Fed rates unchanged: What to do with your cash? — Endowus cash management solutions (February 2024)
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Fed rates unchanged: What to do with your cash? — Endowus cash management solutions (February 2024)

Apr 2024
Feb 2024

Hopes of an imminent interest rate cut from central banks in US and Europe were dashed. In the US, for instance, Jerome Powell, chair of the Federal Reserve, indicated that a rate cut in the next meeting (on 20 March) is unlikely. Meanwhile, as expected, the Fed kept interest rates unchanged at the range of 5.25% to 5.50% at the first Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting of the year.

The Fed’s mission to tamp down inflation proves to be a long journey. Data show that the US consumer price growth in January remains sticky. Inflation is standing at above 3%, ahead of economist expectations. Worrying markets the most is that shelter costs remain the single largest contributor to January inflation, a category that economists and markets were expecting would start to ease. Given these, concerns continue to loom as the widely anticipated rate cut may even be further delayed until after the meeting in May.

With that as a backdrop, what should investors do with their cash now as interest rates have touched their peak? What are yields for liquid and near-liquid instruments looking like? But before we explore that, let’s consider what we offer you on our platform to grow your hard-earned cash. 

On Endowus, you can select from a list of cash management or liquidity funds available on our Fund Smart platform, or consider our Cash Smart portfolios that allow you to earn higher yields with no penalties on redemptions.

More importantly, enjoy daily liquidity for full flexibility. The funds on the Endowus platform are well diversified and enable you to take advantage of high yields in the current environment, while minimising concentration risks to single issuers.

We have these solutions available in SGD, USD, and other major currencies. With Endowus, you can invest in funds and advised portfolios using Cash, CPF, or Supplementary Retirement Scheme (SRS) savings. Endowus also has corporate cash solutions, which you can find out more about here.

With higher interest rates, net yields as of 2 February 2024 now range from 3.41% to 4.95% p.a. for cash management funds available on the Endowus platform.

Cash management solutions on the Endowus platform

Here are the key money market or liquidity funds available on the Endowus platform:

Fund name / ISIN Gross yield1 Net yield1 YTD returns2 2023 returns 2022 returns 2021 returns AUM3 Credit quality4 Duration (days)4
Fullerton SGD Cash Fund
ISIN: SG9999005961
3.93% 3.75% 0.35% 3.89% 1.68% 0.26% SGD 4.67bn N/A (fund primarily invests in bank deposits) 46
LionGlobal SGD Money Market Fund
ISIN: SG9999002760
4.05% 3.83% 0.33% 3.46% 1.34% 0.64% SGD 536m AA- 77
United SGD Money Market Fund
ISIN: SG9999017297
3.66% 3.41% 0.33% 3.66% 1.28% 0.18% SGD 380m AAA 70
LionGlobal SGD Enhanced Liquidity Fund
ISIN: SG9999019301
4.04% 3.80% 0.31% 2.68% 1.49% 1.30% SGD 652m AA 73
Amundi Cash USD Fund
ISIN: LU0568621618
5.42% 4.91% 0.50% 5.32% 1.55% 0.07% USD 3.62bn A+ 47
Fullerton USD Cash Fund
ISIN: SGXZ99103178
5.29% 4.95% 0.49% 5.08% 1.40% -0.01% USD 645m N/A (fund primarily invests in bank deposits) 42

Note 1: Gross yield and net yield are the latest available data as of 2 February 2024. Net yield is after deducting fund-level fees and Endowus access fee, and adding back rebates. The Endowus Fee is subject to GST from 1 April 2023 onwards. Source: Endowus Research, respective fund managers.
Note 2: Year-to-date (YTD) returns as of 31 January 2024. Returns calculated using monthly returns in base currency. Returns are net of fund-level fees, but do not reflect Endowus access fee and rebates. The Endowus Fee is subject to GST from 1 April 2023 onwards. Source: Endowus Research, Morningstar.
Note 3: Assets under management (AUM) as of 4 January 2024 for Fullerton, UOBAM, and Amundi funds, and 30 November 2023 for LionGlobal funds Source: Morningstar.
Note 4: Credit quality and duration data are latest available as of 2 February 2024. Source: Respective fund managers.

As with all investments, investors are reminded that putting your money into money market or liquidity funds come with some degree of risk, and that the yield is not guaranteed. If you do not wish to be subject to the risk of capital loss, we recommend you to consider capital-protected vehicles such as bank deposits, or government-backed instruments such as Singapore Savings Bonds (SSBs) and Treasury bills (T-bills). To find out more about each fund’s historical track record, click on the fund names above.

Bond yields vs returns — what’s the difference?

Many of the cash management funds highlighted above invest primarily in fixed-income securities, which include bonds. 

Simply put, fixed-income securities are debt instruments. An investor lends money to the issuer (basically, the borrower), and in return the investor receives coupons — or interest payments — on a regular basis. Entities that issue bonds include governments and corporations.

By investing your money in a fund that includes fixed-income securities, you are essentially lending your money to the issuers that the fund management company has chosen based on its analysis.

Here are quick definitions of yields and returns in this context:

  • Yields: These refer to the payouts — that is, the interest payments — generated by a fixed-income security. Yields are based on the total annualised future returns that you would have received by the end of the security’s tenor (i.e. reflecting all the payments you would’ve received by maturity).
  • Returns: These are generated by the increase or decrease in the value of a fixed-income security during the lifespan of the security. Returns are based on what you would have already earned up to the present day if you were to sell the security today.

A fundamental difference between yields and returns lies in the timeframe.

To illustrate this, let’s use a simple example of a one-year bond. You invest $1,000, which is the principal amount, in the bond of Company X and the company promises to repay this sum plus 5% interest (yield) at the end of one year. After a year, you would have earned a 5% return in total. 

In other words, as long as (i) you hold your fixed-income security until it matures, and (ii) the borrower does not default on the debt — the yield is very likely to be the total return you will earn. This is why yields are important in assessing the implied future return of cash management funds (and even longer-duration fixed income funds).

This scenario, of the yield equating to the return, changes when you choose to trade the bond. 

Let’s say the same Company X runs into financial difficulties. You’re not willing to stomach the increased risk of the company failing to repay the principal by the maturity date or missing the interest payment. Therefore, you decide to sell your bond investment in the secondary market. There, you are quoted a trading price that will mean you sell the bond at less than the principal of $1,000. If we assume this sum to be $900, that means you incur a loss of $100, or a return of -10%.

In other words:

  • You would care about the “return” if you trade the fixed-income security before it matures.
  • The value of fixed income securities is subject to various factors, including the financials of the companies, or even the broader market environment. Put simply, this value is what you will get if you choose to sell the security to a third party.
  • This value changes on a daily basis, and is reflected as the returns.

Comparing fixed deposits, T-bills, SSBs, and cash management funds

The world of cash management spans a wide variety of yield enhancement products. Investors in Singapore who are looking for a higher interest rate may turn to fixed deposits from Singapore banks, Singapore government Treasury bills (T-bills), Singapore Savings Bonds (SSBs), or unit trusts, for example.

However, it is important for investors to have a clear understanding of the pros and cons of each of these instruments — they often come with trade-offs involving yield, lock-ups, duration, minimum or maximum investment amounts, and transaction fees. 

And if you’re looking to invest your CPF Ordinary Account (OA) savings, bear in mind that not all cash management products are available for OA investments.

The table below shows key details about Singapore fixed deposits, T-bills, SSBs, and cash management unit trusts on the Endowus platform, including the latest available information on their yields (as of the time of writing). For fixed deposits, please note that the range of current yields should be taken as a guide only, given that fixed deposit interest rates in Singapore change frequently. 

An overview of key cash management products available in Singapore

Type of instrument Fixed deposits Singapore government Treasury bills (T-bills) Singapore Savings Bonds (SSBs) Cash management funds on Endowus
Capital guarantee Yes, by SDIC No, but backed by sovereign rating No, but backed by sovereign rating No, but some funds are very unlikely to lose money
Current yields (p.a.) 2.7% to 3.7%^ (estimated) 3.59%
(6-month T-bill, 6 Feb 2024 auction)
1-year interest rate: 2.72%
10-year average return p.a.: 2.81%
(Feb 2024 tranche)
3.41% to 4.95%
(as of 2 Feb 2024)
Yield type Fixed; depends on the bank Auctioned; may be higher or lower than benchmark Fixed; announced monthly Floating; rises when market rate goes up
Lock-up Yes; penalty for early withdrawal Can be sold, but at high cost and low liquidity Yes; no early withdrawal penalty, but will generate lower yield No
Duration Months or years 6 months or 1 year 10 years Less than 1 year
Application time Days Up to 14 days before auction + 3 days after auction Up to 1 month before allotment; redemption takes at least 1 week Days
CPF OA investing? No Yes, but incurs extra transaction fees and other costs No Yes, for some funds that are suitable for cash management purposes but are categorised as short-term bond funds^^
Minimum investment Yes; depends on the bank $1,000 minimum, in increments of $1,000 $500 minimum, in increments of $500 Existing investors: $100
New investors: $1,000
Maximum investment None Non-competitive bids are capped at $1 million per auction $200,000 None
Transaction fees None $2 per transaction + $2.50 quarterly fees for CPF OA $2 per transaction None

^As fixed deposit interest rates change frequently, this range should be taken as an illustrative guide only. Readers are advised to check the most updated rates with the relevant financial institutions.
^^As these are short-term bond funds, they have a different pricing structure from cash management solutions.
Source: Monetary Authority of Singapore, Endowus Research. Note: SDIC refers to the Singapore Deposit Insurance Corporation.

The smart and flexible way to earn more on your cash

Looking to build your own investment portfolio? The Fullerton SGD Cash Fund, with a net yield of 3.75% p.a.*, could be a great addition depending on your needs and objectives. You can add it to your portfolio by following these steps

If you’re interested in advised portfolios, Cash Smart Secure is another good option, with projected yields ranging between 3.6% and 3.9% p.a**. Cash Smart Enhanced is available as well for investors who are willing to take more risk relative to the Cash Smart Secure solution. Critically, Endowus offers our cash management solutions at fees of just 0.05% (as of 2 February 2024), making our offerings highly competitive for your low-risk investments. This is on top of our longstanding practice to rebate any trailer fees back to our clients. Learn more about our Cash Smart offerings here.

Make your cash work smarter for you. If you have money set aside for an upcoming expense, earn higher returns on it instead of letting it sit idle in your current or savings account. To get started with Endowus, click here

*As of 2 February 2024. Net yield after deducting fund-level fees and Endowus access fee, and adding back rebates. Note: The Endowus Fee is subject to GST from 1 April 2023 onwards. Source: Endowus Research, Fullerton Fund Management.

**As of 2 February 2024. Net yield after deducting fund-level fees and Endowus access fee, and adding back rebates. Note: The Endowus Fee is subject to GST from 1 April 2023 onwards. Source: Endowus Research, Fullerton Fund Management, Lion Global Investors

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