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The Ease of Opening a Brokerage Account in Singapore this 2022

Brokerage Account Singapore
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With many Singaporeans losing their employment in the last year due to the global health crisis, many have turned to trading and investing in growing their finances. In Singapore, the stock market remained stable due to the growing financial interests of many in Singapore.

Choosing and registering with a reputable brokerage is the step they take towards growing their money from investing in the right stocks. All registered brokers have their own pros and cons that most come from their brokerage fees and minimum investment starting amounts.

If you want to get started investing in the stock market, this guide will perfectly outline everything that you will want to know to achieve your financial goals. We will cover crucial reminders that you should know before opening an account and list the best brokers with low commission rates and starting amounts that you can trust.

6 Important Things to Know Before Opening A Brokerage Account

Before you get started, here are six critical reminders that you should know before you open your brokerage account.

1. CDP vs. Custodian Account

Singaporean investors can choose between using a CDP and a Custodian account. Read more about each one of them below.

  • CDP

Your Central Depository or CDP account holds all the shares you’ve purchased from your local stock market. You hold this account and all the shares accounted for in it. As a direct CDP owner, you can attend annual investor general meetings (AGMs) and have voting power to influence the company’s decisions. If you plan to invest with multiple brokers, you only need one CDP account.

CDPs have greater protection, flexibility, lower brokerage fees, and privacy. However, you’ll be alone in handling every minute detail of your investments, such as the paperwork when acquiring scrip dividends from businesses that you support.

  • Custodian

A custodian or nominee account buys the shares on your brokerage’s behalf. Then, they deposit these shares on the nominee account the brokerage firm assigns to you.

Most custodian accounts require you to pay a small commission that ranges from S $10- S $25 for every stock purchase. Plus, they use advanced platforms that they consistently maintain, which makes your investing experience much smoother.

Keep in mind that with custodian accounts, you won’t have CDP flexibilities and company influence. In the event the brokerage firm closes down, you will likely reacquire all your assets within a few years., but their market value may not be the same as the year the brokerage firm closed down.

2. Brokerage Account Fees and Charges

Every Singaporean broker charges a minimum fee as a commission for all executed purchases and sales. Both CDP and custodian accounts charge a trading fee on Singapore stocks and international stocks differently.

Some brokers can charge a fixed amount or percentage for both Singapore and US accounts. For example, brokerage firm Moomoo charges a small S $0.99 for both Singapore and US stock purchases and sales. On the other hand, Tiger Brokers charges 0.08% minimum commission on SG stocks and $3.88 for all US sales.

To learn more about the other brokerage firm charges you might encounter, we highly advise that you read the terms and conditions of your chosen online brokerage. In doing so, you will find many more reasons to use or avoid their services.

3. Investments Available and Market Access Extent

Investors gladly pay their online broker a minimum commission fee if they can find their favorite Singaporean and US stocks available from their platform.

By diving into deep research, you will likely find a huge variety of local stocks available for investment. On the other hand, you might also find commission-free trading online brokerages with a wide selection of investment assets and market access.

The secret to finding them is by performing in-depth research. Thankfully, we’ve compiled a list of Singapore’s top ten brokerages with excellent commission rates and minimum starting investment amounts.

4. Trading App UI and UX

Virtually every trading app nowadays has a smooth user interface and overall user experience. If your online trading platform has an interface that makes it challenging to trade online, we highly encourage finding other brokers that can provide you with an app that provides better features and overall experience. 

For example, a Meta 5 trading platform that some online brokers provide is fully featured, doesn’t lag, and it shows you detailed technical data that can help you see rallies, supports, and more. On the other hand, an in-house platform that a broker firm has used for a few years might not benefit from the same updates that made Meta 5 trading platforms efficient.

5. Broker Reputation

The Singapore securities market has many brokers available for investors to use. However, they’re not perfect and will likely have introduced poor services to their investors at some points.

Read reviews and take note of the number of people with positive and negative experiences with your chosen broker. Plus, consider the highlights and grievances each investor presents. For example, numerous reports of a failed cash upfront fee transaction for a long period of time may indicate the broker’s unaddressed infrastructure problem, which means you should stay away from their services for now.

6. Customer Service

Technical issues can always happen at any time during your trading sessions. Having an open channel to receive support is always essential.

Many online brokerage firms have excellent customer service that reviews from independent websites can support. With this in mind, make sure to read reviews and identify any customer support highlights and disappointments from previous and present users of your chosen platform.

The Simplest Steps On How to Open a Brokerage Account in Singapore

You’ve taken note of the crucial details that make it easy to find the best brokers in Singapore. You’re ready to sign up for a few prospects. At this point, here are the steps you’ll need to take to open a brokerage account in Singapore.

Step 1: Open a CDP Account

You can create your CDP account through Singapore Exchange’s website. If you want to start trading investment products in Singapore, you must be above 18 years old and not an undischarged bankrupt at the time of application. Also, decide the minimum fund with which you are comfortable to start your investment journey.

To successfully register, investors must be more than 18 years old without an ongoing bankruptcy case during the application period. Next, choose the minimum investment fund you want to use to start trading. Finally, submit your application and wait for Singapore Exchange’s confirmation.

Step 2: Find a Suitable Brokerage Firm and Register For One

A trading account allows you to buy and sell shares in the Singapore securities market. There are many different brokerage firms for investors to choose from. Do note that an investor may also have multiple trading accounts with different brokerages simultaneously.

With a CDP account, you can now buy and sell shares in Singapore Exchange and other exchanges your broker supplies. Some brokers only provide local investment assets, while others give you access to US exchanges and other markets.

Step 3: Pick Stocks and Other Assets You Want To Buy

Some factors to consider when choosing what shares to buy are the industry, business model, management, growth indicators (share price or dividend yields), stability (debt/ EBITDA ratio). Finally, does the stock you are investing in suit your investment style, strategy, and risk appetite?

We highly recommend doing in-depth research on stocks and assets on your prospect list while understanding your risk appetite, investment style, and strategy.

Here are a few great aspects to focus on to choose the best stocks for your needs:

  • Market or Industry
  • Business Model
  • Share Price
  • Dividend Yields
  • Stability in terms of debt and EBITDA ratio

Step 4: Place Your Orders

Brokers quickly record and send the stocks and assets to the investor’s CDP quickly after confirming their orders.

However, trend-oriented purchase orders are available, too. You can choose between a market order and a limit order.

A market order allows you to purchase orders at its last quoted price automatically. Executing a market order is instantaneous. On the other hand, you can specify a price using a limit order. This feature is useful if you predict the prices are about to drop or rise in the next few hours or days, and you can’t personally execute the buy order.

Step 5: Regularly Check Your Investment Portfolio

All investors regularly check their portfolios, but the checking frequency depends on your investment strategy.

Long-term investors check their portfolios on a monthly or yearly basis because they’ve established their strategies with a focus on monthly or yearly technical analysis. Short-term investors check their portfolios on an hourly or daily basis for the same reason.

Making changes to your investment portfolio is an essential part of any investment strategy. However, if you’re unsure, we highly suggest taking a course on building your investment portfolio for short and long-term gains or using a financial adviser to help you grow your assets.

Best Investment Brokerage Firms in Singapore (2021)

Now that you know the details that ensure a smooth investing experience and creating your very first account, here is a list of the best Singapore brokers available for you to start your investment journey.

Broker SG Commission Fees US Commission Fees Minimum Investment Amount
Saxo Markets S $5.00 $4.00 S $3,000
Moomoo S $0.99 $0.99 $0.00
Tiger Brokers 0.08% of trade value $1.99 $1.00
Interactive Brokers S $2.50 $1.00 $0.00
City Index S $10.00 $15.00 $0.00
PhilipCapital (POEMS) 0.08% minimum commission on SG stocks $3.88 $1,000
Philip MetaTrader5 0.6 pips minimum Forex spread $0.00 $0.00 ($5.00 on MT5)
OCBC Securities S $25.00 $20.00 $0.00
UOB Kay Hian S $18.00 $20.00 $0.00
DBS Vickers S $25.00 $25.00 $0.00

Methodology

In selecting these brokers, we used the following criteria to find the most dependable brokers around:

  • Commission Rates:
    All brokers have trading fees for each transaction. Custodian accounts charge a custodian fee for maintaining your account. Each of these details will affect the total profits you can receive through broker registration.
  • Minimum Investment Amounts:
    Many brokers in Singapore might not charge any minimum investment amounts or min commission fees. We’ve listed the lowest-charging brokers with excellent services, features, and user experience below.
  • Recent Promotions:
    Most brokers cycle their first-time investor promotions that can provide you with enormous benefits, such as a starting bonus or waived commissions for a fixed period.
  • U.I. and U.X.:
    As we’ve mentioned above, app and trading platform user interface and intuitiveness are essential in ensuring a smooth investing experience.
  • Customer Support:
    The speed and reliability of customer services are essential for any investor, especially if they’re frequently encountering issues from using freshly implemented investment features.

Without further ado, let’s do a deep dive on each online brokerage firm we’ve listed above.

1. Saxo Markets: Best for Advanced Investors

Saxo Markets is a multi-asset trading and investment group with a focus on equities, F.X., CFDs, commodities, and futures trading. Saxo Markets is perfect for advanced investors because they offer a range of diversified investment products, giving them the best opportunities to grow their portfolio. You can invest in Siemens, Boeing, and Microsoft at Saxo Markets.

Pros

  • A wide range of diversified investment products, including equities, F.X., CFDs, and more
  • Excellent mobile app user interface and experience
  • Exceptional technical analysis features

Cons

  • Poor customer support, according to many investors
  • Data analytic tools can be intimidating for beginners
  • The high minimum amount of S $3,000 can discourage first-time investors

Fees and Other Important Information

  • Annual Fees: An annual custody fee of 0.12%
  • Minimum Investment Amount: $3,000
  • Investment Portfolio: Nike (NKE), General Electric (G.E.), 3M (MMM), Microsoft (MSFT)
  • Promotions: Get S $0 commission fees when trading ETFs. Valid till 31 December 2021.

2. Moomoo: Best for its Low Commissions

Moomoo is an online brokerage company well-known for its low fees and high-quality services. The brokerage firm provides a variety of investment options that include stocks, bonds, ETFs, and mutual funds. However, their F.X. and CFD variety are smaller than other brokerages. Plus, there is no live customer support. Still, we believe Moomoo is an excellent choice for starting investors because of its low fees. You can invest in many blue-chip stocks, such as Amazon, Johnson & Johnson, and Disney in Moomoo.

Pros

  • Low commission fees
  • High-quality analytical tools for detailed technical analysis
  • Has a demo account that teaches beginners

Cons

  • Limited F.X., CFD, and other investment options
  • Only bank transfers for your deposits and withdrawals
  • No live chat and telephone support.

Fees and Other Important Information

  • Annual Fees: None
  • Minimum Investment Amount: S $0
  • Investment Portfolio: Citigroup (C), Apple (AAPL), Facebook (F.B.)
  • Promotions: Get one free Apple share and commission-free trades until 2 October 2021.

3. Tiger Brokers: Best for A Wide Selection of Stocks

Tiger Brokers offers its customers competitive commissions with no additional fees. They have the widest variety of investment instruments to choose from, including stocks, options, ETFs, and mutual funds. Tiger Brokers allows you to invest in Citigroup, Apple, and Facebook, to name a few of their most popular stocks. 

Pros

  • Low commission rates at S $0.99
  • Wide selection of stocks and investments
  • High-quality mobile application for on-the-go trading

Cons

  • High $0.99 US equities and foreign market investment commission fee
  • Inactivity fee
  • High-volume investment-oriented reward perks

Fees and Other Important Information

  • Annual Fees: None
  • Minimum Investment Amount: $1.00
  • Investment Portfolio: Citigroup (C), Apple (AAPL), Facebook (F.B.), Nike (NKE)
  • Promotions: Get one free Apple share, 500 Tiger Coins, and commission-free trades when this promotion is available

4. Interactive Brokers: Best For The Lowest Per-Share Pricing Available

Interactive Brokers are a brokerage company that offers a wide variety of investment products and a variety of investment platforms. They have a great reputation with traders and have been voted the most popular for U.S. traders. In Singapore, Interactive Brokers continues to have an excellent reputation because of their low per-share pricing.

You can invest in Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Invesco QQQ Trust, and Target at Interactive Brokers.

Pros

  • A huge variety of investment options are available
  • Strong tools and research
  • Thousands of transaction fee-free mutual funds.

Cons

  • The investment platform is challenging to navigate
  • Complex account opening process
  • Slow customer service response.

Fees and Other Information

  • Annual Fees: None
  • Minimum Investment Amount: None
  • Investment Portfolio: Facebook (F.B.), Google (GOOGL), Microsoft (MSFT), Invesco QQQ Trust (QQQ), Target (TGT)
  • Promotions: Get transaction fee-free ETFs until 31 December 2021

5. City Index

City Index is an excellent investment platform because it has a wide range of trading tools and instruments. There are over 250 different trading instruments which include shares, ETFs, commodities, currencies, futures, options, and indices. Using City Index from Singapore allows investors to invest in 1st Source Bank, Norfolk Southern, Coca-Cola, United Technologies, and General Electric, to name a few.

Pros

  • Low forex fees
  • Easy account opening within minutes
  • High-quality technical analysis tools

Cons

  • High Commission Rates
  • High CFD fees
  • Confusing desktop platform

Fees and Other Important Information

  • Annual Fees: None
  • Minimum Investment Amount: None
  • Investment Portfolio: 1st Source Bank (FSRC), Norfolk Southern (NSC), Coca-Cola (COKE)
  • Promotions: Get a one-year all-access membership to The Wall Street Journal until 31 December 2021.

6. Philips Capital (POEMS): Best for The Largest Selection of Global Exchanges

Philips Capital’s Philips Online Electronic Mart System (POEMS) began in 1996 as part of Philip Securities’ endeavor to make investing successful and intuitive for investors. The service continues to provide investors access to over 40,000 financial products and more than 26 global exchanges. Currently, it is one of the best-leading investment platforms available in Singapore. You can invest in Agoda, Amara, Chatime, Dishman, and KFC, to name a few, using POEMS.

Pros

  • Wide selection of financial products and global exchanges
  • Beginner-friendly POEMS Insights and Education feature
  • Advanced PORMS technical analysis tools

Cons

  • Mixed reviews about the timeliness and efficiency of its customer support
  • High minimum investment amount and U.S. market commission fees
  • By contrast, the desktop platform is easily confusing for beginners.

Fees and Other Important Information

  • Annual Fee: None
  • Minimum Investment Amount: S $1,000
  • Investment Portfolio: Agoda (AGDA), Amara (AMRA), Chatime (CHATM), Dishman (DISHM), KFC (KFC)
  • Promotions: Get complimentary Level 2 Market Data and flat commission fees until 31 October 2021

7. Philip MetaTrader5: Best for MetaTrader5 Users

Phillip Futures offers full-service brokerage, risk management, and trading services for all types of investors. It’s one of the first brokerage firms to introduce the MetaTrader 5 platform to its customers.

The Metatrader 5 (MT5) is an online platform for Forex and CFD trading. It is a programmable and sophisticated trading platform that allows you to make automated trades with advanced trend identification. MT5 allows you to buy stocks, futures, commodities, treasuries, Forex, and CFDs on popular indices.

In Philip MetaTrader 5, you can trade and track the S&P 500, Brent Crude, ICE Futures Europe, and more.

Pros

  • Full access to MetaTrader 5’s stable and advanced features
  • Access MetaTrader 5’s wide selection of high-quality stocks, CFDs, forexes, and other popular indices worldwide.
  • High-quality mobile and desktop app

Cons

  • Intimidating for beginners due to MT5’s advanced features
  • It can be unintuitive for experienced traders with no MT5 knowledge
  • Philips Futures will not charge minimum fees, but MT5 has its own set of fees

Fees and Other Important Information

  • Annual Fees: none
  • Minimum Investment Amount: $5
  • Investment Portfolio: S&P 500, Brent Crude (BRNT), ICE Futures Europe (EUO)

8. OCBC Securities: Best for Accessing Foreign Stock Exchanges

OCBC Securities is a subsidiary of OCBC Bank. It offers full brokerage services for stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. It also gives you access to trade in the Singapore Exchange, Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange, Taiwan Stock Exchange, and New Zealand Stock Exchange.

Pros

  • You can set up multiple accounts for various trading needs
  • A wide variety of stocks, bonds, ETFs, futures, metals, and Forex
  • Offers updated market information and news reports

Cons

  • Local trading commissions at S $25 might be too steep for some investors
  • U.S. trading commissions at $20 might also be too high for some investors.
  • Minimum trading cost for 18-20-year-old investors at S $1,000

Fees and Other Important Information

  • Annual Fee: None
  • Minimum Investment Amount: S $25 (S $1,000 for 18-20-year-old investors)
  • Investment Portfolio: Bank of America (BAC), British American Tobacco (BTI), E-Trade Financial Corporation (ETFC)

9. UOB Kay Hian: Best For Conservative Investors

UOB Kay Hian is a Singapore-based investment banking and securities company. It allows you to invest in stocks, global funds, investment-linked insurance products, to name a few.

UOB Kay Hian guarantees stability for conservative investors thanks to the bank’s long-term reputation as a highly reliable investment bank.

You can invest in funds that track the S&P 500 Index, Dow Jones Industrial Average, MSCI Emerging Markets Index, and more.

Pros

  • You can invest in stocks, ETFs, bonds, CFDs, and foreign exchange
  • Use your rewards points and get frequently available promotions
  • Updated market news and updates plus webinars for further education.

Cons

  • High minimum charge for stocks and CFDs
  • Value-added services have additional charges
  • Accepts only Mastercard payments with a 3% transfer fee

Fees and Other Important Information

  • Annual Fee: None
  • Minimum Investment Amount S $0
  • Investment Portfolio: HSBC Holdings PLC (HSBC), Hovnanian Enterprises (HOV), HTC Corporation (HTCO), Coca-Cola Femsa (KOFL), A.P. Moller – Maersk Group (MAERSK)

10. DBS Vickers:

DBS Vickers Online allows investors to trade in Singapore, Hong Kong, Canada, and U.S. markets. You can buy and sell fixed-income assets, stocks, ETFs, REITs, and others.

The bank also provides financial consulting and advice on how to invest in specific markets. You can invest in DBS, GIC, IOI Corporation, and Keppel Corporation by using DBS Vickers.

Pros

  • A trusted banking brand and one of the largest banks in Singapore and Southeast Asia.
  • Available and frequently updated news, financial research, and live prices
  • Each account provides advanced data and monitoring tools for technical analysis

Cons

  • Financial product selection is too complex for new investors
  • You won’t get trading advice except through paid financial consulting services
  • High commission rates for both S.G. and international market investments

Fees and Other Important Information

  • Annual Fees: None
  • Minimum Investment Amount: $0
  • Investment Portfolio: DBS (DBS), GIC (GIC), IOI Corporation (IOI), Keppel Corporation (KEP)

Stock Exchange Chart

How Much Should I Invest In My Brokerage Accounts?

Capital is necessary before you can use any brokerage firm and invest in the stock market. To ensure you have enough capital, here are a few things you’ll need to keep in check.

  • Check the minimum investment requirements:
    Most brokerage firms allow you to deposit a specific minimum amount. On the other hand, most brokerages have no minimum investment amounts but have high commission rates each time you buy or sell your assets on their platform.
  • Spend only what you can afford to lose:
    This fundamental investment principle allows you to analyze your personal risk appetite, which plays a key role in determining your total investment spending. Spend only what you can afford to lose.
  • Due Diligence:
    A wise investor invests higher cash on companies they believe will exponentially grow in the coming years. In-depth research on the company’s activities, holdings, and recent news is crucial in knowing the actual amount you’ll want to invest in a brand or entire industry.

Let’s Answer Some Frequently-Asked Questions

Here are some questions that many starting and experienced investors want to be answered.

1. How to choose the best brokerage?

The best brokerage is subjective to an investor’s experience — even those who provide positive and negative reviews about their services. You can refer to the methodology we used to select the ten online brokerage platforms we’ve featured above to select the best brokerage accounts in Singapore.

2. Which trading app is best in Singapore?

In our Methodology section, we discussed that a trading app’s user interface and overall experience must be smooth to receive a positive score. With this in mind, we’re confident that every item on our top-ten list of online brokerage firms has a smooth trading application. However, we’ve also listed some platforms with a poor app and desktop navigation and experience in their respective sections.

3. Who can open an online trading account?

Any Singaporean who is highly interested in investing can open their respective investment and trading accounts. We encourage you to read the section about the six important things you should know before you start investing in this post. It discusses the difference between a CDP account online versus trading platforms and more.

4. How much do I need to pay to open a trading account?

You must always check the minimum investment amounts that your chosen brokerage firm requires. In addition, save enough money to pay for any commissions on your investments. Doing this allows you to handle most high-commission online brokers with high commission but zero minimum investment requirements.

5. What’s the difference between stocks CFDs and stocks?

Stock CFDs are the same as stock shares, but they’re traded on an online trading platform. It’s a derivative contract between two parties, an investor and a broker.

On the other hand, a stock is a financial instrument that represents ownership in a company. The company pays dividends, and the investor can trade the stock on an exchange.

6. Are stock trading apps free?

Yes. They’re free to use, and some even provide demo accounts with “play” money that allows you to safely learn the basics of investing using real-world financial data and stock ticker information without any real losses.

However, most platforms have a minimum starting investment amount or high commission rates. With this in mind, you’ll need to deposit enough amounts to start investing and earning from trading.

In Summary

  • You can open a CDP or Custodian investment account to get started investing. CDPs give you full ownership of a company share, while Custodian accounts have your brokerage handle your company share.
  • You must be 18 years old and above to register for a CDP and online brokerage firm account.
  • Selecting the best online trading platforms involves many factors that you must consider, such as brokerage fees, broker reputation, and customer service.
  • To know the minimum amount you want to invest, you must check the minimum investment amounts the platform requires. Then, before investing in a stock, perform in-depth research on each brand, and spend only what you can afford to lose — don’t go overboard!

Investing requires a sufficient amount of capital that covers the broker’s minimum investment requirements and commission rates. If you’ve saved enough but need just a little more, you can always use Loan Advisor‘s high-quality quotes from Singapore’s top licensed money lenders.

Visit our website today, fill up our form, and you can receive three free quotes from the best money lenders in the country!

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