There are a number of new additions and updates to the international stock broker directory. One interesting one is Standard Chartered Bank Securities Trading, which moved into the Singapore brokerage market a few months ago with an unusual product.
It offers online trading in Singapore stocks for 0.2% per trade (0.18% for those with a larger banking relationship) and 0.25% per trade (0.2% for favoured customers) for Australia, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan (including both the Tokyo and Osaka stock exchanges), the Netherlands, Switzerland, the UK and the USA. This has no minimum commission, which is rare in the brokerage business and attractive to customers trading smaller amounts.
There are also apparently no account and no inactivity fees, custodian fees, no dividend collection fees, no corporate action charges, making it a commendably clean fee structure. There is one catch though; currency conversions done through Standard Chartered are considerably worse than many Singapore brokers, with users reporting a margin of 2% over the interbank rate. However, you can hold and fund foreign currency accounts with the bank, so you shouldn’t need to pay this every trade, if you’re careful.
Also note that this is a nominee account for Singapore shares, unlike most Singapore stock brokers who allow you to link their account directly to your own account with the central securities depository (CDP). That means the stocks bought through this account can only be sold through Standard Chartered unless first transferred out; most Singapore investors will be used to being able to sell their CDP holdings through any linked account. However, unlike Saxo Bank’s Singapore nominee account, it does not seem to incur the 10% withholding tax on REIT dividends (which is caused by Saxo’s nominee being classed as a non-individual foreign investor).
It’s not entirely clear whether this service will accept non-residents (most Singapore brokers do, but international banks with branches everywhere can often be more restrictive). If any reader has definitively confirmed this one way or another, please leave a comment below or send an email via the contact form.
Apart from Standard Chartered, there is also a new comparison table comparing fees of all the Singapore brokerages for Singapore stock trading. To round this out, entries for AmFraser Securities, CIMB Singapore iTrade, Citibank Singapore Brokerage, DMG & Partners are now in the directory, although these firms offer few international trading options, so are of limited interest to most international investors.