Saturday, July 30, 2016

A convenient way for a business to make cheque payments

Many businesses prefer to send make payments by cheques. Singapore has one of the highest usage of cheques per population among the developed countries.

Why do businesses avoid using electronic payments? Here are some reasons:

a) To make payments, they have to allow the employee to log into the online bank account. The employee can view all the entries in the bank account. The boss may not like to provide this access.

b) The online platform of the bank is difficult to navigate. It provides many functions that are hidden by layers of hyperlink. Some of the functions are confusing.

c) It is quite troublesome to log into the online bank account. The user has to provide several codes and passwords, including a 2FA token.

d) After making payment, the user has to notify the payee that the payment has been made electronically.

Due to the troublesome nature, many businesses continue to send payments by cheque.

I have developed an online portal that makes it easy for businesses to make electronic payment. It reduces the work for the staff significantly. It automatically sends out an email to inform the payee about the payment.

Watch this video. Tell me if you like it.

Best of Breed contest starts on 5 August

The Best of Breed contents will start next week on 5 August to identify the best entrepreneur.

You can practice now to stand a better chance to win the contest.

Contest detail

How to practice

How to win (ask Donald Trump)

Click on Join Game

Good luck. All the best!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Minimum salary for Employment Pass holders

I do not agree with the policy of the government to raise the minimum salary for employment pass holders.

I prefer the government to introduce a levy for EP holders and follow the practice for S-pass and work permit holders. This is a more effective measure. The levy for EP holders should be higher than for S-pass holders, but it could also be set at the same level.

The policy of increasing the minimum salary for EP holders benefit the EP holders. The employers are "forced" to pay a higher salary to them. The employers may prefer to employ EP holders for a variety of reasons - reduced job hopping, not necessary to perform SAF reservist duty, etc.

Five years ago, I interviewed a foreigner for an IT job. He asked me to declare his salary as $2,500 to meet the  "minimum salary" at that time, but to pay him a lower rate of $2,000. He said that it was a common practice for some employers to adopt this approach to save on the levy. Many of his friends were working on this type of arrangement.

I did not want to "cheat" the system. I employed him on a S-pass and paid the levy. He must have felt that I was too stupid or too law abiding.

I wonder if this practice is still happening now. What is the point of increasing the minimum salary for EP holders? It is better to introduce a levy.


Practice to be a business entrepreneur

When you train to be an airline pilot, you have to spend many hours of practice with a flight simulator. It shows you some of the common situations that may occur and allow you to practice your skill in dealing with them.

There are many more people who want to go into business compared to being an airline pilot. Is there a business simulator that can allow these people to practice what  to do when they are competing in the market?

For example:

a) What should be the pricing of their products?
b) How much should they spend on advertising?
c) What is the impact on their sales when they change the pricing and advertising expenses?
d) How much should they produce or order for next month to meet the expected sales and avoid unsold stocks?
e) What will be the impact of the pricing strategy of their competitors?

There is a business simulation game that allows the budding entrepreneur to practice making these kinds of business decisions. You can view it at

There is a video guide explaining how you can play the game. There is also a PDF to give you some tips on how to win the game. The simulation game is designed to be realistic, like what you would expect in real life.

You have the choice of several scenarios - such as running a motor insurance company, health insurance company, or a chocolate factory.

When you have learned the principles of pricing, advertising and capacity, you can apply them in real life, although the actual conditions may be different.

To make it more fun, we will organize a series of competitions to award the "Best of Breed" certificates. You can practice now, and stand a better chance of being the champion in the competition.

Managing the funds of GIC

A real rate of return of 4%, after deducting inflation, is an acceptable rate. However, it is also the rate that can be achieved by a low cost index fund.

I wonder what is the expense ratio of managing the funds under GIC?

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Competition - Business Simulation Game

This Certificate will be awarded to the winner of each game in the Business Simulation Game competition.
The winners of the Starter League games will compete in the Advanced League to win a BIGGER CERTIFICATE !!!

Practice now for the business competition

Watch this 8 minute video on the Business Simulation Game.

You can go to the website and practice the game.
I will be organizing a competion and awarding a Certificate of Entrepreneurship to the winners.
It is all for the fun.

I hope you will enjoy the game and competition. It may give you some feel about what it is like to run a business in a competitive market.

You can choose one of several games, e.g. to run an insurance company or a chocolate factory.

Be a reinsurance underwriter.

It is difficult to be a reinsurance underwriter. It involves a lot of calculation and mathematics.

Here is the good news.

You can learn to be an excellent underwriter, if you have the right tools.

Watch this video to learn about the tool that you can use. And after that, you can play the simulation game to hone your skills.

Who know? You might be a good underwriter. And you might want to join the insurance industry to be an underwriter.,

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Singapore to further boost money laundering controls amid 1MDB probe

I wonder what can the banks really do? They must have a lot of transactions happening every day. Can they really know who are money laundering?

Submitted annual return to ACRA on 6th atttempt

I finally managed to submit my annual return to ACRA. It took me 6 attempts. This can be verified by the ACRA website and by the SingPass website. I had to sign in with my Singpass and 2FA and go through many steps on each attempt.

Three of the attempts were due to unresponsive webpages in the website. When I asked to print my return, I got a unresponsive webpage. I finally managed to get through after I changed to Internet Explorer. They did not warn me about it at the start.

I submitted the return after wasting more than 1 hour,  Their website promised only a few minutes. I still had to pay a filing fee of $60. That is exorbitant.

Thank you, PM Lee, for creating a world class civil service that knows how to make life difficult for citizens and for charging high fees.

ACRA website unresponsive

I managed to log into the ACRA BizFile to submit my annual return.

The website was complicated. It contained a lot of information that were irrelevant to me. The problem is - I do not know what is relevant and what is not, so I had to quickly learn how to ignore the irrelevant ones.

It is an interactive website. This means that there are many buttons that need to be clicked and entered. If you miss any of them, the "Submit" button will not respond. You have to search through a complicated page to learn which fields you "forgot" to enter.

I finally to the Declaration. The trouble is - I was not told about the declaration. The "Submit" throw out a page of error in the declaration page which I did not complete. I had trouble in getting a "clean" declaration page to fill in. Somehow, I managed to get it, but I did not know how it happened. I still could not enter my name as the declarant.

So, the declaration read ... I ,, director of the company, declare ....

I was given the option to preview my annual return. I opted for it to view what I was supposed to have entered. There was an option to "Print" it. Wonderful. The trouble is - the webpage hangs.

I aborted the Print and went back to submit. The webpage also hang.

I now have to log out and come back again. Thank you ACRA for wasting my time and for showing, true to colors, how inconsiderate you are (and that goes to many other government agencies). You really know how to create interactive websites that waste a lot of time of the public.

At the start of the process, the website promised me that it will take a few minutes to file an annual return. Wrong. It has already taken me 30 minutes and I have to do it all over again.

Difficult to file an annual return with ACRA website

I had to file an annual return.

I went to Bizfile at ACRA website. They asked me to enter my SingPass and request for an OTP to be sent to my mobile phone. The OTP did not arrive. I had to try 3 times. Finally, the 3 OTPs arrive close together.

I used the wrong OTP. It was rejected. I used the last OTP which arrived later and it was accepted.

It went to another page which refused to load. I waited for a few minutes before aborting the login process.

I have to try again in a few minutes time. The people in ACRA thinks that the businesses have a lot of time to waste on their website.

When will our government agencies, such as ACRA and many other agencies, be more considerate? They are really adding a big burden to the business community.

Video guide - Business Simulation Game

This video shows you how to play the business simulation game. You can learn the strategy to decide on the price, capacity and advertising to achieve the highest profit. You have to compete with other players.

Practice on this platform a few times and learn how to get the best profit.

I will organize a competion in a few days time. The player with the highest profit will win a prize.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Donald Trump is ahead of Hillary Clinton

Donald Trump is ahead of Clinton. Here are the results from the most recent polls.

Converting air lines to a ticket on SIA website

I have 60,000 air miles. I wanted to convert it to a return ticket between Singapore and London.

I visited the Singapore Airlines website. I had a lot of trouble in locating the right page to view the number of air miles required for the different class of seats. After passing through this huddle, I keyed in the departure date, return date, and other details. The website said, "Sorry, we are not able to tell you. Please call our hotline".

I had to look for a hotline number. It was another challenging task. Finally I found it. The office was closed.

I called again today. I listened to the irrelevant announcements and finally managed to talk to someone.

SIA - Mr. Tan. Do you know that you can get the information online? You can a 15% discount when you make your booking online?
TKL - Yes. But your website refused to give me the number of miles required. They asked me to call your hotline.
SIA - OK. Please hold on

The staff gave me the required information. For one way, it is 59,000 on business class and 29,000 on economy. For return, it is two times of the air miles.

A while later, I called the hotline again. Another staff answered the call.

TKL - I want to know how many air miles are required for an air ticket on premium economy.
SIA - Hold on, Mr. Tan. I will check for you.

After a few minutes:
SIA - Mr Tan. It is 7,438 air miles on premium economy.
TKL - It can't be that low. I was told that it is 29,000 air miles on economy.
SIA - Mr. Tan, my calculator showed that it was 6,761 on economy. Let me check with my supervisor. I will call you back.

If SIA staff, who does this every day, can be confused with the website, how can they expect the poor customers to know how to get the information?

The process of converting air miles to a ticket is so complicated that, in the past years, I just let the air miles expire (good for SIA profit, but bad for customer's perception).

Goodbye to a dear friend, Russell Miller

Dear Ann,

I was informed by the Secretariat of the Spirit of Enterprise that Russell had passed away.

Russell was a very dear friend. Together, we started the Spirit of Enterprise in the early part of 2000s.

Although I was the founding chairman of SOE, it was Russell who put in most of the energy, enthusiasm and hard work to build up non-profit organization.

Russell has been in close touch with me over the past years and frequently contacted me each time that he visited Singapore.

I am deeply saddened to learn that he has passed away. I will miss a very dear friend.

My deepest condolence to you and your family.

Tan Kin Lian

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Selling a life insurance policy to an investment company

Mr Tan
I saw your page about selling a life insurance policy to an investment company for a higher surrender value.

Is it legal?
Will the investment company make a big profit when the policyholder dies? Can they keep the profit?

The sale of life insurance policy is quite common in some countries. It is legal. If not, the authoirty would have stopped it.

The investment company intends to pay the premium and collect the maturity benefit. They are not likely to know if the policyholder had died before the maturity date. If they do, they are entitled to keep the death benefit even though it is higher than the surrender value.

If the policyholder surrenders the policy to the insurance company, the policy is terminated and the insurance company will not pay any death claim.

If the policyholder sells the policy to the investment company for a higher surrender value, the policyholder can be considered as "terminated" as far as the policyholder is concerned.

If you are interested to know more about the sale of a life insurance policy, visit this website:

Trading in forex and indices

Dear Mr Tan,
In the past 2 years, I have been trading part-time on Forex and Indices using CFD. My record thus far is S$102,000 profits and S$117,000 loss. So net of this a loss of S$15,000. 

With this record, it makes me ponder what I may have gone wrong. After much thinking, I realised that my trading mentality may be not as strong. Therefore, I started to look out for Gurus who can help me on this. There are many Gurus out there and the fees they charged are ridiculous expensive as you know. 

However, I always believe pay peanuts get monkeys. Therefore, the fees are not the part that worries me. The part I am unsure is the credentials of these Gurus. Who are really the best and really in the game? Who really impart their knowledge to their students?

I hope you can name a few of these gurus who I can seriously consider to attend their training courses.

TKL - I do not believe that there are good gurus who can help students to develop the skill of trading. If they are really good, they can become billionaires by trading on their own.They do not need to make money from teaching their skills.

Thanks for the prompt reply Mr Tan. I read the same thing from an investment book about these courses. That's why I feel I am stuck at my current situation.

TKL - In my view, it is not possible to make a living by trading. Over the long term, you are likely to lose a large part of your capital

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