SingaporeÆs unit trusts posted a net inflow of S$1.56 billion ($1.09 billion) in the fourth quarter of 2007, relatively unchanged from the S$1.56 billion recorded in the previous quarter, according to a joint report by data provider Lipper and the Investment Management Association of Singapore.

Fund inflows amounted to S$8.57 billion ($6 billion) in the fourth quarter, while outflows reached S$7.01 billion ($4.9 billion).

Approved products under the CPF Investment Scheme (CPFIS) managed to end the quarter with a net inflow of S$43.8 million ($30.66 million), improving on the S$20.1 million ($14.07 million) in the previous quarter. CPFIS inflows as a percentage of total fund flows, however, slipped to 5.1% or S$433.6 million ($303.52 million), although these were offset by a lower proportion of redemptions, with CPFIS outflows amounting to 5.6% of total outflows or S$389.8 million ($272.86 million).

The downturn and heightened volatility in equity markets in the fourth quarter took a toll on equity inflows, according to the report.

ôInvestors were spooked by surging oil prices, while the worsening credit situation took a hit on the earnings charges of key financial institutions such as Citigroup and Merrill Lynch,ö says Kenneth Koh, Singapore-based head of research for Asia ex-Japan at Lipper.

Equity fund subscriptions and redemptions were in turn more muted, with equity unit trusts witnessing a net inflow of only S$720.0 million ($504 million), after topping S$1.69 billion ($1.19 billion) in the previous three months. Equity inflows totaled S$5.18 billion ($3.63 billion) û 60.5% of total fund inflows û while equity outflows of S$4.46 billion ($3.12 billion) were recorded. Emerging markets portfolios as well as Greater China-based funds saw active trading, while further redemptions were again seen in global real estate funds.

Fixed-income funds posted net inflows of S$88.4 million ($61.88 million) on the back of S$737.5 million ($516.25 million) in fund inflows and redemptions of S$649.1 million ($454.37 million), with domestic Singapore-dollar offerings capturing most share of the assets. Some interest was also seen in short-term, US-dollar portfolios and portfolios investing in global sovereign issues. Investments in broadly diversified products and mixed-asset funds picked up to S$543.6 million ($380.52 million) as more risk-averse monies flowed into product classes such as balanced Singapore-dollar portfolios.

Among the other asset classes, protected and guaranteed funds continued to see further redemptions, with net outflows of S$43.01 million ($30.11 million) and S$26.30 million ($18.41million).