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Interactive Brokers (IBKR) is an American brokerage founded in 1978 in New York City. Today, it operates in 33 countries trading stocks, forex, options etc.
Interactive Brokers is best for Singaporeans who are already trading and investing frequently, and are looking to trade wider range of products across global markets.
IBKR charges lower commission fees. For example, if you're trading below $2.5 million per month, it'll be 0.080% per trade value for SGD-denominated products (with a minimum value of S$2.50).
For experienced traders who trade in higher volumes, you'll get to enjoy even lower commission fees – decreasing from 0.050% for S$2.5 million and above, 0.030% for S$50 million, and 0.020% for S$150 million.
You'll be able to access a comprehensive variety of trading instruments and products – from stocks, ETFs, warrents, to futures, spot currencies, commodities, and more across 135 markets.
For basic consumer accounts such as the IBKR Lite (only for US citizens) or IBKR Pro (you'll probably be using this), there are no minimum deposits nor minimum account balance to maintain!
As with all brokerages, there are other fees you should take note of (listed below), such as Monthly Activity Fee, API fees if you require the Trader Workstation,
First up, try out the platform with a paper account via the free trial. Visit the Interactive Brokers Singapore website, click on "Free Trial" on the top menu bar. Then, click on "Start Your Free Trial". Fill in your personal details, download the TWS, and you're ready to go.
Once you're ready to open your Interactive Brokers account, simply scroll up and click on "Apply". You'll be prompted to fill in your personal details to apply for your Interactive Brokers account seamlessly.
You'll then be prompted to verify your email address, after which you'll be led to sign in to the IBKR website Client Portal to choose your account type. If you're a Singaporean, you will be able to auto-fill the application via SingPass MyInfo.
Then, verify your mobile number (to receive 2FA login codes). You'll then have to declare if you're a retail, accredited, or expert investor, declare your income and net worth, your investment objectives, and choose between a margin or cash account.
Next up, the customer knowledge assessment. You'll have to fill up your knowledge and experience with each trading product for approval to trade. As your trading experience grows, you'll be able to add more trading permissions in your account settings.
Now that you're done with your application, how to fund your Interactive Brokers account? You'll be receiving Interactive Brokers' custodian bank account information in your email inbox – along with a set of detailed instructions on how to make your first bank transfer, and how to set up subsequent standing orders.
|Trading Product||Commission Fee||Conditions|
|Stocks, ETFs, Warrants||US$0.0035 per share||Minimum US$0.35 per order with <300,00 share trades per month|
|Options||US$0.25 per contract||Minimum US$0.35 per order if you trade <300,00 shares per month|
|Futures, FOPs||US$0.85 per contract||If you trade <=1,000 contracts per month|
|Metals||1.5 basis points of your trade value (US Spot Gold for example)||If your order is below US$500,000|
|Mutual Funds||Either free or €4.95 (for non-US residents)||Inclusive of regulatory and exchange fees|
|Spot Currencies||0.20 basis point of your trade value||If you trade <=US$1 million per month|
|Single Stock Futures (SSFs)||1 basis point (SGX SSFs, for example)||-|
Interactive Brokers' flagship desktop trading platform is called the Trader Workstation (TWS) which you can download from their website. The user interface is more suitable for seasoned traders who already have a good grasp on the complex workings of a trading platform.
If you're a trading beginner, you might find Interactive Brokers' IBot pretty useful – it is basically a natural-language chat bot which answers your questions with relevant trading information. So, all you need to do is to launch a chat, type in your question, and view the answer.
Interactive Brokers' Client Portal is a website-based administrative and trading platform which allows you to conveniently access your account and trading information anywhere – so long as you have access to the internet.
|Account Features||IBKR Lite||IBKR Pro|
|Citizenship||For US Residents and individuals under the EmployeeTrack programme||For non-US residents|
|Commission Fees||No commission for US exchange-listed stocks and ETFs||Fixed or tiered commission fees|
|Account Minimum||No account minimum||No account minimum|
|Inactivity Fee||No inactivity fee||If monthly commissions are less than US$10, you'll be charged an inactivity/ maintenance fee of US$10 (minus your commissions)|
|Idle Cash Balance||Benchmark minus 1.5%||Benchmark minus 0.5%|
|Interactive Brokers||Saxo||TD Ameritrade|
|Brokerage founded in 1978 in New York City||Founded by the Copenhagen-based Saxo Bank||Founded in 1971, then known as Ameritrade. Later acquired by TD Waterhouse in 2006, and Charles Schwab Corporation in 2020|
|If monthly commissions are less than US$10, you'll be charged an inactivity/ maintenance fee of US$10 (minus your commissions)||US$0 Inactivity fee||US$0 Inactivity fee|
|You'll get to choose between fixed or tiered fees, such as US$0.0035 per stock, ETF, warrant; US$0.25 per options contract; US$0.85 per futures/ futures options contract etc.||0.08% commission for SGX stocks; 0.06% for US stocks; 0.6 pips for FX EUR/USD; US$3 for US stock CFDs; US$3 on US-listed ETFs; 0.05% on US government bonds etc.||$0 no commission fee for online stock, ETFs, options (US markets); US$0.70 per options contract; US$2.41 per futures/ futures options contract; US$7.44 for OTC online stocks|
|Trading Platform – Trader Workstation||SaxoInvestor, SaxoTraderGO, Saxo TraderPro||thinkorswim website, dekstop, and mobile|
|Education – Interactive Brokers offers a full fledge IBKR Campus online with materials for both beginners, intermediate, and advanced traders||Saxo offers trading courses, video tutorials, Saxo Insights, and Saxo Market Call podcasts||TD Ameritrade provides access to market news and insights on the thinkorswim platforms. If you're just learning to trade, there's a 5-week introduction to trading course online|
If you're looking to contact the customer service centre, you can call the Interactive Brokers Singapore contact hotline at 800-101-3456 (toll free).