OCBC Blue Chip Investment Plan

On Tuesday, OCBC Bank partners with SGX to launch the OCBC Blue Chip Investment Plan (BCIP). Under this plan, investors can opt to use cash, CPF or their SRS accounts to invest a fixed amount on a monthly basis. For as little as $100 a month, retail investors can get to invest in local blue chips.

You do not need to go through the hassle and open any securities trading account or Central Depository (Pte) Ltd securities account for your shares under this plan. All you need is an OCBC deposit account, OCBC CPF Investment Account or OCBC SRS account.

My view on this scheme is that OCBC has identified a gap in the market and that this scheme is actually meant to address this gap. According to SGX, retail investors account for only 89 per cent of the daily turnover for stocks with a market capitalisation of under S$200 million. But retail investors make up only a quarter of the daily turnover for blue chips, with the rest of the trading controlled by institutional investors. So clearly, most retail players’ participation rate has been low because blue chips’ entry price is relatively high compared to other counters. OCBC hopes that the new plan gives investors an option to buy smaller number of shares with their chosen monthly investment amount. But the question that most investors should ask themselves is: what are the pros and cons on joining this scheme? Beyond the marketing hype, is it important to think through these questions before committing yourself to such financial products.


I will first touch on the pros. If you are the type of person who wish to invest some of your spare savings but yet don’t like the hassle of learning and building up your investment experiences, this type of scheme

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How to read an annual report in 10 minutes

The annual report is the only published document that provides investors an annual snapshot of the company’s progress, so it is essential that investors spend some time and effort to read the content. Very often, important information can be gleaned from the annual report. So you should make the effort to read the annual report of the companies you invested in.
While you must be a qualified accountant to compile the report, you certainly do not need to be an accountant to read and understand the annual report. Below is a few pointers extracted from Singapore Stock Exchange (SGX) on how to read an annual report in 10 minutes.

stock market

1) Read the first two and last two paragraphs of the CEO/Chairman’s statements. This will give you an idea of the company’s performances. Do the same for management’s discussions and operational analysis.

2) Check if independent auditors gave a clean bill of health.

3) Look at the financial statements in the annual report and check for the following:
i) Check if the net profits for the last 5 years are rising or falling. In general, avoid investing in businesses with new direction or in the midst of a turnaround because the risk of losing your investment is very high.

ii) Check if the sales or revenues for the last 5 years are rising or falling. A company with strong investment moats will witness strong performance in the long-term. Revenue is a good indicator on the strength of the business growth.
iii) Look out for the cash flow after working capital adjustments and assess if it is positive or negative. A healthy company should have sufficient cash flow not only for capital expenditure but also for acquisitions that can help to build the investment moats.
iv) Look out for net debt is
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A Unique Guide to Wealth and Financial Independence Using Value Investing Strategies Singapore

Many people spend their life working for active income. They are either ignorant or skeptical about stock investments. Even those who have invested their money, more often, entered into less effective methodology of making money in the stock market. They go for quick money gains and end up losing their net worth by speculating in the market. However, according to authors Victor Chng and Rusmin Ang, the odds can have a better likelihood if one knows what sustainable methodology to use.

In their newly revised book, Value Investing in Growth Companies: How to Spot High Growth Businesses and Generate 40% to 400% Investment Returns, Chng and Ang explore a unique way of analyzing companies using value investing strategies. This unique and simple methodology, called the “Jigsaw Puzzle model,” is broken down into four segments, namely Business, Management, Numbers and Valuation. The authors introduce this concept for building an accurate picture of a company before deciding whether or not to invest. It also forms the basis for investors and traders who want to generate multiple returns in the area of small and fast growing companies to achieve the wealth and financial independence they want and deserve.

The strategies discussed in this book are designed to create a relatively stress-free method of creating a secondary source of income. It uses sensible and conservative investment strategies, not get-rich quick strategies, which even allow traders and investors to spare some time for their family and friends. Although the book is written for people with some investing knowledge, it uses jargon-free language that new investors and traders will be able to understand and produce a long-term sustainable result. It also offers them with ten common investing mistakes they can learn while adding value to their investment strategies. While many companies and case studies discussed in

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Working and living in a foreign country

How is it like working and living in a foreign country? I just watched a Japanese documentary show detailing the life of a Japanese lady who married a Peruvian guy in Peru. It was a heart-warming show which narrated how a Japanese lady lived her life in a foreign country for 20 years.

We all know that the Japanese is a closely knitted community, so initially it was not easy for a young Japanese lady like her to be working and living in a foreign country like Peru. But she managed to overcome the language and cultural barrier. Along the way, she fell in love and married a Peruvian guy. Of course, her Japanese parents initially objected to their marriage, but they accepted him after he lived with them for a short while in Japan.


What struck me was that despite working and living abroad in another foreign country for two decades, her love for her native country remains strong. She still misses Japan very much and what I found admirable was that she has been contributing articles to a Japanese publication all these years because she mentioned that nowadays people go for online news. So she hope to do her part and revives newspaper readership. She is paid 300,000 yen for her efforts, and so has to supplement her income as a local tour guide in Peru. I supposed she is not doing this for the sake of money, but rather out of passion and love for Japan. I have utmost respect for this honorable lady, because although she is not highly educated and does not have a high-flying career, she leads a fulfilling life full of warmth and love.

I think “Limpeh is Foreign Trash” has a lot to learn from her. The fellow bragged that he received

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Value Investing

Last night, I read the investment book, “The Value Investors: Lessons from the World’s Top Fund Managers” for the second time. The Value Investors contains a lot of useful investment insights from successful fund managers and value investors, so I strongly recommend the book to investors, especially newbies.
Indeed, hands-on experience is important when it comes to stock investments. But then again, having the right knowledge on security analysis will certainly reduce the learning curve needed for picking the winning stocks.

Investment wisdom
Nobody can claim to beat the stock market consistently but it is important that you learned from your investment mistakes. Three investment wisdom gained from Irving Kahn, one of Benjamin Graham’s disciples, is that in order to succeed in picking the winning stocks, you need to have patience, discipline and skepticism.

To many, these three traits seemed straightforward, logical and common sense. But when it comes to real life application, many investors (including myself) were guilty of not following these rules. Very often, we would be tempted to invest in certain hot stocks after reading good reviews from analysts. We fear that if we waited on the sideline for too long, the opportunity to buy cheap and make profits would be gone.
Therefore, for many investors, greed and fear prevailed over patience, discipline and skepticism. In the end, they bought the wrong stocks and suffered losses because of the lack of research and patience.

The art of investing
“The Value Investor” is an investment-biography book which features interviews of twelve value-investing legends from around the world, learning how their personal background, culture, and life experiences have shaped their investment mindset and strategy.

These men, who became strong advocates of the approach despite considerable age and cultural differences, include: Mark Mobius, Irving Kahn, William Browne, Teng Ngiek Lian,
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Beware of Ponzi-like gold scams in Singapore

Published by BullionStar Singapore 

Beware of Ponzi-like gold scamsAlways remember, caveat emptor (buyer beware)

It is important for each one of us to do due diligence, in whatever endeavors we undertake. When it comes to precious metals investing, for example, you could not afford to think that just because the investment is sound, it follows that you can’t go wrong.

Look at all the gold exchange-traded funds and mutual funds whose values are derived from gold futures, the physical gold of which does not even exist. If you try to have such paper gold delivered, you’ll be left with nothing. This is why we advocate buying physical gold, the type that is stored in finite supply in your residence, or in our vault.
But even within the physical gold market, we can expect scammers to spring up, finding a way to defraud investors. Here’s a tip: whenever you hear about a certain company, just search on the Web, ‘Company X scam.’ If the search results show a lot of complaining customers or court cases, stay away!
Note, however, that these companies are aware of their Google-savvy potential clientele. The company may have ‘planted’ their own positive reviews that have the search word ‘scam’ in them. But if something is fishy, this will likely be reflected in the volume of negative results. Bottom line: if anything is too good to be true, it probably is.
Interest payments on gold?
At BullionStar, we claim nothing more than that precious metals, which we offer at the lowest prices anywhere, are better to have than any other currency. And because of the inflation-based global monetary system, it is often better to hold stable money like gold and silver rather than most stocks especially during economic downturns. Whatever returns you get from precious metals are derived from the metal
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Civil Service Mid-year Payments

It is that time of the year in which civil servant collect mid-year bonus. For this year, it is heartening to note that the government accepted NWC’s recommendation to raise the wages of low-wage workers by at least $60. Not much though, but definitely a step in the right direction to help the low income group who struggle with rising living expenses. As the economy matures, there should be more schemes in placed to ensure that this group of Singaporeans are not left behind.

The Singapore economy grew by 0.2% in the first quarter of 2013, compared to 3.3% in the previous quarter. The Ministry of Trade and Industry forecasts GDP growth of 1% to 3% for 2013. The global economy is expected to improve gradually this year with modest growth in the US and moderate growth in Asia supported by healthy domestic demand, although the Eurozone is expected to remain in recession. Risks to the global growth outlook remain, such as a potential flare-up of the Eurozone debt crisis and fiscal uncertainties in the US. The overall unemployment rate in Singapore remained low at 1.9% in Mar 2013.

Civil service

Against this backdrop, the Government has decided to pay a mid-year Annual Variable Component (AVC) of 0.4-month.

The Government also supports the National Wages Council’s (NWC) recommendation to grant a built-in wage increase of at least $60 to raise the wages of low-wage workers earning up to $1,000 per month. The Government will give a built-in wage increase to Division IV and III civil servants. This will be in addition to their annual increment in 2013.

Division IV civil servants will receive an additional wage increase of $70 per month. This will benefit around 3,600 Division IV civil servants. Division III civil servants will receive an additional wage increase of $40

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Investing in Singapore Government Securities (SGS)

As a form of risk diversification, it is important for every investor to maintain a portfolio investment consisting of different asset classes such as equities, currency, precious metals, property and bonds. Typically, these asset classes move in opposite directions and therefore smooth out the volatility in your portfolio in different economic scenarios.

In the current low interest rate environment, it may be prudent to invest bonds. Below is some of my research on Singapore government bonds – SGS, extracted from the www.sgs.gov.sg. The information below is for sharing and not to be misconstrued as financial advice or recommendation.

What Are Singapore Government Securities (SGS)
Singapore Government Securities (SGS) are marketable debt instruments of the Government of Singapore. These debt instruments take the form of either Treasury bills (T-bills) or bonds, and are considered safe investments, as they are backed by the full faith and credit of the Singapore Government. The terms of issuance for T-bills and bonds are governed by the Local Treasury Bills Act and the Government Securities Act respectively.The Singapore Government is obliged to pay the holders of SGS a fixed sum of money on the maturity date of the securities. SGS cannot be cashed in before their maturity dates, but investors can always sell them in the SGS market. SGS Primary Dealers are prepared to buy and sell SGS at any time during normal market trading hours.As the fiscal agent of the Government, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) acts to undertake the issue and management of SGS on its behalf.
What Are The Types Of SGS
T-bills are short-term debt securities that mature in one year or less from their issue date. They are bought and sold at a discount, i.e. at a price less than their face (par) value, and when they mature,
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BullionStar’s My Vault

For international and domestic investors seeking a safe haven for their precious metals, BullionStar’s “My Vault Storage” offers a convenient, end-to-end solution for the purchase, sale, storage, and delivery of an assortment of bullion products.

Bullion investors assume a considerable amount of risk keeping even a moderate amount of bullion in uninsured storage solutions. Also, the fact that there is more “paper” Gold or Silver in circulation than there are backing of physical precious metals increases the risk of defaults on the commodity exchanges.

Even though Singapore is a safe country with low crime rates, gold investors should not take chances with their precious metals. If you have a substantial holding of bullion, it makes sense to store them at a secure facility run by a reputable company. In this regard, only a bullion vault should provide gold investors a form of assurance that their gold or silver bars are in safe hand.

BullionStar CEO

By engaging the services of some of the top secure storage facilities in Singapore, one of the safest countries in the world, and with easy to use online system, Bullion Star is able to address these concerns with “My Vault Storage”. BullionStar provides the maximum level of security for your wealth by minimizing physical, economic and political risks to your precious metal holdings.

In short, “My Vault” offers you:
– Allocated bullion – no paper promises
– Insured bullion – no risk for you
– Easy-to-use trading interface online
– Buy, sell, or withdraw at any time
– Ownership certificate of physical bullion
– No reporting requirements or ties to foreign governments

BullionStar and My Vault Storage present you stable solutions in uncertain times.

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Is Haw Par Corporation a dividend stock?

Many Singaporeans can probably relate Haw Par Corp as the manufacturer of the famous Tiger Balm but how many investors know that it also owns the famous Underwater World at Sentosa? I like this company because it had been consistently giving out dividends for the past 20 years. The company is cash rich, is financially strong and is trading at below net asset value.

However, this counter has risen in value so much for the past two years that it is beyond my entry price, which is $4.00. Looks like I have to wait until the next stock market crash to load up this overlooked stock in SGX.

The original business of manufacturing and distributing through Southeast Asia pharmaceuticals under the Tiger Brand names, the best known of which is ‘Tiger Balm’, was founded at the turn of the century. This was subsequently incorporated under the name, Haw Par Brothers (Pte) Ltd and in 1969, Haw Par Brothers Intl Ltd was formed to acquire the main part of that business. The Company took on its present name, Haw Par Corporation Ltd in December 1997.

Haw Par stock

In the seventies and eighties, it has grown into a conglomerate with diversified interests. The Group’s core business in healthcare and leisure products promotes healthy lifestyles through its health products, Haw Par’s healthcare products are manufactured and marketed under its established Tiger Balm and Kwan Loong brands. Its renowned ointment Tiger Balm and product extensions are used throughout the world to invigorate the body as well as to soothe away aches and pains.

The Group owns and operates 2 oceanariums – the popular Underwater World oceanarium attraction at Sentosa, Singapore and Underwater World Pattaya in Thailand. A third oceanarium in Chengdu, China, is under construction.

Besides healthcare and leisure products, the Group has interests in

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Financial Independence (Getting to Point X)

Below is a press release on Financial Independence (Getting to Point X), a personal finance book. Readers can pick up valuable tips on how to manage personal wealth. 

Written by John J. Vento, an expert with decades of experience helping people of all walks of life realize their dreams of financial independence, Financial Independence (Getting to Point X): An Advisor’s Guide to Comprehensive Wealth Management (Wiley; March 2013; 978-1-118-46021-4) arms you with the knowledge and tools you need to get to your Point X—the point at which you no longer have to work for your money but where your money works for you.

Throughout our lives, we will encounter many questions and problems relating to money, but every one of them will fall, in some way, under one or more of the 10 Key Wealth Management issues addressed in this book.

No matter how you define your particular path to financial independence or “Point X,” whether it is an annual income of $25,000 or an estate of $250 million, you need to not only understand but effectively deal with 10 fundamental wealth management issues. They are:

  1. Committing to living within your means and conscientiously saving for the future;
  2. Understanding taxes and how to effectively minimize your tax obligation;
  3. Realistically defining your standard of living, including your net worth and your current cash flow;
  4. Managing debt;
  5. Insuring yourself and your family in case of extreme illness or death;
  6. Protecting your property;
  7. Planning for the education of yourself and your children;
  8. Investing intelligently and productively;
  9. Planning for retirement; and
  10. Preserving your estate.
These issues are interrelated, and how you deal with one very often will have an effect on how you treat the others. For example, if you fail to manage debt properly, you will find it difficult to save for a
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Father’s Day

Father’s Day is approaching soon. In the past, this date has always held not much significance for me. My family would usually have a dinner celebration for Mother’s Day. But not for Father’s Day. It is not that my family don’t love my Dad or whatever. Just that it’s not my family’s style to express our appreciation for my Dad in such manner.

But this year is different because it will be the my first Father’s day without my Dad, who passed away at home a few months ago. I think I haven’t really gotten over his death because when he passed away, I was not at his bedside. I was on a business trip in India and could not make it back in time to see him for the last time.

financial destiny


For the past few days, I missed my Dad a lot. I reminisce my childhood times spent with my Dad. He was a hardworking man who spent a lot of time at work, so my siblings and myself don’t often get to see him at home. Once in a blue moon, when he was free, he would bring us to amusement parks. I loved those trips because I would get to ride in his 6 wheels Nissan lorry. He would often show me the direction and told me name of this road and that road. He also liked to tell me, with much pride, that he was involved in most of the developmental projects in Singapore during the 90s.

I could not remember many of my Dad’s teachings, but the key ones he always espoused were to lead an honest life and to save up for rainy days. My Dad was a thrifty man who unfortunately suffered from stroke at the age of 38 years old. He

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