Saturday, March 22, 2008

Brokerage comparison

Currently I am holding brokerage accounts with POEMS, DBS Vickers, Lim & Tan, Citibank and AmFraser. In this post, I decided to do a brief comparison on each one of them.

Please do take note that these reviews may not be comprehensive enough as I don't really have a chance to make full use of them. I am writing based on my personal exploration and experience. I would appreciate if anyone can add on to their reviews. In the mean time, I will update this post if I can think of anything.

POEMS
About
Phillips' Online Electronic Mart System, or more commonly known as POEMS, is the pioneer for Singapore's online share trading. Established by Phillip Securities Pte Ltd in 1996, it has undergone tremendous changes since then to better fulfill your needs whilst harnessing the power of modern technology. The furious pace of change has meant that new products and services are continuously being evolved, with unsuitable products discarded whilst promising ones being improved upon. From the first generation of POEMS in 1.44 inch diskettes to the entire POEMS system being made available on the Internet, the idea is to allow you with better control of your own trades and be equipped with the essential tools to make a better investment decision. If you are our POEMS clients who have been with us since the beginning, we would like to thank you for your continuous support all this while and make POEMS what it is today. If you are not a POEMS client, do not hesitate any further and check out what POEMS can do for you now.

Screenshot
POEMS screenshot


Pros

  1. I would say POEMS provides an almost complete solution for traders with a wide range of financial services offered like stocks and shares, unit trusts, CFD, futures, treasury bills, etc
  2. The only brokerage that gives investor an option in allowing their funds left in cash management account to be automatically invested in mmf yielding higher return
  3. It is one of the few brokerages that offers mobile trading using a handphone
  4. The only brokerage that gives access to SGX unit share market. You can sell your odd lot shares with POEMS
  5. The loading speed of this trading platform is very fast
Cons

  1. For new users, they may find difficulty to navigate around the not so friendly user interface. Even at times, I may get lost while navigating
  2. I find the rewards not that useful as you can only redeem trading or market related items. On top of redeeming with points, you still have to top up in cash for most of the items

DBS Vickers
About
DBS Vickers Online is committed to offering investors in Asia superior experiences in self-directed investing. DBS Vickers Online provides self-directed investors with a broad range of global investment services through multiple channels, including the Internet, call centres, and customer centres. Through us, customers can invest in stock markets in Singapore, Hong Kong, the United States and Canada as well as UK and B-shares listed on the Shanghai and Shenzhen Markets. They can also choose from a variety of investment products that may suit their different needs. In addition to equities, we offer fixed income products, mutual funds and unit trusts, as well as opportunities to participate in IPOs and IPO private placements. What's more, we provide customers with real time market information and professional tools and research to make informed and educated investment decisions. Our operations provide investors in both Singapore and Hong Kong with the local offerings that best meet their needs.


Screenshot
DBS Vickers screenshot


Pros

  1. The user interface is very nicely designed. You can easily navigate all the pages with minimal clicks
  2. I find Clarity a very comprehensive and useful tool to help investors in doing their stock research. You can do stocks screening with this tool based on your fundamental or technical input requirements
  3. You can view each counters complete historical financial data like balance sheet, income statements and cash flow in one page
  4. You can access to all DBS Vickers research reports on each counters if available
  5. There is also a nice charting tool. It is as good as you can get with any other professional charting software like chartnexus
Cons

  1. The loading speed of this trading platform is very crippling slow. It is the slowest among all brokerages that I reviewed
  2. Clarity tool is only available after SGX market closes
  3. Your money left in the trust fund yields very low return

Lim & Tan
About
Lim & Tan Securities Pte Ltd was incorporated in Singapore on 1 June 1973, commencing activity as a member of the Singapore Exchange (SGX) that year. Lim & Tan Securities main activity is stock broking and the main focus of the company is the retail market. Believing in providing cutting-edge technology to its clients, Lim & Tan Securities was amongst the first to introduce Internet Share Trading in Singapore in October 1998. In Jan 2000, Lim & Tan Securities is again proud to be amongst the first in Asia to introduce V.A.S.T., the Voice-Activated Stock Trading system. V.A.S.T. is positioned, not as a product on its own, but rather to complement internet share trading under its online trading brand name, limtan.com.sg.

Screenshot
Lim & Tan screenshot

Pros

  1. I like the reward system with this brokerage. You can choose whether to accept rewards in terms of NTUC linkpoints or their in-house points system. The former is more practical to me
  2. You have free access to Netresearch Asia, an established third party research company
  3. As a complement to online trading, you can trade through telephone with their V.A.S.T, an interactive voice response system
Cons

  1. Your money left in the trust fund yields very low return
  2. You need to inform your remisier or broker if you want to withdraw money from the trust funds
  3. On high resolution display, I find the buttons on the top right too small to click
AmFraser
About
In June 1987, Fraser was converted from a partnership into a corporate entity. The Company's name was changed to Fraser Roach & Co Pte Ltd and it became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Frasers International Pte. Ltd. (FIPL). In July 1991, Arab-Malaysian Merchant Bank Berhad(AMMB) bought a 49% stake in FIPL, thus making AMMB FIPL's largest single shareholder. Following this transaction, Fraser was renamed Fraser Securities Pte Ltd. The ownership structure changed in September 2006 when AMMB, restructured as AmInvestment Bank Berhad under the Amlnvestment Group, bought the remaining 51% stake in FIPL making the Company a wholly owned subsidiary. In July 2007, the Company’s name was changed to AmFraser Securities Pte. Ltd. As at 31 March 2007 AmFraser Securities has a capital base of S$46 million and is now a member of the AmInvestment Group Berhad, which has shareholders' funds of RM2.3 billion. The AmInvestment Group is ranked as the largest investment banking group in Malaysia with interest spanning from merchant banking, commercial banking, stockbroking, consumer finance to fund management. With effect from July 2007, Fraser Securities Pte Ltd will be renamed AmFraser Securities Pte. Ltd.

Screenshot
amFraser screenshot

Pros

  1. The loading speed of this trading platform is very fast
  2. The user interface is newly designed and is quite user friendly
  3. You have free access to Dow Jones News
  4. When you trade, there is a "Good till date" instruction for your transaction
Cons

  1. There is no loyalty rewards at the moment but there is an online lucky draw conducted monthly
  2. You need to inform your remisier or broker if you want to withdraw money from the trust funds
  3. There is no shortcut function to list counters by the same initial of either A to Z
  4. Your money left in the trust fund yields very low return

Citibank
About
Not available from official website

Screenshot
Citibank screenshot

Pros

  1. The user interface is very nicely designed. You can easily navigate all the pages with minimal clicks
  2. As your brokerage account is linked with Citibank internet banking, you can manage all your banking, investments and trading accounts with one convenient access
  3. When you trade, there is a "Good till date" instruction for your transaction
  4. You can instantly transfer money between cash trading and checking accounts
  5. You have free access to award winning Smith Barney Citigroup equity research
  6. It offers the lowest minimum commission at $22 for online trading
Cons

  1. There is no loyalty rewards
  2. There is no shortcut function to list counters by the same initial of either A to Z
  3. Your money left in the trading account yields very low return

The above are some of the pros and cons I can think of for these brokerages. I have been using POEMS since I started investing. Only recently I decided to switch to Lim & Tan because of the NTUC linkpoints. There is an ongoing promotion if you complete four transactions within six months, you earn $118 cash or 6000 linkpoints. You can see this for more detail.

I have also heard good reviews about Kim Eng trading platform. That shall be the next brokerage I intend to open an account with.

16 comments:

Ku said...

Thanks for the detail write-up about the brokerages.
For Citibank brokerage:
One plus point is that you get 0.5% brokerage waiver during the Citibank Ready Credit promotion (currently runs till May 08). That is, if you trade $30k in a month, you get back $150 (which is the cap). One minus point is that you cannot contra with Citibank brokerage. You can buy only if you have the money in your trading account.

One question about DBS Vickers Online, do you get to receive any reward points from trading? I don't seem to receive any from it.

Mike Dirnt said...

nice rebate from citibank. yes thanks for reminding no contra with citibank. i guess it is not recommended for hardcore trader.

i dont think there is any rewards from DBS :( too bad. i use it for my research purposes

Anonymous said...

Well, you forgot couple of important points where Citibank brokerage stands out compared to POEMS:

1. Unlimited SMS alerts without having to pay anything

2. Can enter trades that are valid for 6 days

3. Can enter trades with wider spread without having to use rewards etc. for force keys

You also did not mention about the trade coverage - POEMS has widest coverage with Singapore, US, UK, HKG, Australia market whereas Citiabnk can trade for Singapore & US only.

Ciao...

Mike Dirnt said...

i think you forgot to read my opening 2nd paragraph. it is not comprehensive enough. anyway thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Hi!

Currnently holding a Phillip and CIMB account.

Looking to get a Amfraser, DBS and Limtan account. Possible to introduce your current broker, as they do not take in walk ins??

glms88 (at) live.com

Mike Dirnt said...

Hi,
thank you for asking. At the moment, Lim Tan has a referral program

i am glad to be your referral. email me so that i can get my broker to post to you an application form.

my email add is under my profile on the right side of this blog

as for Amfraser and DBS Vickers, i dont really use their platforms so i dont even know the brokers. i would recommend the Lim Tan instead

Anonymous said...

Hi, a very good and well thought out article.

Which of these provide trailing stop loss function?

nogutsnoglory said...

Hi, great idea of comparing the different brokerages. I've been scouring the internet for something like this but nothing useful came up until this one.

I want to trade CFDs right now and would like to seek your opinion on whether Lim and Tan is a good brokerage to work with. So far what has your experience been with them in terms of customer service as well as whether your broker provides timely advice and so on?

Thanks so much for your contribution and anyone else who can provide me with some additional information!

Mike Dirnt said...

Hi,

i got no experience with CFD account as i dont do short term trading. from what i read, IGMarkets is strongly recommended.

As for LimTan, they are just one of the small brokers in singapore. Customer service from limtan is good. my broker do send me reports on a daily basis and will automatically make withdrawal of my sell cash settlement to my bank account. as brokers are usually quite busy with so many clients, i dont expect much from them as i am an independent investor. i just need any platform to execute my trade. the main reason why i choose limtan is because its tied with linkpoints. email me if you want to open a limtan account. there is a member referral promotion going on.

lim said...

is your amfraser broker good? I feel like opening an account. Can you refer?

Reza said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mike Dirnt said...

hi,

so far i havent trade with amfrasers. would you like to open a limtan account? there is referral promotion.

Anonymous said...

hi,

have a question here, for the poems account, is there any management charges for putting extra funds into the mmf?

Mike Dirnt said...

There is definitely a fee in the fund. The rates published there are net of the fees.

Wolfgangs246 said...

Hi Mike,

I'm looking for an online brokering platform that will allow me to trade in ETF's. Based on your experience (which I assume has increased since your original post in 2008) do you have a recommendation?

From what you've mentioned in your OP. I'm inclined to use POEMS or Citibank. Any comments or suggestions?

Wolfgangs246 said...

Hi Mike,

I'm looking for a platform to do some online trading of ETF's. Currently restricted to STI but with the potential to expand that to other indices if it goes well. Based on your OP, it sounds like Citibank or POEMS would be the best choice for this.

Would you have any kind of recommendation for any particular platform?