Ever since Heartland Boy started his investment journey in 2014, he has always felt that brokerage fees were high and cumbersome in Singapore. In recent years, he noticed the trend that brokerages have been reducing their brokerage fees. One of the most notable entrants into the Singapore brokerage scene this year is Tiger Brokers with its insanely low fees (Source: Business Times). Its parent company, UP Fintech Holdings Limited, is listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange. It counts InteractiveBrokers, Xiaomi and Jim Rogers as its key investors.
In Singapore, it holds a capital market services license from Monetary Authority of Singapore (‘MAS’). Clients are able to access the US, HKG and Singapore stock markets via its platform. Here is my review of Tiger Brokers’ Singapore brokerage platform.
What I Like About Tiger Brokers
1. Insanely Low Fees
One of the oft said golden advice is that fees eat into returns. Therefore, if an investor is able to reduce fees, that is a big chunk of the battle won. When it comes to investing in stocks, it is important to consider the entire spectrum of fees spanning from commission and platform fees, custodian fees to exchange rate fees.
A. Commission and Platform Fees
Fees that are levied by Tiger Brokers, including commission and platform fees, are probably the lowest in town at the moment of writing. Diagram 1 is a summary of the fees charged by Tiger Brokers across the US, HKD and SG stock markets.
With the fees displayed on Diagram 1, Tiger Brokers beats its competitors handsomely. There is even better news as the minimum fee of S$2.88 per trade for stocks on SGX will be waived until 31 Dec 2020. This means that any investor whose trade value is less than $3,600 per trade will stand to benefit from this waiver since the commission payable to Tiger Brokers will be less than $2.88.
Investors, especially those just starting their investment journeys, tend to make smaller portfolio positions. When compared to some stock brokerages that are still levying a minimum of $25 per trade, Tiger Brokers becomes a more cost-effective platform for them to accumulate their positions gradually.
B. Custodian Fee
Singapore shares bought via Tiger Brokers are kept in custody and not with the Central Depository (‘CDP’). Heartland Boy understands that DBS provides custodian services to Tiger Brokers for shares listed on SGX. This also means that existing stocks in your CDP cannot be traded via Tiger Brokers since those shares are held under your own name. Despite engaging external service providers for custodian services, there is no outright custodian fees charged by Tiger Brokers. Fees levied by Tiger Brokers are mainly commission and platform fees as illustrated in Diagram 1 earlier.
C. Exchange Rate Fee
To purchase stocks listed in foreign currencies, we would be required to convert our home currency to the required foreign currency. Tiger Brokers levies a competitive spread of 0.3% – 0.5% for FX currency conversion. Immediately upon performing a foreign trade, it is advisable for clients to convert their SGD cash holdings into the respective currencies first to avoid incurring interest charges associated with borrowing.
2. User Experience
Shortly after Tiger Brokers launched access to the SGX in early June, Heartland Boy signed up almost immediately. The onboarding experience was very smooth-sailing. He first downloaded the mobile app, onboarded via MyInfo, cleared the KYC process and even managed to deposit his account all within the same day. At the end of the day, he was already able to see his fund balances.
Heartland Boy spends most of the time interacting with Tiger Broker via its mobile app. He has been very impressed with the entire user experience on the mobile app thus far.
Every morning, he goes straight to the “News” tab to get a quick glance of the top news from various sources. This keeps him updated of the business news around the world. “Quote” is where the stock prices of his watchlist gets updated as shown in Diagram 3. This gives him a quick glance of the stocks that he is tracking closely across different markets.
Under the “Discover” tab, he discovers that Tiger Brokers offers suggestions of some of the popular investment strategies. Another very helpful tool in this section is the major financial events of the stocks under his watchlist arranged in a chronological order.
All in, Heartland Boy feels that his entire experience on the mobile app was top-notch. The user interface is elegant and very intuitive to navigate.
Tiger Broker National Day Account Opening Promotion
To commemorate National Day, Tiger Brokers is running a promotion for new account opened between the period of 9 – 31 August 2020. It is giving away 5 commission-free trades (to be utilised in 30 days) as well as a sure-win lucky dip! If you are a trader, you may definitely be able to utilise this free gift fully to maximise your investment returns. Here is Heartland Boy’s referral link if you are keen to try the Tiger Brokers brokerage platform as well.
Conclusion of Tiger Brokers Singapore Brokerage Platform
The low fees dangled by Tiger Brokers have definitely encouraged Heartland Boy to consider slowly migrating his portfolio towards a single platform. This shall apply to both his new investments on the SGX and HKEX stock exchanges. For existing positions that he is planning to add in the future, he would continue to stay on the existing brokerages so that he can see the aggregated positions. Overall, he believes that lower brokerage fees in Singapore’s investment scene will be here to stay. This is simply Singapore playing catch up to what is already happening in other parts of the world and kudos to Tiger Brokers for finally delivering this service.
This article is written in collaboration with Tiger Brokers but the views are his own