This article was written in collaboration with uSMART Securities. All views expressed in this article are the independent opinion of DollarsAndSense.sg based on our research. DollarsAndSense.sg is not liable for any financial losses that may arise from any transactions and readers are encouraged to do their own due diligence. You can view our full editorial policy here.
Similar to leading a fit and healthy lifestyle, most of us would agree that investing should be an important part of our lives. By taking care of our health, we give our future self the best shot at having a good life.
This concept also applies to investing. By investing well today, we can give our future selves the best shot at achieving financial freedom, especially when we are no longer working and receiving an income from employment.
Whether it’s leading a fit and healthy lifestyle, or wanting to invest well, there is no doubt that having the right knowledge is vital for achieving our goals. If we don’t have the knowledge to train correctly, we risk injuring ourselves, and this could be counterproductive to our objective of becoming fit. Likewise, if we invest blindly or simply jump onto the bandwagon without understanding why we are investing, we risk investing poorly and losing our capital – making us worse off than before.
Introducing uSMART: A Brokerage Platform For Smart Investors
Growing up, I always thought of stock brokerage platforms as platforms that serve a transactional purpose. For instance, we need a brokerage platform to buy and sell the counters we want to trade on the financial markets. It’s like going to a gym to lift weights. We are there to access the variety of equipment that is available.
However, successful gyms do not merely provide equipment for their customers. To value-add to their customers’ fitness journey, they also provide training tips, workout programmes, fitness classes and personal training to help their customers become more knowledgeable and train better. Ultimately, a customer who sees tangible results at the gym will likely also become better, longer-term customers.
It’s with this approach that uSMART Securities (uSMART), an online brokerage firm for intelligent investment, aims to adopt. By providing professional smart investment experience via innovative technology to global clients, uSMART hopes to help their investors become more knowledgeable in investing and succeed in their investment goals.
While uSMART first started in Hong Kong, it has recently launched its brokerage services in Singapore. As with most other brokerage firms in Singapore, anyone above the age of 18 can open a brokerage account with uSMART today. There is also a welcome package for investors. At the point of writing, uSMART is offering free US and SG market live price (for account registration), SGD 15 cash voucher (for account opening) and either an Investment Master Course (Worth SGD 720) or SGD 100 worth of free shares (upon the first deposit of SGD 2000 or more).
Learning, Intelligence & Community
As with every journey, becoming a better and more knowledgeable investor is a constant learning process.
Learning: For new investors, learning is the first thing we need to do. Depending on our preference, we can learn from online articles, books, webinars and courses.
On its app, uSMART has a Learning tab that allows its users to access a large variety of content that explains the fundamentals they need to know before investing. This is particularly useful for new investors who can rely on the tab to increase their knowledge, before they make an investment in the financial markets. The bite-sized videos that uSMART has on its app make it convenient for new investors to watch and learn on their own time.
Personally, I find their TikTok style of content (under BeeRich) entertaining and I think it could resonate well with younger investors who might be learning about investing for the first time.
Intelligence: After learning the basics of what we need to know, we want to make intelligent investment decisions. This is where information becomes critical. The right information and insights can lead us to make superior investment decisions.
The uSMART app gives us relevant information that we may need before we make our investment decisions. On the Discover tab, we can find relevant news about the financial markets that are curated based on the types of companies we are interested and are on our watchlist.
Within the Discover tab, another interesting insight we can check out is Featured Strategies. These are investing strategies that are conceptualised by uSMART analysts that can guide us on our investment decisions. Even if we don’t intend to follow them, the writeups are very useful in helping us understand how markets are performing and the opportunities and risks that we should be aware of.
Community: Working out in a group allows us to be connected with like-minded individuals who can motivate and guide us. Similarly, investing and trading can be a long and lonely journey if we were to do it on our own. Within the uSMART app, there is also a Community that we can be a part of. One of the best features within the app is that it allows us to ask questions that can be directly answered by investment experts from uSMART. We can also follow, post and discuss investment and trading topics with other uSMART users. And similar to all communities, as more people use the uSMART app, we can expect the community to grow bigger.
Of course, a key consideration for any investor when trading on a brokerage platform is cost. After all, the key objective for investing is to make money, and one way of doing so is by minimising transactional cost.
When it comes to pricing, uSMART offers very attractive commission rates that among the lowest in Singapore.
Here’s a look at their fees for US stocks under the uSMART Trader.
For example, if we were to purchase $1,000 worth of US stock at $10/share (100 shares), the commission fee would be USD 0.30 based on the USD 0.003 per share fee. Since there is a minimum commission of USD 0.50 per order, our commission fee would be USD 0.50.
One thing we like about uSMART commission pricing is that there is a maximum cap of 0.50% of the transaction amount for each order. For example, if we were to purchase $10,000 worth of US stock at 0.10/share, we would purchase 100,000 shares. Based on the USD 0.003 per share cost, this would translate into a commission of $300. However, there is a maximum cap of 0.50% of the transaction amount, so we pay a commission of $50 (0.50% of $10,000). The platform fee, which is USD 0.005 per share, also has a maximum cap of 0.50% of the transaction amount.
Do note that besides commission and platform fees, there are also other charges including Clearing Fee, SEC Fee and Trading Activity Fee, which are charged by the respective authorities when we trade the US market.
Besides the US market, we can also trade on the Hong Kong and Singapore market.
For Hong Kong and Singapore stocks, a commission is just a small percentage of the transaction amount at 0.024% and 0.02% respectively, with no minimum amount. A platform fee of HKD 12.00 and 0.03% is also payable.
For example, If we buy SGD 1,000 worth of stocks, we only pay a combined commission and platform fee of only SGD 0.50.
You can refer to uSMART pricing details for each market here.
Fractional Investing With uSMART
Some US Stocks like Berkshire Hathaway can be really expensive (i.e. about USD 500,000 per share). That is why fractional investing is important. Fractional investing is when an investor buy and sell stocks at a fraction of a single share.
For example, if we purchase 0.01 of a Berkshire Hathaway share, this would cost us “just” USD 5,000, which is certainly much more accessible as compared to paying an HDB-like price for a single company.
Fractional investing also allows us to fully deploy our funds as compared to leaving it uninvested if the remaining amount isn’t sufficient to buy one more share. Suppose we have USD 5,000 that we want to invest in Alphabet shares. Alphabet shares are currently trading at about USD 2,300. This means we can only buy two shares at a cost of USD 4,600, and have USD 400 left uninvested. With fractional investing, we can fully deploy the full USD 5,000.
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To sum it up, uSMART definitely offers an app that can be used for investors to execute trades in an affordable and convenient method. However, if we don’t make any transactions, the app is still exceptionally valuable, even if we just use it for educational purposes. Whether we are a new investor who only wants to watch and understand basic investment terms on our own, or an experienced investor looking to garner insights into specific stocks or sectors that we are thinking of investing in, the uSMART app can help us to learn and make more intelligent and informed decisions about the financial markets.
Find out more and start investing via uSMART today.