Best Online Stock Brokerage Accounts in Singapore reviewed (2021)

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It’s been a while since our last article on the best online stock brokerage accounts in Singapore.

A lot of things have happened since then, including:

  • Tiger Brokers launching in Singapore
  • TD Ameritrade with commission free trading
  • Interactive brokers opening a Singapore office

A lot of readers have asked for an updated review on the best online stock brokers, and we absolutely agree.

Basics: Choosing the best Online Stock Brokerage Account in Singapore

I don’t think there is a single best account anymore.

Each stock brokerage account has their own pros and cons, and which is the best stock brokerage, will depend on who you are as an investor (or trader).

It matters:

  • The amount of Assets Under Management (AUM) you’re investing
  • How frequently you trade
  • Which markets do you need access to
  • How sophisticated are you as an investor

So unlike the previous articles where I ranked the best stock brokerage for each market, here I’m going to instead share my views on which are the best overall stock brokerages, for a Singapore based investor.

Hopefully, this would help you in making a decision on which is the best stock brokerage for you.

Best Overall: Online Stock Brokerages in Singapore

Honourable Mentions: Online Stock Brokerages in Singapore

  • Tiger Brokers – If you don’t need many markets
  • TD Ameritrade – Cheap for US only, but long account opening times
  • FSMOne – Limited markets but acceptable fees

Roundup of Fees – Online Stock Brokerage Accounts

Best Overall: Online Stock Brokerages in Singapore

Saxo (if AUM < 100,000 USD)

Market

Minimum Fee

Fee

US

USD 3 – 4

0.04 – 0.06%

London

USD 10 – 20

0.05% – 0.1%

Germany

EUR 6 – 10

0.05% – 0.1%

Paris

EUR 6 – 10

0.05% – 0.1%

Hong Kong

HKD 60 – HKD90

0.1% – 0.15%

Australia

AUD 6 – 8

0.05% – 0.1%

China

CNH20 – 40

0.08% – 0.15%

Tokyo

JPY 1000 – 1500

0.1% – 0.15%

Singapore (SGX)

SGD 0*

*No minimum commission for
new clients until 30 April 2021/
Existing clients $5

0.08%

If you’re investing a sum of less than USD 100,000, I think Saxo is the best overall stock brokerage to be using.

Pros of Saxo are:

  • Access to almost any market you can think of. US, Europe, APAC etc. All the big exchanges you will reasonably need as a Singapore investor, are available. Even the obscure exchanges like Warsaw, Canada, South Africa.
  • Fees are very decent – Fees are set out above, and are very reasonable.
  • Very competitive FX – The FX rates from Saxo have been slashed from the original 0.75% to now 0.3%. These are very competitive, ahead of Tiger Brokers and FSMOne (about 50 bps). You can also open a total of 5 FX accounts for full flexibility on your FX conversion.
  • No Corporate Action Fee – Saxo does not charge for Corporate Action Fee. This is great because some of the other stock brokerages charge a USD30+ fee for corporate actions.
  • User Friendly interface – The trading interface and mobile app are intuitive and easy to pick up, even for beginner investors.

Cons of Saxo are:

  • 0.06% to 0.12% custody fee – There is a custody fee of 0.06% to 0.12% per annum. To put it in perspective though, at the max rate of 0.12% per annum, that’s $12 a year if you’re investing $10,000. You’ll save more than that from the lower fees and lack of corporate action fees already. So I wouldn’t get too hung up on this.

Overall Verdict:

I do think that if you only use one broker, and your AUM is below USD 100,000, Saxo is the best choice.

Access to any market you can think of, with very cheap fees, and very cheap forex. The lack of corporate action fee is icing on the cake.

Referral Links:

Financial Horse x Saxo Affiliate Link

If you’re keen on opening a Saxo account, Financial Horse has partnered with Saxo for a special account opening bonus if you fund $3000 and make 1 stock trade. The link is below, drop me an email at [email protected] for the next steps!

Note: If you’re interested in this bonus, please do make sure you click through the link to open an account!

Referral Link: FH Account Opening Bonus

Interactive Brokers (if AUM > 100,000 USD)

Market

Minimum Fee

Fee

US

USD 1

0.005 per share

London

GBP 6

GBP 6

Germany

EUR 4

0.1%

Paris

EUR 4

0.1%

Hong Kong

HKD 18

0.08%

Australia

AUD 6

0.08%

China

CNH 15

0.08%

Tokyo

JPY 80

0.08%

Singapore (SGX)

SGD 2.5

0.08%

If you’re investing more than USD 100,000, I think Interactive Brokers will become the clear choice for a stock brokerage.

Pros of Interactive Broker are:

  • Very competitive fee and FX spreads – Seriously. Interactive Broker’s fees and FX spreads are some of the lowest in the industry. You’ll be hard pressed to find anything that beats them in Singapore.
  • Access to almost any market you can think of – Just like Saxo, Interactive Brokers will give you access to almost any market you need to access. It’s all here.

Cons of Interactive Brokers are:

  • 10 USD a month fee – Interactive Brokers does have a 10 USD a month inactivity fee, if your account value is below USD 100,000. This monthly fee can be set off against your trading fees. It works out to USD 120 a year, so the breakeven point against Saxo’s 0.12% custody fee is about USD 100,000. My advice is to do some planning ahead. If you think you’ll cross USD 100,000 soon, go with Interactive Brokers. If you won’t cross USD 100,000 soon or don’t have plans too, Saxo is probably cheaper. 10 USD a month can add up quick.
  • Interface is tough to navigate – Interactive Broker’s interface is notoriously tough to navigate. The options are not arranged intuitively, and the amount of information (and options) can be overwhelming. If you’re a beginner investor, the interface might be a bit jarring, and it will take you some time to learn your way around (it was the case for me). Saxo’s interface is easier to navigate.
  • Only 1 free withdrawal a month – You only get one free withdrawal (of cash) each month. After that, it’s 10 USD per withdrawal.

Overall Verdict:

Once your AUM crosses USD 100,000, I think Interactive Brokers is the best choice.

Some of the lowest fees and FX spreads in the industry, and access to any market you can think of.

There is a 10 USD a month fee to deter customers with smaller AUMs, so do note this point. This isn’t an account you can just open to park $20,000, because the USD 120 a year fee will add up.

Honourable Mentions: Online Stock Brokerages in Singapore

Tiger Brokers – If you don’t need many markets

Market

Minimum Fee

Fee

US

USD 1.99

0.08%

London

Not Available

Germany

Not Available

Paris

Not Available

Hong Kong

HKD 15

0.06%

Australia

AUD8

0.1%

China

CNH 15

0.06%

Tokyo

Not Available

Singapore (SGX)

None

0.08%

Pros of Tiger Brokers are:

  • Competitive fees – As set out above, fees are very competitive.
  • FX Spread is decent – FX Spread in my experience is around 50 – 70 bps. It’s worse than Interactive Brokers for sure, but generally in line with FSMOne and Saxo.

Cons of Tiger Brokers are:

  • Doesn’t have access to European Markets – It lacks access to the European markets, Canada, and Tokyo. I think the European market is a big loss, because a lot of Singapore investors will need access to the London Stock Exchange (LSE). This is because of how the withholding tax treatment works – there are many counters on the LSE with superior withholding tax for Singapore investors (eg. Shell – RDS.B on the LSE, or all world ETFs like IWDA). If you go with Tiger Brokers, you may need another broker for access to Europe.
  • Doesn’t have a long track record – Tiger Brokers is a bit of a startup style company (a Chinese one at that). It’s a white label by Interactive Brokers (uses the same back end, but changes the interface), and its investors include Xiaomi and Jim Rogers. BUT it doesn’t have a long track record, nor does it have the status of a broker like Saxo (Danish bank) or Interactive Brokers (largest broker in the world, S&P400 component). I would be okay funding $10,000 to $20,000, but I may think twice before funding bigger amounts. Penny wise pound foolish here, why risk my capital just to save on a bit of fees. But again, this one is ultimately your choice.

Overall Verdict:

Tiger Brokers is a very cheap stock brokerage, with access to limited markets. But there are a few notable drawbacks, that would prevent me from recommending them wholeheartedly.

It is ultimately your choice though, to decide if you’re comfortable with the drawbacks.

Referral Links:

You can use the link below to get Stock Vouchers up to S$200 + 30-day Commission-free Card + US stock LV2 Quote Card:

FH Referral Link: https://www.tigerbrokers.com.sg/market/sg-invitflow?account_display=standard&invite=N8RUAR&lang=en_US&skin=1&edition=fundamental&isInvitee=true&share=WhatsAPP

TD Ameritrade – Cheap for US only, but long account opening times

Market

Minimum Fee

Fee

US

None

Free

London

Not Available

Germany

Paris

Hong Kong

Australia

China

Tokyo

Singapore (SGX)

Pros of TD Ameritrade are:

  • Free Stock Trading for US Markets – Yup, absolutely free. Trading fees are waived, with no minimum. There are a couple of “hidden” fees to note though.

Cons of TD Ameritrade are:

  • 25 USD withdrawal fee – You pay a 25 USD withdrawal fee each time you want to withdraw cash from TD Ameritrade. That’s pretty annoying, but it can be planned around I guess.
  • Account opening takes a while, poor customer service – Just google it. There are a whole bunch of poor reviews floating around out there, on the quality of service, and time it takes to open an account. Most of the guys who applied in Sept are still waiting to get their account, and apparently customer service is slow in responding. I’ve applied for an account myself a while back, but I still haven’t gotten one too.
  • Big Corporate Action Fees – There are also hefty corporate action fees, as set out below:

Overall Verdict:

The fees for US market are very cheap, but there are hidden fees like withdrawal charges and corporate action fees, so there’s no free lunch here.

The lack of access to European and Asian markets makes it hard for me to recommend TD Ameritrade, especially when you consider the account opening times.

It could be a good niche stock brokerage if all you focus on are US shares though.

FSMOne – Limited markets but acceptable fees

Market

Minimum Fee

Fee

US

USD 8.8

0.08%

London

Not Available

Germany

Not Available

Paris

Not Available

Hong Kong

HKD 50

 

Australia

Not Available

China

Not Available

Tokyo

 

 

Singapore (SGX)

SGD 10

0.08%

Pros of FSMOne are:

  • Fees are competitive – They’re not the best on this list, but they are competitive.
  • Acceptable FX Spread – FX spread of 50 – 70bps is in line with Tiger Brokers and Saxo. It’s ok, but definitely not Interactive Brokers level.
  • CDP Access – A great point of FSMOne is that you can link it to your CDP account, to buy and sell Singapore shares into CDP. This is great to sell Singapore stocks in your CDP account, because most other brokers have a SGD 25 minimum fee (and 0.12% fee). So you can use DBS Vickers Cash Upfront to buy, and FSMOne to sell, if you really want to save on fees. There is some paperwork to be done to get this set up though, which is a bit annoying.

Cons of FSMOne are:

  • Doesn’t have access to all markets – The European, Australian, China, and Tokyo markets are not available, which is a big loss.
  • Interface is not great – It could just be me, but I don’t find FSMOne’s trading platform very intuitive, or very attractive. Just not as slick as Saxo or Interactive Brokers (or Tiger Brokers) to me. Ultimately your call though. You can play around and see if you like it.

Overall Verdict:

FSMOne is a decent stock brokerage, but I wouldn’t say it’s amazing.

The best part to me is the CDP access, which could make it a great way to buy and sell CDP held shares.

Referral Links:

None

What is my Online Stock Brokerage Setup?

It’s quite a lot to take in, so I’ll share how I do it for myself.

Singapore Shares

I like having my Singapore stocks in CDP, for the ability to join AGMs, and have corporate documents sent to me. So I use DBS Vickers Cash Upfront to buy, and DBS Vickers to sell. I could get lower fees if I use FSMOne to sell, but I find it too much of a hassle to get the CDP linkage set up. In any case, I don’t sell shares all that often given my investing style (longer term buy and hold).

International Shares

For my international shares, I use a mix of Saxo and Interactive Brokers.

Saxo from when I was investing smaller sums, where my international shareholdings (excluding Singapore shares – which are held in CDP) was below 100,000 USD.

And I opened Interactive Brokers this year when the markets crashed, because I knew I would be deploying more than 100,000 USD internationally via them.

Closing Thoughts: Pick the Best Stock Brokerage Account for you

But again, there’s no right or wrong here.

The Stock Brokerage Account set up that works for me, may not work for you.

I’ve set out the pros and cons of the top brokers here, and I do hope it will help you in making a decision on the best stock brokerage for you.

My advice is to think about:

  • Which markets you need access to (or will access in future)
  • How often you plan to buy and sell
  • What is the amount you are investing

BUT – Don’t be penny wise pound foolish.

There’s no need to go with the absolute cheapest broker. There’s no free lunch in this world, and a broker with cheaper fees, usually tries to make it up in some other form.

Charles Schwab closed its Singapore office a few years back, and investors with them had to scramble to sell their shares and move money out. With how competitive the stock brokerage scene is, a repeat could be possible. So do also think about the longevity of your stock brokerage account. These are things we want to last decades.

My personal recommendation, is for Saxo at below 100,000 USD, and Interactive Brokers for above 100,000 USD. Do note that the AUM numbers are only for your international shares, because if you’re like me and you hold Singapore shares via CDP, those won’t count towards your AUM. That said – you can choose to hold them via custodian if you dont need CDP.

Referral Links

Financial Horse x Saxo Affiliate Link

If you’re keen on opening a Saxo account, Financial Horse has partnered with Saxo for a special account opening bonus if you fund $3000 and make 1 stock trade. The link is below, drop me an email at [email protected] for the next steps!

Note: If you’re interested in this bonus, please do make sure you click through the link to open an account!

Referral Link: FH Account Opening Bonus


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16 COMMENTS

    • Yup I think it’s absolutely fine. The problem with SCB is that their trading fees are high, and the FX spreads are poor. But if you just buy and hold super long term, the costs should be manageable. I still have some stocks held at SCB from when I used them – too much hassle to sell and consolidate.

  1. Hi, how would you compare SCB Trading to the options above? No custody, corporation action fees, while Priority banking customers also enjoy no min. commission. Other than average forex spreads and less technical tools (doesn’t bother me), it has been working well for me for a very long time.

    • Yup again I think it’s absolutely fine. The problem with SCB is that their trading fees are high, and the FX spreads are poor (like you mentioned).

      But if you just buy and hold super long term, the costs should be manageable. I still have some stocks held at SCB from when I used them – too much hassle to sell and consolidate.

      That said if you’re holding (or plan to hold) more than USD100,000 in stocks, IBKR would be far superior in my view. Unless you qualified for Priority Banking through your cash holdings.

      • To add you’re paying similar spreads with scb or tiger or fsmone too. Hard to get good fx at this price point. Hence ibkr becomes a great choice when hitting higher aums

  2. Thanks, I do hold for the long term and also qualify for Priority, hence SCB zero custody and corporate action fees are important to me since transaction costs are small for people like me who don’t trade regularly.

  3. Hi thanks for the info. Can ask how abt using ifast platform when it also does not charge custody fee as well for holding stocks. What are the cons?

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