(Bloomberg) -- Retail investors are filling the void left by institutions in Singapore’s equities market this year, Singapore Exchange Ltd. data show.

Individuals have pumped a net S$4.8 billion ($3.5 billion) into the city-state’s stocks since March, whereas institutions offloaded a similar amount in the same period, according to calculations by Bloomberg based on data from the Singapore bourse. The divergence began to become apparent in March, when retail investors put in an aggregate of S$1.9 billion and professional investors sold around S$1.8 billion.

Individual investors are drawn by high dividend yields offered by the nation’s stocks, “and they are sitting at home, they have nothing to do,” said Aik Hong Ng, deputy head of Phillip Investor Centre, a unit of Phillip Securities Pte. Some are using creative ways to take advantage of low valuations as well, using advances on credit cards and loading up on debt and leverage to purchase more shares.

Online brokerage apps with low transaction fees also helped boost the retail trading activity, according to Nirgunan Tiruchelvam, head of consumer sector equity research at Tellimer.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.