Year: 2017

Investing in bonds

AEM share price

Unlike many countries, Singapore does not need to rely on the issuance of government bonds to finance its expenditure as it operates on very prudent budget. However, in light of the 1997’s Asia Financial Crisis, the Singapore government saw the need to develop the market for bonds so as to meet the banks’ needs for risk-free asset in their portfolio.

One of SG Wealth Builder’s blog missions is wealth preservation and therefore, investing in bonds has always been on my mind. But is investing in bonds suitable for everyone? To answer this question, it depends on which phase of your life you are currently in and the kind of returns you are expecting from your investments.

Generally, for those who are in the twilight stage of their wealth building journey or planning for retirement, bonds offer a source of regular fixed income stream and opportunities for capital gain. But this is not to say that such instrument is safe and of low risk nature. There are certain risks that investors must watch out.

To highlight the risks, many investors were stunned by Swiber Holdings Limited’s swift collapse in 2016. It is unknown whether Swiber bondholders can get back any of their investments.

Bonds

Default risks

A bond is a form of debt security in which you lend money to the bond issuer. In exchange for your loan, the bond issuer would pay you regular stream of income in the form of coupon. Coupon rate is a percentage of the principal amount, which is also known as the “face” or “par” value. Upon maturity, bonds are redeemed at the face or par value.

Broadly speaking, there are two types of bonds – government and corporate. The former usually come with higher quality credit ratings while the latter are [This is a premium

Important Things about Insurance Nomination

Integrated Shield Plan (IP)

Are you intending to buy insurance policies? If so, this is an article that you must never miss. And I want you to pay close attention to the message contained in this article. If unsure, do read it over and over again. Today, I am going to share with readers the Insurance Nomination Law promulgated by the Singapore government on 1 September 2009. I suspect many Singaporeans are not aware of this relatively new legislation. So, I hope readers will find this information useful in their wealth building journey.

Insurance Nomination

In recent years, many financial bloggers have been espousing the merits of direct purchase insurance products. However, most people may not be familiar with the insurance laws in Singapore. Without the proper advice from financial advisors, many consumers may end up buying the wrong insurance products that may not suit their needs. Hence, I always feel that financial advisors offer a value proposition even under today’s technology evolution.

Again, I must emphasize that this article is not meant to be a form of financial advice. It is for information only. If in doubt, please consult your financial advisor.

Making nomination

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Read my other related articles:

  1. CPF Nomination and Making A Will
  2. Understanding the Difference Between Critical and Terminal Illness for Insurance
  3. Health Insurance
  4. Insurance: Blood in Urine

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What Will Brexit Mean For Trade?

Brexit

At this point it’s been over a year since the UK voted to leave the European Union in a referendum that has become known as the Brexit vote. I wrote at the time about the potential devastating economic impact of the Brexit, and indeed there were many people forecasting a great deal of turmoil for the UK economy. But now, some 15 months on from the Brexit decision (and getting closer to the actual, formal exit of the UK from the European Union) we can look back with a little bit more perspective.

For starters, it’s worth remembering that this was one of the more surprising geopolitical events in quite some time, at least to a lot of casual observers. While some experts and even some polling firms believed in the end that Brexit had a good shot at passing, we need only look to the betting markets for confirmation of the surprise factor in retrospect. Brexit set a world record for the largest sum of wagers on a non-sports event, and across the board bookmakers reported massive losses – meaning the favored outcome (that Britain would remain in the EU) lost out.

This is not merely to point out that Brexit surprised people, but to indicate why some of the early economic predictions might have come from analysts who were a little carried away. When a shocking or calamitous event occurs, people are often quick to predict outlandish consequences. Accordingly, there were a lot of doomsayers regarding the UK’s economy in the event of a Brexit. What actually happened was a little bit of a mixed bag.

While the pound sterling did indeed plummet, as I previously noted, with many investors turning to gold as a “safe haven,” the actual UK markets didn’t suffer any noteworthy losses. There …

CPF Nomination and Making a Will

CPF nomination

The recent saga involving the will of the late founding father of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew, has cast a spotlight on will. Of course, it is ridiculous to question the validity of Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s will as he was a trained lawyer. But most Singaporeans are not lawyers by profession. So, it is important to understand the legal framework to avoid the devastating outcome of making the wrong will. In this article, I will also share what is the outcome if you did not make a CPF nomination.

Basically, a will is a legal document that indicates the instructions on how you wish to distribute your assets after you passed on. Technically, everyone can craft his own will without the aid of legal advisors. Although this is the case, it is not advisable to do so because most of us are not familiar with the laws in Singapore. I have seen so many sad stories of legal disputes involving the challenges on the validity of wills. The biggest tragedies are often the broken ties and damaged family relationships.

CPf nomination

Before proceeding, I need to clarify that I am not a lawyer by training and this article is not meant to be a form of legal advice. I am writing this article to the best of my knowledge. If there are any mistakes on my research, please feel free to point out to me.

Should you make a will?

The question most often asked is whether is there a need to make a will in the first place. If so, what is the correct age to make a will? Under the Wills Act, only those who are 21 years and above can make a will. If you are not married, you are eligible to make a will. But note that the …

Cancer in Singapore

trading

Cancer. The mere mention of it strikes fear in many people. Yet most of us would never imagine ourselves being inflicted by this horrible illness in our lifetime. Recently, an ex-colleague of mine died from stomach cancer. His death caused a stir in the office because he was young (in the mid-thirties) and had everything going well for him. What is it like for a wealth builder to be struck by cancer in Singapore?

According to data released by Health Promotion Board (HPB), cancer is currently the leading cause of death in Singapore, accounting for 29.7% of deaths in 2015. In the investment community, ex-SGX CEO, Magnus Bocker died from cancer last month. Prior to that, founder of SharesInvestor.com, Dr Michael Leong lost his battle against colon cancer.

It seems like cancer is on the rise in Singapore. According to the HPB report, it was estimated that the lifetime risk for developing cancer in Singapore population is approximately 1 for every 4-5 people. This is not surprising as Singapore has an ageing population, so the number of people diagnosed with cancer is expected to rise.

Cancer in Singapore

In terms of statistic for cancer in Singapore, the number 1 cancer for males is colorectal (colon and rectal) while the number 1 cancer for females is breast.

Lifestyle habits and behavioural factors lead to the increasing trend of cancer in Singapore. As our country become wealthier over the decades, many of us become obese and live a sedentary lifestyle. In the pursuit of wealth, we tend to forget that “health is wealth”. Although it may sound cliché, if you think deeply, nothing in this world is more important than staying alive. You lose money in the stock market, you still get a chance to fight another day. But if you lose your health, it …

Negative HDB sales

Negative HDB sales

In recent years, HDB resale volume has been declining in the aftermath of various government cooling measures like the Mortgage Servicing Ratio (MSR) and capping of the loan term for HDB loans. Arising from these policies, there have been cases of negative HDB sales.

What is exactly negative HDB sales? It means that after you sold your HDB flat, the resale price is sufficient to pay off the outstanding HDB or bank loan but not enough to repay fully the CPF refund with accrued interests. In this situation, besides having no cash proceeds from the transaction, you may even require to top up the shortfall in cash to your CPF account if your property is sold below market value.

Negative HDB sales

According to CPF rule, there is also a difference for those owners who bought HDB flats with HDB loans and bank loans.

For HDB flats bought with HDB loans

The sale proceeds (including the option monies) will be used to pay off the following, in this order:

1) Outstanding HDB loan

2) HDB resale levy (if any)

3) Required CPF refund

If the sales proceeds after paying (1) and (2) is not enough to make the required CPF refund, you do not need to top up the shortfall in cash, provided the flat is sold at market value.

For HDB flats bought with bank loans

The sales proceeds (including the option monies) will be used to pay off the following, in this order:

1) Outstanding bank loan

2) Required CPF refund

3) HDB resale levy (if any)

If the sales proceeds after paying (1) is not enough to make the required CPF refund, you do not need to top up the shortfall in cash, provided the flat is sold at market value.

So how do sellers determine the market value of …

Wealth destruction from CPF Accrued Interest

CPF Accrued Interest

Your CPF savings can be your best friend. But it can also be your worst enemy if you don’t manage it well. For some unknown reasons, some readers attacked me in my previous article, claiming that I wrote “misleading” and “nonsense” information on the CPF Accrued Interest. They refused to believe that CPF Accrued Interest could lead to potential wealth destruction if the game is not played correctly.

First of all, CPF Accrued Interest is of course your money! I have never disputed that in my previous article and I don’t know why some readers tried to stir up negative emotions without getting their facts right. I read my article over and over again and verified that I did not write that CPF Accrued Interest is not our money.

But then again, so what if readers know that CPF Accrued Interest belongs to them? Of more useful to them should be the understanding of the mechanism of CPF Accrued Interest right? Not understanding the law can cost you an arm or leg. In this article, I am going to discuss how wealth can be destroyed if Singaporeans mismanaged their CPF monies.

CPF Accrued Interest

Fundamentally, CPF’s principle is that whatever amount of CPF savings you take out for housing or education purposes, you must [This is a premium article. The rest of the content is blocked and can be accessible by SG Wealth Builder Members only. To read the full content, please sign up as member.]

Read my other articles on CPF:

  1. Devastating HDB Loan and CPF Accrued Interest
  2. CPF’s Home Protection Scheme (HPS)
  3. The Dark Side of CPF Housing Withdrawal Limit

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Understanding the difference between Terminal Illness and Critical Illness for Insurance

CPF nomination

In one of my previous articles, I touched on how to apply for exemption from CPF’s Home Protection Scheme (HPS). A reader wrote in and posted an interesting question on what I usually look out for when buying mortgage insurance. Today, I shall touch on the difference between terminal illness and critical illness. But before you proceed, it is important that you make the effort to understand my article before jumping to conclusion. Not understanding the thin fine line between terminal illness and critical illness could be financially fatal. And I do mean it.

Most people who do not work in the insurance industry are confused between terminal illness and critical illness. To be honest, I used to be one of those. But my understanding starts to improve a little bit over the years as I talk to many financial planners and they shared with me some useful tips. Of course, I don’t work in the insurance sector and is not a certified financial planner. So, what I am going to share here is based on the best of my knowledge and readers should not misconstrue it as a form of financial advice. If in doubt, always check with your financial advisor.

Fundamentally, a terminal illness means that a person suffers from an illness that is likely to cause death in the near future. Most insurance policies include this as part of the coverage. In fact, the CPF’s HPS include death, terminal illness and permanent disability as coverage for members insured under the policy.

Critical illness

On the other hand, critical illness refers to illness such as cancer, heart attack or stroke. Although such these illnesses are considered critical, they may not cause death. Although critical illness sufferers are not faced with life-threatening situations, they may not be able to carry on …

Devastating HDB Loan and CPF Accrued Interest

overseas properties

Be afraid. Be very afraid after reading this article. This is an article that all aspiring and existing home owners can ill-afford to miss. And I do mean it because you may live to regret for dismissing the message in this article. Today, I am going to share with readers the devastating effect of HDB Loan combined with CPF Accrued interest.

Many financial bloggers wrote about CPF accrued interest and HDB Loan. However, they may not have the real experience of purchasing an HDB flat or obtaining an HDB loan before. Most of them merely touched on the interest rate figures without providing much analysis on the bigger picture of the housing scheme framework in Singapore. In my perspective, this is dangerous as not knowing the full picture of the law can cost you an arm or leg.

However, I am different because in this article, I am going to provide some basic analysis and share with readers the frightening aspect of the HDB Loan and CPF Accrued interest. At the end of the day, I hope readers can avoid the financial pit-falls and grow wealth with me together. So, if you do find this article useful, please lend your support and subscribe to my blog.

HDB Loan

For many decades, Singapore government has been selling HDB Loan as a form of concessionary loan “exclusive” only to Singapore citizens. Undeniably, the interest rate for HDB Loan is extremely stable and is not subject to fluctuating market conditions. This is because the interest rate is pegged to the CPF Ordinary Account (OA) interest rate.

Currently, the interest rate for HDB Loan is pegged at 0.1% above the CPF OA interest rate of 2.5%. Hence, the total interest rate payable for HDB Loan has been 2.6% for many years.

CPF Accrued Interest

But in life, …

Exemption from Home Protection Scheme (HPS)

SPH share price

One of my missions of starting this finance blog is to share with readers some useful tips on financial matters. In relation to one of my previous articles, a reader has raised a very good question on Home Protection Scheme (HPS). So today, I am going to share some information pertaining to how you can apply for exemption from HPS.

First of all, HPS is compulsory if you are using your CPF savings to pay your monthly housing loan installments on your HDB flat. Of course, there are some residents who are cash rich and do not use their CPF savings to pay their HDB mortgage payments. For this group of people, HPS is not compulsory.

But assuming you are using your CPF savings to service monthly HDB loan and would like to apply for exemption from HPS, then you may apply to CPF Board for exemption.

Most people thought that they should write to HDB when applying for exemption of HPS. The confusion is probably because when applying for coverage under HPS for HDB loan, you can apply for HPS cover at HDB Hub or any HDB branch office when you are applying to use your CPF for the monthly housing instalment.

HPS

But before you rush into applying for HPS exemption, there are some important things to consider carefully. After all, our home is one of the most important assets and a responsible wealth builder would ensure that their wealth is protected sensibly.

An important thing to note is that HPS is a mortgage reducing term insurance plan. What this means is that over the years, the sum assured, and not the premiums to be paid, would be reduced. And then there are the term life policy, which provides a fixed sum assured throughout the coverage period. Due to …

Raffles Medical shares under siege!

Medtecs share price

Since 2008, the shares of home-grown healthcare provider, Raffles Medical Group, went on a rampage bull run, rising from $0.56 to almost $5.00 in 2015. The mighty surge in share price had created much wealth for many of its long-time investors. Recently, the shares came under siege and experienced a serious loss of form.

Against the above backdrop, several readers wrote in to discuss about the outlook for this SGX stock. In this article, I will share some of my views and insights on Raffles Medical.

“I like RMG but, like you, have resisted at prices say 1-2 months ago. It would be really valuable if you could share what you feel a fair value or target price might be?” – Georgie

“Wonderful article! Agree with your point of view on the soundness of Raffles Medical. With reference to your article, I have 2 questions.

  1. Is there any particular reason or calculation that led you to the specific target price of $0.80 (or $0.60 in your previous article)? Assuming a similar profit, the PE ratio would be around 20, which is quite low for a healthcare stock, especially for RMG considering its stable growth.
  2. Given that the overall global markets seem inflated, and may undergo a correction, would you recommend keeping RMG during the recession (as a defensive stock) or to pull out your investments altogether to hold in cash and bonds?” – Huang JH

My view on Raffles Medical

First of all, there is a difference between fair value and target price. And you need to figure this out because otherwise you would never appreciate Warren Buffett’s “price is what you pay, and value is what you get”.

Simply put, target price refers to the entry price that an investor set on a stock. On the other hand, fair …

The Dark Side of CPF Housing Withdrawal Limit

CPF Housing Withdrawal Limit

This is an article that all existing and aspiring home-owners should never miss. And I do mean it. A few years ago, I wrote about a 54-year-old Singaporean lady who was left stranded after she was not allowed to use her CPF monies to finance her home. In her situation, she had to use cold hard cash to pay for her housing loan even though she still had savings in her CPF Ordinary Account (OA). Read on to find out how to avoid this devastating financial pit-fall created by CPF Housing Withdrawal Limit in your twilight years.

Before I proceed further, there are a few things you need to know about CPF Housing Withdrawal Limit. Specifically, they are Withdrawal Limit, Valuation Limit, HDB loan, type of property and lastly, bank loan. I will first discuss the merits and cons of HDB loan.

HDB Loan

Through the years, Singapore government has been packaging HDB loan as a form of “privilege” exclusive only to Singaporeans. To qualify for this “privilege”, you need to meet many eligibility conditions. Hence, this give Singaporeans the impression that getting an HDB loan is the best option when financing property. In my point of view, such thinking may not hold water.

Just think about it. The HDB concessionary housing loan interest rate is pegged at 0.1% above the CPF OA interest rate. The CPF OA interest rate has been 2.5% for the longest time. So effectively, those who opted for HDB loans would be paying 2.6% of interest rate for their housing loans. This is a lot of money considering the fact that housing loans offered by banks had drastically dropped to below 2.6% since the Great Financial Crisis. Currently, there are many different types of home loan packages in the market but essentially, most of them …

The Outrageous Story of mm2 Asia

mm2 share price

mm2 Asia is one of the most exciting prospects to grace Singapore stock market in many years. Within two years of listing in the Catalist, the entertainment outfit has witnessed such explosive growth that it ascended to the SGX mainboard on 7 August 2017. Along the way, it has also attracted investment from StarHub.

In 2014, when the company, through its IR agency, requested me to help them promote free tickets for their Jack Neo’s movie, “Ah Boys to Men”, I didn’t really take notice of this company. Fast forward three years later, the shares had been on a red hot bullish run since IPO.

On 19 May 2017, mm2 Asia announced that the company is in discussions with Village Cinemas Australia Pty Ltd (“Village Cinemas”) for the purchase by the Group of Village Cinemas’ entire stake in Dartina Development Limited, a company incorporated in Hong Kong which holds the Golden Village Cinema business in Singapore.

mm2 Asia

However, the transaction did not materialize. According to mm2 Asia, “Village Cinemas Australia was unable to procure fulfilment of certain conditions under the Shareholders Agreement entered into between Village Cinemas Australia and their existing coshareholder of Dartina Development Limited, and the deal could not be completed”.

On hindsight, the failed transaction could be a blessing in disguise. After all, operating a cinema could be risky as the business is susceptible to technology disruption. Just ask yourself how often you visit the cinema nowadays. Very often, the latest movies or shows could be viewed online at a fraction of movie ticket. Furthermore, during economic downturn, people are less likely to visit cinemas.

However, mm2 Asia’s current business as a content producer is different. No technology can ever replace a content maker. Furthermore, its content products can be distributed at a lower price through online. Thus, …

Deferred Resale Levy

Deferred Resale Levy

According to Minister for National Development, Lawrence Wong, there were 7900 second-timer households who paid the required resale levy when buying second subsidized flat from the Housing and Development Board (HDB) from 2010 to 2015. Notwithstanding the figure, I suspect many people are not aware of the lurking dangers of deferred resale levy rule.

Not knowing the rule can cost you an arm or leg because without the knowledge, you are unable to strategize and do proper asset planning. In this article, I will share with readers how to exploit the deferred resale levy rule with the goal of building wealth with property.

Please note that I am not advocating anything illegal or sleazy. No, nothing of that sort. In fact, this information that you are going to read is something that you are not likely to find in most personal finance blogs. I learnt about this relatively unknown rule in the course of purchasing my third property and hope to share this really useful information with readers. Read on if you are interested.

Deferred Resale Levy

Second timer applicants

Most Singaporeans are aware that they are given two chances to purchase new subsidized flat from HDB. Hence, Singaporean couples can apply twice for Build-to-Order (BTO), Design, Build and Sell Scheme (DBSS) or Executive Condominium. In essence, an eligible Singapore Citizen is allowed to buy these properties twice in total, BUT not twice per type of property.

What this means is that a Singaporean can buy BTO and then DBSS or EC. However, he is not eligible to buy BTO and then BTO. In addition, if you have already bought 2 such properties, you will not be eligible to apply for an EC or be listed as an essential occupier in an application. These information is stated in the HDB website …

M1 shares suffering from massive bout of diarrhoea

M1

Being M1 customer, I like its unlimited free calls to three M1 numbers to local voice calls. Because of this innovative product, I have been its customers for many years. This is the power of subscription for a telecommunication company. In fact, mobile subscription is considered the most important investment moat for a telecommunication company because the motivation to switch to another mobile phone carrier is low once a customer subscribed to its data plan. However, as an investor, I would never invest in M1 shares.

From almost $4.00 in 2015, M1’ share price plunged to $1.73 lately. Being the smallest player, M1 faces the biggest risk of shrinking market share with the entry of new competitor, TPG Telecom. To make matter worse, Singapore market is very small and saturated.

M1

According to Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), the mobile penetration rate in Singapore is about 150%, making Singapore one of the most well-connected countries in the world. This means that some of the subscribers may be using more than one line. Being the smallest player, it is not surprising that outlook for M1 is worrying.

With falling share price, investors may be wondering if it is the right time to buy M1 shares on the cheap. However, a word of caution is that when it comes to stock investing, cheap may not indicate value. In March, the three major shareholders – SPH, Keppel Telecommunication & Transportation and Axiata Group – appointed Morgan Stanley to advise on a strategic review of their stakes in M1. In July, the trio announced that they would not proceed with the review.

In my opinion, I suspect that interested parties in M1 may have made low-ball offers to the major shareholders. That could be why the review did not result in any transactions. Nevertheless, investors …

Nightmare of Noble Group continues

Sembcorp Marine share price

Can Noble Group turn the tide and weather the storm? The embattled commodity trader is currently fighting for its life as it faces an epic swim-or-sink battle. The latest financial results revealed that the nightmare, which started two years ago, is set to continue.

Once the brightest star in the Singapore stock market, Noble Group market capitalization was worth a mighty $10 billion. In its heyday, it reigned supremacy and was even regarded as the world’s top commodity trader, alongside rival Glencore. For Singapore Exchange (SGX), it was indeed an honor for Noble Group to be listed in Singapore, even though it is a Hong Kong-based company.

The nightmare

Those good old days must be dreamy for investors now as its market capitalization shrank to an alarming $460 million. The rot started two years ago when an unknown financial blogger, Iceberg Research, accused Noble Group of accounting malpractices. That astonishing allegation led to a series of vicious short-selling attacks and precipitated the start of the downfall of Noble Group.

Noble Group

Prior to the release of the latest quarterly results, management has [This is a premium article. The rest of the content is blocked and can be accessible by SG Wealth Builder Members only. To read the full content, please sign up as member.]

Read my articles on Noble Group:

  1. Noble Group’s horror show
  2. Noble Group new white knight?
  3. Will Noble Group shares see daylight again?
  4. Collapse of Noble Group share price
  5. Meltdown of Noble Group shares
  6. Noble Group will sink or swim?
  7. Is Noble Group doomed?
  8. Will Noble Group do an Osim or Swiber?
  9. White Knight for Noble Group
  10. Mayday for Noble Group!

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Can The Hour Glass roll back the time?

Hour Glass share price

Once upon a time, there were three shining forces in Singapore stock market. Osim’s Ron Sim, Creative Technologies’ Sim Wong Hoo and The Hour Glass’ Jannie Chan used to dominate the entrepreneur scene. Together, the trio had won numerous awards for creating outstanding household brands. As a young boy, I have deep admiration for these business pioneers but Jannie Chan stood out among the three of them because of what she had done for The Hour Glass.

The Early Years

In the 80s and 90s, female entrepreneurs were almost unheard of, much less successful female entrepreneurs. The corporate and business community used to be dominated by males. Of course, there were female leaders but they were the exception rather than the norms.

Widely credited for co-founding The Hour Glass, Jannie Chan has been instrumental in building the luxury watch retailer into a SGX-listed company with international presence in Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, Thailand and Malaysia. Therefore, it pains me to read of her current plight because she had been my source of inspiration for several decades. Having achieved so much with The Hour Glass, I thought she deserved more during her twilight years.

In recent years, Jannie Chan had been involved in various legal disputes. Last year, she lost her appeal against ANZ seeking to recover $8.7 million in loan defaults by Timor Global in which she is a director and shareholder. She was also sued by former husband, Dr Henry Tay, for several times over defamatory emails. Recently, it was reported that she was given 2-week of suspended jail term for contempt of court.The Hour Glass

Those good old days must seem so surreal for Jannie Chan. From the first store at the Lucky Plaza, she grew The Hour Glass into a regional force with 40 boutiques in nine key cities …

Raffles Medical share price

Raffles Medical
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Raffles Medical share price suffered a major correction which saw it dropped to a one-year low of $1.20. After reviewing the latest financial results, I don’t see any major concern on the healthcare provider’s performance. In fact, I think the correction is a healthy one and should not raise any red flag for investors.

The correction in the Raffles Medical Group share price is indeed puzzling given that the Group announced a record quarterly revenue of S$120.1 million in Q2 2017, a 1.0% increase from S$119.0 million in Q2 2016. Net profit after tax attributable to owners of the Company increased by 0.5% from S$16.8 million in Q2 2017 to S$16.7 million in Q2 2016.

Whilst the recent financial result is nothing to shout about, it should not warrant such drastic decline in Raffles Medical share price. The only major concern I can think of should be the high capital expenditure for the China hospital projects. Raffles Medical is building not one, but two hospitals, in China in a bid to expand its investment moat. Construction of the 700-bed RafflesHospital Chongqing and 400-bed RafflesHospital Shanghai is progressing well. These hospitals are targeted to be operational by second half 2018 and second half 2019 respectively.

Raffles Medical

Investor’s concern could be manifested by the latest quarterly report indicating the payment of $53.6 million for investment properties under development. To be frank, I am not against management deploying cash to invest for the future. Although the free cash flow for 2nd quarter has been impacted by the capital expenditure for the China hospital projects, one should not judge a company on a single quarter results.

2QFY17 financial report revealed that net cash from operating activities was $26.3 million. The Group’s cash and cash equivalents decreased by S$7.0 million …

Investing in SGX shares

SGX share price S68

Ex-CEO of SGX, Magnus Bocker passed away last week due to cancer. Bocker came to Singapore with a big reputation of being a dealmaker. Prior to heading SGX, he made his name for selling OMX to Nasdaq for USD4.9 billion. Bocker took over from outgoing CEO Hsieh Fu Hua in 2009 but left in 2015 when he decided not to renew his contract. In this article, l am sharing my views on whether it is worthwhile to invest in SGX shares.

Under Bocker’s tenure, SGX implemented various initiatives aimed at expanding SGX’s market share beyond the stock market. Notably, revenue from derivatives now formed 40% of the annual revenue.  As a dealmaker, he also tried to transfer his merger and acquisition experience to SGX and made a bid to merge with Australia’s ASX. That bid ended up in failure when the Australian government rejected the proposal.

Bocker’s reign also saw SGX introducing a slew of policies targeted at boosting market liquidity and protecting investor’s interest. In 2014, dynamic circuit breaker was introduced to guard against disorderly situations in the face of rapid and unchecked market movements. In light of the penny stock crash in 2013, Minimum Trading Price (MTP) was introduced by SGX to prevent speculation and market manipulation. The initial rule required companies to maintain trading price of $0.20.

Bocker was widely credited with reducing the standard board lot size of securities listed on SGX from 1,000 to 100 units from 19 January 2015. It was envisioned that smaller board lot size will make it more affordable for retail investors to invest in a wider range of equities, including blue chips, and enable them to build more balanced and diversified portfolios.

SGX shares

It was the Bocker’s idea of removing the trading lunch break on 1 March 2011 that led to …

SGX Bull Charge 2017

Since young, running has been my passion. I developed this lifelong hobby when Dad brought me for a jog at the Bedok Reservoir more than 30 years ago. Hence, when SGX invited me to promote their charity run, SGX Bull Charge 2017, I was very keen and excited.

Although the jog occurred more than 30 years ago, I can still remember it vividly because Dad rarely spend time with the family. As a truck driver, he was always busy making money, even on weekends. So, when he brought my siblings and me to the reservoir for an outing, we were all thrilled.

That run had offered me a rare glimpse of Dad and gave me the opportunity to bond with him. Although it was a short run, we have the chance to have a shared journey, albeit a short one. At the end of the day, I really enjoyed myself even though it was just a simple run. In those days, life was really that simple.

SGX Bull Charge

My family’s journey

That run turned out to be the first and the last one I had with Dad. A few years down the road, Dad suffered from a debilitating stroke that caused him to be half-paralyzed. As the sole bread-winner, Dad’s illness had a devastating impact on our family. For twenty long years, we were in financial wilderness and I can’t emphasize enough how much we struggled during that long winter. That was a very depressing chapter of my life and I certainly don’t wish it would happen to anyone.

On looking back, before that jogging session, Dad must have known that his health was declining, so he probably wanted to pick up jogging to improve his health. But due to his busy schedule, he did not take his medication timely, and that …

Noble Group’s horror show

AEM share price

SGX-listed, Hong Kong-based Noble Group warned on Wednesday that it is set to post a devastating loss of USD1.8 billion for the second quarter. The shock loss surpassed the full-year loss of USD 1.6 billion back in 2015 and brought to light the significant challenges faced by the commodity trader.

The market reacted immediately on Thursday morning, with Noble Group share price plunging by as much as 49% to $0.295. The counter recovered to close at $0.395 at the end of the trading day.

Record loss

The amount certainly blew me off and made me blinked twice. USD1.8 billion is a colossal amount of money. We are talking about losing USD1,800 million for one single quarter. Translated into Singapore dollar, that would mean SGD2,400 million. Make no mistake, founder Richard Elman has previously warned that Noble Group is likely to suffer losses until 2019. But nobody could have foreseen losses of such magnitude.

Noble Group

Compared to the second quarter loss, the first quarter loss of USD130 million seemed like peanuts. But the announcement of that loss back in March had bombed out Noble Group stock price. With the gigantic loss in second quarter, the share price is likely to experience another bout of carnage.  In this regard, shareholders should brace themselves for another plunge in the shares in the coming weeks.

Based on the sickening financial results, fresh questions would be raised among investors on Noble Group’s management ability to revive the company’s fortune. Thus, of interest to many investors should be the outcome strategic review under the direction of the new Chairman Mr. Paul Brough. Broadly speaking, the plan[This is a premium article. The rest of the content is blocked and can be accessible by SG Wealth Builder Members only. To read the full content, please sign up

Three-way battle for SingTel, M1 and StarHub

Singtel share price

It’s going to be a three-way battle for SingTel, M1 and StarHub as competition intensified with the entry of a new player in the telco industry. Against this backdrop, will SingTel acquire M1 or StarHub? Recent developments in Singapore’s telecommunication industry suggest that such consolidation is only a matter of time for the incumbent players.

With Australia’s TPG winning the fourth telco license in both Australia and Singapore, it is imperative that SingTel take decisive actions to defend market shares. It is now or never for SingTel.

The battle of the giants

With a gigantic market capitalization of $63 billion, SingTel is obviously the leader of the pack and is in pole position to gobble up either of the two smaller players. Among the three existing players, M1 has the smallest market capitalization – $1.75 billion. Since 2015, M1’ share price crashed from a high of $3.96 to $1.88 level. With the current form, M1 could easily fell prey to a hostile takeover.

Singtel

Incidentally, M1’s substantial shareholders, Keppel Corp and Singapore Press Holding (SPH) are going through hard times as well and they may be tempted to offload their shares in M1 to SingTel. Keppel Corp may want to sell its stakes in M1 and raise capital to focus its fight against the slump in the oil-rig industry.

On the other hand, media conglomerate SPH is facing a disruption in the media industry brought forth by digital technologies. In light of the disruption, SPH may want to dispose its stake in non-core assets like M1 to invest in digital media companies for revenue growth.

Temasek Holdings’s game

Sovereign wealth fund Temasek Holdings owns shares in all the above-mentioned Singapore companies and thus could be instrumental in kick-starting the game of musical chairs among the companies. Together, both Keppel Corp and …

OCBC shares worth $50?

UOB share price

Is OCBC shares worth $50? Maybe even more. Recently OCBC made waves when it announced the offload of its 33.5% shares in United Engineers (UE) to a consortium led by Yanlord Group and Perennial Real Estate Holdings. The block sale consisted of shares held under OCBC, Great Eastern Holdings and the founding Lee Family. News of the deal propelled OCBC share price to a 5-year high and triggered a mandatory takeover offer for the rest of United Engineers shares.

The United Engineers Deal

The offer price for the UE deal was $2.60 and represented a price-to-book value of about 0.88. The fact that OCBC sold its stake in UE at a price below book value reflected the poor market sentiments. After all, United Engineers is still making healthy profits and is not considered a distressed asset at all. For the record, UE made a profit of $7.1 million in 1Q2017, a decline of 25% from last year. Hence, in my point of view, the block shares sale should have fetched higher price.

For OCBC, the deal would unlock value for shareholders and made business sense as property development is not OCBC’s core business. The sale is worth an estimated $550 million and is a windfall for OCBC. The bank cost per UE share should be about $1.60.

OCBC shares

On the other hand, minority shareholders of UE would be very unhappy that the takeover price is at such underwhelming level and personally, I would be very surprised if the consortium can successfully acquire all the remaining shares. Regardless the outcome, the low-ball offer only serves to vindicate that the big boys always win in the stock market. Those retail shareholders who bought United Engineers shares at $3.40 a few years ago would be staring at substantial losses if the takeover deal is …

Is Old Chang Kee a value trap?

DBS stock

Since young, I have always enjoyed eating Old Chang Kee’s signature curry puffs. The history of Old Chang Kee, however, goes as far back as 1956 when it was just a small stall in a coffee shop outside former Rex cinema. In 1986, the current chairman, Han Keen Juan bought over the control of the company and subsequently transformed the stall into a listed company.

On looking back, Old Chang Kee is a story of coming of age and its brand is synonymous with Singapore food heritage. With a humble beginning, Han Keen Juan has certainly grown the Old Chang Kee into a household name.

When it was listed in Catalist in 2008, the IPO price was $0.139 and the shares were 111% over-subscribed. Now trading at $0.815, it is time to examine whether investing in the shares is worth the effort.

Old Chang Kee

Fourth quarter loss

The Group was cruising along finely when it was [This is a premium article. The rest of the content is blocked and can be accessible by SG Wealth Builder Members only. To read the full content, please sign up as member.]

Read my other articles on SGX stocks:

  1. Formidable Challenger for Challenger Technologies Limited
  2. The Hour Glass Limited
  3. Raffles Medical Group’s Return on Equity

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Judgement day for SPH?

Keppel REIT share price

It certainly seems like Judgement Day for SPH as the media conglomerate’s shares plunged to an 8-year low. The share price free fell to $2.95 on 18 July 2017, below the $3.00 support level. During the dark days of the Great Financial Crisis, the lowest trading price was $2.40. But hey, we are not having a major market crisis now, aren’t we?

What’s going on and what’s wrong with SPH? Should investors run for their lives?

Like fellow SGX-listed SingPost, SPH belongs to the old economy. Both are struggling to adapt themselves in the new digital era. Technology has devastating impacts on their businesses as their models are being disrupted by consumers’ lifestyle changes.

For SingPost, most companies are switching to electronic statements instead of traditional postages. Hence, SingPost is now transforming itself into an eCommerce logistics by leveraging on its existing postal networks. Similarly, SPH is facing disruptions from technology as most people switch to digital instead of printed newspaper. This is understandable as who would want to read yesterday’s news when you can receive the latest updates on the breaking news from online or through social media?

SPH

But what is shocking for investors was the massive decline seen in SPH’s advertisement revenue.

For 3Q2017, the advertisement revenue declined 21.5% year-on-year. Previous quarter witnessed decline of about 18%. This is indeed worrying for the media giant as advertisement revenue is regarded as the “bread and butter” for the company. In light of the unfolding crisis, something must be done to stem the rot.

According to the latest financial results, net profit was $23.8 million or 45.2% lower against the corresponding period last year (3Q 2016). The poor results were due to impairment charges of $37.8 million, which primarily related to the poor performing magazine business. However, the impairment charges …

Understanding Joint Tenancy and Tenancy-in-Common

Tenancy-in-Common

In my previous article, I shared the strategy of using 99-to-1 Tenancy-in-Common to avoid paying hefty Additional Buyer Stamp Duty (ABSD) for investors looking at buying second property. Some followers were skeptical while there are those who may not seem to grasp the concept. As such, this follow-up article will explain in more details on how the strategy works.

Before I proceed, readers must understand that 99-to-1 Tenancy-in-Common only works for Executive Condominiums (EC) and private properties. This is important to note because in April 2016, HDB has banned the transfer of HDB flat ownership among married couples. So now married couples cannot decouple their HDB flat. However, this new HDB rule is not applicable to private properties.

Tenancy-in-Common

When you buy your first property with your spouse/family, it is important to understand the implication of “Manner of Holding”, specifically the significance of Joint Tenancy and Tenancy-in-Common. This is because this relatively unknown term could have major impact on your future property investments and could even result in bitter court cases in the event of divorce cases or death.

No, I am not exaggerating. In my blog, several readers have written in to share their sad stories. This is real and I want you to fully comprehend this article before making judgement. You certainly would want to avoid such pitfalls.

Most people mistakenly thought that the term Joint Tenancy meant that 2 joint owners would each have 50% share of the property. [This is a premium article. The rest of the content is blocked and can be accessible by SG Wealth Builder Members only. To read the full content, please sign up as member.]

Read my other articles on property-related investments:

  1. 99-to-1 Tenancy-in-Common
  2. Frightening HDB rules
  3. Managing your CPF proceeds from the sale of your HDB to build wealth
  4. HDB: The

99-to-1 Tenancy-in-Common

HDB lease buy back

During the Singapore’s Budget this year, many Singaporean investors were disappointed that the government retained the current Additional Buyer Stamp Duty (ABSD). However, instead of wishing for the stamp duties to be reduced or removed, do you know you can actually beat the system without paying an arm or leg? In this article, I will share with readers on how to avoid paying the ABSD with Tenancy-in-Common.

Note that the strategy I am sharing here is not “decoupling” (Resale part-share) for HDB, a popular move which involves the transfer of HDB ownership between married couples. In any case, Singapore government has clamped down on decoupling and tightened the rules in April 2016 to ban the transfer of HDB flat ownership between married couples. However, private residential owners are not subject to this rule.

Tenancy-in-Common

Background of ABSD

ABSD was introduced by Singapore government among a slew of property cooling measures to stabilize market prices. It was revised upwards in 2013 in light of escalating housing prices. Under this rule, home owners are required to pay ABSD if they are buying second property or if they are not Singapore citizens.

Many property investors may have come across articles on property cooling measures in Singapore. But many of these articles may not be helpful in enabling you to make asset planning. Through this article, readers would learn how to avoid paying hefty sum of money to the government through [This is a premium article. The rest of the content is blocked and can be accessible by SG Wealth Builder Members only. To read the full content, please sign up as member.]

Read my articles on HDB and property investments:

  1. Frightening HDB rules
  2. Managing your CPF proceeds from the sale of your HDB to build wealth
  3. HDB: The thin fine line between Joint Tenancy

NetLink NBN Trust Biggest Risk

SGX share price S68

On 10 July 2017, NetLink NBN Trust registered its final prospectus with Monetary Authority of Singapore, paving the way for the biggest IPO of the year. The offering price is $0.81. Initially, the offering price was estimated by analysts to be between $0.81 and $0.93. The low-end of the offering price could be indication of weak demand from the big boys.

With net asset of $3.07 billion and total units of 3.02 billion, the Net Asset Value (NAV) is about $1.01. Given that the offering price is only $0.81, NetLink NBN Trust IPO is considered surprisingly under-valued. It should be noted that the majority of the assets is the network infrastructure, which are recognised initially at their fair value at the date of acquisition and then depreciated over their remaining useful lives. The estimated remaining useful life for the purposes of calculating depreciation for NLT’s network assets is between 25 and 50 years, depending on the type of assets.

As cited by several local investment bloggers. there are a few risks that investors need to note for NetLink NBN Trust.

NetLink NBN Trust

First, a few bloggers had mentioned that although NetLink NBN Trust has a monopoly in the residential fibre network, it is tightly regulated by IMDA. Hence, its ability to set price is curtailed by the regulators. But I don’t see this as a major concern because Singapore government is known to be business-friendly and it will not be in the government’s interest if NetLink Trust is making annual losses.

In any case, the Trust’s distribution is based on cash flows available for distribution and not on whether the Trust makes an accounting profit or loss. This type of structure is different from a typical listed company which issues dividends to shareholders based on annual profits or losses. In fact, NetLink …

United Overseas Bank (UOB)

UOB share price

Once upon a time in Singapore’s banking fraternity, there were four local “Heavenly Kings” – Development Bank of Singapore (DBS), United Overseas Bank (UOB), Overseas Union Bank (OUB) and Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation. They are all household names and I believe most Singaporeans have experiences with their bank products or services.

On looking back, the devastating effect of the Asian Financial Crisis in the nineties and the industry liberalization brought forth by the new Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) regulations changed the banking landscape forever. Through the years, UOB has staved off these challenges and emerged as one of the most powerful forces among its peers.

Among the four “Heavenly Kings”, OUB was the smallest player and was founded by the late Lien Ying Chow. In the early 2000s, the local banks were under pressure by the government to consolidate. This was because Singapore government wanted to reduce the number of local banks to pave the way for bringing in more foreign banks.

UOB

The vision was to shape Singapore into a global financial centre with strong presence of international banks that can bring in investments and thus create high value banking jobs for Singaporeans.

Being the smallest bank, it was no surprise that OUB was the target of a bidding war between DBS and UOB. In June 2001, DBS launched a hostile takeover for OUB by tabling a bid of $9.4 billion. It should be noted at that point of time, DBS had acquired POSB in 1998, another government-linked bank. So, the move by DBS was viewed as being aggressive among the smaller players.

DBS’ move led to a bid of $10 billion from UOB, which ultimately won the race after gaining more than 90% in shareholder acceptance in September 2001. The victory was widely regarded as one of the most …

Three things about NetLink Trust

Nanofilm MZH share price

The biggest IPO since 2011, NetLink Trust will be listed in SGX main board at offering price of between $0.80 and $0.93, raising between $2.3 billion and $2.7 billion.

When investing in stocks, always invest in companies in which you understand their business models, their products and services. It is also important to assess the companies’ competitors and financial performances. This article will share three things about NetLink Trust which I hope investors will find useful.

NetLink Trust background

Most Singaporeans may be more familiar with OpenNet, the predecessor of NetLink Trust. In 2008, OpenNet was owned by a consortium consisting of SingTel (30%), SP Telecommunications (15%), Singapore Press Holdings (25%) and Canada’s Axia NetMedia (30%). However, in 2014, SingTel, through NetLink Trust, bought over all the shares of OpenNet from the rest of the major shareholders.

On looking back, the 2014 consolidation should be part of the strategic plan to implement Singapore government’s Next Generation Nationwide Broadband Network (Next Gen NBN), which is a project under the Intelligent National 2015 (iN2015) masterplan seeking to transform Singapore into an intelligent nation and global city, powered by infocomm.

NetLink Trust

Next Gen NBN is Singapore’s ultra-high-speed broadband network capable of delivering speeds of 1Gbps and above, offering connectivity to homes, offices and schools in Singapore.

What I like about NetLink Trust is that it is [This is a premium article. The rest of the content is blocked and can be accessible by SG Wealth Builder Members only. To read the full content, please sign up as member.]

Read my articles on NetLink Trust:

  1. SingTel’s NetLink Trust IPO application approved
  2. SingTel’s shares to rocket on NetLink Trust IPO?
  3. Can SingTel fight gravity?
  4. SingTel at a cross-road

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