Bloomberg ran an article recently titled “A 1000% Rally Has Glove Maker Stock Mania Outpacing Even Tesla”.
The stock in question? Top Glove Corp, a Malaysian company (dual listed in Bursa Malaysia and the SGX).
Strange times, but Malaysian stocks have become incredibly hot these days.
To the point where the Malaysian Index has way outperformed Singapore, and Malaysia’s total market cap is close to surpassing Singapore’s.
Just look at the chart below.
I’ve had a couple of queries on how best to buy and invest in Malaysia stocks in Singapore, as a Singapore investor, and which Stock Broker to use.
So that’s exactly what we’ll cover today.
Basics: Buying Malaysia Stocks as a Malaysian investor
Malaysia has a Central Depository System (CDS), which is basically their CDP equivalent. This is what they use to hold shares.
If you’re a Malaysian, you can open a CDS account, and buy stocks via a Malaysian Broker.
It works the same way as Singapore’s CDP system. You buy shares via a Malaysian broker, and then the shares go into your CDS account. And you can use any broker to sell the same shares from your CDS account.
Exact same mechanism as the Singapore CDP system.
Buying Malaysia Stocks as a Singapore investor, in Singapore
This article though, is designed more for Singapore investors who are based in Singapore, and want to buy Malaysia stocks via a Singapore based broker.
The methods set out here are to buy Malaysian Stocks listed on Bursa Malaysia, and not in Singapore, so it also avoids any country/jurisdictional risk like with the CLOB saga back in the 1990s.
This was the saga back in the 1990s when Mahatir banned the trading of Malaysian stocks on the secondary exchange in Singapore (known as Central Limit Order Book – CLOB). This caused shareholders who held CLOB shares to take massive losses of up to 70%.
You can read more about the CLOB saga here.
Which is the best Stock Broker?
I did some digging around, and as it turns out, there aren’t that many Singapore stock brokers that offer access to Malaysian stocks.
I’ve included those that did below – together with the commissions and fees for easy comparison.
|Broker||Fees||Minimum Commission (MYR)||Custody Fees|
|Saxo||Classic (<$300,000 account value) – 0.2% |
Platinum ($300,000 to $1.5 million account value) – 0.16%
VIP (> $1.5 million account value) – 0.12%
|50||0.12% per annum|
|Maybank Kim Eng||Less than MYR100,000 – 0.50% |
MYR100,000 up to MYR200,000 – 0.40%
Above MYR200,000 – 0.30%
Pre-Funded – 0.18%
|60||SGD2 per counter per month|
(subject to max. of SGD150 per quarter)
Waiver Conditions: At least 2 trades per month or 6 trades per quarter; or Suspended/Delisted counters; or Margin loan > S$20,000 per month (applicable for KE Margin account only)
|POEMS||0.5%||60||SGD 2 per stock up to a max. of SGD 150 per quarter (7% GST applies) |
Monthly charges are automatically waived if there are at least (a) two trades in your trading account in the same calendar month, regardless of trade size in local or foreign shares OR (b) six trades in your trading account in the same calendar quarter, regardless of trade size in local or foreign shares OR (c) SGD 132 of paid brokerages in the same calendar quarter
|OCBC Securities||Less than MYR 100,000 – 0.5% |
MYR100,000 up to MYR200,000 – 0.40% Above MYR200,000 – 0.35%
|70||SGD 2 per counter per month |
Invoiced quarterly in arrears subject to maximum of S$200 per quarter (or maximum S$67 per month).
Fees may be waived: a) If customers make at least two (2) transactions per month for that particular month. b) If customers make at least six (6) transactions per quarter for the entire quarter. c) If the foreign security is being suspended from trading at the point when our Company is computing the fees.
It’s basically a toss up between Saxo and Maybank Kim Eng.
Saxo does 0.2% fees if your account value is below $300,000 (fees are discounted if your account value is higher).
Maybank Kim Eng does 0.18% flat if you pre-fund the account – but if you don’t then it’s 0.5% which is no longer competitive.
Saxo has 50MYR minimum commissions, while Maybank Kim Eng has 60MYR minimum commissions.
So the way it works out is that at trade sizes of below S$10,000 (30,000 MYR), Saxo will be cheaper because of the lower minimum commission.
At trade sizes of above S$10,000 (30,000 MYR), Maybank Kim Eng is cheaper.
Unless of course your Saxo account has more than $300,000, in which case Saxo is just the cheapest broker here, full stop.
Don’t forget about custody fees as well.
Saxo is 0.12% per annum.
Maybank Kim Eng is SGD2 per quarter, subject to a maximum of SGD 150 per quarter. So if you have more than 25 foreign stocks with Maybank Kim Eng, the 26th stock onwards has no custody fee.
Basically, at 0.12% per annum, Saxo is cheaper as long as you have less than S$20,000 (or 60,000MYR) in each stock. If you have more than $20,000 per stock, then it’s cheaper to pay Maybank Kim Eng’s flat $2 a month.
So it really goes back to the kind of investor you are. Do you buy a lot in one counter, or less in one counter.
Corporate Action Handling Fees
The other thing to note is that Maybank Kim Eng charges Corporate Action Handling Fees, while Saxo doesn’t.
The fees are set out below. They’re nothing big, but something to note nonetheless.
There are some other fees that you need to take note of when buying Malaysian stocks as a foreigner – set out below.
These are payable at the stock exchange level, and are incurred regardless of which broker you use. Nothing you can do to avoid these, so just take note of them.
|Contract Stamp||0.1% (rounded up to nearest dollar, max MYR 200 per contract)*|
|Foreign Fee||0.03% (rounded up to nearest cent, max MYR 1,000 per contract)|
|Sales and Service Tax (SST) ^||6%|
If you’re investing smaller amounts (less than $20,000 per counter), then Saxo is probably the cheaper one because of the 50MYR minimum commission, vs the 60MYR minimum commission for Maybank Kim Eng.
At smaller amounts, it also makes more sense to pay the 0.12% custody fee with Saxo than a $2 per month flat fee with Maybank Kim Eng.
But frankly speaking, the two brokers are close enough, that I don’t think fees should be the overriding consideration here.
Go with the broker than is more convenient for you, and that you are more comfortable with.
If you already have a Maybank account, then use it. If you already have a Saxo account, then use it.
I’ve used Saxo’s account and the user interface is very easy to pick up, which is a great plus point. Unfortunately, I’ve never tried Maybank Kim Eng so I can’t comment on that front. If you have any experience with them feel free to share in the comments below.
There is an account opening bonus for Saxo now if you fund $3000 and make 1 trade, so if you’re new to Saxo this could tip the scales in favour of Saxo. Full promotion details at the end of this post.
Saxo could be the better all-round broker
If you’re going to use the stock broker for non-Malaysia stocks though, then the answer is different.
Maybank Kim Eng’s fees are set out below, and long story short, they’re just not competitive on non-Malaysia stocks.
For example, Hong Kong stocks have 0.4% fees with HKD100 minimum, while Saxo does the same thing for 0.15% with HKD90 minimum.
Even more obvious for US stocks. Maybank does 0.5% fees with USD30 minimum which is just daylight robbery. Saxo does 0.06% with USD 4 minimum commission.
You can see the full breakdown below:
Maybank Kim Eng Fees
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.
This is one of those account opening bonuses that could tip the scales in favour of Saxo, especially if you’re undecided.
The link is below, drop me an email at [email protected] for the next steps!
Financial Horse x Saxo Affiliate Link
Note: If you’re interested in this bonus, please do make sure you click through the link to open an account!
If all you care about are fees, and you want to get a stock broker that gives you access to Malaysia stocks from Singapore, then my recommendation is for either Saxo or Maybank Kim Eng.
Go with Saxo if you’re trading smaller amounts (less than $15,000 per counter – because of the interaction between commission and custody fees), and go with Maybank Kim Eng if you’re trading bigger amounts (less than $15,000 per counter).
Do note that Maybank Kim Eng is not competitive for non-malaysia stocks though. So if you plan on using your broker for things other than Malaysia stocks, you might want to give Saxo a check out instead.
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Hi FH, I believe you need a MY bank account to purchase Malaysian shares using Saxo. Which is not an option for most Singaporeans. That’s what I was told when I tried to start a MY sub account recently. Not sure about the other brokers though!
That’s not what I heard from Saxo though. When did you last try – because they only officially added Bursa Malaysia earlier this year. Now you should be able to buy Malaysian shares even via a SGD funded account.
Ah okay, your reply helped clear up my confusion. You can’t start a MYR sub account without a MY bank account, which is what I was trying to do. But you can buy Malaysia shares with a SGD funded account, as you pointed out! Sorry for the mix up.
I understand though that for Saxo, the usefulness of having a sub account in the currency of the stock you are trading in is that you avoid a second exchange loss when you eventually sell the stock (as you have to convert from SGD to MYR to buy the stock, then MYR to SGD when you sell it). If you can only transact using a SGD funded account, does that mean there is no way of avoiding this?
Yes! You are absolutely right.
To be fair, if you’re a Sg investor you eventually will convert the MYR back to SGD anyway. The only situation where this comes matters is where you want to sell a Malaysian stock, and use the MYR to buy another Malaysian stock. In that scenario you’ll need to open a MYR sub account within Saxo.
Dear finance horse,
I am not old enough to play share during CLOB sage. I read the link you shared and it sound very awful and painful for those who got burn. I have 2 questions.
1) In today context, any possibility that if we buy malaysia share let say via SAXO, will we be burn in the exact same way as in CLOB? In another words, can they come out with another CLOB move?
2) I read that after the CLOB, some Malaysia businessman offered to buy those stucked share at 70% discount? Is there an option for those SG investor at that time to refuse to sell their stucked share? Will they get any dividend pay out if the stucked share company declare dividend? OR after CLOB happen, they are force to sell their share by a certain deadline otherwise their share will just vanish into thin air?
Well history never repeats – so the CLOB saga will never play out in the same way again. If it were to play out, it would look quite different.
That said, my personal views below:
1) You will be buying Malaysian stocks listed in Malaysia. CLOB was for Malaysian stocks traded in Singapore, which is quite different. With the current structure, the only problem will be if Malaysian govt decides to ban Singapore investors from buying Malaysia stocks, which is a very drastic move. I think this is a low probability event.
2) Yes they can, but then like you said, there are so many uncertainties as to what happens when the trading stops. The options were to (1) hold on and sort through all the problems of holding unlisted shares, or (2) sell at a discount. Many chose to go with (2).
Don’t invest in Malaysia stock via Saxo, they also charge 0.75% conversion costs on each order.
That mean your commission and conversion costs is 0.95%.
Total trade would be 1.9%!
Doesn’t worth it at all, and the writer silent on conversion costs.
And if you are a small trader, DO NOT trade at Malaysia stock at all.
As you need to trade for Myr 25k and above to enjoy 0.2% commission, min myr 50 commission.
Saxo sub-account FX cost is now 0.3%.
Are dividends received from Malaysian stocks subject to witholding tax? I used Lim & Tan securities and it mentioned that there is a 30% witholding tax.
There shouldn’t be actually. Maybe best to confirm with your broker on this again.