Unlike ordinary eggs, nest eggs are used for a specific purpose. The nest egg is the egg that stays in the nest, and helps in the laying of more eggs. In the investment world the nest egg might better be referred to as a cornerstone investment. This is the type of investment that has a special purpose, formed with personal objectives, providing a base for continued investing.
If a cornerstone investment takes up your entire life-savings, it will not induce further activity. Also if the cornerstone does not generate any income, it will not likely induce any re-investment. Thirdly, if the cornerstone investment is not compatible with other markets, it will be difficult to grow the cornerstone.
A market that fulfills the above criteria with the added familiarity of tracking the performance of Singapore’s biggest companies is the Straits Times Index (STI). The STI’s 30 constituents are diversified over 14 different sectors, made up of 29 stocks plus 1 Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT). Performances of the 30 constituents in the 2013 year-to-date have varied from -9.1% for City Developments [C09] to +15.5% for CapitaMalls Asia [JS8].
Over the last 10 years, the STI has moved from 1,291.61* on 31 January 2003 to 3,291.14 on Friday 1 February 2013. Over the ten year period, this represents an average annualised price gain of +9.8%. Over the period, the STI constituents have paid shareholders regular dividends. Dividends provide the means for corporate profits or trust distributions to be given to the stock or trust holder on a regular basis. Dividends have boosted the +9.8% average annualised price return to a +12.7% average annualised total return. Current indicative yields for the 29 STI stocks that maintain a dividend yield range from 0.6% for Jardine Strategic USD [J37] to 5.1% for Starhub [CC3]. A full list of STI stock yields updated to the Friday close can be found here.
How does an investor use the STI as a cornerstone? Exchange-traded funds (ETF) are investment funds listed and traded on SGX, designed to track the performance of an Index, such as the SPDR STI ETF (ES3) and the Nikko AM STI ETF (G3B). You can buy or sell ETF units at market prices any time during trading hours, just like stocks. The size of the ETF units makes portfolio investing affordable. Furthermore, the ETF can be used with other stocks to build a bigger share portfolio.
The two ETFs that track the STI can also generate income through semi-annual dividends. The first distribution for the SPDR STI ETF in 2013 (which was S$0.04 per unit) went ex-dividend on Friday 1 February with the payment date 19 February. As the SDPR STI ETF is Singapore dollar denominated, Direct Crediting Service (DCS) allows CDP to directly credit dividend payments to the CDP account holder’s bank account on payment date (click here for more information).
In terms of cornerstone affordability, consider that on Friday, the minimum required investment in the SPDR STI ETF on Friday was S$3,320 or S$334 for the Nikko AM STI ETF, not including the single transaction cost. These two ETFs are cash based ETFs, have total expense ratios less than 0.50% and are categorised specified investment products. The SPDR STI ETF is CPFIS-included and you can use your CPF account monies to purchase it. In growing the nest egg, investors have a number of other ETFs or Sector-specific stocks to choose from.
*note based on old index calculations.
Source: SGX MyGateway