Review criteria for CPF investments

Retail investors are allowed to use their Central Provident Fund ordinary and special accounts for investments. However, it seems that 85 per cent of these investors are better off putting their money in their ordinary accounts instead of investing it ("MAS beefs up safeguards for retail investors", Sept 23; and "Many CPF investors get their fingers burnt", June 15).

The selection process for eligible CPF collective investment funds is flawed and lacks sufficient scrutiny.

The funds are limited in choice and hardly give investors leeway to diversify their portfolios.

High levels of management and expenses fees further hinder investors from making a decent return.

Volatility in unit trusts also limits annual returns, compared to direct investments in equities.

Given this situation, it may not be a good move for the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to grant CPF members the option to invest in collective investment funds.

The MAS should review the criteria for selecting CPF-eligible funds, and cap their annual fees in order to benefit investors.

Only then can the MAS provide any meaningful and extensive help and safeguard for retail investors.

Tay Kim Lee

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 24, 2015, with the headline 'Review criteria for CPF investments'. Print Edition | Subscribe