Top News this Week (25 Feb)


Rounding up top investing articles from around the web, including articles shared on Twitter.

Fires involving active mobility devices rise again; total number of blazes up 8.6% in 2023: SCDF (Straits Times)

More fires involving active mobility devices (AMDs) raged in 2023 compared to 2022, marking the rise of such blazes again after three years.

These fires, involving personal mobility devices (PMDs), power assisted bicycles (PABs) and personal mobility aids (PMAs), increased by 31 per cent to 55 cases in 2023, up from 42 fires in 2022.

S’pore to invest up to $100m to upgrade national broadband network to 10Gbps (Straits Times)

The $100 million investment by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) will be channelled to upgrade the back-end network and user equipment up till 2026 to allow residential broadband services to deliver connection speeds of up to 10Gbps.

The upgrading marks a next step in Singapore’s Nationwide Broadband Network, commercially launched in 2010 with a $1 billion investment from the Singapore Government. The network, which is already capable of supporting speeds of 10Gbps, reached more than 95 per cent of homes and businesses in Singapore in 2013, a first in the world.

askST: How will closing of Special Account impact CPF members when they turn 55? (Straits Times)

The Special Accounts (SA) of CPF members aged 55 and above will be closed, Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong said in the Budget speech on Feb 16.

The Enhanced Retirement Sum (ERS), which is the maximum amount these members can commit towards CPF Life retirement payouts, will be raised to four times the Basic Retirement Sum (BRS), from three times currently. That means the ERS will be $426,000 in 2025.

The Enhanced, Full and Basic Retirement Sums are reference points for how much CPF members need to save to meet their desired monthly payouts. 

The CPF Board said the reason for the closure of the SA is that some SA savings can be withdrawn from age 55, and savings that are withdrawable at any time should earn interest rates commensurate with their short-term nature.

1. How will the closure of the Special Account affect CPF members aged 55 and above?

A: On a CPF member’s 55th birthday, a Retirement Account (RA) is created for him. Currently, after the RA is created, the SA remains open, but that will no longer be the case from 2025.

When the SA is closed, the savings there will go into the RA up to the Full Retirement Sum (FRS) – which is two times the BRS, or $213,000 in 2025. Any savings beyond that will go into the Ordinary Account (OA), which offers a lower interest rate of 2.5 per cent per annum, compared with around 4 per cent for the SA and RA.

Any CPF contributions allocated to the SA currently – for example, if the CPF member is still working – will also go into the RA, up to the FRS.

People who may be affected are those who invest their SA savings through the CPF Investment Scheme to prevent them from being transferred to the RA at 55 – a practice known as Special Account “shielding”.

They typically do this within six months before they turn 55. After the RA is created, they liquidate their investments, keeping the funds in their SA to enjoy the withdrawal flexibility and higher interest rates.

With the closure of the SA, any proceeds from the investments if they are sold or reach maturity will be paid into the RA. Again, if the FRS in the RA is met, the monies will then go to the OA, where the interest rate is lower.

2. How can I continue to maximise the interest rates on my CPF balances after I turn 55?

A: If you have reached the FRS in your RA and have excess savings from the SA transferred to the OA, you can choose to move some of these savings into the RA up to the raised ERS to earn a higher interest rate.

These savings will earn at least the interest rate floor, which is currently 4 per cent, in your RA, but the transfer of savings to the RA cannot be reversed. These savings will be reserved to boost your retirement payouts and cannot be taken out for other purposes, such as investment or emergency needs.

So you have essentially given up the flexibility of being able to withdraw this money, which could have been sitting in your OA, in return for higher interest rates.

STB gave grant for Taylor Swift concerts, event likely to generate major benefits for S’pore economy: Govt (Straits Times)

On Feb 16, Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin said he was informed by concert promoter Anschutz Entertainment Group that the Singapore Government offered subsidies of up to US$3 million (S$4 million) for each concert – in exchange for Swift agreeing not to perform elsewhere in South-east Asia during The Eras Tour.

Several foreign media outlets, including the Bangkok Post, reported that Mr Srettha made the comment during the iBusiness Forum 2024 in the Thai capital Bangkok.

3,066 victims lose over $45m in job scams between Oct 2023 and Jan 2024 (Straits Times)

At least 3,066 victims lost $45.7 million or more after they were targeted in job scams between Oct 1, 2023, and Jan 31, 2024, the police said on Feb 20.

Scammers approached their victims through dating apps, messaging platforms or social media to befriend them or offer jobs, before asking them to perform tasks for a commission.

In the case of job scams involving tasks to generate traction on social media, the victims were added to WhatsApp or Telegram chat groups by scammers who promised them easy and profitable online jobs.

Uber Eats to begin self-driving robot deliveries in Japan (CNBC)

  • Uber announced that its Uber Eats business is partnering with Mitsubishi Electric and delivery robotics company Cartken to begin transporting food using self-driving robots in Japan.
  • The sidewalk robot deliveries are set to start by the end of March in a select area of Tokyo.
  • The news marks the latest joint effort by Uber Eats and Cartken, which already offer sidewalk robot deliveries in Miami and in Fairfax, Virginia. 

Jeff Bezos unloads around $2.4 billion in Amazon stock, bringing recent sales to 50 million shares (CNBC)

  • Jeff Bezos unloaded more than 14 million shares of Amazon stock in recent days, according to a securities filing.
  • The latest disclosure brings the total sold in the past month to 50 million shares.
  • Bezos has been aggressively selling Amazon stock since he disclosed a plan to sell up to 50 million shares in the company before Jan. 31, 2025.

Skull and Bones, Singapore’s first major video game title, launches to mixed reviews after decade-long wait (CNBC)

  • Bolstering the gaming industry in Singapore has been a priority of the government, with Ubisoft Singapore having received a grant to aid in the development of a major gaming title.
  • Reviews of the game, which reportedly took a decade and $200 million to make, have been poor to mixed.
  • “It’s meeting my expectations, and it’s just the launch. So far, players are engaged with it, they’re giving us feedback, and we already fixed a few bugs,” said Jean-Francois Vallee, managing director of Ubisoft Singapore.

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