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Investing With Interactive Brokers (IBKR): Here’s What Investors In Singapore Need To Know

We can now enjoy Interactive Broker’s low brokerage fees for stocks listed in Singapore, U.S., Hong Kong, India, Australia and many others countries.


Listed on the NASDAQ in the US, Interactive Brokers (IBKR) is a pioneer of global electronic trading with over 40 years of track record. IBKR is best known for its low commission rates, innovative brokerage services and global presence providing access to over 135 markets in 33 countries.

Is Interactive Brokers Available In Singapore?

Interactive Brokers officially expanded into Singapore in 2020, enabling investors here to buy and sell SGX-listed stocks and also enjoy its full suite of services, including investments in globally-listed stocks and bonds, options, futures, currencies and even mutual funds. Interactive Brokers also offers a host of other trading services such as margin trading, stock lending, and more.

On the Interactive Brokers’ website, it states three main differentiating factors why investors should choose to invest via its platform.

Read Also: Step-By-Step Guide To Stock Investing In Singapore

#1 Interactive Brokers Charges A Low Fee

Known for charging very competitive brokerage commissions and financing rates, Interactive Brokers claims to offer the lowest commissions and states that if an exchange provides a rebate, Interactive Brokers will pass on some or all of the savings directly to clients. Its commission rates are also transparently listed on its website.

For stocks and other securities listed in Singapore, there is a fixed brokerage commission of 0.08% of the trade value, with a minimum brokerage fee of $2.50. IBKR also charges a tiered commission for those who trade more than $2.5 million each month (which is not exactly appliable to retail investors like you and me).

Interactive Brokers commission rate For Singapore stocks
Source: Interactive Brokers

For US-listed stocks, it charges a transaction fee of just US$0.005 per share, with a minimum charge of US$1.

Interactive Brokers commission rate for US stocks
Source: Interactive Brokers

Its transaction fees for other regions are also very competitive, and you can review the entire list transparently depicted on its website.

In addition, it also charges competitive margin financing interest rates and allows us to earn an extra income on our shares held with Interactive Brokers by lending them to other traders who want to short the market. We can also lend out our fully-paid shares to earn an extra income via its Stock Yield Enhancement Programme. We can also earn up to 1.08% interest on idle cash we leave in our Interactive Brokers account, without having to put it in any cash management accounts and bearing the small investment risks that come with it.

From 1 July 2021, Interactive Brokers also removed its $10 monthly inactivity fee, making it even more competitive to invest with the brokerage platform. This fee was charged for not maintaining a minimum balance in your account or having insufficient transaction activity during a month. This is very good news for younger and newer investors, who do not invest often or are starting off small.

Read Also: Singapore Online Stock Brokerage Account Fees Comparison (2020 Edition)

#2 Interactive Brokers Offers Access To Global Markets

Via our Interactive Brokers account, investors in Singapore can access stocks, options, futures, currencies, bonds and funds in more than 150 markets, across 33 countries and in 25 currencies. If we prefer to invest in ready-made portfolios, we can also choose to look into IBKR’s themed portfolios.

This is no small feat as not many brokerages can offer such extensive access to so many markets via a single integrated platform. This makes it easy to review our investments in one app/platform without having to keep multiple accounts open.

Offering 25 currencies, investors in Singapore (and globally) can fund our accounts in multiple currencies and trade assets in multiple currencies, without incurring foreign exchange costs. Of course, if we fund our account in one currency and want to invest in another currency, we may incur some foreign currency exchange-related costs. However, this also tends to be quite competitive.

#3 Providing Innovative Solutions With Its “Premier Technology”

Interactive Brokers offer technological solutions that cater to beginner investors as well as sophisticated traders and wealth managers. These include research and news, free trading tools, reporting, as well as trading platforms and diverse types of orders and algos we can use for our trading/investing needs.

We can visit the Interactive Brokers website to find out more about these technologies and how they can help us.

Interactive Brokers Technology
Source: Interactive Brokers

Opening An Interactive Broker Account

The process to open an IBKR account is fairly quick and straightforward, and can be done entirely online – without needing to print anything or send in any hard copy documents – very convenient. We can apply for an Interactive Brokers account in less than 10 minutes, and can be completed even more quickly if we use MyInfo.

At the end of the application process, there will be a notification that it will take a few days before the account application is approved. So, we cannot start trading immediately. This is similar to how most other online/digital brokerages operate, and much more convenient than opening an account with more traditional brokerages which may still require physical copies in the sign-up process.

Read Also: Step-By-Step Guide To Opening A Stock Brokerage Account In Singapore

How To Fund My Interactive Brokers Account In Singapore?

There are two ways to go about funding our Interactive Brokers account: 1) via a bank wire, which IBKR says can take up to four business days (but usually takes much faster in our experience – as little as a few hours sometimes), and 2) by transferring securities we already own from another firm into our IBKR account.

Choosing to wire in money simply means we will receive the account information and need to log into our bank accounts to make the transfer to the account details provided by Interactive Brokers.

We can also choose to transfer multiple currencies, namely British Pounds, Chinese Yuan, Hong Kong Dollars, US Dollars and Singapore Dollars, into our accounts.

Interactive Brokers only offers a custodian account, which means that we will store our investments with Interactive Brokers rather than in our CDP Account after buying stocks. There’s virtually no charge for holding our investments this way since IBKR does not charge any custodian account fees.

We can also choose the Basic FOP Transfer option, which allows us to transfer our securities kept in another custodian account in Singapore, or with another brokerage internationally, to Interactive Brokers, free-of-charge. While transferring in our securities may be free-of-charge, we may have to incur a cost when transferring our securities out of another brokerage account.

How To Buy And Sell Stocks On Interactive Brokers?

As mentioned earlier, one of the main advantages of using Interactive Brokers is its low and transparent trading commissions, which is 0.08% of the transaction cost for Singapore stocks, and as little as US$0.005 for US-listed stocks, and global access to 150 markets. The minimum commission charges are also priced very competitively.

Similar to other online brokerages in Singapore, we will not have live market data when investing via IBKR. For most retail investors, delayed prices are good enough for our investing requirements. However, we have the option to access live prices at a small cost.

Using Your Interactive Brokers Account

While waiting for our Interactive Brokers account application to complete, we can also explore some features offered by Interactive Brokers “Education” suite.

This gives us access to:

  • IBKR Campus – where we can learn about trading, financial markets and IBKR’s trading tools.
  • Traders’ Academy – where we can take free courses on Advisor  Tools, IBKR Portfolio & Risk Analysis, Investment Analysis, Taxes, IBKR Trading Tools and more. These courses are also provided by well-known providers such as IBKR themselves, and CME Group, State Street Global Advisors, Wisdom Tree and more.
  • Traders’ Insights – providing high-quality content and articles on the latest happenings in the financial markets
  • IBKR Podcast – an insights podcast for investors and traders to learn more about the investing landscape.
  • IBKR Quant Blog – providing trading-related content
  • Webinars – which allows investors and traders to understand interesting ideas and markets
  • Student Trading Lab – a free online resource for educators. Educators can use it to provide students paper trading account, with a full complement of trading tools and $1 million paper trading equity.
  • Short Videos – giving us insights, in video format, on trading methodologies and functions
  • Traders’ Glossary and Traders’ Calendar for more generic information on investment terms and upcoming events we need to know.

Read Also: Robo-Advisory In Singapore: What You Need To Know Before Investing

This article was first published on 21 July 2020 and updated with more information.