Broker profile

MubasherTrade Global

MubasherTrade Global (previously known as DUTrade) is an online trading platform run by Bahrain-based Mubasher Financial Services, which is a subsidiary of National Technology Group, a Saudi Arabian conglomerate. Mubasher FS is a large regional institutional brokerage and MubasherTrade Global is its move into serving retail investors.

As far as we know, this is the only platform offering an online trading service covering most of the Middle East and North Africa markets, making it potentially very convenient for investors interested in this region. Some markets and stocks may not be available to all users – for example, Saudi Arabia is restricted to Gulf Cooperation Council citizens only.

In terms of investor protection, Mubasher FS is regulated by the Central Bank of Bahrain and local rules require brokers to keep clients assets segregated from their own assets. However, investor should be aware that there is no investor compensation scheme in this jurisdiction to protect against worst-case scenarios.

Broker profile


Switzerland’s leading discount brokerage offers a reasonable range of North American and European markets for online trading and a far larger number for broker-assisted trades. As far as I know, it’s the only retail-orientated brokerage in Europe that offers markets such as Brazil or Japan’s Osaka Stock Exchange (as opposed to the more widely traded Tokyo exchange) – although Daniel Stewart, a UK institutional firm that accepts private clients, can also access these and more, while the Hong Kong-based Boom Securities and Phillip Securities are other cheaper alternatives for Japan.

The main drawback is the fees. Minimum commissions on the broker-assisted markets are so high that they are unrealistic for most retail investors. This may be understandable, since they will be traded via intermediaries. However, even the online markets are not cheap – you will do better through many other discount brokers.

However, there is no minimum account size and admin fees don’t look unbearable. So if you’re aiming to make a handful of long-term investments of at least US$5,000-10,000 each in some of the more inaccessible markets it offers, Swissquote could be worth a look. Feedback on everything except fees has generally been good.

The Hong Kong and Singapore stock brokers may be alternatives for Asia, while Brokerjet, Finasta and Orion Securities may be worth considering for Eastern Europe.

Broker profile

Charles Schwab One Account

This US online brokerage giant now has two international brokerage services: The Schwab Global Account, open to US citizens and residents only, and the international trading part of its long-standing Schwab One Account. The firm has never really advertised the latter much, but it can deal in a very wide range of overseas markets, albeit by telephone during US hours only.

Schwab One Accounts are available to clients outside the US, although the minimum account size will be larger – US$25,000 for most markets, US$10,000 through the Hong Kong and UK arms. Overseas dealing is likely to have a minimum of around US$5,000 per trade for some markets.

The main snag with the service is cost. International dealing rates are 0.75% with a minimum of US$100. While this is lower than rates at the wirehouses, you can do better than that for many of the markets it offers – within the US, try Interactive Brokers, Fidelity or Schwab’s own US resident-only Schwab Global Account. On top of this, its correspondent stock brokers in the overseas markets will add their own charges, include FX conversion (since you can only hold US dollars within the account). That will vary by market, but it’s likely to add 0.15-1.5% depending on region (Europe will be cheaper, emerging Asia more expensive).

That said, while nobody I know well has used Charles Schwab for buying international shares, second-hand feedback says the customer service is very good. Certainly, I was impressed with the knowledge of its representatives when I enquired about opening an account. At this price, I’d still say look for a cheaper broker for the easy markets. But perhaps consider this firm for the more exotic ones if you trade in reasonable size and the US$100 minimum is bearable.