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$50,000 cap on Singapore Savings Bonds removed

The $50,000 limit on the maximum an individual can invest in a single issue of Singapore Savings Bonds (SSB) was removed yesterday.

Removing the cap will allow investors to apply for a larger amount of a particular issue, said the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).

The individual limit for an investor's total holdings of the bonds at any one time will remain at $100,000.

The allocation mechanism will continue to ensure that the bonds are distributed as evenly as possible with smaller applications filled first in the event of an over-subscription, MAS added.

It noted that more than half of all SSB applications were for amounts less than $10,000, reflecting the programme's appeal to small savers. Over half of SSB investors are over 41 years of age.

More than $1.9 billion of the bonds have been issued to about 57,000 investors since their launch in October 2015, with about $362 million issued in the first two months of this year.

January saw the biggest demand so far with the bonds oversubscribed for the first time. Lured by the highest first- and second-year yields, over 6,300 investors submitted applications for last month's issue totalling about $172 million, exceeding the $150 million issued.

The MAS said yesterday that it will offer around $2 billion for this year and continue monitoring subscription levels in determining monthly issue sizes.

Fully backed by the Government, SSBs are considered a principal-guaranteed, risk-free, affordable and low-cost investment option for retail investors.

The SSB rate steps up over time, so over a 10-year period, the average interest is generally higher than that for fixed deposits.

An investor needs at least $500 to buy these bonds, lower than the $1,000 required for conventional Singapore Government Securities. The investment amount must also be in multiples of $500. - THE STRAITS TIMES

BUSINESS & FINANCE