KNOWING YOUR BROKERS
A stock brokerage is the intermediary between an investor and the stock exchange. They take your buy and sell orders for securities and execute them in exchange for a commission.
The brokerage firms in Singapore offer traditional broker-assisted services and online trading platforms to cater to individual investment needs. Regardless of which service you prefer, you will need to open a Trading Account with a brokerage to be able to buy and sell securities on the stock market.
Ideal for new investors or those that prefer guidance, the brokers offer assistance on trade executions and advice on trade-related enquires.
In addition, most brokerages have their team of in-house analysts that conduct in-depth company research, publish meaningful findings on stocks, and generate investment ideas for their clients
Things to Consider when Choosing a Brokerage/Broker
Depending on your financial goals and investment strategy/style, there are a few factors that will influence your choice of a brokerage/broker. Here are some points to consider:
Minimum age for opening a trading account
In Singapore, the minimum legal age for opening an account is 18 years; however a couple of brokers may prefer that you have a parent or guardian co-sign the forms if you’re under 21 years.
Location and accessibility of brokerage firms
When you prefer to meet your broker face-to-face, or if you want to take advantage of the firm’s on-site resources and seminars.
Online and/or mobile trading platforms
If you prefer to execute your own buy and sell transactions, check that the brokerage offers a user-friendly online platform. Do the platforms have tools or functionalities that help you track research or screen stocks, and make it easier for you to manage your investments? Most brokerages have demos for you to sample on their websites, or would be willing to show you how they work. If you expect to be making trades on the move, then look out for brokerages that also offer convenient mobile trading apps, and alerts.
Access to products
Does the brokerage or their platform give you access to invest in the products you’re interested in? All local brokers generally are able to give you access all products that are traded on the Singapore exchange. But there may be some rare exceptions if you’re interested in a specialised or higher risk product.
Scope of research publications and resources
Does the brokerage have access to research reports or resources that are available to you? These can help you narrow down your investment choices, validate the companies’ financials and help you compare companies. Research newsletters that are regularly distributed to clients can also keep you informed of investment opportunities.
Investor education seminars and workshops
Some brokerages regularly offer programs that you can attend to learn more about investing, to hear about investment opportunities, or to be more familiar with the tools and resources they offer.
What support do they provide if you need investment or technical assistance? What hours is the support available?