Stock brokerage accounts enable us to buy listed securities, such as stocks, REITs, ETFs and bonds, on the Singapore Exchange (SGX), as well as on other major global stock exchanges. When comparing stock brokerage accounts, one of the major factors many of us look at is the commission fees that they charge.
Types Of Fees When We Invest In Stocks Listed On SGX
There are typically four main types of fees that we have to pay for when we invest in stocks in Singapore. These are
1) a CDP Clearing Fee of 0.0325% of your contract value is imposed by the Central Depository (CDP);
2) an SGX Trading Fee of 0.0075% of your contract value is imposed by the SGX;
3) an SGX Settlement Fee of $0.35 or equivalent in foreign currency per contract; and
4) a Commission Fee (and other fees) imposed by individual brokerage accounts when you make a transaction.
The only cost component that may vary depending on the brokerage that we use is the commission fees charged by them. It is also the largest cost component when we buy and sell stocks. If we buy stocks listed on overseas exchanges, there may also be different fees associated with our trades.
Stock Brokerage Account Commission Fees Comparison
In Singapore, the online stock brokerage account space is highly competitive. Most brokerage houses charge commission fees that range in a narrow band of 0.08% to 0.28% of your contract value. Commission fees for offline trades (if you make trades by calling your broker) are usually higher than online trades. For many online brokerages, there may not even be such an option.
Here is the list of major stock brokerage accounts in Singapore, and the commission fees that they charge.
|Minimum Commission Fees||Trading Fees|
|Under $50,000||$50,001-$100,000||Above $100,000|
|CGS-CIMB Securities||Cash Account (CDP)||$25||0.275%||0.22%||0.18%|
|Pre-funded ^ (Custodian Account)||$18||0.18%|
|Citibank Brokerage ^^||Pre-funded (CDP)||No minimum||0.12%|
|DBS Vickers||Cash Account (CDP)||$25||0.28%||0.22%||0.18%|
|FSMOne (Custodian Account)||$8.80 (flat fee)|
|HSBC ^^^(Custodian Account)||$25||0.25%|
|KGI Securities||Cash Account (CDP)||$25||0.275%||0.22%||0.18%|
|Pre-funded (Custodian Account)||0.18%|
|LIM & TAN Securities||Cash Account (CDP)||$25||0.28%||0.22%||0.18%|
|Pre-funded (Custodian Account)||$18||0.18%|
|Maybank Kim Eng||Cash Account (CDP)||$25||0.275%||0.22%||0.18%|
|Pre-funded (Custodian Account)||$10||0.12%|
|OCBC Securities||Cash Account (CDP)||$25||0.275%||0.22%||0.18%|
|Pre-funded ^^^^ (Custodian Account)||$18||0.18%|
|Phillip Securities (POEMS)||Cash Account (CDP)||$25||0.28%||0.22%||0.18%|
|Pre-funded ^^^^^ (Custodian Account)||$8||0.08% – 0.12%|
|SAXO Capital Markets (Custodian Account)||$5||0.08%|
|Standard Chartered (Custodian Account)||$10||0.20%|
|UOB Kay Hian ^^^^^^||Cash Account (CDP)||$25||0.275%||0.22%||0.20%|
|Pre-funded (Custodian Account)||$10||0.12%|
|Interactive Brokers (IBKR)||Pre-funded (Custodian Account)||No minimum||0.08%|
|Tiger Brokers||Pre-funded (Custodian Account)||$2.88||0.08%|
|Futu Holdings (moomoo)||Pre-funded (Custodian Account)||$2.49||0.06%|
|ProsperUs (by CGS-CIMB) ^^^^^^^||Pre-funded (Custodian Account)||No minimum||0.10%|
Note: All prices are listed in SGD.
^ CGS-CIMB charges a $20 administrative fee per quarter for its custodian account.
^^ Citibank Brokerages charges a custodian fee of 0.0125% of your monthly average stockholding balance, payable every six months.
^^^ HSBC charges HSBC Premier clients 0.18% (min commission of $25), and HSBC Jade clients 0.15% (min commission of $18). HSBC does not charge a custody fee.
^^^^ OCBC Securities charges a CDP Quarterly Sub-account Maintenance Fee of $15.
^^^^^ Phillip Securities charges a commission rate based on our asset value rather than the amount we trade. For those with $0 to $29,999 in assets, the brokerage rate is 0.12% (min $10); for those with $30,000 to 249,999 in assets, the brokerage rate is 0.10% (min $10); for those with over $250,000 in assets, the brokerage rate is 0.08% (min $8). There is a custodian fee of $16.05 per quarter if there are no trades within the quarter.
^^^^^^ UOB Kay Hian charges a CDP Quarterly Sub-account Maintenance Fee of $15.
^^^^^^^ ProsperUs (by CGS-CIMB) charges a commission rate based on our assets held with them. For a Rookie account (with assets of under $20,000), the brokerage commission is 0.10%; for All-Star account (with assets of between $20,000 to $50,000), the brokerage commission is 0.08%; for Hall of Fame account (with assets above $51,000), the brokerage commission is 0.06%.
Pre-funded accounts, also commonly termed cash collateralised accounts or cash upfront trading (CUT) accounts, require you to pre-pay for your investments in order to enjoy a lower commission fee.
As you can see from the table, majority of the pre-funded accounts charge a lower brokerage trading fee as well as a lower minimum trading fee. You also have to note that majority of the pre-funded accounts will credit your stock holdings with their custodians rather than your own CDP account.
CDP-Linked Accounts VS Custodian Accounts
Another consideration when investing in stocks is where they will ultimately be held – in your CDP account or a custodian account.
In Singapore, when you open your first brokerage account, you’re usually asked to open a CDP account as well. Many of you may overlook this account as you’re only dealing with your brokerage firms.
What actually happens when you buy and sell shares is that they are either kept in your CDP account or custodian account. The SGX manages investors’ CDP accounts, while individual stock brokerages manage their custodian accounts. This means that you can only have one CDP account, but many custodian accounts with the individual brokerage houses.
Stock brokerage accounts that credit your investments into your CDP accounts generally charge higher commission fees. Custodian accounts are able to offer a more cost-effective solution because of the following reasons:
– You can sell the investments in your custodian account with the same broker. This means you are obliged to be loyal to them, unless you pay a fee to transfer your shares out of the custodian account.
– You are more likely to continue future investments with the existing stock brokerage firm, especially if majority of your investments are in a custodian account managed by them. This way, you can also monitor your investments more conveniently, in one account. You may also be kept within the ecosystem, investing in other products.
– As your shares are held with the stock brokerage firm, they will have to handle transactions on your behalf. They may potentially earn additional fees from these transactions, if they happen, in the future.
This is why it’s important to understand the difference between the two accounts, and ensure to check if your stock investments with the brokerage account would be held in a custodian account or your own CDP account.
Choosing A Stock Brokerage House To Make Your Investments
Very often, new investors choose their stock brokerage accounts based on recommendations made by peers or their parents, or end up choosing the brokerage arm of the bank they already have an existing financial relationship with.
The “best” brokerage account doesn’t just offer the cheapest commission fees. Beyond just the commission fees that the stock brokerage firm charge, you should look at factors that provide added convenience and value to your investing journey.
These could include:
Access to overseas markets: Does your stock brokerage account give you access to major overseas markets that you wish to invest in?
Web/mobile layout: How user-friendly is the web or mobile app?
Charts provided: Are the charting tools comprehensive/ useful?
Technical Indicators: Does it have all the tools you require?
Broker assigned: Do you prefer having a dedicated broker that gives you timely market updates?
Speed of live information: Delays with information provided make a big difference especially when it comes to trading.
Investor education: Does your brokerage house provide educational materials, or seminars for its clients?
Access to analyst reports: Does the brokerage firm have a strong research team that will provide you high quality research reports on listed companies?
Finally, there are no limitations to setting up stock brokerage accounts with different brokerage houses. You should test-drive several stock brokerage accounts before settling on one that you intend to use as your primary account.
This post was first published on 14 July 2017 and updated to include the latest information for 2021 stock brokerage fees in Singapore.