The Reddit movement that propelled meme stocks to the moon in early 2021 really brought the focus on the potential of discount brokers. In Singapore, the scene has also been heating up with fintech entrants such as Tiger Brokers and Moomoo by FUTU. They come showering with generous sign-up gifts that are too good to refuse. In response, the incumbents have not sat still either. Phillip’s On-line Electronic Mart System (‘POEMS’), developed by Phillip Securities, has come up with an attractive promotion of flat fees for US and HK markets as well as no minimum commission for SG market. With all these various promotions by new entrants and incumbents crowding the sector, I have decided to review and compare brokerage fees of Tiger Brokers vs Moomoo vs POEMS in a blog article.
For a meaningful comparison of the brokerage fees charged by the aforementioned trading platforms, I have assumed the rates applicable for Starter Tier under POEMS Cash Plus Account. Diagram 1 shows the fees applicable if an investor buys Singapore equities.
On the surface, Moomoo offers the cheapest headline commission rate at 0.03%. However, Moomoo charges a minimum $1.50/order for platform fee. Therefore, if your trade size is more than S$3,750, it will still be worthwhile to go with Moomoo. Any amount lesser than $3,750 meant that it will be better to go with Tiger Brokers and POEMS (ignoring the $0.35 Settlement Instruction Fee by SGX) .
Do take note that a custody fee applies for POEMS since the shares are held under custody and not in CDP. The custody fee will be waived if there is at least 1 trade/quarter which I suspect is not difficult to fulfil at all for now. If you make your investment via CPF or SRS funds, the custody fee will not be applicable at all. Corporate actions such as rights issue and dividends will attract a handling fee on POEMS Cash Plus account.
Let’s see how the picture changes when it comes to buying US stocks as shown in Diagram 2.
When it comes to purchasing US stocks on either Tiger Brokers or Moomoo, the difference in cost is so negligible that is almost tantamount to an exercise of splitting hairs. Interestingly, POEMS’ US$3.88 flat rate can be very attractive if the number of shares in the transaction exceeds 590. That is because one would be paying more in initial fees if buying via Tiger Brokers or Moomoo for the same transaction. Corporate actions such as rights issue and dividends will attract a handling fee on POEMS Cash Plus account though.
While POEMS is a tad less competitive in terms of brokerage fees, it does come out on top in other non-financial aspects that some retail investors would definitely come to appreciate. For a start, it offers a full suite of services with retail branches located in the heartlands (business hours: 9am-6pm) and a customer service team that can be contacted from 845am to 12am. In addition, a dealing team will be automatically assigned to investors who sign up for its POEMS Cash Plus Account. Having an assigned staff member makes the investing experience considerably less intimidating especially for those first-time investors and the less resourceful. Do also look out for the daily research reports as well as the free educational webinars. Even till today, I am still reading these reports and attending such webinars to brush up my investment knowledge. Finally, POEMS is Singapore’s first electronic on-line trading system with a long-standing tradition of 45 years which should provide assurance of the safety of clients’ funds.
On the other hand, there is more difficulty in accessing the customer service teams of discount brokers as they have been quite overwhelmed with the deluge of customers acquired recently. In addition, they also do not publish research reports. Nevertheless, both Tiger Brokers and Moomoo are listed entities and have been operating in their home countries for a long time before coming to Singapore as part of their expansion plans.
Heartland Boy’s personal experience
I was one of the early adopters of Moomoo and received a free APPL share as part of its sign-up promotion. As its rates for buying USA rates is the lowest, I use it to buy US stocks as shown in Diagram 3.
Diagram 3 shows that both the commission and settlement fees have been waived as I was trading within the commission-free period as part of the sign-up package offered to me. Paying only US$1.07 (0.015%) for a total trade size of US$6,394 was indeed music to my ears.
I have also earned some cash vouchers on Tiger Brokers which I have used to offset my stock purchases as shown in Diagram 4.
PSA: For those who are already on the Tiger Brokers’ platform, do check your Rewards Center to see if you have earned any voucher or commission-free card. Don’t let them expire and go to waste!
Verdict of Battle Royale
I am a user in all 3 trading platforms as each has its strengths and witnesses. Since there is no exclusivity, I don’t see why one shouldn’t sign up for all these trading platforms to enjoy the following promotions:
For all new sign-ups, here are the following welcome gifts from Tiger Brokers:
- 1 share of Apple by making an initial deposit of at least S$2,000 or equivalent currency (first 5,000 qualified clients)
- 60 commission-free trades within 180 days
- 500 Tiger coins
If you are a trader, you will definitely be able to utilise these free gifts fully to maximise your investment returns. Here is Heartland Boy’s referral link (Invitation Code: 8QMMAT) if you are keen to download and try the Tiger Brokers brokerage platform as well. Welcome gifts may be changed after 31 July 2021 but should still be equally enticing.
Moomoo by Futu
New customer offer rewards for account opening include:
- 180 days unlimited commission-free trades for US, HK, SG stock markets
- Free access to Lvl 2 market data in US stock market
- Free access to Level 1 market data in Sg stock market
- (Exclusive promo from 1 – 30 Jun)1 FREE Apple Share (“NASDAQ: AAPL”) & 1 FREE NIO Share worth ~US$170 after depositing SGD 2,700/ USD 2,000/ HKD 16,000 within 30 days from account opening AND successfully unlocked Level 1 Trading Badge or completed 5 successful trades
Here is Heartland Boy’s referral link if you are keen to try the Moomoo brokerage platform as well. Welcome gifts may be changed after 30 June 2021 but should still be equally enticing.
POEMS Cash Plus Account by PhillipCapital
Enjoy 1 month of free US trades by funding a minimum of S$3,000 within 7 days from account opening for new sign-ups. Here is Heartland Boy’s referral link if you are keen to try the POEMS Cash Plus account as well.
Finally, uSMART from Hong Kong joined the fray in 2022 and here’s my review of uSMART Securities Singapore. Do not forget its generous sign-up gifts as well!
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