Hi, I’m Ian.
I’m a Malaysian who invest in stocks listed on the SGX where I’m receiving a steady flow of dividend income on a quarterly basis. Perhaps, you may ask:
‘Ian, are you a Singapore P.R.?’ Nope.
‘Ian, are you based in Singapore?’ Nope.
‘Ian, have you worked in Singapore before?’ Nope.
‘Ian, do you have a bank account in Singapore?’ Nope.
‘Ian, how do you invest in Singapore?’ I’ll answer it now.
In this article, I’ll share what I know and do so that you can start investing in SGX-listed stocks as a Malaysian investor based in Malaysia itself. Therefore, here are the 7 hacks that you need to know before investing in the SGX.
#1: An Overview of the SGX
As I write, the SGX offers a boutique of 700+ stocks to investors. The biggest 30 stocks are included as constituents of the Straits Times Index (STI). For a start, they include huge corporations which might have just ring a bell to you such as UOB, OCBC, SIA, Genting Singapore, and CapitaLand. Besides, SGX has a well-developed REIT market where investors can invest in a globalized portfolio of Billion-Dollar commercial real estate. Currently, the STI and the S-REIT markets are the main focuses for most investors who are investing in the SGX.
#2: CDS account vs. Trust account
Here, I’ll write from my perspective as a customer of Maybank Investment Bank (IB). I’m using Maybank IB for my investments in stocks listed on both Bursa Malaysia and the SGX.
For Bursa-listed stocks, the buying process is straightforward. First, I deposit an amount into my stock account. Second, I place my order for the intended stock. Third, the money in my stock account would be debited and my stock with the amount of shares would be credited into my CDS account which is under my own name.
For SGX-listed stocks, the buying process is different. For my first purchase, I deposit an amount into a Global Trust Account. The amount deposited was a little more than the intended amount I wish to invest. Then, I place my order for the intended stock online. After the order, I would have to call my broker (Maybank IB’s staff) to inform him about my investment. From which, I wait for 1-2 working days for the contract note that states the exact amount of my investment in Ringgit. My money in the Global Trust Account would then be debited and my stock would be credited into my Trust (Custodian) Account where Maybank IB keeps my stock and collects dividends on behalf of me.
#3: Transaction Fees
For MayBank IB, the minimum brokerage fee is set to be S$ 30 a transaction. Inclusive of a few miscellaneous charges such as GST and stamp duty, every transaction, buy or sell, should cost a minimum of S$ 32. Here, I’ll calculate the ideal minimum amount of capital needed to make your venture into the SGX worthwhile. For instance, if you intend to limit the transaction costs at 1% of your capital, then, the minimum amount you need to invest is S$ 3,200 or RM 9,600 per investment.
The amount needed will obviously be lower if you choose to limit the cost at 2% of your capital. Ideally, it is best to keep it low and thus, I reckon that you should not invest if the transaction cost is above 2% of your capital.
#4: Invest or Trade
I think it’s expensive to trade SGX-listed stocks as every transaction, buy and sell, costs a minimum of S$ 32 as compared to RM 12 for Bursa-listed stocks if you use Maybank IB. Hence, it is more ideal for investors as stocks listed in the SGX, to me, are to be kept over the long-term. If you are a new investor, I reckon you to aim for dividend income so that you can quickly earn back the transaction costs after 3 – 6 months of holding onto your SGX-listed stock.
#5: How to Open my Stock Account?
If you choose Maybank IB (This is not a Sponsored Post), you can apply for both CDS account and Global Trade Account simultaneously. You just need to bring your NRIC, salary slip, and bank statements and walk-in directly to the nearest Maybank IB branch. I’ll provide the links below:
What to Bring:
Where to Go:
#6: But, I want to Invest in the US Stock Market
The facilities provided by Maybank IB is not limited to the SGX. In fact, you can choose to invest in other markets such as NYSE, NASDAQ, and HKEx if you prefer to do so.
#7: Learn to Invest in the SGX
There are many tools and resources available to speed up your learning curve and to familiarize yourself with the Singapore market. Here, I’ll conclude my sharing by listing down some websites and blogs that I personally follow and read on a regular basis:
No.1 – The Fifth Person
The Fifth Person is Singapore’s leading site that focuses on value investing. It is founded by Rusmin Ang, Victor Ch’ng, Adam Wong and Kenji. It contains a lot of quality and very detailed reads on stocks listed in both Singapore and Malaysia (although I’m among the main contributors of Malaysian stocks).
No.2 – Value Invest Asia
Value Invest Asia is spearheaded by Stanley Lim, a CFA, a Johorian who has extensive working experiences in Singapore. It is also a site focusing on value investing and is building up fast-read materials, webinars and even a physical book ‘Value Investing in Asia’ for stock investors who intend to invest across Asia. (I’m also a regular contributor of the Malaysian articles of this site).
No.3 – Dr. Wealth
Formerly known as the BigFatPurse, Dr. Wealth started off as an investment blog and has evolved into a comprehensive financial education firm that has contents and courses on stock investing, REIT investing, angel investing, and even cryptocurrencies.