Tiger Brokers review: buy foreign stocks easily from Malaysia

tiger brokers review

I knew about Tiger Brokers when their ads suddenly appeared on my Facebook news feed one day. Being eternally curious about new developments, naturally I set out to find out more about this new broker. My Tiger Brokers review will center around my personal experience so far.

I have been curious about investing in foreign shares from Malaysia but have yet to really dig into the whole process. The options I have researched so far has been mostly disappointing – either they’re too costly, the process was too complex or they’re simply not available to the average Malaysians.

Along came this yellow creature called Tiger Brokers. Malaysians should be forgiven for confusing it for another one of our homegrown brands featuring a Malayan tiger (if you’re wondering, no, Tiger Brokers is not affiliated with Maybank). And so, I set out to discover more about this new entrant to the local scene. What I found has been pleasantly interesting and prompted me to write this Tiger Brokers review.

What is Tiger Brokers

Tiger Brokers is an online stock brokerage that offers access to multiple markets from a single account. Founded in 2014, it is backed by notable companies such as Interactive Brokers, Xiaomi and Wall Street investor Jim Rogers. Initially catering to mainland China’s hungry investors, Tiger Brokers has gained quite a big following worldwide.

Tiger Brokers was listed on NASDAQ in 2019 and holds the relevant licenses and approvals from multiple jurisdictions such as the USA, Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia.

I ran a check online and Tiger Brokers is indeed licensed under Monetary Authority of Singapore – check it out here https://eservices.mas.gov.sg/fid/institution/detail/225987-TIGER-BROKERS-SINGAPORE-PTE-LTD

Tiger Brokers Founder

wu tianhua
Tiger Brokers founder Wu Tianhua

Wu Tianhua received his B.S. & M.S in Computer Science from Tsinghua University. Later, he co-founded Youdao, a new online education startup under the Nasdaq-listed NetEase group. By the time he left, Youdao’s user base had grown to the hundreds of millions. Wu had begun to familiarize himself with investing when he was an undergraduate and started to invest in the US stock market around 2010. Investing in the US stock market was very complicated then and in 2014, he decided to build his own service to make investing easier.

https://www.compasslist.com/founders/wu-tianhua

Tiger Brokers Review

What I Like

My Tiger Brokers review: the good part. I really like the easy account opening process, low commission and the fact that I can invest in foreign shares as a Malaysian from a single integrated account with low fees.

Easy account opening

The whole process of opening an account is pretty easy and it only takes 5 minutes to click through everything. The required information is pretty standard.

Documents needed:

  • Government-issued ID / Passport
  • Proof of residential address (utilities, bank statement)

The e-KYC process is pretty smooth on my laptop involving recording your facial profile using your webcam, which would feel familiar for Malaysians using some of the more recent fintech apps. You can even switch to mobile halfway but do note that there is no English if you use this option.

One thing which I disliked was some parts were confusing as I didn’t really know what I was signing up for, and it would be better if some kind of explanation can be provided with a mouse-over. For example, I couldn’t find what is a “Fund Mall Account” and the information was not provided in their FAQ.

What in tarnation is a Fund Mall Account?

Another thing which I disliked during the signup process was the lack of English option when clicking the “contact” button on the right – everything was in Mandarin. But the rest of the signup process was relatively painless and best of all, everything can be done online and paper-free!

Low commission fees

Tiger Brokers offers low fees for trading, and what’s remarkable is that it is very competitive with existing solutions currently available for Malaysians. The fee structure is different depending on the type of stocks you buy.

  • US – USD 0.01 per share (minimum USD1.99 per trade)
  • Singapore – 0.08% (min SGD2.88 – no minimum until 31st December 2020)
  • HKEX – KHD 0.06% (minimum HKD15)

Please note that some additional fees may apply which are charged by the exchange and not Tiger Brokers. Also do bear in mind the foreign exchange and interbank telegraphic transfer fees which are charged by your respective bank when you deposit to your Tiger Brokers account.

The commission structure is comparable to Interactive Brokers, minus the hassle and complexity of opening an account via IB.

Reliability of a tech-focused platform

So far so good. What I like besides the smoothness of account opening is the inherent user-experience focus. Information is laid out pretty easily. Granted, there are translation issues and the language feels jarring sometimes, but it’s not a big issue.

Compared to other online brokerages I’ve researched, I don’t feel overwhelmed by the avalanche of complex jargons thrown at you (looking at you, Interactive Brokers). The FAQ is also loaded with actionable information.

From the get-go, Tiger Brokers is developed as a fintech company and they have raised massive amounts of funding and achieved notable traction. Personally, I’m all for efficiency in this age, so if there’s any broker that can do away with tedious paperwork, it automatically gets a vote from me. And in this aspect, Tiger Brokers definitely ticked the box.

The Android mobile app is also very responsive and the overall user experience has been good so far. From the reviews, it seems most users have good things to say about the app.

Tiger Brokers Disadvantages

Any Tiger Brokers review would be biased if all it talks about is how awesome the product is. That being said, I do actually struggle to find what I dislike so far about Tiger Brokers.

Not all markets are available

I know, I know. Malaysia is a small country and the market is not mature.

Currently, Tiger Brokers offers the following:

  • US
  • Singapore
  • Hong Kong
  • Australia
  • China A-shares
  • Futures

Malaysians might be disappointed to learn that KLSE is not included. Personally for me, it’s not really an issue as opening a CDS account with any local brokerage is a fairly straightforward process, albeit not as seamless and paperless.

However, if you’re a really active trader and trades in a lot of different markets, then Tiger Brokers might not fulfill all your requirements.

Lack of deposit options

It seems that so far, one can only add money into his or her account via direct transfer from the bank as Tiger Brokers require deposits to be made from a bank account bearing the same name as the trading account holder.

This will undeniably incur costly forex fees and charges from the users’ own bank.

Conclusion

Tiger Brokers is hands-down one of the easiest way to access international stock exchanges for a Malaysian. You can trade foreign stocks from Malaysia via a single integrated platform, complete with a functional mobile app with one of the lowest fees in the region.

I think Tiger Brokers will be one of my main tools as I venture into diversifying my portfolio of dividend stocks. It has definitely made it easier for people in South East Asia to venture into cross-border stock trading and investing.

Hope my Tiger Brokers review has been informative for you. If you like this article, feel free to share it and leave a comment below!

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