This Versus That

POSB/DBS vs OCBC vs POEMS vs Maybank Kim Eng: Which Regular Savings Plan Should You Choose?

Peter Lin


According to a report by The Straits Times, 52% of Singaporeans admitted to gambling in 2017 – that’s up 8% from the 44% of 2014. Ridiculous, right? So this year, we suggest you actually make good on your 2019 “new year new me” resolution and skip that trip to Singapore Pools.

Instead of praying to tio 4D, consider growing your money through investments. If you think about it, it’s still a gamble, except with WAY better odds that the 1 in 10,000 that the first prize gives you.

But wait! Don’t you need lots of capital and effort to invest? Lottery tickets are so much cheaper and easier to obtain! Maybe in the past that was true, but with a regular savings plan there’s no excuse NOT to start investing the second you turn 18.


  1. What is a regular savings plan?
  2. What regular savings plans are available?
  3. Regular savings plan fees & promotions 
  4. What is the UOB Young Professionals Solution?
  5. Conclusion – which regular savings plan should you choose?


What is a regular savings plan?

A regular savings plan invests a fixed amount of funds every month into buying shares or unit trusts. regular savings plan uses an investment method called dollar-cost averaging to protect the investor from most of the volatility of stocks. Dollar-cost averaging uses the same amount of funds to buy more when prices are low and buy less when prices are high. Learn more about dollar-cost averaging here.

A regular savings plan is the best option if you are a beginner investor. It is also suitable if you are someone who does not have the time or the patience to watch the stock market regularly and react accordingly to fluctuations. It is designed for medium to long-term investments, so don’t expect to make a quick buck.

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What regular savings plans are available?

Singapore currently offers four options: POSB Invest-Saver, OCBC Blue Chip Investment Plan, POEMS Share Builders Plan and Maybank Kim Eng Monthly Investment Plan. In a bid to remain competitive, all of them now allow you to begin investing with as little as $100 a month!

What sets them apart are the share counters you can invest in, and the cost of investing with them.

Blue ChipInvestmentPlanMonthlyInvestmentPlanShareBuildersPlanShare Counters AvailableNikko AM STI ETFSPDR STI ETFSingtelCapitaLand+ 50 other share countersNikko AM STI ETFComfort DelGroOlam InternationalWilmar International+ 15 other share countersSPDR STI ETFCapitaLand Mall TrustSingapore AirlinesST Engineering+35 other share countersABF Singapore Bond Index FundNikko AM STI ETFFees0.5% for Nikko AM STI ETF1% for ABF Singapore Bond Index Fund0.3% of total investment amount ORS$5 per counter (whichever is higher)Total investment amount ≤ S$10001-2 counters: S$63 or more: S$10Total investment amount > S$10000.2% or S$10(whichever is higher)Total investment amount ≤ S$10001%Total investment amount > S$10000.18%DividendsCredited to DBS/POSB debiting accountCash dividends go into your OCBC deposit accountStock dividends or bonus issues safe-kept with OCBC SecuritiesReinvested into preferred counterORPaid out in cashDeposited into the pre-funded accountWhich Regular Savings PlanShould You Use?Invest-Saver

regular savings plans Share counters Fees Dividends
Maybank Kim Eng monthly investment plan Nikko AM STI ETF, SPDR STI ETF, Singtel, CapitaLand
+50 other share counters
1% for <$1,000 & 0.18% for >$1,000 Deposited into the pre-funded account
OCBC blue chip investment plan Nikko AM ST ETF, Comfort Delgro, Olam International, Wilmar International
+ 15 other share counters
0.30% of total investment amount OR $5 per counter (whichever is higher) Cash dividends go into your OCBC deposit account, while stock dividends or bonus issues are safe-kept with OCBC Securities
POEMS share builders plan SPDR STI ETF, CapitaLand Mall Trust, Singapore Airlines, ST Engineering

+35 other share counters

$6 for <$1,000 and 2 or less counters, $10 for <$1,000 and 3 or more counters & 0.2% or $10 for >$1,000 (whichever is higher) Paid out in cash OR reinvested into preferred counter
DBS invest-saver ABF Singapore Bond Index Fund, Nikko AM STI ETF 0.5% f0r Nikko AM STI, 1% for ABF Singapore Bond Index Fund Credited into your DBS/POSB debiting account

Each regular savings plan available gives you the opportunity to invest in an STI ETF. This is an Exchange Traded Fund that invests in the top 30 listed companies on the Singapore Stock Exchange. That means, using as little as $100, you can invest in 30 Singapore blue-chip companies including DBS, OCBC, SingTel, UOB and Keppel Corp. Find out more about Exchange Traded Funds in our Learning Centre.

Currently, Maybank Kim Eng gives you the chance the invest in the most share counters, followed by POEMS (54 and 39 respectively). OCBC is further behind with just 18 share counters, but it still beats DBS/POSB which only offers 2 options – the ABF Singapore Bond Index Fund and Nikko AM STI ETF.

When it comes to dividends earned, POEMS and POSB offers the ability to channel any dividends you earn back into your regular savings plan. Neither OCBC or Maybank Kim Eng has such an option for now.

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How much does it cost to invest in a regular savings plan?

Depending on how much you invest, Maybank Kim Eng either charges the most (1% for amounts less than $1,000) or the least (0.18% for amounts $1,000 and above).

OCBC charges only 0.3% of the amount invested, but has a minimum charge of $5 per counter. That means if you invest $200 a month, the fee is $5. If you invest $1,666 a month, the fee is $5. Unlike POSB, however, OCBC also charges 0.3% or $5 whichever is higher when you cash in your investments.

POEMS has a slightly complicated system where it depends on the investment amount and how many counters you’re investing in. If your investment amount is less than $1,000, then for 1 or 2 counters, sales charge is a flat rate of $6, for 3 or more counters, sales charge is a flat rate of $10. If your investment amount is more than $1,000, then the charge is 0.2% or $10 whichever is higher.

POSB charges the most by percentage, with fees of 1% of the amount invested in the Nikko AM Singapore STI ETF and 0.5% for the ABF Singapore Bond Index Fund. That means if you invest $200 a month, the fee should be $2 a month for the STI ETF and $1 for the Bond Index Fund.


Current regular savings plan promotions

Now, that’s how much you have to pay to invest with a regular savings plan. If you’re a new investor, you can earn some of that back with their sign-up promotions.

regular savings plans Promotions Validity
Maybank Kim Eng monthly investment plan Up to $120 in commission rebates & $20 shopping voucher when you trade SGX-listed stocks 1 Jan to 30 June 2019
OCBC blue chip investment plan
POEMS share builders plan Up to $100 worth of sign-up bonus 7 Jan to 31 Mar 2019
DBS invest-saver 100% rebate on sales charges 1 Jan to 31 Mar 2019

For the full terms of each promotion, visit the broker’s individual promo pages (linked above).

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Alternatively, consider the UOB Young Professionals Solution

The UOB Young Professionals Solution allows you to channel your interest earned from the UOB One Account and the cashback rebates from any UOB Credit Card, and invest them in unit trusts.

With the Sweep feature of the Young Professionals Solution, you can buy unit trusts with your earned interest and rebates and enjoy zero sales charge for your monthly investment. The usual sales charge is 2% per transaction, which can really eat into your earnings over time, so waiving them really goes a long way.

Unlike most regular savings plans, Sweep only allows you to invest in one unit trust fund – the United SGD Fund, a low to medium risk investment product by UOB. But because it’s optional, you can choose to join or leave and stop channelling your accumulated interest and cashback rebates to the unit trust fund anytime.

·Allows you to channel interest earned from a UOB One Account and cashback rebates from any UOB credit card for investment·Only one unit trust fund allowed – the United SGD Fund

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So, which regular savings plan should you use?

Ideally, you would want to reduce the cost of investing. If you’re planning to invest an amount between $100 and $500 a month, you should go with POSB or Maybank Kim Eng. The 1% sales fee means you pay between $1 and $5. If you’re looking at between $500 and $3,333.33 a month, you might want to go with OCBC.

The 0.3% or $5 fee means you pay between $5 and $10 a month. If you’re able to invest $3,333.33 or more a month, go with POEMS or Maybank Kim Eng. The fee you pay is $10 or 0.18% (Maybank Kim Eng) or 0.2% (POEMS), whichever is higher.

Take the case study of the fictitious Mr Tony Teo. He earns $3,000 a month and is able to set aside $500 for investments. He is an investment virgin who doesn’t have the expertise or the patience for a more complex investment. He decides to invest using a regular savings plan.

Mr. Tony TeoMonthly incomeS$3000Wants to set asideS$500for investmentsBlue ChipInvestmentPlanMonthlyInvestmentPlanShareBuildersPlanInvest-SaverInvests InNikko AM STI ETFS$300ABF Singapore Bond Index FundS$200Nikko AM STI ETFS$300ComfortDelGroS$200STI ETFS$300CapitaMall TrustS$200Nikko AM STI ETFS$300Apple Inc.S$200FeesS$4(S$3 + S$1)S$10(S$5 + S$5)S$6S$5(S$3 + S$2)

Mr Teo feels overwhelmed by the various share counters POEMS makes available to him. If he chooses to invest his $500 in just two counters, he will be paying at least $6 a month, or more than 1% of the transaction fee. The fees get worse if he wants to invest in two counters with OCBC. He will pay $5 per counter, which comes up to $10 a month, or 2% of the transaction fee.

With Maybank Kim Eng, Mr Teo could take advantage of the ability to invest in overseas share counters in the US, Malaysian, Thai and Hong Kong markets. This gives him access to popular tech counters like Apple and Google. He will be paying $5 in total, or 1% of his investment amounts.

POSB Invest-Saver is the only plan that offers investors the opportunity to diversify into bonds, which are less volatile than shares. Despite the higher transaction charge by percentage, they are actually the best option for investors who can only set aside a small amount to invest each month.

With $500 a month, Mr Teo has the option of choosing to invest in bonds and shares! If he chooses to invest $300 in the STI ETF and $200 in the ABF Index Fund, he only pays a sales fee of $3 for the shares and $1 for the bonds! That’s $4 in transaction fees for POSB Invest-Saver compared to $5 for Maybank Kim Eng Monthly Investment Plan, $6 for POEMS Share Builders Plan and $10 for OCBC Blue Chip Investment Plan.

So if you’re a small-time investor who doesn’t have the patience to monitor the stock market on a daily basis, then POSB Invest-Saver is the regular savings plan for you.

So forget spending even a cent on 4D, Toto or Big Sweep. Just $100 a month in a regular savings plan is the best “gamble” you’ll ever take.


Have you invested in a regular savings plan before? Share your experiences with us!


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Peter Lin

I am the poster boy for reinventing one's self. I've been a broadcast journalist, technical writer, banking customer service officer and a Catholic friar. My life experiences have made me the most cynical idealist you'll ever meet, which is why I'm also the co-founder of a local pop culture website. I believe ignorance is not bliss, and that money is the root of all evil only if you allow it to be.