Investing

Best Online Brokerages in Singapore 2017

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 prioritise? 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.

Table of Contents

Best Online Brokerages in Singapore

For most retail investors, commission cost of trading should be the most important factor in choosing an online broker. In this sense, SAXO Capital is the best online brokerage available for Singaporeans. For instance, most firms have a minimum commission of S$25 for transactions below S$50,000. This means that, if you only buy S$1,000 worth of a particular stock, you will have to pay 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 minimise cost of transactions as much as possible.

SAXO Capital Markets: Best Online Broker in Singapore

In our opinion, SAXO Capital Markets is the best online brokerage in Singapore because it combines low cost, great market access and easy user interface into one offering. First, SAXO only charges 0.12% of commission on your trades with a minimum cost of S$15, roughly half of what most of its peers charge in the market. SAXO lowers this industry leading commission even further to 0.1% for active traders who trade more than 100 times a month. SAXO's advantage is apparent in its foreign market access as well. It provides online trading in 36 global markets, and also offers market leading commission rates for the major international markets like the US, HK and Japan.

Below is a summary chart of SAXO's offerings, which you can compare to others in our summary table at the bottom. As you can see, SAXO has a variety of offerings at rock bottom prices, making it ideal for both casual investors and advanced traders or small and big investors alike. For instance, most brokers charge a CFD share financing cost of 6-7%, but SAXO charges only about 5%. It also has one of the lowest spreads for FX trades in the market.

Lastly, our analysts have also tried all available online trials of each online brokerage offering, have found SAXO's user interface to be the most intuitive and the easiest to use. Combining price competitive, market access and ease of use, SAXO Capital, in our opinion, provides one of the best offerings for investors and traders alike.

Standard Pricing of SAXO Capital By Product and Market


SingaporeUSJapanHKAustraliaEU
Equities0.12%$0.01 per share0.20%0.15%0.15%0.15%
Stock MinimumS$15$9.90JPY2,500HKD150AUD25EUR20
Industry Average0.25%0.3%0.5%0.25%0.5%0.5%
CFDs5%5%5%5%5%5%
Competitors6%-7%6%-6.3%6%-7%6%-8.5%5%-6%
Bonds0.20%0.20%0.20%0.20%0.20%0.20%
Bond MinimumEUR80EUR80EUR80EUR80EUR80EUR80
Equity Options (0-1000 contracts/month)$3HKD30AUD5EUR3
Index Options (0-250 contracts/month)S$15$6JPY1,000HKD45AUD10EUR6

City Index: Best Online Brokerage for Trading CFDs

For expert traders who only want to trade CFDs, City Index might be a great option to consider. CFDs are basically instruments for margin trading, meaning you are borrowing to invest more money than you have on hand. As such, it can dramatically increase both your gains and losses. Because of this nature, CFDs should generally recommended for seasoned experts who know how to trade in savvy manners. When it comes to trading CFDs, City Index can lead to the lowest costs for you. This is because City Index's commission and financing interest are both either match or are lower than even Saxo's. City Index also offers a robust and competitive trading platform for forex trading.

City IndexSAXO
Financing Cost2.5%+1-M Interbank Rate: 3-3.5%5%
CFD Commission for:
Singapore0.08%0.12%
US$0.15/share$0.1/share
Japan0.05%0.15%
HK0.15%0.25%
Australia0.08%0.1%
EU0.1%0.1%

Interactive Brokers: Best Online Brokerage for International Markets

For trading stocks in Singapore especially, SAXO and Standard Chartered 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. In terms of trading securities in non-Singapore markets only Interactive Brokers's commission levels are hard to beat. As you can see in the table below, IB has the lowest cost for any region.

The problem, however, is that it can only be used by Singaporeans to buy stocks outside the country because it's not licensed to fully operate in Singapore. This also comes with other risks like the fact that the Singapore government will not guarantee your money in case of IB's default since it's not licensed; however, IB is an international firm with a very solid reputation so this risk might be low. Lastly, IB charges a monthly minimum fee of S$10 for accounts between S$2,000 and S$100,000. Though this cost can be offset with trading commissions, it can still be a meaningful cost if you are trading only a few thousand dollars in total.

TD Ameritrade (thinkorswim): Best Online Brokerage for Wealthy Investors of Stocks & ETFs

For wealthy investors who only plan to trade stocks & ETFs, TD Ameritrade might be a good alternative to SAXO. Although it charges a higher minimum commission of S$15 (USD10.65) commission on your trades, this is actually a flat fee no matter which market you trade or how much money you are trading. Therefore, if you are trading more than S$10,000 to 12,000 at a time, your fee can actually lower than what you pay with SAXO. This is especially valuable for investors who are mostly interested in investing in equities and ETFs. However, if you are looking to invest in a variety of securities like futures, options, bonds and FX, we think SAXO might be a better option for you especially if you trade a lot.

TD AmeritradeSAXO
Stock Trading CommissionUSD10.65 per trade0.12%-0.2% depending on the market (minimum of S$15)
For Trade of S$5,000S$14.7S$15
For Trade of S$12,000S$14.7S$15-S$24
For Trade of S$20,000S$14.7S$24-S$40

Summary Table of Online Brokerages Commissions

Below is a summary table of all the online brokers in Singapore. Please read our review of the best online brokers above for more detailed analysis and see which one best suits your needs.

NameMin Fee<S$50kS$50k-S$100k>$100kUSJapanHK# of Online Markets
SAXO CapitalS$150.120%0.120%0.120%$0.01/share, min S$9.90.2%, min JPY2,5000.15%, min HKD15036
City Index (CFD only)0.080%$0.15/share0.050%0.150%5,000
IG (CFD only)0.100%$0.2/share0.200%0.250%10,000
Interactive BrokersS$2.50.080%0.080%0.080%0.5% min $10.08%, min JPY800.08%, min HKD1824
TD Ameritrade (thinkorswim)S$14-S$15(USD10.65) for stocks, USD10.65 + $0.81 per contract for options
Standard CharteredS$14-S$15 (USD10)0.200%0.200%0.200%0.25%, min $100.25%, min JPY1,0000.25%, min HKD10010
U TradeS$180.180%0.180%0.180%0.3%, min $200.25%, min HKD1004
POEMSS$250.280%0.220%0.180%0.3%, min $200.5%, min JPY3,0000.25%, min HKD10021
iOCBCS$250.275%0.220%0.180%0.3%, min $200.75%, min JPY3,0000.25%, min HKD15026
KGIFraserS$250.275%0.220%0.180%0.3%, min $200.5%, min JPY1,5000.25%, min HKD10015
i*TradeS$250.275%0.220%0.180%0.3%, min $200.25%, min HKD506
Citibank BrokerageS$280.250%0.200%0.180%0.35%, min $290.3%, min HKD1203
DBS VickersS$250.280%0.220%0.180%0.3%, min $250.5%, min JPY3,0000.2%, min HKD1007
RHB SecuritiesS$250.275%0.220%0.180%0.3%, min $200.25%, min HKD1004
Maybank Kim EngS$250.275%0.220%0.180%0.3%, min $200.5%, min JPY3,0000.25%, min HKD1009
Lim & Tan SecuritiesS$250.280%0.220%0.180%12
AverageS$220.247%0.205%0.177%

Other Things to Consider

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 SAXO and POEMS have quite user-friendly platforms, while others have websites that look quite outdated. Furthermore, for sophisticated traders who care about live-data API 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 every broker will provide this information upfront; but usually, companies that have the best rates tend to make the most disclosure. Lastly, some brokers may have teams of analysts that provide research reports for companies and markets, which could be valuable to some investors depending on their investment style and aptitude.

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