International banking group Standard Chartered has never previously been noted for a strong interest in retail stock trading, but it entered the online trading market in Singapore in mid 2011 with what may prove to be quite a disruptive product. The new service has highly competitive rates compared with other Singapore brokers and – even more significantly – has absolutely no minimum commission on trades, making it very cost effective for smaller investors.
The range of international markets available is somewhat different to most Singapore brokers – instead of focusing on regional markets, concentrates on the major global venues. However, one notable addition is the Osaka Stock Exchange, offered by relatively few discount brokers outside Japan.
There are also no inactivity fees, custodian fees, dividend handling fees and corporate action fees, which are common for foreign stocks in Singapore. On the downside, the currency conversion charges seems to be higher than most other local stock brokers – users report a margin of around 2% on even relatively liquid currencies.
Most Singapore stock brokers welcome clients from almost anywhere in the world, but in this case it’s not clear whether Standard Chartered is willing to accept applications from non-residents. If any readers have received a definitive answer to this, please let me know through the contact form.
The lower rates for Priority Banking customers listed below require an account balance of S$200,000 or housing loans of S$1,000,000.