Cost Structures of Investment Offerings in Singapore’s Central Provident Fund

Benedict S. K. Koh, Olivia S. Mitchell, and Joelle Fong

Abstract —As policymakers seek to enhance the returns paid on participants’ investments in their retirement systems, much attention has focused on the Singaporean Central Provident Fund (CPF) and how professionally-managed unit trusts permitted under the CPFIS scheme fit into the system. This paper begins by indicating the investment choices made available to participants; we also summarize the various transaction costs associated with unit trust investments. Next, we examine the determinants of these costs and investigate which factors have a bearing on the cost structure of unit trusts. Our empirical results show that foreign ownership, active style of management, and equity/balanced funds are associated with higher expenses. The paper concludes with a discussion of policy options to reduce cost associated with CPFIS included unit trusts.