- What Is The Best Online Brokerage Firm
- Best Stock Brokers For Europeans In 2023
- Best Online Stock Brokers Of 2023
- Best Brokerage Accounts In Singapore
What Is The Best Online Brokerage Firm – Online global brokerage TD Ameritrade was popular among Singaporean investors, especially those who were introduced to it through various investment coaches or trading course providers. However, investors were shocked last week when TD Ameritrade announced that its brokerage platform – Thinkorswim – would no longer serve retail investors in Singapore. If you’re among those affected, here’s what you can do.
TD Ameritrade Singapore has stated that you must either (i) proceed to become an accredited investor with them or (ii) take steps to close or transfer your account by the following deadlines:
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First, even if you meet MAS’s criteria and are eligible to become an Accredited Investor (AI), you must manually opt-in with TD Ameritrade if you wish to continue using the TOS platform. The good news is that your financial assets at different banks can be combined to meet the asset threshold.
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Do you register as an accredited investor with TD Ameritrade? This is a different matter, as you have to weigh the benefits and consequences to decide whether it makes sense to you. More importantly, as an accredited investor customer, you will no longer be subject to certain Singapore consumer protection regulations.
For those who do not qualify or do not wish to register as an AI, you will now have to move your property and move to another broker.
For cash, you can request a wire transfer to withdraw cash to your bank account.
Note that there is a US$75 fee for ACAT transfers from TD Ameritrade Singapore to other brokers, but the good news is that TD Ameritrade is waiving any transfer or wire fees you incur this year.
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For full account transfers and/or wire withdrawals. In other words, you have to do everything at once.
For non-ACAT transfer requests e.g. DTC or DRS, the process takes longer and excludes non-securities like cash, options and fractional shares. During that period, you won’t be able to trade some of your securities positions, so to simplify things, either (i) do an ACAT transfer or (ii) liquidate and restart at another broker.
Which brokerage to choose depends on what features and support you prefer or find valuable. For example, if you insist on having all your Singapore stocks in your CDP account (like I do), you may prefer to pay more for local bank brokerage, or opt for either FSMOne or POEMS to transact your local investments. Perhaps you are an experienced investor who trades across the US, Australia and London markets, in which case you are already on Interactive Brokers, POEMS or Saxo. Some people only value investing in a brokerage that has a local presence (ie hiring locally (in Singapore) and hosting local events), so they prefer Moomoo SG or FSMOne.
It is also important that you start investing, because then the brokerage options available to you would be different. Many older investors who started in the early 2000s will still be with their bank brokerage (eg DBS Vickers, OCBC Securities or Standard Chartered) or will be with FSMOne, which was Singapore’s first online-only discount brokerage.
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As a novice investor, you may be tempted to go for the lowest cost brokerage in Singapore. However, as someone watching the scene evolve over the past decade, I’ll tell you why that’s not ideal: because brokerages have changed their fees over time.
If you choose your brokerage purely based on cheap fees, you may be disappointed in the future or when your broker revises his fees.
However, you should definitely still compare so that you clearly know the pros and cons of each brokerage – which will help you make a more informed decision about which account to open. My friend Kelvin helped put together a comparison table of all the low-cost brokerages in Singapore, which you can watch in full on his Youtube channel here (support him by giving him a like or you can tip him here!).
I’ve zoomed in on the aspects I recommend focusing on, which would be the various features and pros vs cons of each brokerage:
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Again, which brokerage is best for you is a personal decision that only you can make because what you value may be different than mine. I only invest and trade in the US, SG and HK markets, so features like Malaysian stocks (Saxo, ProsperU) don’t matter to me.
For example, if I want to buy 40 GOOG shares of each broker, I will have to pay a brokerage commission fee.
You can also read my reviews here (in alphabetical order) to decide which one is best for you.
If you’re just starting out today or looking for a new account to start, here’s my personal take on how I’d categorize the various low-cost online brokerage platforms:
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I’ve written extensively about the Moomoo SG offering over the years, including the appeal of their money market fund for passive cash and how I use their app to analyze the company when I travel. After the Robinhood saga with the SEC over their controversial Payment for Order Flow (PFOF), I questioned whether our zero-commission brokerages use the same method, and was relieved when Moomoo SG officially said no here.
Thanks to the various events and investment conferences held by Moomoo SG in Singapore, I got to know their team better and had the privilege of asking them about their plans and commitment to the Singapore market, as well as how safe they really are. There are as discount brokerages online.
Today, Moomoo SG has become one of Singapore’s top brokerage choices and one of the most effective brokerage apps I have on my phone.
Whether you are a retail investor affected by the Thinkorswim closure or looking to move to a more reputable brokerage like Moomoo for your long-term needs, you can now take advantage of Moomoo SG’s ongoing promotion and earn up to S$1,000. Rewards when you transfer your eligible assets from another broker.
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If you are transferring from TD Ameritrade, you can refer to this page for specific instructions on how to perform an ACATS/DTC transfer of your assets to Moomoo SG.
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