Published Date: 28 November 2009

Opening Remarks by Mr Heng Swee Keat, Managing Director, Monetary Authority of Singapore, at the "Mind Your Money" Seminar at the Pan Pacific Hotel

Ladies and Gentlemen

Lucas and I are very encouraged to see so many of you here today, investing time and effort to learn more about personal investing.  I thank our Mediacorp artistes and our partners of MoneySENSE for your commitment to this event. 

2   Singaporeans are like squirrels. We work hard, and save for the future.  The squirrel puts the nuts it save in a safe place, but the nuts do not grow. 

3   Our savings, however, can grow, if we invest it properly.  How do we make our savings work hard for us?   For example, if we put aside $100 every month and earn 1% per annum, at the end of 20 years, our savings would have grown to about $26,500.  If it earns 5% per annum, the amount would be over $41,000.  We are definitely attracted to the higher returns.  But there is no free lunch - the high returns will also come with higher risks.

4   I once gave a talk in school, and a student mentioned that her father invested all his money in a few stocks, convinced that these will rise. She asked if that was right.  My reply was that if you have the skills and resources to pick stocks,  that is one way. But if you do not, putting all your eggs in one basket is very risky.  You can lose all your life's savings.   So what is right for one investor may not be right for another. We need to understand the risk-return trade-off in every investment, and our own risk profile.

5   Just as we put in time and effort to learn and do well in our job, we must take the time and effort to learn the knowledge and skills to manage and invest our money wisely.   We need to learn the risk-return of investment products, and our own risk profile.    The best first investment we can make is an investment in financial education.   

6   MAS, together with our MoneySENSE partners, are committed to helping Singaporeans to be more financially savvy.  For students, we work with the Ministry of Education.  For working adults, we partner the Ministry of Manpower, the Central Provident Fund Board and National Trade Union Congress. For the wider community, we work closely with the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports, National Library Board and the People's Association.

7   I am glad that in recent years, financial industry associations, Consumer Association of Singapore (CASE), Securities Investors Association Singapore (SIAS) and Singapore Management University's Sim Kee Boon Institute for Financial Economics have also been partnering MoneySENSE to educate consumers on financial planning and common financial products.

8   Financial education is an on-going effort, and we will work hard to continue to expand the range and reach of our programmes. Let me briefly mention two new initiatives. 

9   The first is that MoneySENSE is now on Facebook. We would like to invite you, your families and friends to sign up to be a MoneySENSE fan. Students from the Ngee Ann Polytechnic Investment Club and our staff are here today - they are eager for your to sign up.

10   Second, MoneySENSE intends to partner an Institute of Higher Learning to set up a Financial Literacy Institute. Building on MoneySENSE's work, the Institute will identify core financial literacy competencies at each stage of our life, and develop and conduct programmes to enable us to learn these skills.

11   So I hope we will all remember that the best first investment we can make is an investment in financial education. Today, I am sure you'd pick up useful points from our Mediacorp artistes and experts. Enjoy this seminar. Thank You!