I’ve been looking at several brokerages that can allow me to start investing through a lazy portfolio in Singapore, and it seems like these 3 brokerages are the most popular:
- Standard Chartered (or StanChart / SCB)
- Saxo Capital Markets
- Interactive Brokers
I’ve created a spreadsheet of the commission charges that these brokerages charge me on ETFs on the London Stock Exchange (LSE), as follows. Note: Saxo has recently increased its commissions for counters on the LSE from a minimum of GBP8 to GBP25. Also, the currencies in the spreadsheet are NOT EQUAL. Even though the ETFs that I’m looking at are based in USD, Saxo is charging commissions based in GBP. StanChart and IBKR are in USD.
SCB vs Saxo vs IBKR
- Saxo is really expensive.
- If you’re planning on making multiple small trades, then StanChart looks to be the cheapest. Especially since they have no minimums.
- If you’re planning on making bigger trades (above USD3,000 per trade), then Interactive Brokers is going to be MUCH cheaper.
Personally, I have been using Saxo for several months, and they have awesome customer service. Their office is at Raffles Place and anything you need is a phone call away – plus their officers actually follow up on your case. Funding and withdrawal is also same-business-day if you have a HSBC account (Saxo is using HSBC).
However, because I intend to trade more frequently, I decided to setup an Interactive Brokers account, and I’ve been loving them since. Account set up was fast, I can fund the account in SGD and/or USD, and the interface is straight-forward. The best thing is, IBKR has really, really good spot forex rates, unlike what StanChart charges (typically you’ll face around a loss of 1-2% on forex conversion charges).
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