Fortunately opening a trading account to invest in stocks and bonds in Singapore is rather easy. I for one prefer the trading account to be in an established retail bank, so that I can consolidate my current account and investment accounts under one roof and have an easy overview of all my finances.
Both can be integrated easily with your existing accounts, but differ quite a lot in terms of features and costs.
If you are deciding between these two options here is a comparative table:
DBS Vickers or Standard Chartered?
(Created May 2014)
|DBS Vickers Online||Standard Chartered|
|Stock Exchanges supported||Singapore, Hong Kong, U.S., and Canada||Singapore (SGX), Hong Kong (SEHK), Tokyo (TSE), Australian SE (ASX), NYSE EN Paris (PAR), London Stock Exchange (LSE), Deutsche Boerse (FRA), NYSE EN Amsterdam (AMS), SIX Swiss Exchange (SWX, VTX), NASDAQ , New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), NYSE AMEX (AMEX)|
|Running account costs||0 SGD||0 SGD|
|Minimum commission?||Yes (SG: 40, HKD 100, USD 25)||No|
|Commissions (trading online, less than SGD50k)||Singapore: 0.28%
Hong Kong: 0.2%
Hong Kong: 0.25%
|Quality of research tools available||Quite in-depth||Rather basic|
|Ease of use||Relatively easy but a few quirks||Very easy|
Overall verdict: for my needs Standard Chartered clearly wins here. As there is no minimum commission I save quite a lot of money, since I mostly do smaller trades. Furthermore I wanted to invest in some European exchange traded bond funds which I could not do on DBS Vickers.
Buying 1,000 units of the Vanguard FTSE Asia Ex Japan Index ETF for HKD 19.84 each in Hong Kong would cost the following commission charges:
Standard Chartered: HKD 49.6
DBS Vickers: HKD 100 (minimum commission)
As this example shows the minimum commission is quite disadvantageous for smaller investors. You would need to invest more than SGD 6,400 in one trade to enjoy the slightly lower interest rate that DBS Vickers offers in Hong Kong. In all other exchanges Standard Chartered is cheaper and has no minimum commission.
Given my good experience with Standard Chartered and their lower costs I can wholeheartedly recommend them over DBS Vickers.
How to open a Standard Chartered Online Trading account?
I would recommend open a free esaver account online first. From there you can apply for online trading online via the online banking platform. It is rather easy and trouble-free.
Lazy as I am I am not a fan of visiting bank branches and queuing there. Standard Chartered lets you do most things online or via the phone which is most convenient. In over four years I have only visited the bank branch once.