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Monday, 6 June 2011

More young professional investing

SINGAPORE: More young Singaporeans -- mainly professionals under the age of 40 -- are having a hand into trading shares on the stock exchange.

A recent research said the advent of online or Internet trading is the main driver behind the increasing number of young investors.

Some 58 per cent of Singaporeans are described as current or occasional investors.

Fifty per cent of potential investors are under the age of 40, with 65 per cent of them earning a monthly income between S$4,000 and S$6,000.

This is according to a study by Standard Chartered Bank which said on average, an individual owns at least 2.3 investments.

Stocks and unit trusts are the most popular forms of investments, accounting for 45 per cent of trade volume.

The survey polled some 500 professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs) in Singapore.

It added online trading has increased investors' access to overseas markets.

Standard Chartered Bank Singapore and Southeast Asia regional head of wealth management Andrew Chia said: "Their favourite market is still SGX, followed by the US markets.

"... The younger and even some affluent customers... (have) started to do it on a DIY basis - they will buy and sell shares, ETFs (exchange traded fund) online, on their own".

But remisiers here said they are unperturbed by the rising competition from online trading.

Many said they believe it is unlikely their roles will be replaced by online trading and believe that both are complementary.

There are still numerous post-trading functions that remisiers perform, including payment and settlement matters.

The Society of Remisiers president Albert Fong said: "With the internet, while you're busy serving the customers who need more help, there are those who are very comfortable to trade on (their) own, and with our support, they are likely to trade more".

Remisiers said they also assist their clients with interpreting market information and understanding corporate entitlements such as bonus issues.

Meanwhile, the study has spurred Standard Chartered to launch its new online trading platform.

The bank said it believes there is potential for the online trading business, and also sees it as an added service for its customers who already conduct banking transactions online.

"We offer access to 10 different countries, 14 exchanges - very competitive charges," Standard Chartered Bank's Mr Chia said.

"And most importantly... we are the first to offer no minimum commission."

The bank charges no minimum commission, and fees of 0.2 per cent for trading of Singapore-listed shares and 0.25 per cent for trading in all other markets.

-CNA/wk

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