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A GUIDE TO HOME LOANS IN SINGAPORE

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Whether you are relocating overseas to Singapore or just flying the nest for the first time, purchasing a home as a first-time buyer is an exciting process. But it can be easy to underestimate the financial burden of taking the first step onto the property ladder. With a number of government schemes and incentives designed to streamline the entire buying and selling process, it has never been easier to navigate the real estate market in Singapore. Continue reading to find out everything you need to know about home loans in the Garden City.

 

Lenders

In Singapore, a home loan can be borrowed from a number of different lenders. If you are purchasing an HDB flat, you can borrow a home loan from the Housing and Development Board itself or from any Singapore-based bank. A Hong Leong Finance Home Loan, for example, can be offered for both HDBs and private residential properties. There are a number of steps to take into account before you make your decision. For example, you can only apply for an HDB loan if your monthly income is less than $14,000, or $7,000 for single occupants and $21,000 for extended families. You must also not have owned private property within the last 30 months beforehand. Lastly, you must be able to afford the down payment and decide whether or not you want to use your CPF savings.

 

Interest rates

Interest rates differ depending on whether or not you take out an HDB loan or a bank loan. With HDB loans, the interest rate on your mortgage is the standard rate of 2.6% per annum. Bank loans benefit from a wider range of different loan packages with different interest rates. They do, however, allow homeowners to borrow with interest rates lower than 2.6%. This can lead to greater savings and higher interest rates for any separate savings accounts. Most banks offer fixed rate, floating rate, and floating board rate mortgages. Floating rate loans typically benefit from lower interest rates than fixed rate ones but can fluctuate from time to time. Bank loans, as a whole, offer lower interest rates than HDB loans but interest rates can also expire after a few years. You must weigh up the pros and cons of each before you make a final decision.

 

Borrowing amount

The borrowing amount you are eligible for depends on a number of factors. This includes the Loan-To-Value ratio, or LTV, of your financer, your Total Debt Servicing Ratio, or TDSR, and your Mortgage Servicing Ratio, or MSR. The LTV ratio is the name given to how much of your future home’s asking price you can borrow. The TDSR refers to the portion of a borrower’s gross monthly income that contributes towards monthly repayments. Finally, the MSR is an arrangement where a third party promises to collect mortgage payments on behalf of the lender in exchange for a fee.

 

Monthly repayments

To calculate how much of your monthly repayments you can afford, you may benefit from enlisting the help of a home loan calculator. If you have opted for a small home loan tenure, your monthly repayments will be smaller and much more manageable. Singaporeans also have the option of tapping into their CPF Ordinary Account savings to repay home loan instalments. There are several benefits associated with each option. CPF payments suit homeowners that rely on cash payments for a number of expenses in their day to day lives. You would, however, end up sacrificing the high interest rate on your CPF. You are also required to return any CPF savings as well as interest when you eventually sell your home. Repaying with cash, on the other hand, can allow you to maximise the interest rate on your CPF savings and pocket the money from the property sale.

 

Non-Singaporean residents

While this guide applies to most homeowners in Singapore, the rules tend to differ slightly for non-native residents. For example, they are only permitted to purchase properties that have been preapproved by the Singapore Land Authority with an additional stamp duty of 15%. This is also the case for first-time foreign buyers on the island. Nationals from the United States, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein, however, are exempt from this rule under the Free Trade Agreements. It is only once the property has been approved for purchase that the mortgage application can begin. This step in the buying process is the same for both local Singaporeans and foreigners relocating to the country.

When it comes to purchasing a property in Singapore, there are a number of factors you must familiarise yourself with. Home loans should be one of the first considerations during your property search. You must research lenders, interest rates, borrowing amount, monthly repayments, as well as what the process entails for non-Singaporean residents.

 

Finance

WHY PEOPLE ANALYTICS WILL PLAY A PIVOTAL ROLE IN SOLVING THE FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRY’S SKILLS CRISIS

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Daniel Mason, Vice President EMEA, Visier

 

Successfully guiding teams of employees through the post-pandemic landscape will not be easy for any business, but nowhere is this more apparent than in the financial services sector. Here, leaders face the formidable challenge of rebuilding working environments against the backdrop of huge industry uncertainty, caused by the most turbulent 18 months in living memory, as well as an increasingly concerning global skills gap.

In order to succeed, not only do they need to create highly compelling environments that entice new and existing employees alike, they must also work to proactively identify areas where additional improvements need to be made. Doing so will enable swift and decisive action to be taken before seemingly small issues start to have a major impact on overall business performance or staff retention.

 

Storm clouds are gathering on the horizon

It’s safe to say the financial services industry garners more media attention than most when it comes to working conditions. With well over a million people employed in the UK alone, scrutiny into key areas such as work-life balance, job pressures and pay is near constant.

In order to gain better insight into current job satisfaction within the sector, Visier recently conducted a new study focussing on how both UK employees and HR leaders feel their businesses are managing during this difficult time, and how it is affecting both current performance and future prospects. The research revealed some worrying statistics that point towards a potential avalanche of resignations in the near future, unless something is done to prevent it.

Why is this? Put simply, too many financial services organisations don’t appear to know their employees are unhappy and of those that do, most don’t fully understand the reasons behind it, meaning they can’t effectively tackle them. This article will discuss these findings and their implications in more detail, before exploring how people analytics can be used to spot key trends – both positive and negative – early, and boost employee experience/morale at this crucial time.

 

Learning new skills is increasingly important to both employees and businesses

According to Visier’s study, over half (52%) of employees in the financial services industry expect to actively look for a new job outside of their current company in the next 12 months, with almost a quarter (24%) already doing so. In light of these alarming figures, you’d be forgiven for assuming financial services organisations have failed to adapt to Covid-enforced ways of working. However, this isn’t the case at all, with the vast majority of those surveyed reporting that their companies have reacted impressively to the pandemic.

There are, of course, multiple reasons why workers may feel compelled to move on, even if they have a positive overall connection with their current employer. While each case is unique, the three most common reasons cited in the study were, perhaps unsurprisingly, ‘poor work-life balance’ (43%), ‘salary’ (33%) and ‘feeling undervalued’ (25%).

Following closely behind in fourth place was ‘not being encouraged to learn new skills’ (19%). However, there’s a growing school of thought that this has a much bigger influence on employee satisfaction than the raw data might suggest. Work-life balance and salary have always been major drivers of change, and learning new skills can go a long way towards helping workers address these by improving the value they bring, as well as boosting their overall day-to-day efficiency. The findings backed this up, with over half (55%) of employees admitting they are worried that failure to develop new skills will lead to their careers stalling.

The study also uncovered a strong feeling amongst both financial services employees and HR leaders that learning new skills is a crucial factor in the future competitiveness of their organisations.  Just 59% of employees felt confident their employer was bringing in the right people to keep pace with clients’ expectations for digital services. Meanwhile, over two-thirds of HR leaders believe that the sector’s lack of available candidates is holding back their company’s digital transformation strategy. As such, not only do employees see a lack of skills training and opportunities as a blocker to their own progression, it also presents an existential threat to the organisations they work for.

 

People analytics is playing an increasingly pivotal role

As financial services organisations continue to work through the disruption caused over the past 18 months, they need to be conscious of key factors impacting employee retention, as well as address any skills gaps acting as barriers to effective digital transformation. Investing in the right new learning opportunities and upskilling current employees will be crucial in reducing unwanted churn and ultimately boosting long-term competitiveness.

People analytics tools give businesses – in financial services and beyond – the real-time intelligence they need to achieve this, enabling them to grow and thrive regardless of what’s put in their path. Not only can people analytics help identify worrying employee trends such as disenchantment about skills training early, it also provides the insights needed to fix issues before they can significantly impact operational effectiveness.

As the data shows, employee satisfaction isn’t the only factor at play. Job happiness is also tied to whether employees believe the business is making the right decisions for their future. However, without the right tools in place leaders must operating on gut feel alone, which is rarely a good formula for success.

Every day, a growing number of decision-makers are using people analytics to uncover the key insights needed to make informed decisions regarding who to hire, who to reskill and who to promote. This is no coincidence. The move towards people analytics at scale is not a passing craze, but the acceleration of a powerful trend that’s been gathering momentum for almost twenty years. Maybe it’s time your business sees what all the fuss is about?

 

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AS SAAS GROWS, FINANCIAL SERVICES MUST RETHINK THEIR SECURITY APPROACH

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By

Ben Bulpett, Identity Platform Director, EMEA, SailPoint

 

The financial services industry is facing an increasing number of issues related to the adoption of cloud-based services. The growth of cloud and SaaS has accelerated with the consumerisation of information technology, along with the shift to working from home. Users have become comfortable downloading and using apps and services from the cloud to assist them in their work but often without explicit IT departmental approval. In fact, there are 3 to 4 times more SaaS apps in use at a company than the IT department is aware of, on average. This is known as ‘Shadow IT’ and while it can cause headaches for any industry, financial services are open to the biggest threat.

The data that banks hold on an individual is far more sensitive than other industries. By not getting approval on SaaS, the IT team have no visibility and no understanding of how to properly secure the software. One small security slip-up and consumers can be left with very little. But it’s not just about bad security and the reputational damage that comes with it. Shadow IT can also cause heavy financial loss.

 

The risks with Shadow IT

Shadow IT takes up a whopping 30 to 40% of overall IT spending for large enterprises, according to Gartner. This means that nearly half your IT budget is being spent on tools that teams and business units are purchasing (and using) without the IT department’s knowledge. A lot of unapproved software and services may duplicate the functionality of approved ones, meaning your company spends money inefficiently. How does this impact overall revenue? While it depends on the industry, on average companies spend 3.28% of their revenue on IT, according to a recent study by Deloitte Insights. Banking and securities firms spend the most (7.16%) and construction companies spend the least (1.51%).

Additionally, Shadow IT comes with a higher risk of security and compliance complications because the tools are not properly vetted. These risks include lack of security, which can lead to data breaches. Your IT team is unable to ensure the security of the software or services and can’t manage them effectively and run updates. Gartner predicts that by 2022, one-third of successful attacks experienced by enterprises will be on their shadow IT resources. If we use Ponemon’s average breach cost of $3.86M and average probability of a breach at 27.2% annually, Shadow IT may be costing you as much as $350,000 per year in breach-related risk costs.

 

Ben Bulpett

Keeping track of SaaS

Tracking your SaaS footprint goes beyond core enterprise apps and spreadsheets – the reality is that this isn’t complete visibility. It’s a fraction of what’s out there, and the moment that spreadsheet is updated it’s now out of date. This approach is both time-consuming and filled with inaccuracies.

For example, if a finance director, through a cloud file storage app, shared a root-level folder with outside parties, this inadvertently provides access to detailed financial statements that would never be released publicly or shared. Salaries, profit and loss, and more would be unintentionally exposed. In addition, the finance director’s team files, folders, and discussions would be made completely public rather than internal and read-only. This makes financial files and other sensitive information indexable by search engines and the fault lies with the CISO and CIO, rather than the finance director.

Similarly, when a company is unknowingly running multiple duplicate project management apps outside of IT’s purview, spread throughout the company, this creates massive cost overlap and security vulnerabilities. How much sensitive data may have been stored in the other apps? These examples are all too common, and probably true at your own company.

 

Shining a light using identity security

Organisations can shine a light on Shadow IT and SaaS access risk, and ultimately have greater visibility of the full scope of ungoverned SaaS applications, by using technology such as identity security. This allows them to drive a seamless process from discovery to governance across the entirety of their SaaS app landscape and wrap the right security controls around every newly-discovered SaaS app (and the data within).

Not only does this help companies shut down issues around Shadow IT across the business, by doing so it also enables companies to be able to save hundreds of thousands of pounds each year.

 

Greater visibility

It’s estimated that by 2022, nearly 90% of organisations will rely almost entirely on SaaS apps to run their business. In this new era of working, the only way to fully protect today’s cloud enterprise is by first discovering all of these hidden SaaS applications and then applying the very same identity governance controls that are already in place for the rest of the critical business applications.

There is no room for mistakes. By addressing Shadow IT and SaaS access risk and having deeper visibility of the full scope of ungoverned SaaS applications, the financial services industry can save hundreds of thousands of pounds each year. And most importantly, keep their customers protected.

 

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