Thursday, December 11, 2014

The Best SRS Bank?

Back in April, I wrote about the Supplementary Retirement Scheme that Singapore has in place. My conclusion was that the SRS account offers not much benefit for people in the lower tax brackets, considering that your money is locked-up for many years. So unless you are currently being taxed in the 11.5% tax bracket range, there is little benefit of the SRS scheme.

However, for the older people and those in better jobs, putting aside some of your money being taxed above the current $80,000 threshold (that is now liable for 11.5% tax), it would be advantageous to put your retirement money to work in the SRS account to let it grow tax-free.

Anyway, I was just wishfully thinking to myself, "Hopefully I will have to open up and SRS account one day... why not check out which is the best bank currently?"

So which banks offer SRS accounts?


It is clearly listed on IRAS, there are only 3 banks:

DBS (schedule of charges)
OCBC (more info)
UOB

So, as you can see, DBS clearly has a nice schedule of charges for the transactions and service fees of the account. I think the most painful thing is the $2 charge per quarter per counter. That means $8 a year for every stock / unit trust you have. Currently, I think I hold almost 10 different unit trusts and more than 10 stock counters! That would be... $160 a year in fees? Of course, if you only invest in a single counter or a single unit trust, then the charge is just $8 a year. But you know, diversification.

OCBC did not list their schedule of charges, so I was a bit confused. I sent them an email asking for their fees regarding the SRS account, and I was pleasantly surprised by the email I received back.


The SRS account under OCBC carries no service fees or transaction charges! With the exception of CDP charges, this is pretty awesome!

UOB also did not list their schedule of charges, and I am very lazy to email them about it. Why? I do not have a bank account with UOB. I think they have great fund management services (I use their unit trusts), but as a consumer retail bank, I do not find them compelling at all. However, snooping around the internet, I did find myself in a Hardwarezone forum and certain users have commented that UOB waives all transaction and services fees. Take it with a pinch of salt and contact UOB for confirmation, aites?

So, from my obviously undetermined but lazily investigation, I have come to the very unscientific conclusion that OCBC is probably the best bank for your SRS account. UOB would be 2nd place even if they do waive all charges. Waiving charges and having no charges are different things, because the waiver can be revoked any time. What is certain though, is that DBS is at the bottom of the league.

FSM replied to a post regarding this exact topic, but the information is a year old, but the evidence that they digged up seem to confirm my conclusion.

TL;DR: People over the income bracket of $80,000 should want to consider opening up an SRS account. OCBC seems to be the best bank for an SRS account.

To those out there with SRS accounts, which bank are you with and what are your experiences with them, and also the fees that you have been paying? Would love to hear from you guys!

6 comments:

  1. Hi GMGH,

    I opened my SRS account with OCBC. I find their internet portal to be relatively easy to use. I can confirm they do not charge holding fees. Cheers!

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    1. Thanks S-Reit System Investor for sharing! It's good info for everyone to know :)

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  2. I confirm for ocbc too as i hv SRS with them.
    DBS Totally sucks in customer service. My cpf investment account is with them and they are terrible. Cost me my opportunity to get my Rights issue due to poor information from their call center. Very bad.

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    1. Hi pf! Thanks for the confirmation for OCBC, it's good to hear! Yes, I actually wanted to talk about the CPF-IA also, but I do not know as much about it compared to the SRS. I will do a post one of these days about the CPF-IA once I have read up more about it!

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  3. I opened by SRS account with DBS in 2007 (or 2008.!) and have been with them since. They've never charged those maintenance fees they show in that fee schedule - and this is what is stated in the FSM link you've posted too. If DBS do start charging you can bet I'll be rushing to OCBC!

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    1. Hi Serendib,

      I have just opened up my SRS account with OCBC! It was a simple 3 minute online form and done within a few days. I feel OCBC is a lot more pro-active and fuss-free when it comes to their retail customers, though DBS does have good promotions sometimes. Without DBS letting people know what their fees are or if they are being waived, I am sure they are losing out in the SRS competition.

      I heard from senior bankers in other banks that DBS really doesn't care about fighting for deposits. I guess they are awash in cash, especially with their POSB arm.

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