Jan 152013

Anybody who follows the UK financial services services market will be well aware that the Retail Distribution Review (RDR) is set to shake up the financial advice model and the pricing of many investment services. But the UK isn’t alone in this – while RDR is the first major review to come into effect, a number of other countries have been looking at similar measures.

The FT has a recent piece on the pending commission ban in the Netherlands – it’s probably paywalled for most readers, but the first couple of lines give the gist:

Dutch banks are putting pressure on asset managers to review their fund ranges in light of a self-imposed ban on inducements that will debut in January 2014.

Managers say they must create share classes that have commission payments stripped out if they want to maintain their lucrative business ties with large distributors such as ABN Amro, Rabobank and ING.

It’s interesting to see that the Dutch banks (in the Netherlands, as in most continental European markets, banks are the main fund distribution channel) are being fairly proactive about this. That contrasts with the UK experience, where many parts of the industry have left things as late as possible: Some kind of ban on trail commission to discount brokers and platforms seems almost certain within a year and yet very few firms have introduced unbundled direct-to-consumer pricing.   Continue reading »

Jan 062013

There are a couple of updates to fees at two Singapore brokers. OCBC Securities has slightly reduced its commissions on the higher tiers for Singapore stock trades – trades S$50-100k are now 0.22% from 0.275% and trades above S$100k are now 0.18% from 0.20%. This brings it in line with most of its local peers for online Singapore trades.

It’s a small change, but at least it’s in the client’s favour. DBS Vickers appears to have gone in the opposite direction. A reader has pointed out some significant alterations to the firm’s fee schedule for some international markets. (These apparently came in a little while ago, but neither I nor anyone I know uses DBS, so I wasn’t aware of it until now.)

Continue reading »

Nov 162012

Barring any last-minute glitches, the London Stock Exchange will be launching trading in major Singapore-listed stocks on Monday 19th November, as part of a cross-listing agreement announced in July. Reciprocal trading in FTSE 100 stocks on the Singapore Exchange is intended to start in the first half of 2013.

There will be 37 Singapore stocks initially (Straits Times Index and MSCI Singapore Free constituents) and trading will be on the LSE’s new International Board. This is distinct from the International Order Book (where depository receipts trade) and the European Quoting Service and European Trade Reporting Service, the new MiFID services that have replaced the old International Retail Service. Continue reading »

Oct 272012

As scheduled, Thailand joined Singapore and Malaysia on the Asean Trading Link last week. Going by news coverage and a couple of conversations I’ve had, Thai investors and brokers seem to be more enthusiastic about the project than anybody else.

That’s understandable – the historical ties between Malaysia and Singapore mean that anybody from one country who was keen to invest in the other could do so fairly easily and at reasonably low cost. But while there are  brokers in Thailand who can already access other Asian markets, the link promises to make it a bit easier and cheaper for local investors there to invest in neighbouring countries – and, going the other way, also hopefully increase interest from foreign investors in Thai stocks. Continue reading »

Sep 242012

The Asean Exchanges Trading Link is one of those projects that could prove a substantial success or a damp squib – it’s impossible to tell which at this stage. But at least it’s finally under way. Last week, the trading link between Malaysia and Singapore went live and Thailand should join in mid-October, linking together around 60-70% of Southeast Asia stocks through a cross-border trading system.

The idea behind an Asean link-up is very obvious and pretty sensible. Southeast Asia has some attractive opportunities, but suffers from most local stockmarkets being relatively small. Making it easier for individual investors to trade stocks in neighbouring countries could boost liquidity, cut costs and ultimately create a semi-unified Asean capital market with a higher international profile to compete with larger emerging markets such as China and India.

Continue reading »

Jan 282012

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. Continue reading »

Singapore online brokerage fee comparison table

Last UpdatedJan 232012

The table below compares the dealing charges and other features of 11 Singapore online stockbrokers to help you find the best stockbrokers for trading Singapore shares.

Most firms in Singapore have a very similar fee structure, charging commission of around 0.25-0.28% commission for trades below S$50,000, around 0.2-0.22% between S$50,000 and S$100,000 and around 0.18-0.2% over S$100,000, with a typical minimum charge of S$25. For simplicity, commissions in this table are abbreviated to reflect these standard tiers eg 0.25%/0.22%/0.18%.

However there are a couple of exceptions. Standard Chartered’s service has a rate of 0.2% with no minimum charge, while the local office of Danish firm Saxo Bank charges 0.15% for all trade sizes, with a minimum of S$25.

Interactive Brokers – popular with many Singapore traders for overseas markets – is even cheaper at 0.12% with a minimum of S$3. However, Singapore residents currently can’t trade the Singapore exchange through their accounts, although Interactive Brokers have indicated that this restriction may change in the future.

Continue reading »

Nov 042011

Singapore dividend stocks are one of the underappreciated gems of investing in Asia.

The Singapore market has a strong income culture, with most firms paying out dividends from relatively early on. It’s also generally seen as less glamorous than neighbouring markets and tends to trade on lower valuations. As a result, you can often buy into very solid companies at surprisingly high yields.

Take a look at the chart below, which shows the performance of the MSCI Singapore index over the last decade. You can see how large a contribution income made to returns from Singapore stocks. Continue reading »

Oct 092011

It didn’t get much of an announcement given that some customers have been lobbying for it for ages, but Interactive Brokers has finally added direct stock trading for Singapore to its platform (it’s had derivatives for years, but not cash equities).

This plugs the last major gap in the firm’s line-up. There are many other exchanges that it will hopefully eventually add, but the absence of SGX was always strange and the biggest limitation of Interactive Brokers’s otherwise very good and cheap service.

Fees are extremely competitive: 0.12% with a minimum of S$3. This compares with standard rates of around 0.275% and a minimum of S$25 in Singapore; even Saxo Bank charges 0.15%. The one caveat is that, judging by the wording of the announcement, Singapore residents still won’t be able to trade Singapore stocks through Interactive Brokers (presumably it doesn’t have a full local licence).

The stock broker list, stock broker comparison tables and Interactive Brokers profile have been updated.

The best Singapore international stock brokers


Introduction | UK brokers | US brokers | Hong Kong brokers | Singapore brokers | Other

This is an overview of the leading Singapore online stock brokers that are able to buy international shares. If you’re looking for a straightforward comparison table, there is one summarising Singapore brokers for international investing and a separate one comparing their costs for Singapore-listed shares only.

Singapore is very popular with international investors looking for a brokerage in Asia. Please see the articles on opening a Singapore bank account or opening a Singapore stock broking account for more information on how non-residents can open accounts in Singapore. Continue reading »