TD Ameritrade announced that it will stop serving retail investors in Singapore from December 2023. We find out how this will impact you as a customer and what you need to do.
After the shock closure of Moneyowl a few weeks ago, trading platform TD Ameritrade announced on 26 September that it will stop serving retail investors in Singapore from December 2023.
Instead, it will focus on serving accredited investors only, a market that the company believes has been “under-served historically in Singapore”.
This came as a surprise to many as TD Ameritrade’s thinkorswim trading platform is relatively popular amongst retail investors in Singapore, offering a wide suite of trading tools and insights on its platform.
If you are wondering how this will impact you as a customer of TD Ameritrade and what you need to do, read on to find out.
What will happen to TD Ameritrade’s clients after its stops serving retail investors?
Existing customers of TD Ameritrade in Singapore have the following two options:
#1 - Register as an accredited investor with TD Ameritrade
Customers who register as an accredited investor with TD Ameritrade will continue to have access to the thinkorswim trading platform, in addition to support from the Singapore office.
To qualify as an Accredited Investor, you will need to meet one of the following criteria set by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).
- A personal income in excess of S$300,000 per year (or its equivalent in foreign currency) in the last 12 months
- Net personal assets in excess of S$2,000,000 of which the net value of your primary place of residence can only contribute up to S$1 million; (or its equivalent in foreign currency)
- Net financial assets in excess of S$1,000,000 (or its equivalent in foreign currency)
If you intend to become an Accredited Investor, you can visit the TD Ameritrade Accredited Investor transition page here.
#2 – Withdraw all assets and cash balances from TD Ameritrade
For TD Ameritrade customers who are not transiting to Accredited Investor status, you would have to withdraw all your assets and cash balances from your TD Ameritrade Singapore account and transit them to another broker.
Alternatively, you need to sell your holdings and deposit the proceeds in your bank.
It might be worth noting that your account will be charged a monthly account maintenance fee of US$50 from 27th October if you have not done the above before then.
Also, access to your account will be restricted at the close of US markets on 1 December. This means that you will no longer be able to put in new trade orders, unless it is to liquidate orders or close positions.
If you have more questions as an existing customer of TD Ameritrade, you may refer to the FAQ here.
Apart from TD Ameritrade, what are other brokers in Singapore to consider?
One of the options available to customers of TD Ameritrade is to transit them to another broker.
This led to questions about which is the best broker to consider for existing customers of TD Ameritrade.
For many users of TD Ameritrade thinkorswim platform, the key draw factor might be the zero minimum fees and trading commissions for trading of US stocks, ETFs and options.
Moomoo offers lifetime zero commissions for trading in the US market, but there is a platform fee of US$0.99 per order. As part of the current sign-up promo, there are zero platform fees for the US market for the first year.
Webull does not charge any platform fees. It charges a commission of 0.025%*Total Trade Amount (Min. USD 0.50) for US stocks and ETFs, and USD0.55*No. of Contracts for options. As part of the welcome rewards, there will be zero commissions charged for US stocks and ETFs for the first month after account opening.
Tiger Brokers offers a competitive fee to new users for trading US options of USD 0.65 per contract, with no minimum fees. In addition, new users get to enjoy 180 days of unlimited commission-free trades for US stocks.
Saxo is another popular option amongst investors looking for a low-cost option to trade US stocks, ETFs and options. It offers a competitive trading commission for US stocks and options starting from US$ 0.25 per trade.
Interactive Brokers is the only broker that allows for an ACAT transfer of your existing holdings at TD Ameritrade. It offers a competitive trading commission of US$0.005 per share with a minimum fee of US$1 per trade.
Here’s a summary of the pros and cons of the brokers which offer similarly competitive fees for trading US stocks, options and ETFs.
Promo: Earn a welcome bundle worth up to S$680 when you sign up for a Moomoo account.
Beansprout Exclusive: Receive a bonus S$20 Grab or NTUC FairPrice voucher in addition to Moomoo welcome rewards when you sign up through Beansprout.
Promo: New customers can receive free shares worth up to US$5,000 when you open an account, fund any amount, and maintain for 30 days. No trading required. T&Cs apply.
Beansprout Exclusive: Receive a bonus S$20 Grab or Fairprice voucher in addition to Webull welcome rewards when you sign up through Beansprout. T&Cs apply.
Promo: Get started by opening an account and enabling Auto-Sweep on Tiger Vault for the first time to enjoy a 30-day interest bonus boosted to 8%* p.a.
Make an initial deposit of at least SS$1,000 and complete 5 new buy trades to receive one free Apple fractional share worth US$30, one free Starbucks fractional share worth US$8.80, and one sure-win draw attempt to get one free stock worth US$8.80 to US$888.
In addition, new users enjoy a competitive fee of USD 0.65 per contract for US options. T&Cs apply.
What would Beansprout do?
While TD Ameritrade’s decision to focus on the accredited investor market in Singapore would mean that there are less platforms for retail investors to choose from, the good news is that there are other existing platforms that offer similarly competitive products.
For investors who are looking at brokers which are also offering competitive fees for trading US stocks, options and ETFs, do check out our reviews of Webull and Moomoo.
For a more comprehensive analysis of the best online brokerage, read our guide to the best trading platform here
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