With so many brokerage firms in Singapore to choose from, finding the best online broker for your needs can be a very daunting process. What should you prioritize? What are the commission costs for transactions? What markets can I invest in? What kind of services do they offer? To help you narrow down your search, we have prepared the below guide on the best online brokers in Singapore.
For most retail investors, commission cost of trading should be the most important factor in choosing an online broker. For instance, most firms have a minimum commission of S$25 to S$28 for transactions below S$50,000. For instance, if you only buy S$1,000 worth of a particular stock, you will lose 2.5% in commission right off the bat! For bigger trades, brokers typically charge about 0.25% per dollar on average (which decreases to about 0.18% per dollar for orders above S$100,000). For people who trade frequently, such cost can build up quickly.
Therefore, an investor should attempt to minimize cost of transactions as much as possible. In our opinion, there are two brokers in Singapore that do this well. First, SAXO only charges 0.12% of commission on your trades, with a minimum cost of S$15. Secondly, Standard Chartered does not even charge a minimum fee, although it charges a slightly higher 0.2% commission on your trades. To choose between the two, we think it’s better to go with SC for trades below S$7,500. In such a case, your commission will be lower than the S$15 that SAXO charges for trades that require its minimum commission. For bigger trades, SAXO tends to be the cheaper deal.
|Name||Minimum Fees||<S$50k||S$50k-S$100k||S>$100k||US||Japan||HK||Stock Markets - Online|
|Interactive Brokers||2.5||0.080%||0.080%||0.080%||0.5% min $1||0.08%, min JPY80||0.08%, min HKD18||24 Countries, including Australia, Singapore, India, Japan, Hong Kong|
|KGIFraser||25||0.275%||0.220%||0.180%||0.3%, min $20||0.5%, min JPY1,500||0.25%, min HKD100||Singapore, Malaysia, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, USA|
|i*Trade||25||0.275%||0.220%||0.180%||0.3%, min $20||0.25%, min HKD50||Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Thailand, Indonesia, US|
|Citibank Brokerage||28||0.250%||0.200%||0.180%||0.35%, min $29||0.3%, min HKD120||Singapore, Hong Kong, USA|
|DBS Vickers||25||0.280%||0.220%||0.180%||0.3%, min $25||0.5%, min JPY3,000||0.2%, min HKD100||Singapore, Hong Kong, USA, Canada, UK, Australia, Japan|
|RHB Securities||25||0.275%||0.220%||0.180%||0.3%, min $20||0.25%, min HKD100||Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, USA|
|Maybank Kim Eng||25||0.275%||0.220%||0.180%||0.3%, min $20||0.5%, min JPY3,000||0.25%, min HKD100||Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, China, Thailand, USA|
|Lim &Tan Securities||25||0.280%||0.220%||0.180%||Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Philippines, China-B, Taiwan, Thailand, USA|
|POEMS||25||0.280%||0.220%||0.180%||0.3%, min $20||0.5%, min JPY3,000||0.25%, min HKD100||Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Thailand, Indonesia, US, Japan, Turkey, UK, Autralia|
|iOCBC||25||0.275%||0.220%||0.180%||0.3%, min $20||0.75%, min JPY3,000||0.25%, min HKD150||Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, China B, Japan, Australia, UK, USA|
|SAXO Capital Markets||15||0.120%||0.120%||0.120%||$0.01/share, min S$9.9||0.2%, min JPY2,500||0.15%, min HKD150||Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand, Indonesia, US, Japan, Turkey, UK, Autralia, Europe, South Africa, Canada|
|Standard Chartered||0||0.200%||0.200%||0.200%||0.25%, min $10||0.25%, min JPY1,000||0.25%, min HKD100||Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, USA, Australia, UK|
|U Trade||18||0.180%||0.180%||0.180%||0.3%, min $20||0.25%, min HKD100||Singapore, Malaysia, USA|
For trading stocks in Singapore especially, Standard Chartered and SAXO are some of the lowest commission levels we’ve seen. However, the Singapore market can be quite limiting in terms of options, as Straits Times Index only includes 30 stocks. If you are looking to diversify into other markets like the US, Hong Kong and Thailand, you might want to consider options.
For regional access, we recommend SAXO, iOCBC and POEMS. They cover most SE Asia and North Asian markets, though each broker has a slightly different offering. However, some of these can be quite costly especially compared to Interactive Brokers that offers stocks in the major markets in Asia. As you can see in the table above, IB has the lowest cost for any region. However, it can only be used by Singaporeans to buy stocks outside the country. Also, IB does not offer stocks in some of the emerging markets like Philippines or Thailand.
There are many other factors to consider. For one, it might be useful to actually check out the user interface of each broker’s offering to see if you can use them easily. Some of the brokers like POEMS and SAXO have quite user-friendly platforms, while others have websites that look quite outdated. Furthermore, for sophisticated traders who care about live-data connection and margin financing, it might be crucial to understand the different product offerings in the market to make sure that they get the best deal on everything they care about, not just on trading commission.