Updated: Feb 3, 2020
You want to start investing, but you have no clue where to start from. We share some tips to help you get going.
Identify your investment parameters
Amount to invest: Are you starting out with $100 a month, or planning to invest a lump sum at once?
Frequency of rebalancing: Are you a passive or active investor? How often do you intend to look at your portfolio - daily, monthly or annually?
Investment horizon: How long do you intend to hold each position for?
Type of investment: Understanding the types of products available is not as difficult as you think. Broadly, investment is split between equity (shares) and fixed income (bonds). Equity investments are more volatile, with higher risks and rewards. Fixed income investment provide steady returns through its life. All investments carry risks, it is good to appreciate these risks at an elementary level.
Set up accounts
This is a roadblock for most beginner investors. Without any investment account, you will get nowhere even if you are full of investment ideas.
Brokerage account: You will need a brokerage account to buy and sell shares and other traded investments. The brokerage account acts as a middle platform for you to execute through.
Some retail brokers commonly used
CDP account: For investments traded on Singapore Exchange, one will need a Central Depository Account (CDP) as well. The CDP is where all the SGX-traded investments are safekept. If you already have a local bank account, you can open the CDP online here.
Tip: For convenience, visit any of the three local banks (DBS, OCBC and UOB) to set up both the brokerage and CDP account at once. They will also be able to link your accounts to the funds immediately.
Start with ETFs
Exchange-traded funds (ETFs) allow you to track the broad indices and gives you exposure to a portfolio of names immediately. That will save you plenty of trouble stock-picking single names. ETFs can be purchased through your broker.
Some common ETFs tracking the broad markets include:
ETF in Singapore What it tracks
SPDR STI ETF Top 30 companies on SGX
Nikko AM STI ETF Top 30 companies on SGX
ABF Singapore Bond Index Fund Singapore govt + quasi-govt bonds
Phillip Sing Income ETF High dividend stocks on SGX
Lion Phillip S-REIT ETF High dividend Singapore REITs
SPDR S&P 500 ETF Top 500 on US stock market
More information here.
Safekeep with Government Bonds or Fixed Deposits
Govvies and FDs are an excellent way to park your money and earn some interest with little risk. It will not make you rich, but you should never underestimate the power of compounding.
Singapore Savings Bonds (SSB) can be purchased via internet banking or ATMs from the three local banks. The minimum investment is $500 with a $2 transaction fee.
SGD Fixed Deposits offers slightly higher interest than your regular savings or current account, in exchange for a lock-in period typically up to a year. The Deposit Insurance Scheme protects individuals by covering their SGD monies placed with a Scheme member, for up to $75,000 per depositor per Scheme member.
Keep track of your investments periodically
Start a spreadsheet to keep tabs on your investments. There are many free tools available online for you to use.