Saturday, June 24, 2017

New Trading Platform in SGX, iFast FSMOne - Is it any good?

You can refer to this article by Straits Times - iFast Financial launches stock-dealing services on FSMOne platform for more information but here is the summary:

Investors can trade in stocks and ETFs at 0.12 per cent and 0.08 per cent respectively (minimum of S$10 per trade), the company said in a release on SGX.

With the launch of SGX-listed stocks and ETFs on FSMOne, we are leading the commission rates for stocks and ETFs down.

That sounds great but wait a minute, SCB has been doing that all along (minimum commission of $10)! At the back of my mind, I was wondering if FSMOne is depositing the shares to your CDP or functioning as a custodian account. It would only make a difference if the shares are deposited to CDP since SCB is a custodian account. So I went to their site and read up on the FAQ.

Guess what? It is also a custodian account. I guess that is the only way to keep the commission low?


You can read more here - https://secure.fundsupermart.com/fsm/advice-services/faq/2/2195/

Being a KPO, it is all about the $$$, so I went to check out their pricing structure. 


At one glance, it is indeed offering the lowest commission! For the simplicity of things, I will analyze the costs one can incur when investing in SGX stocks and STI ETF through FSMOne and SCB.


From the above, you can see that one can invest more money in FSMOne - $3,000 more in stocks and $7,500 more in ETFs! However, FSMOne has a very interesting "hidden" charge called the "Platform Fee" and this is charge every quarter for ETFs! @_@ KPO thinks it is totally ridiculous!


If I were to buy any ETF, the commission may seem much lower when compared to SCB at first but once I hold it for years (which is what people normally do when investing in ETF), the cost of investment increases indefinitely!

KPO advice to you is "Do NOT invest in ETF using this platform!". I never believe in funds and has no experience in bonds but I cannot deny the fact that it is indeed offering the lowest commission for SGX stocks at this moment. Do note that some of the fees (custodian, corporate, dividend handling, etc.) are waived for now too - similar to SCB.

As for myself, I will continue to invest using SCB until it pulls another stunt (such as charging custodian fee or dividend handling fee). Furthermore, I get to keep my priority status which allows me to walk into the branch and get things done without queuing. lol.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Managing Finances As A Couple

Managing your finance is not easy and it becomes even more complicated when it involves 2 people. I do not think that there is a best way to do it but let me share our experiences :)

Interestingly, the majority of the readers (79%) are male and 44% are in my age group (25 - 34) according to Google Analytics so hopefully, this would help you guys out there!


One of the most debatable questions is should guys be paying for everything? As a KPO/guy, my answer is no but I guess it varies from couple to couple. Most/all of our expenses are split equally between CZM and myself except during special occasions such as birthday and anniversary then I/CZM would be paying for everything.

When CZM and I got together, we were only JC students with $200 of pocket money per month ($50 per week). A movie cost $6 (student price) and $10 (weekends) back then plus a meal would probably be around $15 - $30 in total. If I had to pay for everything, that would cost 30% - 60% of my weekly pocket money! When CZM graduated and I was still in university, she was earning thousands but I was still drawing $200 of pocket money. We continued to split everything equally till date.

When I finally graduated and was going to join the workforce, I suggested CZM to combine our savings for common future expenses as we have already BTO and it was more for planning ahead for renovations, etc. The plan is to save 20% of our salary into a common fund every month. She likes the idea too and we decided to give it a name like those professional mutual/hedge fund. One of CZM suggestions was "Happiness Fund" which I rejected quickly because it feels like we would be encouraging ourselves to spend the money. Guess what? In the end, we settled for "KPO Fund".

KPO Fund has 2 components to it - Expense Fund and Investment Fund. Our monthly contribution is split equally between these 2 funds. If you are wondering why does this sound familiar, I got this idea from CPF. lol. There is only one rule - any expenses or investment made must be agreed by both parties. This can be easily done by setting up a savings goal on OCBC ibanking site and tracking everything with a spreadsheet.

Should all the household chores be done by the woman? The answer is no! (CZM would be very proud of me) The same can be said for the finances. A successful relationship requires both parties to be contributing and working hard together for the future.

Do share your thoughts in the comment or let me know how you are doing differently :)

Monday, June 19, 2017

KrisFlyer 50% Redemption Promotion on SilkAir

CZM has to take a 2 weeks compliance leaves every year and we were planning where to go this time round (we went to London, Iceland and Paris last year). Being a KPO and CFO, in view of the huge expenses last year and next year (wedding + travelling to US for honeymoon), I decided to impose a travel restriction this year.

But CZM gave me this look...

So my heart melted and I said travel within Asia. We were deciding between Korea or Hokkaido since we have not been to both places yet but eventually settled for Hong Kong because the flights were too expensive in the eyes of a KPO. Few months later...

CZM said she has nothing to look forward to even with 2 weeks leave...

What else can I do but to give in further? Fortunately, Singapore Airlines to the rescue! I received an email from them with the below promotion:



From 12 June to 11 July 2017, enjoy a 50% discount when you redeem your KrisFlyer miles online for a SilkAir flight* on singaporeair.com. Choose from a list of 53 destinations across the SilkAir network, including popular destinations in Southeast Asia like Bali, Langkawi, Kuala Lumpur and Phuket, and travel from 1 July to 31 October 2017.

CZM and I have successfully accumulated KrisFlyer miles in excess of what is needed to fly to US in SQ Suite class next year! So I was thinking we might as well use the access miles to book our flights for this year since we will not be able to accumulate sufficient miles for a return trip next year ever since SIA devalued/removed the 15% discount for miles redemption.

After looking through the long list of 53 destinations and googling "what to do in XXX", we have decided to travel to Indonesia, Bandung! So I went to SIA site and attempt to book a normal Economy ticket to see what is the actual price. Normally, if our travel date is flexible, we would book the cheapest ticket. However, in order to get the "most value" out of the miles redemption, we decided to go for the more/most expensive tickets since the miles required do not change.

Cheapest tickets are denoted with a top left orange arrow while the best value tickets are highlighted in yellow.

I signed in to my KrisFlyer account and proceed to "redeem flights" for the travel period (23rd Sep - 28th Sep) and the total cost is 7,500 miles + $47.40. KPO then took out his calculator and calculate the rebate he is getting. Assuming miles are generated at a rate of 4 miles per dollar [I would need to spend $1,875 to earn 7,500 miles]: (282.40 - 47.40) / (7,500 / 4) = 12.5%

12.5%?!?!

WOW. That is such a high rebate! KPO then remembered his shifu/master (Milelion) teachings that Economy ticket rebate is between 3 - 4% - What is the value of a mile? KPO decided to investigate further and went to SilkAir website and attempt to book another flight for the same travel period.

Cheaper ticket!!!

Wait a minute, I can get a cheaper ticket for the same flight at $168.40?! KPO punched in the new numbers into his calculator: (168.40 - 47.40) / (7,500 / 4) = 6.5%

Getting 6.5% rebate is still pretty impressive since non of the cashback credit card is capable of giving out such high rebate, teachings of my shifu once again - The ugly truth of cashback cards banks dont want you to know. CZM then reminded me that the rebate higher because of the above 50% promotion, otherwise the rebate would have been 3.25% ((168.40 - 47.40) / (15,000 / 4)).


Some interesting observations made by KPO:
- If we were to compare apple to apple, the Economy Saver of SilkAir cost $267.40 vs the Economy Saver of SIA which is $282.40. (the difference between Economy Super Saver and Economy Saver is in the KrisFlyer miles accrued for your flight - 10% vs 50%)
- You will be paying a premium of $15 for the SIA brand since the ticket issued is SQ 5192 instead of MI 192 for the exact same flight.

With that, we have decided to redeem our flights to Bandung! More adventures, lesser money to invest...

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Good Lazada Giving Away Free 16 GB SD Card + $5 Voucher [Part 2]

My previous post on "Bad Lazada [Part 1]" has exceed 1,000 views and became one of my top post! It is only fair that I follow up and blogged on my refund experience with them too.

After conducting my test, I initiated a full refund request where the goods purchased should be returned to Lazada. The instructions given was to print out the return form and a customer service associate will be contacting me to schedule a time to pick up the SD card.


However, one day later, one of their customer service associate sent an email to me. Instead of arranging a time to pick up the SD card, I was told to "keep the item". On top of that, Lazada provided a $5 voucher code (no minimum spending) which was valid till 31st August. Wow, I got more than what I asked for. A free 16 GB SD card and a $5 voucher!


KPO being a nice guy did not stop there as he was genuinely concerned that the majority of the public - not being tech savy might be scammed and lose their precious vacation photos, replied the email hoping that Lazada will take down those product listings/sellers.


The rest is history - I was slammed with a standard template response and the ticket was closed. In summary, the refund experience with Lazada was hassle free and they do honor their refund policy.


As of this moment (14th June 2017 12:38am), I still see lots of 128 GB SD cards listed at ridiculous cheap price in Lazada under the brand OEM. This is the link if you are interested in getting a free 8/16 GB SD card and a $5 Lazada voucher. Thank me in the comment if you actually tried and get them successfully but do not scold me if you do not (KPO and CZM are not liable for anything that is posted here). lol.

So KPO went back to Lazada and bought CZM an authentic Anello bag using the $5 voucher for $23.90! That ridiculously cheap too!


How do I know if it is real? It says authentic...

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Portfolio Update - May 2017

It has been 6 months since we I started blogging and unknowingly, the blog has crossed another milestone, it has more than >10k views! Thank you to all the readers out there and I hope that you guys enjoyed whatever stuffs we are sharing. CZM sort of lost interest cause she says this blog is not making money. We applied for Google AdSense but was rejected. lol. Let's see if she ever returns...

Our portfolio grew by 3.85% this month mainly due to capital injection.


We saw some weakness in the price of Capitaland when it fell from a high of $3.78 to $3.46 and that was when we decided to pull the trigger and add more Capitaland shares to our portfolio. It has a NAV of $4.16 and a higher RNAV which also means we are buying at a discount of at least 20%. While waiting patiently for it to hit NAV, it has a dividend yield of 2.78%. Most importantly, it has strong kao shan (靠山 - translate to supported by mountain. lol).

SGX StockFacts - Ownershiper

I was looking for new stocks to buy as the price of most developer and REITs stocks have rise significantly, some even reaching 52 weeks high. Furthermore, CZM always says I need to diversify our portfolio, so I decided to buy some bread! When you look at its PE ratio, it is pretty undervalued when compared to its peers (6 vs 19-26).

ShareInvestor

Looking at its operating cash flow, we can see that it is a rather profitable business too! QAF has also been consistently paying a $0.05 per share of dividend every year (around 3.75% dividend yield).

SGX StockFacts - Financials

We also applied for Sanli IPO (101,000 units) but was not allocated any units. My friend applied 168,000 units cause he says lucky number maybe higher chance - he was not allocated if you are thinking of trying next time. IPO seems to be as hard as applying for BTO or maybe harder?! We got our BTO during our third try, let's see if IPO is faster. (Technically, we can IPO another 13 times since the application fee for BTO is $10 each. lol)

BOUGHT
- QAF (3,000 units) @ $1.33
- CapitaLand (2,000 units) @ $3.48 [Total units: 4,000 units]

The total dividends collected this month is $2014.95. The breakdown is as follows:

Company Symbol ExDate Shares Total
CapitaLand Ltd C31 02-May-17 2,000 $200.00
Wee Hur Holdings Ltd E3B 02-May-17 5,000 $15.00
Mapletree Greater China Commercial Trust RW0U 03-May-17 5,000 $186.55
Starhill Global Real Estate Investment Trust P40U 04-May-17 12,000 $141.60
Chip Eng Seng Corporation Ltd C29 05-May-17 8,000 $320.00
Raffles Medical Group Ltd BSL 08-May-17 4,000 $120.00
Hong Fok Corporation Ltd H30 08-May-17 16,500 $165.00
Lippo Malls Indonesia Retail Trust D5IU 09-May-17 4,000 $35.60
Frasers Logistics & Industrial Trust BUOU 12-May-17 8,000 $279.20
Sheng Siong Group Ltd OV8 12-May-17 14,000 $259.00
OUE Ltd LJ3 12-May-17 10,000 $200.00
Far East Hospitality Trust Q5T 18-May-17 10,000 $93.00

Total dividends collected for 2017: $4785.96
Average dividends per month for 2017: $398.83

Friday, June 9, 2017

Bad Lazada - 128 GB SD Card for $12.27?!

KPO recently purchased a new phone and was looking for a SD card on Lazada. I was searching for the best value buy and finally found multiple 128 GB SD card selling for $12 - $20+. Can you believe it?? There is this sayings "If it seems too good to be true, it probably is", this is the same for everything including investment (20% guaranteed return? lol).

I did more research online and came across various sources stating that the firmware can be easily modified to show 128 GB when you insert the SD card onto your computer/phone but the actual capacity is would not be 128 GB. It will have a much smaller capacity (e.g. 8 GB) and once it reaches that capacity, whatever data you continue to write to the SD card will simply vanish! Imagine buying this SD card for your vacation, take lots of photos and return home to find only less than half of the photos are stored in the card. With this knowledge, I decided to buy it since Lazada has a full refund policy. No harm giving it a try (deep down KPO was still hoping he will get it cheap >.<)

After a few days, I finally received the SD card.


I opened it up and inserted it to my computer. It was showing 128 GB!

So I went on to download the program (h2testw) to test the SD card. It tests by writing fake data to the SD card first (I spent about 20 mins to write 20 GB as it was late at night) then it has the verify functionality to verify if the data that was written is there.


Unfortunately...


As you can see, the real capacity is only 16 GB and any data that was written after that were all gone. There are many ways to test your storage device. If you are interested, you can refer to this site - 8 Freeware To Detect Fake USB Flash Drives, SD Cards And SSD Disk.


I would have expected Lazada to have verify it before listing the product for sale but I guess not. KPO has requested for full refund and is back looking for other SD card. Moral of the story - "If it seems too good to be true, it probably is" and bad Lazada!