Best Brokerage Account / Online Stock Trading Platform for Singapore Investors (2022)

27

 

Remember when we used to pay US$25 just to buy a US stock?

And US$2 a month as custodian fee?

Man… I still shudder to think of those days.

With the entry of Moomoo, Tiger Brokers, Saxo and Interactive Brokers, expensive brokerage fees are a thing of the past.

These days, you really shouldn’t be paying more than a few dollars on your stock purchase.

There’s a lot of nuance to understanding which is the best Brokerage Account or Online Trading Platform in 2022 though, so I wanted to cover that in this article.

      

What to look out for in a Brokerage Account / Online Stock Trading Platform?

At a high level, the 3 biggest points you look out for in a Brokerage Account are:

  • Fees
  • Market Access
  • Trade Execution

And as a bonus, the good to have are:

  • Extra Tools or Research
  • Free gifts
  • CDP vs Custodian
  • User Interface

Important – Fees

Fees are straightforward – the lower the better.

There are many different kinds of fees though, from trading commissions to Forex spreads, to fees for corporate action etc.

That said, all the Stock Brokerages on this list are cheap enough in terms of fees that it shouldn’t be your paramount consideration anymore.

Important – Market Access

Market access is the type of markets and products the Brokerage Account has access to.

For example – does it have access to US, HK and Singapore markets? Or London, Paris, Germany or Japan?

What about options trading? Margin lending?

Beginner investors may only need simple buy / sell access to the US, HK and Singapore market.

Sophisticated investors may want full fledged options access and margin lending, and access to European markets as well.

Important – Trade Execution

Trade Execution is how well the Brokerage executes your trade.

If the market price is $1.00, does the Brokerage Account get you $1.00? Or do you only close at $1.01.

This one is a form of shadow fees.

Good to have – Extra Tools or Research

Analyst reports, charting tools, or company fundamentals curated at one place.

These are the extra tools or research, which is a nice to have.

Good to have – Free gifts

Call me a Singaporean – but I just love the idea of a freebie when I open a new Brokerage Account.

Some of the Brokerages on this list are giving Apple shares (worth $230) when you open an account, which is a fantastic promotion.

Good to have – CDP vs Custodian

CDP vs Custodian only matters for Singapore shares.

To cut to the chase, I would say if you’re doing short term trading, go with Custodian for cheaper fees.

If you’re a longer term buy and hold investor, it *probably* is worth paying the extra fees to have your shares held in CDP, so that you have corporate documents (eg. rights issues and annual reports) sent directly to your house address instead of your brokers. It also makes entering AGMs and EGMs a lot easier when the shares are in your name.

Personally for me, my Singapore shares are all held via CDP, I’m a romantic like that.

Good to have – User Interface

Don’t underestimate the user interface (UI).

Some Online Brokerages may be running a UI from the 1990s, while some may have a very heavily gamified version. While some can be very cluttered and complex.

No right or wrong here – go with the one that suits you.

Best Brokerage Account / Online Trading Platform for Singapore Investors (2022)

Just like with the Best Crypto Platform post, I’m just going to simplify it for you.

I’ll set out my choices as to the best Brokerage Accounts for Singapore Investors in 2022, and I’ll walk through my reasoning below.

General Investing

  • Moomoo
  • Tiger Brokers
  • For CDP Access – DBS Vickers Cash Upfront, FSMOne

Sophisticated Investors

  • Interactive Brokers
  • Saxo

Fees for all 4 brokers are set out, and frankly fees wise all 4 are close enough that I would strongly suggest that fees shouldn’t be your paramount consideration when picking between these 4 Brokerage Accounts

Promo Code for Best Brokerage Account / Online Trading Platform for Singapore Investors (2022)

Promo codes are set out below, but I would strongly suggest reading the rest of this article before you make your final decision.

Moomoo – Get 1 free Apple share (worth $230), $40 stock coupon, and 180 days free trading if you’re new to MooMoo and fund $2700: Moomoo Referral Code / Sign Up Bonus

Tiger Brokers – Get a Free Apple stock (worth S$230) and 60 commission free trades when you open a new account with Tiger Brokers and fund $2000: Tiger Brokers Referral Code / Sign Up Bonus

Interactive Brokers: Interactive Brokers Referral Link

Saxo – $100 cash account opening bonus for Saxo  (drop email to [email protected] for full steps): Financial Horse x Saxo Affiliate Link

General Investing

Moomoo

Moomoo gives you very cheap access to the 3 core markets of Singapore, US, and Hong Kong:

  • Singapore – 0.06%, Minimum $2.49 per order
  • US – 0.0099 /share, Minimum US$1.99 per order
  • Hong Kong – 0.03%, Minimum HKD18 per order

You get full access to options trading too, so if you want to YOLO into some deep out of the money call options, you’re able to.

The user interface is very intuitive and doesn’t take long to pick it up.

There’s a ton of additional add ons, such as Technical Analysis, Fundamental Analysis, Earnings reports and so on.

And don’t forget the freebies, which is 1 free Apple share (worth $230), $40 stock coupon, and 180 days free trading if you’re new to MooMoo and fund $2700.

The Forex Spreads are about 0.3%, which is not amazing but in line with most other Brokerages in this list (except for Interactive Brokers).

If you’re looking to do some general investing and want a Brokerage Account, you won’t go wrong with Moomoo. This Brokerage account should last you for years to come.

Tiger Brokers

If you don’t like Moomoo for some reason, Tiger Brokers is a very decent alternative.

Both are US listed China Brokerages, but Moomoo is significantly bigger at $6.3 billion market cap versus Tiger Brokers at $742 million market cap.

Because of this I went with Moomoo as the preferred Brokerage, but to be fair Tiger Brokers is fine as well.

Fees are very much in line with Moomoo, and you also get access to China A shares and Australia:

  • Singapore – 0.04%
  • US – 0.01 /share, Minimum US$1.99 per order
  • Hong Kong – 0.06%, Minimum HKD15 per order
  • China A Shares – 0.06%, Minimum CNH8 per order
  • Australia – 0.1%, Minimum AUD$8 per order

This is subjective, but I find that the User Interface and addon features for Tiger Brokers are not as comprehensive as Moomoo,.

Freebies are very good too, with a Free Apple stock (worth S$230) and 60 commission free trades when you open a new account with Tiger Brokers and fund $2000.

If you need CDP Access – DBS Vickers Cash Upfront or FSMOne

Do note that none of the Stock Brokerages on this list (Moomoo, Tiger Brokers, Interactive Brokers, Saxo) have CDP access.

If you buy Singapore stocks with them, they are held in custodian and not CDP.

If you want CDP access, the cheapest way would be to:

  • Buy using DBS Vickers Cash Upfront (0.12%, Minimum $10 per order)
  • Sell using FSMOne ($8.80 per order) – Don’t forget to link FSMOne to CDP

The reason why it’s so convoluted is because DBS Vickers Cash Upfront cannot be used to sell from CDP, and FSMOne cannot be used to buy into CDP.

It’s a fair bit of hassle, so I leave you to decide if it makes sense for you.

For me personally I use DBS Vickers Cash Upfront to buy, and I just sell using DBS Vickers and absorb the slightly higher fees in exchange for the convenience.

Sophisticated Investors

Interactive Brokers

For Sophisticated Investors who need more comprehensive market access and full fledged options / margin trading, Interactive Brokers is about as good as it gets.

Access to almost every market you could dream of, at rock bottom fees:

  • Singapore – 0.08%, Minimum $2.5 per order
  • US – USD 0.0035 per share, Minimum USD$0.35 per order
  • Hong Kong – 0.05%, Minimum HKD 18.00 per order
  • Europe – 0.05%, Minimum EUR1.25 per order
  • Australia – 0.08%, Minimum AUD$5 per order

Forex Spreads for Interactive Brokers are best in class too, basically interbank rates.

The only drawback is that you pay an additional fee of US$2 per Forex Conversion, so it makes sense to convert more at one go to save on fees.

Whether you’re a retail investor investing a couple hundred thousand, or a family office slinging around low ten millions, Interactive Brokers will probably suit your needs.

Saxo (on Gold Tier)

If you don’t like Interactive Brokers for some reason, Saxo is actually a pretty strong runner up.

They’ve recently revamped their pricing structure to remove custody fees and drop commissions across the board, so it becomes very competitive.

If you trade very large sums, Saxo for certain markets could actually be cheaper than any other broker on this list:

  • Singapore – 0.05%, Minimum $2 per order
  • US – 0.03%, Minimum USD$2 per order
  • Hong Kong – 0.15%, Minimum HKD 90 per order
  • Europe – 0.1%, Minimum EUR 10 per order
  • China A-Shares – 0.15%, Minimum CNH40 per order
  • Australia – 0.10%, Minimum AUD$8 per order

Honourable Mention: Syfe?

Interestingly, Syfe recently came out to announce that they would be launching a new brokerage account.

Initial thoughts look promising, as fees are competitive and in line with the 4 brokers above.

Once it launches I’ll be doing a review piece on Syfe Trade and updating this article accordingly.

Promo Code for Best Brokerage Account / Online Trading Platform for Singapore Investors (2022)

Promo Codes for each of the Brokerages below:

Moomoo – Get 1 free Apple share (worth $230), $40 stock coupon, and 180 days free trading if you’re new to MooMoo and fund $2700: Moomoo Referral Code / Sign Up Bonus

Tiger Brokers – Get a Free Apple stock (worth S$230) and 60 commission free trades when you open a new account with Tiger Brokers and fund $2000: Tiger Brokers Referral Code / Sign Up Bonus

Interactive Brokers: Interactive Brokers Referral Link

Saxo – $100 cash account opening bonus for Saxo  (drop email to [email protected] for full steps): Financial Horse x Saxo Affiliate Link

Closing Thoughts: Best Brokerage Account / Online Trading Platform for Singapore Investors (2022)

Competition truly is a good thing.

When I first started investing I was paying ridiculous sums per trade, that forced me to be very careful about how I invest.

These days you can literally just dollar cost average at a thousand each time, due to very low transaction fees.

It’s been a complete gamechanger for investing, and I can see how all that talk about democratizing finance is coming true.

At the end of the day though, a Brokerage Account is a Brokerage Account.

It’s a tool that allows you to buy stocks.

All 4 Brokerages / Online Trading Platforms on this list are very decent options, and you won’t go too wrong with any of them.

Just pick one, move on, and focus your efforts on understanding the markets, and picking stocks.

That’s where the big alpha is, not in picking stock brokers. 😉

As always, love to hear what you think!

27 COMMENTS

  1. Dear FH,
    Happy New Year 2022….
    On Tiger Brokers Comm & Fee. Wanted to consult you.
    I just recently bought 3 different USD shares at different quantity on 31/12 2021? But, I will used one example to illustrate between what you have stated versus what I was charged. Pls let me know why the difference?
    The TB fees as follows:
    Stock A: 5,000pcs: [(5,000×0.01/sh) + (0.07 [GST] x (5,000×0.01/sh)] =USD53.50.
    If I used your FH stated TB fee, then it is:
    Stock A: 5,000pcs: [(5,000×0.001/sh) + (0.07 [GST] x (5,000×0.001/sh)] =USD5.30.
    Am I correct? Pls clarify or direct me to the relevant TB officials to address this. TQ.

    • Hi Eric, suggest to check directly with Tiger Brokers on this. There may be unique points to your trade to explain why a different fee was charged.

      • It was because I think FH made a typo. Tiger commission for US stocks should be $0.01/share instead of $0.001/share.

        Not possible that Tiger’s commission is 10x of Moomoo’s commission rate of $0.0099/share

  2. Thanks FH
    Another major irritant here is that buying UK stocks continues to be expensive
    After lot of searching, the only option seems to be Saxo
    Unfortunately I do lose a lot on forex conversion both ways system on top of the ridiculously high charges
    The way around this that I have adopted, although it is feasible for only a few stocks , is to buy the equivalent US listed ADR at the NYSE using Tiger and thereby benefiting with 2$ commissions
    As far as I gather, there will be no dividend withholding taxes as these are UK listed and incorporated companies
    I will have to not be lazy and check my statements to see if my presumption is correct
    Regards
    Garudadri

    • No that won’t work because once you hold via US the dividend withholding tax will kick in.

      IBKR and Saxo have decent enough UK fees. It’s definitely not dirt cheap, but if you’re holding long term the lower dividend withholding tax will likely make up for it.

  3. I think it’s also important to mention the position transfer fees. If you want to transfer your positions from one broker to another then, for example, Tiger charges a fortune whereas Saxo caps the fee at 160 euros. This effectively means Tiger is locking you in, unless you want to go through the hassle and risk of selling your positions, withdrawing the cash to your bank, using that cash to fund your other brokerage, and then re-purchase the same positions. Not sure about the transfer fees for other brokers but this is definitely a consideration for me when chosing a brokerage, because I may want to change in future if there are changes to fee structures, products range, and user interface.

  4. Hi, I’ve already bought China A-shares from Moomoo, because Moomoo had opened the China Market up too for investing in. Could you kindly update the commission rate in your article pls for the benefit of all your readers? Thanks a lot! 🙂

  5. It’s a pity you did not include TD Ameritrade.

    It seems like their offering is second to none for US trading as there is no fees as far as i can remember. Their options fees are also very attractive.

    I’m actually trying to compare between TD and IBKR as I’m thinking of spreading out my risk instead of relying on just Tiger for non SG shares.

    Would you kindly do an update to include this broker in too?

    How about the options trading interface between TD and IBKR.

    The high commission fees for options in Tiger and Moomoo actually makes a difference if one trade options often.

    I’m looking into trading more options and the fees are eating into my profits…

    Love to hear from you!

  6. In pursuit of lower brokerage, custody risk often ignored. See what happened to MF Global. The firm was a major player globally esp in North America and amongst institutions (though not so familiar to retail investors here). Even with supposedly segregated accounts, it took years for investors to regain their assets. I wonder how would the recent new players compare to MF Global then?

    For me, Vickers upfront + FSM for SG. 0.12% + $8.8 flat. No custodian risk. StanChart for foreign counters. 0.15%. SC Trading resides within the bank itself. I rather pay these still reasonable rates, as opposed to chasing the last 5 or 10 bps cheaper and subject to custodian risk.

    • Yes! I remembered them collapsing. Did they affect the CFD accounts for poems and kimeng?

      MFGlobal i think was used by a lot of trading houses on the proprietary trading desks

  7. Hi Chief Horse

    Hope you can help us understand how do the new internet brokers are able to charge such low fees vs the traditional brokers.

    Do we lose out when they sell our trades to those dark pools or high frequency trading institutions.

    I don’t mind trading with them small amounts, but i dont know which of them are licensed by MAS.

    eg charles swab suddenly closed and it was such a hassle.

    • Yeah that’s a good question. I don’t believe these brokers do payment for order flow, but I could be wrong.

      My best guess is that they’re loss-making to grab market share, kinda like Shopee. At some point down the road, perhaps they will adjust the fees or find alternative ways to monetise the platform.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here