Subscription Modal Banner
Weekly newsletter subscription
Get SingSaver’s top tips and deals, plus an exclusive free guide to investing, sent straight to your inbox.

I agree to the terms and conditions and agree to receive relevant marketing content according to the privacy policy.

Success Tick Icon
Congratulations on successfully joining Singsaver Newsletter

8 Investments You Can Make Under The CPF Investment Scheme (CPFIS)

SingSaver team

SingSaver team

Last updated 08 April, 2024

If you are thinking of how to make your CPF money work harder (who isn't?), this article is for you. Here are the potential investments you can consider under the CPF Investment Scheme (CPFIS). 

Under the CPFIS, you can use the money in your CPF Ordinary Account (OA) and CPF Special Account (SA) to make investments. This means the opportunity for you to earn interest that’s more than what you can receive from CPF. 

When you sell your investments, the sales proceeds will be credited into the respective CPF account. However, CPFIS investments will stay in your CPF investment account until you reach 55 years old. When you reach 55, you can withdraw the investments and cash balance as long as you have set aside your Full Retirement Sum (FRS) in the CPF Retirement Account (RA).

But, why invest your CPF money? 

Sure, you can leave your CPF money in your CPF OA and CPF SA to earn risk-free interest of up to 3.5% p.a. and 5.08% p.a. respectively. However, if you want to supercharge your CPF growth and make your money work harder, you can invest in various assets to earn higher returns.  

With 16 different investment products available, we’ve zoomed in on a handful of products you can consider investing in with CPFIS.

 

 

 


#1 Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs)

Exchange traded funds (ETFs) are funds listed on the stock market, comprising a basket of securities, such as equities, bonds, gold, real estate investment trusts (REITs) and commodities. They can also focus on a specific geography, sector or industry. ETFs seek to track an index, such as the S&P 500 Index or the Straits Times Index (STI). 

ETFs make a great investment for investors looking for broader market exposure, diversification and an investment product that is low cost. 

Despite the thousands of ETFs available on the market, you can only invest in one of the following five ETFs with your CPF OA money, as higher risk ETFs are excluded:

  • ABF Singapore Bond Index Fund
  • Nikko AM SGD Investment Grade Corporate Bond ETF 
  • Nikko AM Singapore STI ETF
  • SPDR Straits Times Index ETF
  • SPDR Gold Shares

ETF Fees: The ETFs listed have low expense ratios ranging from 0.24% to 0.4%.

The first two ETFs are bond ETFs. Bonds are considered one of the safest asset classes, giving you fixed coupon returns for the money you invest. 

The STI ETF is an ETF that aims to track the performance of the STI, which consists of the 30 largest companies on the SGX. If you’re looking to invest in an STI ETF, here’s a more in-depth article that compares the two options SPDR STI ETF vs Nikko AM STI ETF

If you’re looking for gold exposure, the gold ETF gets a special mention. With the CPFIS, you can buy units of SPDR Gold Shares — the only gold ETF you can purchase with your CPF money. 

Unfortunately, none of the ETFs available give exposure to the US stock market. If you’re hoping to invest in US ETFs, you can instead consider a robo-advisor such as Endowus

 

 

 

 


#2 Singapore Government Securities (SGS) bonds 

Possibly the product that carries the least risk on this list, SGS bonds suit investors looking to grow their wealth without being exposed to market volatility. 

SGBs are bonds with AAA credit rating that are issued by the government of Singapore. They have a minimum investment amount of S$1,000 and pay a fixed rate of interest with bond maturities ranging from 2 to 50 years. The interest payments are given every six months (semi-annually), starting from the month of issue.

They can be bought at a primary auction or in the secondary market. To find out what SGB is available, you’ll have to check the MAS website

The SGS (Market Development) tranche on 20 March (N524100) offered investors a coupon rate of 3% p.a. with a 5-year maturity date. 

Fees: Up to S$2.50 per transaction.


#3 Treasury Bills (T-bills)

T-bills are another low-risk investment product for investors to consider. 

A type of short-term Singapore Government Securities (SGS), T-bills don’t pay out coupons. Rather, they are issued at a discount to their face value. As an investor, you will receive the full face value at maturity. This means that the amount discounted will be the yield you receive. 

Like SGBs, T-bills have an AAA credit rating and a minimum investment amount of S$1,000. However, T-bills are far more short-term, with tenures of three, six months and a year. 

The cut-off yield for the 6-month T-bill on 3 Apr 2024 (BS24107N) reached 3.75% p.a. 

Fees: Up to S$2.50 per transaction.

With such attractive rates, you may want to consider allocating some of your CPF OA funds into applying for the next tranche. 


#4 Fixed deposits

Yes, you read that right! You can invest your CPF savings into fixed deposits with any of the four fixed deposit banks (DBS, Maybank, OCBC, and UOB) via the CPFIS. 

Fixed deposits are considered safe investments as they offer predictable returns with very low risk. For CPF fixed deposits, you can earn up to 2.90% p.a., which is above the 2.50% p.a. interest rate from the CPF OA.

However, remember that CPF members below 55 years old can earn an additional 1% on the first $60,000 of their combined CPF balances, capped at S$20,000 for CPF OA.

This means you can earn up to 3.50% p.a. on your first S$60,000, which is higher than most fixed deposits. Thus, to avoid missing out on this interest rate, consider investing your CPF savings in fixed deposits if you have more than S$60,000 in your CPF OA. 

Another factor to consider before investing in fixed deposits via CPFIS is the minimum investment amount; some banks require a minimum placement of S$20,000, which is quite a significant sum.

Besides that, also consider the maturity period for CPF fixed deposits (typically either six or 12 months), as well as the investment fees involved, which can eat into your returns. 

 


#5 Endowment plans, annuities or ILPs from insurance companies

If you have a trusted financial advisor, you might consider making your CPF investments with them. These products offered by insurance companies can also help you to grow your wealth.

Endowment plans: A type of savings plan with an insurance component, endowment plans require you to put in a single or recurring premium, in order to cash out a larger amount than what you’ve put in when the plan matures. Endowment plans can have a tenure of up to 25 years. 

Read more about endowment plans here

Annuities: Like endowment plans, annuities require you to pay a single or recurring premium for a fixed period during your working years. Once you reach the retirement age, you’ll be able to enjoy a monthly payout for a fixed number of years, depending on the plan you chose — this could also be for the rest of your lifetime.

Read more about annuity plans for retirement here

Investment-linked Policies (ILP): ILPs are a type of life insurance policy that combines both protection and investment. However, your investment returns depend on how the fund performs and are not guaranteed. 

Read more about ILPs here

Fees: Endowment plans and annuities incur total distribution cost of between 1.8% and 2.54% of single premium, and surrender processing fee of S$30. ILPs have total expense ratios of 0.5% to 1.75% of net asset value. 


#6 Gold

Besides the gold ETF mentioned above, you can also invest in other gold products from UOB, such as gold certificates, gold savings accounts or even physical gold. So yes, you can use your CPF money to purchase a gold bar or gold coins. 

Do take note that only up to 10% of your investible savings can be invested in gold ETFs or gold products. 

Fees: 

  • Gold certificates: Flat S$5 per certificate and a service charge of S$72 per kilobar per annum, subject to GST
  • Gold savings accounts: Monthly service charge of 0.25% p.a., subject to a monthly minimum charge of 0.12 grams of gold
  • Physical gold: Gold purchased from UOB has to be collected within five working days, or a late collection fee of S$5 per kg per day (for kilobars) or S$2 per piece per day (for small bars and gold coins) will be charged.

Interested in putting your money in gold beyond your CPF funds? Check out our gold standard guide to gold investments!


#7 Unit Trusts (UTs)

Unit trusts are funds with money pooled from investors, managed by a fund manager. The fund manager will invest the funds according to the funds investment objectives. 

You can select a UT to invest in based on the fund’s objectives and whether it suits your investment goals. You should also take a look at the fund’s past performance, although past performance cannot determine future returns. 

Unlike the selection of ETFs available under the CPFIS, there are 80 different UTs for you to choose from, ranging from low-risk to high-risk. You can only use your CPF SA money to invest in low- to medium-risk UTs, while your CPF OA money can be used for all the UTs — higher risk UTs included. 

UT Fees: These unit trusts have expense ratios ranging from 0.4% to 1.75% of net asset value.

If we look at the three-year annualised performance, some of the top performing UTs include: 

  • Franklin Templeton Investment Funds – Franklin U.S. Opportunities Fund AS (acc) SGD
  • Nikko AM Shenton Global Opportunities Fund SGD Class
  • Aberdeen Standard China Opportunities Fund
  • Schroder International Selection Fund Greater China SGD F Acc

These five UTs are all higher risk UTs (with higher risk comes the potential for higher returns), with fees near 1.75%.

 

CMCInvest_S$20 Cas_BLOGARTICLE_800x250

SingSaver's Exclusive Offer: Open a CMC Invest account and get a S$20 bonus cash via PayNow. Plus, fund a minimum initial amount of S$500 and make 2 trades to receive 1 free Bank of America share (worth S$46) fulfilled by CMC Invest. Valid till 1 May 2024. T&Cs apply.

Additionally, receive 1 Nike share (NYSE:NKE) and/or 1 Tesla Inc. share (NASDAQ:TSLA) when you meet the required deposit and trade with your CMC Invest account. Valid till 1 May 2024. T&Cs apply.

 


#8 Shares

Stocks (or shares) need no introduction. With your CPF OA money, you can take your pick from the hundreds of stocks listed on the SGX. 

These shares are offered by companies that are incorporated in Singapore. They are listed on the SGX Mainboard as a primary listing and also not placed on the SGX watchlist. 

With the many stocks to choose from, how do you know which ones to pick? 

Here in Singapore, the two types of stocks investors have a keen interest in are the bank stocks and the REITs. They are popular for their stability and the steady dividend income they reward investors with. 

Banks (DBS, OCBC and UOB) have a dividend yield that ranges between 3% to 5%. REITs give investors a chance to become property owners, albeit indirectly. Investing in REITS — such as the properties owned by CapitaLand, Frasers and MapleTree — can give investors returns of 4% to 7%. 

Other stocks that give noteworthy dividends include Venture Corporation, Tai Sin Electric, UMS Holdings and Sheng Siong Group

However, do keep in mind that only up to 35% of your CPF investible savings can be invested in stocks.

Fees to purchase shares: Broker commission fees of 0.25% to 0.28% of trade amount, with a minimum fee of S$25 per transaction.

 


Before you invest your CPF money

You’ll find that there’s a trend amongst the investment products you can put your CPF money in: these products don’t incur a high risk. Even the products that do come with a degree of risk, such as shares or gold, have limitations set in place to ensure that your exposure to those asset classes is capped.

To invest under the CPFIS, you will first need to take the Self-Awareness Questionnaire (SAQ),  a quiz that assesses whether CPFIS is suitable for you based on your knowledge of investment concepts, products and charges. You will also need to have more than S$20,000 in your CPF OA, and/or have more than S$40,000 in your CPF SA.

If you're not quite ready to do the investing on your own, you can also invest through a robo-advisor. Currently, Endowus is the sole robo-advisor that allows you to invest your CPF money. You can also consider transferring your CPF OA money into your CPF SA in order to earn higher, risk-free interest! 


EDM Lead Gen

Start managing and saving money like a pro with SingSaver’s weekly financial roundups! We dole out easy-to-follow money-saving tips, the latest financial trends and the hottest promotions every week, right into your inbox. This is one mailer you don’t want to miss.

Sign up today to receive our exclusive free investing guide for beginners!


Read these next: 
CPF Investment Scheme (CPFIS): Guide To Investing With Your CPF
7 Popular Types Of Investment In Singapore (And Tips To Use Them For Optimal Gains)
Guide To Supplementary Retirement Scheme (SRS) And Tips To Maximise It
A Complete Guide To CPF In Singapore
Uniquely Singaporean Things We Do To Accumulate Wealth

At SingSaver, we make personal finance accessible with easy to understand personal finance reads, tools and money hacks that simplify all of life’s financial decisions for you.

FINANCIAL TIP:

Use a personal loan to consolidate your outstanding debt at a lower interest rate!

Sign up for our newsletter for financial tips, tricks and exclusive information that can be personalised to your preferences!