfolio. Trailer fees, which are fees usually paid to distributors by the fund managers, are fully rebated back to us.
With Endowus, people who want to diversify out of the Singapore market have a simple, transparent and cost-effective option. You can see the chart below on how Endowus has reduced the costs of investing in unit trusts for CPFIS.
Even so, is that all the charges that we have to bear? We still have to pay agent bank charges for the investment and management of the funds.
Endowus is working with an approved CPF Investment Administrator, UOB Kayhian, for greater cost efficiency and consequently lower agent bank charges. For the same $10,000 investment made into the 7 funds curated by Endowus, there will be a saving of $63.50. For me, that is almost 3 months’ worth of weekly Fillet-o-fish Extra Value Meal!
|Transaction Type||Example||Through Non-IA Distribution Channel||Through Endowus|
|Purchase of Units||$10,000 investment into 7 funds||One-off charge: Up to $2.50 per fund
Total charges: $17.50
|One-off charge: $2 per portfolio of funds
Total charges: $2
|Account Maintenance||Holding funds for a year||Quarterly charges: Up to $2 per holding
Annual charges: $56
|Quarterly charges: $2 for the portfolio
Annual charges: $8
|Total Agent Bank Charges||$73.50||$10|
Note: Dollar values are excluding GST. Different Agent Banks have different charges, from $2 per 1,000 units to a maximum of $20 per transaction, to $2.5 per 1,000 units to a maximum of $25. The example above considers $2.50 per 1,000 units to a maximum of $25 per transaction Information is correct as of 28 Nov 19
For example, if we were to switch our risk profile which leads to a purchase in equity funds and a sale in bond funds, there will be no agent bank charges through the Endowus setup.
At Endowus, we pride ourselves for structuring investment solutions right so that our customers do not spend unnecessary cost and get the best possible returns. The total cost of investing in diversified funds for our retirement should be similar to what we can do with our cash account.
To be fully transparent, I have invested half of my CPF investable sum with Endowus and am looking to invest the rest by the end of March 2020 to maximise my investment horizon as a young working adult. Spreading my investments out help me manage my emotions better and gain confidence in my investing decisions.
Find out more about Endowus.