InvestRound-Up

Bet on disruptors, grow your money, get protected

The Sunday Times looks at a new fund, an endowment plan and a disability income plan

LIONGLOBAL DISRUPTIVE INNOVATION FUND BY LION GLOBAL INVESTORS (LGI)

The fund invests in disruptive innovators - firms that change the traditional way an industry operates, especially in a new, effective way.

LGI believes that disruptive companies present potential investment opportunities for investors in the medium to long term. One possible way to participate in the growth of these companies is through a passive approach to investing.

The fund's investment spectrum comprises about 300 to 500 disruptive innovators, broadly classified according to the three main areas of disruption: 1. Software innovation, which includes digital shopping, user-sharing; 2. Breakthroughs, which include artificial intelligence, big data and analytics; and (3) Hardware innovation, including automation, self-driving cars.

The investment spectrum is further reduced to an "index" of 100 stocks using a five-factor screening process. These five factors are: market capitalisation, volatility, sales growth, earnings-per-share growth and price- to-sales ratio. The five are equally weighted, similar to some other factor-investing approaches.

Mr Gerard Lee, LGI's chief executive officer, said: "We are so consumed by the effectiveness of a new tool or a new service that we forget to ask ourselves: 'Can I benefit from this financially?'

"As users and adopters of these innovations, we should be actively looking at how we could also participate in the growth of these companies."

To encourage millennials to start investing early and to attract those who believe disruption is a long- term megatrend, the fund's minimum investment amount is $100. Investors can use cash or Supplementary Retirement Scheme (SRS) funds.

MANULIFE BOOST 2 BY MANULIFE SINGAPORE

This is a five-year endowment plan that offers four guaranteed yearly income payouts at 2.2 per cent of the single premium payable at the end of each policy year. This translates to a guaranteed total of 8.8 per cent over the first four years.

Manulife says you may choose to receive your full guaranteed yearly income annually, or accumulate with the insurer at a non-guaranteed interest rate of 1.5 per cent a year. The rates are subject to change with 30 days' notice.

Your single premium is guaranteed if the policy is held to maturity (for five years) and there is a non- guaranteed potential maturity bonus of 2.2 per cent of the single premium. You can start from as little as $10,000 using cash or the SRS, up to a maximum premium of $2 million.

If the insured person dies during the policy term, Manulife will pay 101 per cent of the single premium, less any loans. No medical assessment is required.

The earlier tranche of this plan - Manulife Boost 1 - offered a higher guaranteed interest rate of 2.5 per cent a year for the first four years. That tranche closed on Feb 3.

TM PROTECT 1 BY TOKIO MARINE LIFE INSURANCE SINGAPORE (TMLS)

TM Protect 1 is the only disability income plan here that provides a monthly benefit payment upon the loss of a single Activity of Daily Living (ADL). Other disability income plans on the market offer payouts only upon the loss of at least two ADLs.

Using a standard way to measure the extent of personal disability, the six ADLs are: transferring, mobility, toileting, dressing, washing and feeding.

A monthly benefit payment is made continuously (after a 90-day deferment period) to the policyholder up to 72 months (depending on the plan type) or until the ability to perform the ADL(s) returns, whichever is earlier. The monthly premium for a 40-year-old male policyholder who opts for a 72-month payout policy that provides a $3,000 monthly disability payout is $33.74. His plan comes with a one-time caregiver benefit of $3,000 and other benefits that cover home improvement, mobility aids reimbursement and transport.

Note that the maximum age for the plan's coverage is 70, which some might deem inadequate.

Mr James Tan, chief executive officer of TMLS, said: "TM Protect 1 reflects our understanding that the inability to perform even a single ADL would result in a significant impact on an individual's income.

"As a potential supplement to existing insurance, the plan aims to provide the financial support - most critical during the initial years of disability - to policyholders by covering costs related to aspects such as rehabilitation, transport and mobility aids. We hope to address existing coverage gaps and enable our policyholders to manage longevity risks and lead enriching lives."

The insurer said that carrying out ADLs is often taken for granted, despite disability affecting about 15 per cent of the global population. The issue of disability is equally prevalent in Singapore. The risk increases exponentially with age, from 2.1 per cent among those below 18 to 13.3 per cent for people above 50.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on February 26, 2017, with the headline 'Bet on disruptors, grow your money, get protected'. Print Edition | Subscribe