Best Online Brokerages in Singapore (2020 – 2021)

I have mentioned before that, statistically speaking, DIY investing doesn’t work, especially during market downturns like 2020.

For those that are looking to DIY invest though, and feel they have the emotional self-control to do it, this article will cover some of the best online brokerages available in Singapore.

We have previously touched on some Singapore-owned brokerages, so this article will more speak about those options that are available to Singaporean residents, regardless of where the brokerage is based.

If you are looking to invest, please contact me using  this form, or by using the WhatsApp function below.

Introduction:

Online Brokerage – Online Brokerage firms are the brokerage firms that a customer can be able to access online. Usually, if the people wanted to make a trade, they would have to make a phone call to the broker and place a trade.

This process of making a phone call to make a trade happened to be a very complicated process. The person calls and manages the stocks a person wants to buy or sell on their behalf. 

Nowadays, the hassle has been decreased to a minimum, because the person can do all their activities online or get their assets managed online by an efficient financial advisor (like us). 

Adding to that, the internet has made everything easy for the customers. In case anybody wants to buy a stock, they can be easily able to do online with the help of their phone or a computer.

Online brokers are also known by the names of ‘Online Trading Platforms’, ‘Online Brokerage Firms’, etc. The services offered by online brokerage firms are said to be effective and beneficial to the clients.

Most of the online brokers are legit and safe as they are often regulated by top-tier authorities. Adding to that, most of the online brokerage firms are listed on a stock exchange, at the same time having a background in banking services.

Singapore – A city-island, which has been located in Southeast Asia, Singapore is known for its quality of living as well as its prosperity. 

The currency of Singapore is the Singapore Dollar is represented as ‘S$’ or SGD. By the time of writing this article (which is 11th October 2020), the Singapore dollar is estimated to be around USD 0.74 or £0.57.

Tips while choosing an online brokerage firm – There are some useful tips while selecting an online brokerage firm, which suits the specific financial needs of a person. Given below are the most important aspects that need to be taken into consideration while picking an online broker.

‘Fees’ – ‘Brokerage Fees’ is the first and foremost aspect as fees and charges that are charged by an online play a crucial role while selecting an online broker. ‘Fee’, ‘Charge’ or ‘Commission’, whatever the term might be, a person must be careful while choosing an online broker.

Fees or charges should be considered mainly because even if a person earns a higher amount of profits if the fees or charges are high, the profits earned by a customer would be reduced due to these.

‘Accessibility’ – The usage of an online brokerage platform is another important thing because the person would find it difficult while trading if the interface is not convenient for the customer.

‘Account Opening’ – The ability to open an online brokerage account should be hassle-free in order to provide a better user experience for the customer.

‘Availability’ – Individuals should also be able to check whether the online brokerage platform chosen by them has an availability of a wide range of products. If not possible, they will face difficulties while trying to make a trade.

‘Minimum Account Balance’ – The minimum amount of balance required to open an account is also important because the firms that require a higher amount to open an online brokerage account won’t be as beneficial as an account that requires a lower amount.

‘Research and Education’ – It is also better to know about the type of research and education provided by the platform is essential for the beginner level investors and the investors that are trying to improve their skills.

Types of Fees and Commissions – There are various types of fees applicable to a customer while making use of the services offered by an online brokerage firm. Some examples of the fees levied by brokerage firms are as follows:

There are commissions, which are based on the total amount in the account. However, not all brokerage firms have a commission and some even offer 0% commissions.

There is another form of fees, which is known as a spread. This refers to fees applicable as per the difference between the selling price and buying price of an asset.

There are some other fees belonging to two categories namely, trading fees and non-trading fees. Trading fees are the type of fees that are applicable to a customer while trading and the non-trading fees are the types of fees that aren’t involved with trading.

A few considerable examples of trading fees include commissions, spreads, etc., whereas, examples for non-trading fees include inactivity fees, withdrawal fees, annual account fees, etc.

Best Online Brokerage Firms in Singapore:

Today, we will be focusing on the best online brokerage firms available for the investors in Singapore. We will also provide a list of best online brokers for beginner-level investors at the end of this article.

Without wasting any more time, we’ll just jump straight into today’s article covering all the details mentioned above.

Top International Online Brokers in Singapore – First of all, we will be covering the details related to the topmost international online brokers available to the investors residing in Singapore.

The comparison and the selection of the best online brokers is made on the basis of the fees, safety, and other essential features that a person looks for. 

The following list just contains the best online brokers in a random list, therefore, people should not be confused that they are in an ascending order or a descending order.

  1. Interactive Brokers:

Interactive Brokers take place on our list as the best international online broker because of the discounts, fees and other important things. Interactive Brokers is regulated by some of the most famous financial authorities worldwide.

Examples of the renowned regulators that authorize and regulate Interactive Brokers are ‘Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), which is based in the UK’, and ‘US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which is based in the United States’.

Because of being regulated by the topmost financial authorities of the world, Interactive Brokers is considered to be safe for the investors.

There are some important advantages to consider while trading with Interactive Brokers such as ‘Low trading fees’, ‘Accessibility of a wide range of products’, ‘Availability of some of the beneficial research tools’, etc.

Anyhow, some of the major drawbacks of having a brokerage account with Interactive Brokers are ‘Complications while opening an account when compared to other online brokers’, ‘Problematical desktop trading interface’, ‘High amount of inactivity fees’, etc.

Fees – Interactive Brokers is known to have some of the lowest trading fees, stock fees, ETF fees, and margin rates when compared to most other brokers. Adding to that, stock trading and ETF trading are free for clients in the US.

However, there is an inactivity fee applicable to the customers while trading with the help of interactive brokers in Singapore. 

The commission fee for 

  • US-based stocks – $0.0035; minimum fee – $0.35
  • Hong Kong stocks – 0.08%; minimum fee – HKD 12
  • Japan Stocks – 0.050%; minimum fee – JPY 80

Account Opening – The process of opening an account at Interactive Brokers is completely digital as well as hassle-free, and the required minimum deposit can vary from no minimum deposit to very minimum.

However, even the process of completing an application can be done completely online, the process is considered to be complicated and takes a lot of time for verification (around 3 days).

Deposits and Withdrawals – There is an availability of various types of base currencies and the customers are allotted with one free withdrawal per each month. 

The huge disadvantage is that the customer can only be able to transfer funds by bank transfer and there isn’t even availability of a credit card/debit card transfer.

The process of deposits and withdrawals is also quite complicated. There is no fee applicable to make deposits or withdrawals at Interactive Brokers.

Markets and Products – One of the greatest advantages of being a customer of Interactive Brokers is that the individual gets access to a wide range of markets and product types.

There is an availability of various products at Interactive Brokers such as Stocks, ETFs, FOREX, Funds, Bonds, Options, Futures, CFDs and Cryptocurrencies.

Trading Platform – The web trading platform of Interactive Brokers can be easily accessible and has a clear interface. It also comes along with a two-step login feature, which is considered to be safer. The customizability on the other hand is very limited.

The mobile trading platform is also effective in having a good search function, a wide range of order types and a two-step login, on the other hand, the user interface is a little bit complicated.

The desktop platform is not as effective as the mobile trading platform or the web trading platform. The customizability for charts and workspace, clear fee report, and availability of various order types make it good, however, there are a few drawbacks such as lack of user-friendly interface, underperforming search function, etc.

To use any of the above-mentioned platforms, an investor must at least have some minimum amount of knowledge about this field as Interactive Brokers’ platforms (web, mobile and desktop) are quite complex for beginners.

Our Opinion – Interactive Brokers is among the best and the biggest online discount brokers, which is regulated by some of the top-tier regulators worldwide.

However, people should take the following aspect into consideration that the services offered by Interactive Brokers are aptly suitable for traders having advanced knowledge and experience (or at least intermediate level knowledge).

Traders who have beginner-level knowledge can take a look at the top online brokers for beginners that are listed at the end of this article.

  1. TD Ameritrade:

TD Ameritrade is another topmost US-based online broker, which is regulated by some of the best financial authorities such as the ‘Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)’, the ‘Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA)’ along with the ‘Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC)’.

Being regulated by such authorities, being listed on a stock exchange, having a banking background, and having an exceptional track record makes TD Ameritrade one of the safest online brokers.

However, it is known to be suitable for the investors that are seeking to get access to some substantial amount of research and want to have access to an exceptional trading platform.

Some of the major advantages of TD Ameritrade include low trading fees, excellent desktop trading platform, noteworthy customer support, etc.

However, there are some major drawbacks of TD Ameritrade that include having access only to the US markets, accessibility limited to US nationals in most cases, not having an availability of credit card/debit card/e-wallet transfers, etc.

Fees – Tradingfees, as well as non-trading fees at TD Ameritrade, are very low when compared to most other online brokers. Moreover, they also offer the feature of free stock and ETF trading to their customers. 

The fund fees, however, are considerably high and people who mainly decide to invest in funds will find it rather disadvantageous.

Account Opening – The account opening process is the best at TD Ameritrade. An account can be opened completely online and requires no minimum deposit amount. Adding to that, there are many account types offered by TD Ameritrade.

However, similar to the Interactive Brokers, a person would require 1 – 3 days for opening an account at TD Ameritrade.

Deposits and Withdrawals – There are no fees applicable to the deposits and withdrawals at TD Ameritrade. The process of depositing or withdrawing money is also quite easy.

The drawback is that there is no availability of credit card or debit card or e-wallet in order to make a deposit or withdrawal. The base currency available is only the US dollar and also it costs a lot for making wire transfers.

Markets and Products – There are various types of assets available but there is a lack of CFDs and Cryptocurrencies. However, people should notice that it only covers the US markets.

Trading Platform – The web trading platform of TD Ameritrade is simple, user-friendly, has some effective order types, and also comes along with a two-step login feature. The customizability, on the other hand, is limited making it a tad bit inconvenient.

The mobile trading platform is very efficient out of the three trading platforms at TD Ameritrade (Web, Mobile and Desktop).

The desktop trading platform is similar to the web platform, but it has a customizability feature while lacking the two-step safer login feature.

Our Opinion – The most important thing that people should understand is that TD Ameritrade is useful for you if you are living in Singapore on a temporary basis while being a citizen of America, such as a US expat.

Because the markets covered by TD Ameritrade are only the US markets and most people who are non-US citizens have some inconvenience while opening an account with them.

Also, people should notice that the financing rates are high and there is no availability of debit card or credit card, or an e-wallet.

It is best suitable for people looking for great education and research tools along with an excellent trading platform.

  1. Saxo Bank:

Saxo Bank is a Danish-based Investment bank that is known to provide online trading and investment services. Saxo Bank is regulated by financial authorities such as the ‘Danish Financial Services Agency (FSA)’ and the ‘Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)’.

Saxo Bank is known to provide its services worldwide with the help of its subsidiaries acting as separate legal entities. The services, fees, products, etc., that are offered may differ depending on the entity.

Also having a banking background and being regulated by top-tier financial authorities, Saxo Bank is known to be a safe online broker. 

Some of the advantages of Saxo Bank are an exquisite trading platform, excellent research and a comprehensive product portfolio.

Some of the drawbacks are high fees for bonds, options & futures, a high amount of minimum deposit, etc. Saxo Bank is also said to lack a live chat feature and 24/7 availability.

Fees – As discussed earlier, the fees for trading with bonds, options and futures are high. Along with that, there is also an inactivity fee.

The fund fees are low, and the fee structure is transparent. The overall fees are considered to be lower for platinum clients and VIP clients. 

The trading fees for stocks and ETFs are estimated to be around 0.08% for all three types of clients (Classic, Platinum and VIP).

Account Opening – The account opening process is digital and easy. Saxo Bank provides its services in almost every country in the world. 

However, it should be noticed that the minimum deposit amount is applicable to the customers. The minimum deposit amount to open an account at Saxo in Singapore is as follows:

  • Classic Account: S$ 3,000
  • Platinum Account: S$ 300,000
  • VIP Account: S$ 1,500,000

The time taken for opening an account at Saxo Bank is estimated to be around 3 days.

Deposits and Withdrawals – Unlike the Interactive Brokers or TD Ameritrade, Saxo Bank has the availability of credit card/debit card transfer for deposits. There is no fee applicable to deposits and withdrawals.

However, e-wallets or a credit card/debit card can’t be used to make a withdrawal at Saxo Bank. 

Markets and Products – Saxo Bank also provides access to all types of asset classes, which are Stocks, ETFs, FOREX, Funds, Bonds, Options, Futures, CFDs and Cryptocurrencies.

Trading Platform – The web trading platform of Saxo is the best when compared to most other online brokers. It is user-friendly, provides a clear report, and has a two-step login feature.

The mobile trading platform as well as the desktop trading platform are also similar when it comes to the features and functionality. The desktop platform even provides excellent customizability, especially for charts and workspace.

Our Opinion – Saxo is the best online trading platform and provides access to various types of products in the international markets.

It is best suitable for investors searching for an online broker that provides great research tools and an excellent trading platform.

The higher fees (bonds, options, futures, etc.), lack of live chat or 24/7 customer support, a higher amount of minimum deposit, etc., are the drawbacks that should be taken into consideration.

  1. Swissquote:

As the name itself suggests, Swissquote is a Swiss-based investment bank that specializes in services related to investments. 

It is divided into two separate wings, where the swiss wing focuses on investments made in stocks, funds, options & futures, whereas, the UK wing focuses on the investments in CFDs and FOREX.

Swissquote is regulated by top-tier regulators such as the ‘Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA)’ in Switzerland and ‘Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)’ in the UK.

Being regulated by such authorities and having a banking license, Swissquote is considered to be safe for the clients who make use of their services.

The advantages of trading with Swissquote are having access to a wide range of markets as well as products, no inactivity fees, excellent background, etc.

The drawbacks of trading with Swissquote are the high amount of trading fees, no free access to some exceptional research tools, etc.

Fees – Swissquote has very low fund fees and low financing rates. Moreover, as discussed before, there is no inactivity fee.

The major drawback is that Swissquote has high trading fees, hefty fees for stocks, ETFs & bonds, and withdrawal fees.

Account Opening – The account opening process is fully digital and there is no minimum deposit amount required for the trading account.

However, the Forex and Robo-advisor accounts require a higher minimum deposit amount, Also, the time required to wait by the customer can be rather long.

Deposits and Withdrawals – Deposits can be made with the help of a bank transfer or a credit card/debit card. There is also an availability of various base currencies at Swissquote.

However, withdrawals can only be made with the help of a bank transfer and the Swiss entity charges fees for deposits as well as withdrawals. The withdrawal fee at Swissquote is estimated to be around $10.

Markets and Products – Swissquote also has access to various markets and asset classes, which are Stocks, ETFs, FOREX, Funds, Bonds, Options, Futures, CFDs and Cryptocurrencies.

Trading Platform – The web trading platform offers exquisite services such as a clear fee report, excellent search functionality, two-step login, etc. The major disadvantage is that people might get confused while using all the functions.

The mobile platform is said to be user-friendly, has good search functionality, and even shows price alerts. However, it lacks advanced search filters. 

The desktop trading platform is not as effective as the web and mobile platforms. It doesn’t have a two-step login feature and the design is also not that good.

Our Opinion – There are quite a few advantages with Swissquote such as accessibility to various product types, no inactivity fees, etc.,

There are some disadvantages such as higher trading fees. People should make a choice whether or not to choose Swissquote depending on the advantages and disadvantages.

  1. TradeStation:

TradeStation is a US-based stockbroker and was founded in the year 1982, and is regulated by top-tier financial authorities such as the ‘Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)’ and the ‘Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA)’.

The clients’ money invested at TradeStation is also protected with investor protection up to $500,000 per account (which includes cash up to $250,000).

TradeStation has an excellent trading platform, low stock & ETF fees, and offers exceptional educational tools.

The deposits and withdrawals cannot be done easily and there is no availability of forex trading. The customer service at TradeStation is also not as effective as it should be.

Fees – TradeStation offers low trading fees along with low stock and ETF fees. There is even availability of multiple fee structures for an investor to choose from.

There is a withdrawal fee and the other non-trading fees at TradeStation are also considered to be high. 

Account Opening – The account opening process is very fast, fully digital, and is user-friendly. The accounts are available only in USD as a base currency, unless an investor wants to make a trade with Futures.

The time taken for opening an account at TradeStation is around 1 day and the minimum amount required to open an account is $1.

Deposits and Withdrawals – There are no fees applicable for making a deposit, adding to which, deposits & withdrawals can also be made in cryptocurrencies. 

There is no availability of a credit card/debit card and the withdrawal fee for a wire transfer are also very high. People can only have USD accounts, which makes it a little bit inconvenient.

Markets and Products – There is an availability of a wide range of US products, however, the US markets that have been covered are not that effective. Adding to which, there is no availability of Forex or Bonds or CFDs.

Trading Platform – The web trading platform of TradeStation is user-friendly, provides a clear fee report, and has a two-step login feature. Price alerts can’t be set while using the web platform.

The mobile platform is also the same as the web trading platform, but the search functionality of the mobile platform is a little bit poor.

The desktop platform is not as effective as the other two platforms. The interface is not considered to be user-friendly, doesn’t have an efficient search function and the design is also not effective.

Our Opinion – TradeStation has good web and mobile platforms and is considered user-friendly. The stock and ETF trading fees are also relatively low. TradeStation even offers excellent quality education materials.

However, people should also notice that the deposits and withdrawals are complicated, with no availability of forex, CFDs, etc., and the customer service doesn’t get a lot of approval from the customers.

TradeStation is better for the investors that are looking to have a long-term investment plan and want to focus on the US markets.

  1. IQ Option:

IQ Option is an online broker, which was founded in the year 2013 and is regulated by the financial authority ‘Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC)’. IQ Option is a renowned broker in Singapore and estimated to have more than 7 million users.

IQ Option has also received many awards such as ‘Best Trading App’, ‘Award of Excellence’, ‘Best Mobile Trading Platform’, ‘WMA Best Technology Application’, etc.

Fees – IQ Option has spreads that vary depending on the liquidity and the current market conditions. There is an inactivity fee of €10/month for the accounts that don’t have any orders in 90 consecutive days.

Withdrawals are charged with a fee of $31 for wire transfers and the minimum amount that can be withdrawn is €2.

Deposits and Withdrawals – Instant withdrawals can be made within a time span of around 8 – 9 hours. Deposits can be made with the help of a Wire Transfer, Credit Card, Debit Card and e-wallets (Skrill, PayPal, Neteller, etc.).

The minimum deposit amount to open an account is $10 and it might vary depending on the type of currency.

Markets and Products – There are many types of asset classes available at IQ Option, which are Forex, Options, Stocks, Cryptocurrencies, Commodities and ETFs.

Other Honorable mentions:

Tiger Brokers:

  • Fees – 0.08%
  • Commission – 0%
  • Best for investors who are looking for the cheapest online brokerage firm in Singapore.

City Index:

  • Commission for stocks & ETFs at City Index in Singapore is 0.08%
  • Best for the advanced traders who are looking for making an investment in CFDs.

IG:

  • Best for the people who want to invest in CFDs while having access to high-quality educational materials.

AvaTrade:

  • Low trading fees and commission rates.
  • Best for active traders looking for accessibility of a wide range of assets.

Best online brokerages for beginners:

  1. eToro
  2. Saxo Bank
  3. TD Ameritrade
  4. Swissquote
  5. Firstrade

Conclusion:

While choosing an online brokerage firm, by following the tips that are discussed earlier in the article, a person can be able to find a brokerage firm that is suitable for all their needs.

If you are a person who wants further guidance or assistance with this topic, please contact us. 

If you are a person who doesn’t have the time to manage your assets or if you are a beginner level investor with basic knowledge on this topic, you can avail of the expert financial services offered by us, which includes Financial Advice, Wealth Management, etc.

That being said, we hope that you were able to find the relevant information that you have been looking for. We also wish for you to have a bright financial career with great profits from all your assets.

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