Last Updated on November 20, 2020 by Chin Yi Xuan

As an investor in Malaysia, I have always been looking for the most affordable way to invest in overseas stock market.

This is especially true for me as a Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) enthusiast, as having affordable access to Singapore, Hong Kong and the US stock market will allow me to invest in many attractive REITs globally.

At the same time, I also have concerns about the regulatory issue of foreign brokers, which of course relates to the safety of my funds.

Well, the good news is, I have finally found a broker – Tiger Brokers, that provides affordable access to foreign stock market, while having strong regulations in place.

I have been using Tiger Brokers for several months now, and here’s my review:


Feature Highlights:

  • Exposure to different markets & instruments with just one account. (Singapore, US, Hong Kong, Australia & China stock market, Futures (soon), Warrants & Options)

     

  • Highly competitive and attractive fees. No minimum brokerage fee for Singapore stocks until 31/12/2020. (more below)

     

  • 100% online account opening & management. No visit to branch needed.

     

  • Strong regulatory background + company is publicly listed on NASDAQ .

     

  • Awesome account opening rewards when you use my referral link HERE – 5x commission-free trades, up to 100SGD worth of stock vouchers, and more! (more below)


Tiger Brokers Regulation – How is Your Money Protected?

Let’s address the main concern of Malaysian investors when it comes to choosing a foreign broker – is it regulated by a proper/respected authority?

When it comes to their operation in Southeast Asia, Tiger Brokers is regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), with a Capital Markets Services License to operate a legal brokerage business. Globally, Tiger Brokers is also regulated by the respective authorities from the US (SEC), Australia (ASIC), and New Zealand (FSPR) as well.

In short, Tiger Brokers is a well-regulated broker by proper authorities and is definitely way better than the brokers registered in some random African country.

In regard to money/capital protection, there is strict segregation of clients’ capital and assets apart from Tiger Brokers’ own capital:

  • Clients’ Capital: Kept by DBS Commercial Bank
  • Clients’ Investment Assets:

– Singapore Stocks: Held by DBS Custodian Bank

– US Stocks: Held by Interactive Brokers

– HK Stocks: Held by Interactive Broker

To summarize, Tiger Brokers is held by a high standard of regulations and accountability towards clients’ assets and capital. As such, I have no problem recommending Tiger Brokers to fellow Malaysian investors looking to invest in foreign markets.


Fees/Commission Comparison – Amazing Value & Highly Competitive Fees

Ultimately, what landed me on Tiger Brokers is its highly competitive commission.

While there are local Malaysian brokers that offer exposure to foreign markets, they are super expensive (high barrier of entry), and the fee details are rarely available on their official websites (not transparent at all). As someone looking to invest affordably in the Singapore, US, and Hong Kong market in Malaysia, Tiger Brokers certainly worth considering.

Below is the commission comparison table of Tiger Brokers alongside some other equally regulated (by MAS of Singapore or SEC of Malaysia) alternatives:

*Stated are fees charged by the brokers themselves. Please note that there are also additional (albeit minimal) fees charged by the respective exchanges in a transaction. (More details HERE) ***Based on my best research since I cannot find any official foreign stock fee structure from local brokers’ website. If you are interested, do approach your respective local brokers for more info.

How to Open a Tiger Brokers Account as a Malaysian?

a. Account Types

There are 2 types of trading accounts offered by Tiger Brokers, namely:

    • Margin Account (eligibility: 21 – 65 y/o)

Margin Account supports margin trading and short selling (intraday leverage up to 4x; overnight leverage up to 2x).

    • Cash Upfront Account (eligibility: 18 – 75 y/o)

Cash Account only allows trading stocks with cash. Margin trading and short selling are unavailable.

In short, you invest or trade with what you have deposited in your account.

If you are below 21 y/o currently, you can open a Cash Upfront Account first, then upgrade to a Margin Account once you reach 21, along with a full-time job.

b. Account Opening Process

The account opening process does take some time, but I can assure you that it is simple & straightforward. So, please spare around 15 – 20 minutes out with the documents needed to smoothen your account-opening process.

If this is your first time opening a foreign brokerage account, I highly recommend you to follow the steps below – as I’ll explain some potential terms that you may not be familiar with:

Step 1: Prepare for the Documents/Details

    • Nationality/Full Name/Current Residential Address/Citizenship/Date of Birth/IC Information
    • Employer’s name and address
    • Details of assets and income
    • Investment objectives and experience
    • Proof of Identity (IC/Passport)
    • Proof of Residential Address (IC/Residential Estate Certification/Utility Bills – eg. Water/Phone Bill within the past 6 months, showing your full name & address)
    • Bank Statement (issued within the past 6 months, showing your full name & address)

Step 2: Click HERE (referral code & reward will be automatically applied) and start your account opening process.

 

Step 3: Key in Your Nationality & Tax Residency Country. Tax Identification Number (TIN) is your LHDN number. If you are still studying, or do not have an account yet, just tick ‘I don’t have a TIN’ and state your reasoning.

 

Step 4: Key in Your Personal Info & Employment Details.

 

Step 5: Decide if you want to open a Margin Account or a Cash Account, and if you need access to instruments like Futures and Warrants (p.s. just tick ‘No’ if you don’t know what these are).

 

Step 6: Read and proceed after you agree to the conditions of the W8-Ben form*.

*What is W-8Ben form?

Filling in the W-8 Form is a requirement by the US Inland Revenue Service for account holders to declare that the beneficiary owner of the amount received from US sources is not of US origin. For clients who want to trade the U.S. markets, they will need to complete this form.

 

Step 7: Upload the necessary documents.

 

Step 8: Verify your identity by scanning your face. Follow the steps as shown below:

 

Step 9: You are done! Generally, the account will be opened within 1 to 3 business days after the account opening application is submitted.

You will receive an SMS & email notification upon a successful account opening. Alternatively, you may log in to Tiger Brokers’ official website to check your account opening status.


How to Fund Your Tiger Brokers Account?

After your account is approved and opened, the next thing that you’d want to do is to fund your account.

If this is your first time, the process may be a little intimidating for you so I’ve created a step-by-step for you below:

Step 1: Log in to your Tiger Trade account

Step 2: Select ‘Me’ at the bottom right corner > Tiger Account

 

Step 3: Select ‘Deposit’

 

Step 4: Select to deposit in the currency of your choice (SGD/USD/HKD).

Step 5: Select ‘Other Overseas Bank Accounts’

 

Step 6: You’ll be shown the remittance/transfer details. Remember to key in the payment reference correctly when you do your transfer in Step 7!

 

Step 7: Do the remittance from your bank via FTT. RM10 will be charged for every FTT transfer. Generally, the transfer will take between 1 – 3 days but from my experience, it only took several hours for my deposit to reflect in my Tiger Brokers account.

One thing to note for all these FTT transfers, is that while Tiger Brokers do not charge for the whole funding process, our banks’ (in my case, Maybank) appointed intermediary bank will be charging a clearance fee (varies according to banks). For me that’s using Maybank FTT, it is SGD20 for every FTT transfer.

In short, the total cost for my FTT transfer (in SGD) via Maybank is RM10 + SGD20.

 

Step 8: Inform Tigers Broker to check for your deposit upon transfer + upload transfer receipt

 

Step 9: You are done! You will receive an email once your deposit is accepted.

 


Who Should Open a Tiger Brokers Account?

As a whole, Tiger Brokers offers investors exposure to various foreign markets at an affordable package, while retaining the much-needed regulatory aspects at the same time.

As such, Tiger Brokers is suitable for:

1. Investors with some experience in the local stock market, and are looking to diversify to (either/or) the Singapore, US, Hong Kong, China, and Australia market at an affordable rate.

2. Investors that are currently using expensive local brokers to invest overseas, and are looking for a more competitive rate to reduce investing cost.

3. Investors that are ready to invest in foreign markets that want their broker to be regulated by proper authorities.


My Tiger Brokers Experience + Things to Improve

Having used Tiger Brokers for a full 3 months now, my experience with them has been largely decent.

Execution of trades is smooth and fund transfers are also easy. That aside, I’d want to focus this discussion on 3 particular parts of Tiger Brokers: the mobile app, desktop app & customer support.

(a) Tiger Trade Mobile App

For the most part, I love the mobile app from Tiger Brokers. The interface is relatively simple and intuitive, and most of the functions you need are easy to navigate and find.

Personally, even as someone that does not execute trades on mobile apps (I still prefer web/desktop), I find the design language of the mobile app better than the desktop interface.

(b) Tiger Trade Desktop App

Personally, when it comes to execution, I still prefer to stick with the desktop/web app of my brokers.

That said, at first glance, Tiger Brokers’ desktop app can be a tad more daunting than its mobile counterpart. This is because the layout tends to be more informative compared to the mobile app.

In other words, new investors may get overwhelmed at first. There is some learning curve involved, but it is definitely manageable – and you’ll come to appreciate the layout once you are familiar with how everything works.

The desktop app of Tiger Brokers

(c) Customer Support

There are 2 ways to reach out for help to Tiger Brokers, namely via their hotline (tel:+65 6950 0591) or email support (service@tigerbrokers.com.sg).

I have been using the email support service for inquiries many times (personal inquiries & also in preparation for this article), and the response time has been solid. Generally, most of my emails during working hours are responded within an hour or 2, or else it’d be replied the next day.

One thing that I hope could be improved though, is how they explain/clarify questions. There are instances where when I asked about a more technical issue/jargon, and was replied with a more expanded (not simplified) explanation.

With businesses going online nowadays, I think it is more important than ever for companies to invest in improving customer support, especially in understanding customers’ perspectives and providing simplified support to inquiries.

Don’t get me wrong though, customer support is truly a hard-to-master art and for the most part, the response from Tiger Brokers team have been helpful – just some points of improvement that’s all.


Account-Opening Reward and SG Stocks Commission Promo (till 31/12/2020)!

Tiger Brokers have been offering some nice goodies to new investors.

If you are keen to invest in foreign markets like Singapore, US, and Hong Kong stocks, do consider using my referral link HERE to open your account. 

When you successfully open an account with the referral link, you will receive:

  • Free level 2 data on US stocks for 30 days (p.s. let me know at the comment section if you want to learn more about Level 2!).
  • 1x 5x commission-free trades on US, Singapore, and Hong Kong stocks. (Update 6/11/2020: Tiger Brokers have just up their reward from 1x to 5x commission-free trades, and include the Singapore market in the list!)
  • SGD 30 stock voucher when you fund your account with SGD 2000 or more (and up to SGD 100 as you deposit more).

Singapore Stocks No Minimum Commission Promo (ending on 31/12/2020!)

If you are keen to invest in Singapore stocks (like myself), you’d love this current promotion by Tiger Brokers.

Until 31/12/2020, Tiger Brokers will be running a No Minimum Commission promo for Singapore stocks. This means that the minimum commission requirement of SGD 2.88 (~RM9) will be lifted only the 0.08% commission rate will apply.

Simply put, assuming you are buying into a stock worth SGD500, your commission paid to Tiger Brokers would be:

  • SGD 0.40 (SGD500*0.08%) during promotional period (ending 31/12/2020).
  • SGD 2.88 after the promotional period (which to be fair, is still the most affordable in the industry).

For me, Tiger Brokers is a no brainer since I have been looking around for an affordable way to invest in Singapore REITs with the intention to expand my portfolio.


No Money Lah’s Verdict

So here you go – my in-depth review of Tiger Brokers!

As someone looking to gain exposure in foreign market, Tiger Brokers is truly a good overall package that offers highly competitive fees with solid regulatory backing.

Having invested in Tiger Brokers for several months now, Tiger Brokers is my go-to broker for foreign stock investments and I have no problem recommending them to anyone that is keen to gain foreign market exposures – all without paying expensive commissions.

If you have any questions on Tiger Brokers, feel free to leave a question in the comment section below! Constructive feedbacks are welcomed as well 🙂


Keen to open a Tiger Brokers account?

If you find this review useful and is planning to open an account, definitely consider using my referral code by clicking the button below!

Doing so will help support this blog, while entitling you to all the account-opening rewards as mentioned in this review!

(Note: referral code & rewards WILL BE automatically applied when you click on my link.)

 

Read more: How to make your first trade on Tiger Brokers?

p.s. This post contains affiliate link(s). As always, I’d only recommend tools and financial solutions that I personally use AND/OR are interesting & provide unique value to my readers. Every article takes a long time and effort to write and when it comes to financial solutions, I’ll only invest time in writing about good and relevant products.

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Chin Yi Xuan

Hi there! I am Yi Xuan. I am a writer, personal finance & REIT enthusiast, and a developing trader with the goal to become a full-time funded trader. Every week, I write about my personal learnings & discovery about life, money, and the market.

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