How to Read Singapore Government Bond Names?

By William Cho @https://www.flickr.com/photos/adforce1/4181529007

21 May How to Read Singapore Government Bond Names?

NA12100N 420401 10

This is not some product serial code or a WWII encrypted message. This is the SGS bond name which appeared on SGX website.

What does it even mean? I believed it wasn’t some random alphanumeric code that was generated by MAS so I dropped a mail to them and the staff was efficient in getting back to me.

Let’s break the name into 3 parts. The left set = NA12100N. The middle set = 420401. The right set = 10.

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The Left Set

The table below is the Code Breaker.

N

A

12

100

N

N means that this security is a SGS Bond A refers to the original maturity of the security, in this case 30 years. 12 refers to the year the security was issued, in this case 2012. 100 means that this was the first 30-year security issued in the year 2012. The last alphabet is analogous to the last alphabet of the NRIC, and serves a similar function. This letter is used to validate the issue code.
Additional information: B means the security is a SGS Treasury Bill. The following explains what other alphabets/numbers stand for, in the case of SGS bonds:-          Z: original maturity of 20 years

–          Y: original maturity of 15 years

–          X: original maturity of 10 years

–          7: original maturity of 7 years

–          2: original maturity of 2 years

For SGS Treasury bills:

–          S: original maturity of 6 months

–          Y: original maturity of 1 year

Naturally, a bond issued in 2009 would take the numbers 09 here. If there had been a second 30Y SGS issued in 2012, then it would have taken the numbers 101.

MAS said that the other two sets of numbers were not in their records. I suspected it was SGX who tagged them for easy reference.

The Middle Set

The middle set of numbers shows the maturity date of the bond in this sequence, YYMMDD.

In our example, the middle set is 420401, and it means this bond matures in 1st Apr 2042.

The Right Set

So far, the right set has always been 10. I have not seen other numbers for SGS bonds. This means that 1 standard ‘lot’ size is 10 bonds. So a $100 bond will require a minimum investment of 10 x $100 = $1,000.

Argh!

Why do we have to make it so complicated?

The Government wants to promote liquidity and interest in bonds. Given such names, I wonder how encouraging it is. How do we carry out word of mouth marketing for the Government? I would imagine a conversation like this:

Mr Wollie: “Hey! I recently invested in NA12100N.”

Mr Yakki: “What? Is it a scam?”

Mr Wollie: “No! It is a Singapore Government’s 30-year bond!”

Mr Yakki: “Ya, right… Do you want to get lunch?”

PS: You can refer to the article, How to Buy Singapore Government Bonds?



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