facebookMoomoo Review (2021) & Comparison: Super Low Cost Brokerage Showdown
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Moomoo Review (2021) & Comparison: Super Low Cost Brokerage Showdown

profileJoel Koh
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When it comes to investing, I would think that the majority of us are in it to maximise our profits, regardless of the amount invested or the time frame you have for investing.

These profits come in the form of our portfolio returns after fees.

Common sense dictates that you would want to keep your fees down as low as possible so you can keep significantly more of your portfolio’s return.

Source: Giphy

Sure, there’s a case for having your portfolio managed professionally with the right financial advisor or Robo-advisor worth the fees. But, that is a debate for another day.

Or maybe you want to pay a bit more for the research tools, stock data, or more advanced trading options.

But for most of us who are embarking on the do-it-yourself (DIY) path to investing, finding the brokerage with the lowest fees for our needs should near the top of our list of priorities.

With that in mind here is a comparison of the super low-cost online brokerages in Singapore to consider.

Disclaimer: The information provided by Seedly serves as an educational piece and is not intended to be personalised investment advice. ​Readers should always do their own due diligence and consider their financial goals before embarking on any investments or purchasing any investment products.


TL;DR: Cheapest Brokerages in Singapore Comparison

MarketsIBKR Pro Fee* | Minimum Commision Per TradeMoomoo Fees | Minimum Commision Per TradeTiger Brokers Fee | Minimum Commision Per Trade
Singapore0.08% | S$2.50T.B.C.0.08% | $0^ (S$2.88)
U.S.0.0035%/share | US$0.35$0.0049/share | US$0.99$0.01/share | US$1.99
Hong Kong0.08% | HK$10 - $180.03% | HK$30.06% | HK$15
China (A Shares)--0.06% | CN¥15
U.K.0.050% | £1--
Futures--USD$0.99 - USD$2.99
Additional FeesUS$3 & US$10 monthly activity fee**

US$1 - US$2 per forex trade (e.g. converting from SGD to USD)
Platform Fee
US$0.005/share | Min US$1
Min. HK$15
N.A.

^The Tiger Brokers’ no minimum charge promotion for SGX is valid till 30 April 2021.

*Tiered pricing. Interactive Brokers’ offers tiered pricing to lower rates even more with more volume. In cases where an exchange provides a rebate, the company will pass some or all of the savings directly back to you.

**Monthly US$3 fee for accounts with less than US$100k (or non USD equivalent) balance and clients aged 25 and younger. Monthly US$10 fee for accounts with less than US$100k (or non USD equivalent) balance and clients aged 26 and older.


Comparison Criteria

For starters, here is how we selected the brokerages for this comparison.

  • Charges less than S$5 minimum fee per trade for the major stock markets that Singaporeans trade in (i.e. Singapore, U.S., H.K., China, and the U.K.).
    • This has to be the standard fee charged and not the promotional price for long term sustainability.
  • Supports more than one stock market for variety.
  • MAS regulated.

This narrows it down to three brokerages:

As such, we will be comparing these brokerages based on six main factors.

  1. Safety
  2. Pricing & Markets Available
  3. Promotions
  4. Trading Options and Features
  5. UI/UX and Customer Service

Safety

Arguably, this should be the number one factor when considering a brokerage.

After all, low fees are inconsequential if something happens to your investments.

Is Interactive Brokers Safe?

When it comes to safety, you can rest easy with Interactive Brokers Singapore Pte. Ltd. (IBKR SG) as it is the most established brokerage on this list.

The Singapore branch of Interactive Brokers is part of Interactive Brokers Limited Liability Company (IB LLC): an American multinational brokerage firm that conducts its broker/dealer business in over 135 market destinations worldwide.

Also, do note that IB LLC and its affiliates are owned by the Ineractive Brokers Group LLC.

IB LLC was actually established 43 years ago, and currently has about US$9 billion in consolidate equity capital.

In terms of regulation, IB LLC is regulated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and the regulations of other securities exchanges where IB LLC is a member.

Interactive Brokers Singapore Pte. Ltd is also licensed and regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) as a capital markets services licensee with licence No. CMS100917.

Also, client money is also kept safe as according to IBKR:

Client money is segregated in special bank or custody accounts, which are designated for the exclusive benefit of clients of IBKR. This protection (the SEC term is “reserve” and the CFTC term is “segregation”) is a core principle of securities and commodities brokerage.

By properly segregating the client’s assets, if no money or stock is borrowed and no futures positions are held by the client, then the client’s assets are available to be returned to the client in the event of a default by or bankruptcy of the broker.

In other words, if you are an IBKR client and your holdings are owned by you and you do not trade futures, your assets will be promptly returned to you in the unlikely event that IBKR goes bankrupt.

In addition to the above-mentioned safeguards, IBKR customers are covered by Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) insurance for up to US$500,000 for securities and cash (including a US$250,000 limit for cash only).

And according to the SIPC:

“SIPC was created under the Securities Investor Protection Act as a non-profit membership corporation. SIPC oversees the liquidation of member broker-dealers that close when the broker-dealer is bankrupt or in financial trouble, and customer assets are missing. In a liquidation under the Securities Investor Protection Act, SIPC and the court-appointed Trustee work to return customers’ securities and cash as quickly as possible. Within limits, SIPC expedites the return of missing customer property by protecting each customer up to US$500,000 for securities and cash (including a US$250,000 limit for cash only).”

But, it is important to note that SIPC insurance only covers the number of shares and not the absolute dollar value of the securities you hold.

More importantly, the SIPC protects Nonresidents and non-U.S. citizens with the same protections that all other customers receive.

Is Moomoo Safe?

Next up we have the new kid on the block: Moomoo.

The Moomoo trading platform which was started in 2018 is run by Futu Singapore Pte. Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Futu Holdings Ltd.

For context, Futu Holdings was established in Hong Kong back in 2011.

The company is listed on the NASDAQ (NASDAQ: FUTU) and is backed by Chinese internet giant Tencent Holdings (SEHK: 700), renowned U.S. venture capitalist firm Sequoia Capital and Matrix Partners.

According to Moomoo, ‘the products and services offered on the Moomoo trading platform are offered by wholly-owned subsidiaries of Futu Holdings Ltd., including, but not limited to Futu Inc. and Futu Singapore Pte. Ltd.’

Like IB, Futu Inc. is a broker-dealer regulated by the SEC and FINRA.

Futu Inc. customers are also covered by Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) insurance for up to US$500,000 for securities and cash (including a US$250,000 limit for cash only).

The brokerage is also regulated by MAS as Futu Singapore Pte. Ltd. is a capital markets services licence holder (Licence No. CMS101000).

The company also has a physical office located at 160 Robinson Rd, #25-07 SBF Centre, Singapore 068914.

This seems to check out so far, but I wouldn’t sink all your money into Moomoo just yet.

Is Tiger Brokers Safe?

Next, we have Tiger Brokers (Singapore).

The company was founded back in Jun 2014 and is backed by Interactive Brokers Group Inc (IBKR), Xiaomi Inc, the ZhenFund, and Wall Street investment guru Jim Rogers.

Source: Tiger Brokers Singaprore

The company is steadily growing as it was recently listed on the NASDAQ exchange in March 2019 with the ticker symbol (NASDAQ: TIGR).

Tiger Brokers and subsidiaries hold 21 licenses/registrations in the USA, New Zealand, Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore.

Its subsidiary Tiger Brokers (Singapore) Pte. Ltd runs the Tiger Trade platform in Singapore. You will be glad to know that the company is regulated by MAS and is a capital markets services licensee (Reg. No. 201810449W) and is authorised to operate in Singapore.

As such Tiger Brokers is operating in compliance with section 104 of the Securities and Futures Act (“SFA”) where ‘Clients’ funds and investments are kept by a segregated bank account and custodian to ensure it does not commingle with other accounts.’

Also according to Tiger’s customer agreement:

All money, approved securities or other property received by TBSPL from you or from any other Person, including but not limited to, any Clearing house, on your behalf, shall be held by TBSPL as trustee or custodian, segregated from its assets and paid into a segregated bank account or a segregated debt securities account (collectively “Client’s Accounts), and all such monies, approved debt securities or other property so held may be commingled with other client’s funds and shall not form part of TBSPL’s assets for the purposes of insolvency or winding-up.

As such, your investments are held by different banks and prime brokers as custodians for the respective market products and asset classes.

  • U.S. market: Shares, cleared and held by IBKR (Interactive Brokers), are ultimately held by DTC (Depository Trust Company).
  • Hong Kong market: Shares, held by IBKR (Interactive Brokers), are ultimately held by CCASS.
  • Singapore market: Shares, held by DBS custodian bank, are ultimately held by CDP. As for funds, clients’ funds are kept in DBS commercial Bank.

As such you can tell, these are not some fly by night brokerages as they are heavily regulated.

But, if I were to rank them, Interactive Brokers would be the safest closely followed by Tiger Brokers and Moomoo.

Now let’s move on to the pricing comparison of the more popular markets Singaporeans trade in

Pricing Comparison

We will be comparing the basic tier of these brokerages in terms of pricing.

MarketsIBKR Pro Fee* | Minimum Commision Per TradeMoomoo Fees | Minimum Commision Per TradeTiger Brokers Fee | Minimum Commision Per Trade
Singapore0.08% | S$2.50T.B.C.0.08% | $0^ (S$2.88)
U.S.0.0035%/share | US$0.35$0.0049/share | US$0.99$0.01/share | US$1.99
Hong Kong0.08% | HK$10 - $180.03% | HK$30.06% | HK$15
China (A Shares)--0.06% | CN¥15
U.K.0.050% | £1--
Futures--USD$0.99 - USD$2.99
Additional FeesUS$3 & US$10 monthly activity fee**

US$1 - US$2 per forex trade (e.g. converting from SGD to USD)
Platform Fee
US$0.005/share | Min US$1
Min. HK$15
N.A.

^The Tiger Brokers’ no minimum charge promotion for SGX is valid till 30 April 2021.

*Tiered pricing. Interactive Brokers’ offers tiered pricing to lower rates even more. In cases where an exchange provides a rebate, the company will pass some or all of the savings directly back to you.

However, with IBKR SG’s fixed tier, these exchange and regulatory fees are included in the commission fees you pay.

**Monthly US$3 fee for accounts with less than US$100k (or non USD equivalent) balance and clients aged 25 and younger. Monthly US$10 fee for accounts with less than US$100k (or non USD equivalent) balance and clients aged 26 and older.

Additional Exchange Fees

In addition, you will need to pay the additional exchange and regulatory fees.

Singapore 

SGX charges an additional fee of 0.0075% + 0.0325% for all brokerages. The Singapore government will levy a GST (Goods and Services Tax) at a rate of 7% on these fees.

U.S.

For purchases of ADR (American Depositary Receipt) fee, the U.S. Depository Trust Company charges 0.01 – 0.03 USD/share.

Hong Kong

HKEX charges additional fees for all brokerages like

  • Trading fee: 0.005% * trade value + 0.5 HKD
  • Settlement and delivery cost: 0.002% of trade value min. 2 HKD and max. 100 HKD / trade.
  • Transaction levy: 0.0027% *trade value.
  • Stamp duty: 0.1% of Trade Value (round up to the nearest integer).
  • The Singapore government will also levy a GST (Goods and Services Tax) at a rate of 7% on these fees except for stamp duty.

China

The China exchanges charge additional fees for all brokerages like:

  • Product handling fee: 0.00487% * trade value
  • Product handling fee: 0.002% * trade value
  • Settlement payment: 0.004% * trade value
  • Stamp duty: 0.1% * trade value(round up to the nearest integer)(charged for sell orders only)
  • The Singapore government will also levy a GST (Goods and Services Tax) at a rate of 7% on these fees except for stamp duty.

Promotions For New Users

Now let’s talk bout the new user promos.

Although this should not be the main reason why you choose a brokerage, this is important nonetheless.

Interactive Brokers Singapore Promotions

Interactive Brokers actually has a referral program.

For new users that are invited by existing Interactive Brokers Singapore customers, you will get to enjoy these rewards:

  • Referrer Reward: US$200 for each referred client when the referred client opens an individual, joint, trust or retirement account, funds and maintains a balance of at least US$10,000 for one year.
  • Referred Reward (New User): New users will receive $1 in IBKR shares for every $100 of value (cash or other assets) added to their account for up to $1000 worth of IBKR shares.
    Do note that the average balance must be maintained for at least one year for the shares to vest and be accessible.

Moomoo

To celebrate its product launch in Singapore, Moomoo is offering the following rewards if you sign up before 8 March 2021:

  • One-year free commission for trading of US stocks and HK stocks from the day of account opening after approval of the account.
  • When you deposit US$2,000 equivalent or SG$2,700 in your account, you will receive 1 AAPL share (worth S$161 at time of writing)  within 5 business days after the deposit is completed and when the funds are settled.
  • Free access to Lvl2 Market Data in the U.S. stock market.
Source: Moomoo

Tiger Brokers

If you open an account with Tiger Brokers, you will get to enjoy these benefits:

  • Five commission-free trades
  • Free Level 2 market data for US stocks
  • Stock vouchers of up to S$100
Source: Tiger Brokers Singapore

Trading Options And Features

Interactive Brokers

Undoubtedly, Interactive Brokers is the brokerage with the most trading options as you can trade in:

  • Stocks (long or short)
  • ETFs
  • REITs
  • Penny Stocks
  • Mutual Funds
  • Options
  • Futures and  Futures Options
  • Currencies
  • Bonds

As for data and features, users will by default receive free delayed market data for the available exchanges.

Moomoo

As Moomoo is still new, you can only trade the following on Moomoo:

  • U.S. Market: Stocks, Exchange Traded Fund (ETFs) ETFs, ADRs etc.
  • H.K. Market: Stocks, ETFs, REITs, etc.

For the Singapore market, you can Moomoo has announced that they will soon allow you to trade on the SGX soon.

However, you cannot trade options on Moomoo.

I expect Moomoo to add this feature as well as other financial products in the new future.

In addition, you get access to free level 2 market data.

Tiger Brokers

As for Tiger Brokers, you can trade the following investment products on the platform:

  • US/HK/SG/CN/AU stocks (long or short)
  • US stock options and HK Warrants/Callable bull/bear contracts (CBBCs)
  • US stock ETFs / SG stock ETFs and REITs
  • Index/metal/treasury/energy futures & more

You also get access to access to multiple trading features such as one-click trading, profit and loss analysis, stock options trading, in-depth analytics, screeners and candlestick charts.

UI/UX and Customer Service

In terms of these brokerages, you can check out our real user reviews of these brokerages that discuss the user experience and their customer service experience.

As Moomoo is rather new, not many users have yet to post their reviews.

But, we already have those early adopters in Seedly who have shared their thoughts about Moomoo and Tiger Brokers:

Closing Thoughts

Why Choose Interactive Brokers?

I would choose Interactive Brokers if I had a lot of capital to invest and trade very regularly due to the monthly US$10 maintenance fee.

However, if you are younger than 26 years of age, the monthly maintenance fee falls to just US$3 which might make sense for you depending on how much you invest in a month.

The wide range of access to markets is a plus point too. Especially for those who are looking to access the Ireland domiciled ETFs on the London Stock Exchange.

Tiger Brokers vs Moomoo

If you are choosing between Tiger Brokers and Moomoo, there is little separating them in terms of fees.

For example, Tiger Brokers charges $0.01 per share and a minimum fee of US$1.99 for U.S. stocks.

This is very similar to Moomoo which charges $0.0049 per share and a minimum fee of US$0.99. However, they charge a platform fee of US$0.005 per share and a minimum fee of US$1 for U.S. stocks.

But if you sign up now, you get free commission for one year on Moomoo!

In terms of features, Tiger is also more mature and reliable.

Also, do check out our review of Tiger Brokers!

But regardless, isn’t it great that we have these affordable options?

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About Joel Koh
History student turned writer at Seedly. Before you ask, not a teacher. My time as a history student has equipped me with the skills to evaluate the impact societal development has on financial and nonfinancial events.
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