Review: Tiger Brokers, $2.88 fee SGX trades?!
Imagine a $2.88 cent trade commission for your SGX stocks. That would be almost unheard of just a few years ago. Fees were common at $25 per trade with the cheapest brokerages offering $10. When I heard of Tiger Broker with their $2.88 SGX offerings, my interest was immediately piqued. This post will be my in-depth review of Tiger Brokers in Singapore and my thoughts on whether you should use it for your investment needs.
In a Nutshell
This is a really impressive new brokerage in town. With its low-cost fees and comprehensive suite of tools available, I don’t think you can find anything better right now in the Singapore market. What’s unbeatable is the fact that its low-cost offerings extend to other markets such as HK, US and SH.
Coupled with the fact that it is MAS regulated, this might be a good place to put your long term investments. The modern millennial will also greatly appreciate the fact that the applications are well designed and intuitive to use. It is great for not only beginners but also advanced investors.
Tiger Brokers is a relatively new broker, being founded only in 2014 in China. It has quickly expanded across the globe and even became a listed company (TIGR) in 2019. In addition, they were recently backed by several high profile names such as Jim Rogers and Xiaomi.
Their offerings have expanded to countries such as Australia, US, New Zealand, and in most recent years, Singapore. The US trade commission fees are at a crazy US$1.99 low fee. This undercuts even the cheaper brokerages in Singapore like SAXO.
In May, they announced that they will start offering SGX trades at an insanely low price of $2.88 minimum commissions. This will definitely be a game-changer in the brokerage scene in Singapore and I’ve decided to give it a try.
The onboarding process was really straightforward. As a MAS licensed brokerage, they are able to onboard Singaporean users using MyInfo. It took me approximately 5 minutes to registered as a user.
After application, I was told to wait for 1 business day for my application to be reviewed and approved. However, in practice that only took an hour as I was notified shortly afterwards that I was approved and could start funding my account. That was a very pleasant experience for me.
If you want to, you can even sign up for an account using their mobile application. It’s really straightforward.
Tiger Broker offers trading across 4 major markets namely the US, Hong Kong, Shanghai and soon to be Singapore.
To trade in Shanghai/Shenzhen A Shares, investors will have to trade through a Shanghai-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Stock Exchange Trading Interconnection Mechanism. This essentially means that you buy A-shares through HKEX.
There’s also Options trading available for the US markets.
Probably the best product offering for a discount brokerage like Tiger Broker would be Futures Trading. There is a long list of products available for futures trading on their site.
|Stocks / ETFs||Yes||Yes||Yes||Coming June 2020|
Investors looking to trade with leverage will find joy in the fact that Tiger Broker offers margin trading as well. I’ll discuss more about the fees in the next chapter.
Fees & Pricing
The fees for this brokerage is likely its biggest selling point. This is the part of the review which makes me really excited for Tiger Brokers. Apart from the commission fees and usual taxes, there are no platform fees or inactivity fees. This makes it really affordable for small-time investors like us.
As for Stock/ETF purchases, here are the commission-fee breakdown excluding taxes / miscellaneous exchange fees.
|Fee||US$0.01 / Share, min US$1.99 / Trade||0.06%, min HK$15 per Trade||0.06%, min RMB15 per Trade||0.08%, min S$2.88 per Trade|
Across all the exchanges, these prices are one of the lowest I’ve seen. They average out to be S$3.
For SGX stocks, take note that the stocks are custodian and not deposited into your CDP accounts. Therefore it’s not exactly an apples to apples comparison with brokerages like DBS Vickers. For investors who like more control of their own stocks, this might be important.
If you’re looking into margin trading, their interest rates are actually quite reasonable. (As of May 2020) According to their site, they do not seem to charge additional trade commission fees for margin trading. You’re basically just paying for the loan interest.
Tiger Broker offers a wide variety of support for their trading platform. They even have a full-fledged macOS app which is really rare for discount brokerages.
For this review, I’ll go in-depth into the Mac app and the iOS app as those are the devices that I have.
First, I have to say that the app is really beautiful. I will say that the experience is comparable to that of Firstrade.
The interface of Tiger Broker is very easy to navigate and responsive. There is an ample amount of information for research, much more comprehensive than many other discount brokerages. They even have a chart of historical P/B and P/E ratio, something that I’ve never seen in trading apps.
The amount of financial information and research material from the mobile application is identical to that of their other platform. I think that the information is very detailed and sufficient for most investors.
During market hours, the price movements are also updated in real-time. This is very useful if you’re looking to purchase at a dip.
It is very straightforward to purchase a stock as well. You have the standard Limit Order, Market Order, Stop and Stop-limit orders. If you’re looking to play around with the application before actually putting in your money, they even have a paper account option for you to play around with.
However, a major downfall of the application is the rampant amount of untranslated Chinese messaging. It really breaks away from the experience and something I feel should not have been missed during the application’s development. I’m hopeful that this issue will be fixed in dues time.
Their Mac OS application gets a huge win from me. The design is really modern, sleek and responsive. On first glance, everything that you need is displayed in front of you.
Watch lists can be easily organised and created. They are synced across all your devices. Similar to the mobile app, prices update in real-time during market hours. I can foresee myself switching over from Yahoo Finance to this app for my market tracking and research.
Similar to the mobile application, you get all your financial information and charts here. The experience throughout is really similar to that of the mobile app.
Traders can also easily do their charting with many different drawing tools available.
There is even have a calendar tab in the app that displays all the upcoming events that’s happening to the markets. This will be very useful for investors who want to track their dividend dates or potentially any lucrative IPOs happening.
They offer multiple currencies which you can deposit your funds into. Apart from SGD, the other 2 will involve you making remittance transfer to their account. For investors looking to do that, I’ll recommend using services like DBS Remit instead of Transferwise or Revolut. This is because Tiger Brokers will only accept transfers from holders of the same name. Use at your own risk.
For SGD, we are given the additional option of FAST transfers to their bank accounts. This will be the more convenient option for most users. I’d appreciate if there is an option for PayNow in the future but this will suffice for now.
As a MAS regulated brokerage, Tiger Brokers has to uphold several security standards. Funds are held in a separate custodian account and multiple audits are conducted on the company frequently. In the event where the company goes under, the funds will still be available to investors.
I also like the fact that it is a listed company. This means that its financials will be transparent and available to investors. If there are any red flags, we will be able to spot them quickly.
My only concern is that they do not have a local office. Although this is getting less and less relevant in today’s world, it would give me comfort to know that if anything goes wrong I can head down and physically settle it.
There are 3 main ways you can communicate with their customer service. Through their ticketing system in app, calling them through their hotline or Facebook Messenger.
It would have been a lot better if they had a live chat feature in their application. These ticketing systems usually result in long delays. As I’ve not encountered any issues yet (touchwood), I’ve not actually tried their customer service yet.
I will only rate this section based on the options availble.
I am really impressed by what Tiger Brokers is offering, considering their low commission prices. Like I said previously, this is definitely a right step in the right direction. More brokerages in Singapore should be improving their systems for their users and lowering their fees. I really enjoyed myself while writing this review on Tiger Brokers.
Personally, it is likely that I will start using Tiger Brokers for my Singapore stocks trade once it is available. The low minimum commission rates will allow me to buy a smaller amount of shares every time, allowing me to better dollar cost average over the months. For overseas stocks, this is also looking to be a really good platform due to its low cost and safety.
If you’re considering other brokerages for your investing needs, perhaps you can take a look at my review on FSMOne and Firstrade. I had a lot of fun reviewing all these brokerages and think that we are one step closer to having industry-wide commission-free trades.