On the back of the minimum commission charges being imposed by Standard Chartered, I’m writing this review of Maybank-Kim Eng (MBKE in short) Monthly Investment Plan as there weren’t any detailed study of this product.

So how does this work? Well, it is similar to the plans offered by POEMS, OCBC and POSB, and has its own features. Every month on the 8th, MBKE will buy shares up to the amount which you have specified, and excess cash is refunded back to your bank account via GIRO.

I started the monthly investment plan in May, and it was linked to my “main” MBKE cash account as a seperate prefunded account (technically I could login with that prefunded account details, but since I had a normal cash account, it’s easier to just use my login for that). You can set your monthly investment amount and which counter to buy when you’re logged into the platform, as shown below (via “e-Services” in the platform).

MBKE_MIP_Settings

Once the purchase has been made, an e-mail (if you’ve specified an e-mail in the settings screen; this is highly recommended) will be sent at about 4pm, detailing the amount bought and the average price:

MBKE_MIP

A few days later, the familiar blue buy contract statement will be snail mailed to you.

The only problem that I encountered was that the GIRO linkage with my bank account took a while (about 2 weeks). As I signed up on the last week of April, by the time GIRO is linked up, I would miss out on the May purchase. In order to avoid this issue, I “deposited” cash into the prefunded account via bill payment 3 days before the 8th (taking into account that such payments can take up to 3 days to be reflected). I also tried to “test the system” by placing an order on the morning of the 7th. All went well, and I am now happily putting more money in for blue chips which are too expensive for me to purchase at one go.

Pros:

  • Last-minute changes to the MIP are reflected (as long as it’s done before 23:59 hours on the 7th – please don’t be an idiot and change your orders at 23:57 or something)
  • Lots of counters available, compared to a restricted set with other brokerages

Cons:

  • List of counters available for purchasing needs to be reviewed on a quarterly/semi-annual/yearly basis – I mean, seriously, Noble is on the list?
  • Changing priority of counter to be purchased seems to be not working on Chrome, and thus you have to delete everything and re-add your choices manually
  • No clarity on funding issues in specific cases – for example, if I am buying $200 worth of a stock, and I have $100 in my trust account, would MBKE deduct from GIRO only, trust only, or both?
  • No clear policies for dividend handling (currency election? scrip election scheme?) and corporate actions (rights? bonus shares?)