OCBC Securities is a trusted brokerage serving up a diverse selection of investment instruments, but its high fees could be a deal breaker for some.
OCBC Bank is a household brand among Singaporeans, on account of its long-standing history and good record.
It is not surprising that its investing brokerage arm, OCBC Securities (also known as iOCBC), would also garner a high level of interest among local investors and retail banking customers making their first foray into investing.
But how does OCBC Securities hold up in an age of digital brokerages and online trading? Is OCBC’s traditional banking background an asset or a liability?
Here’s what you’ll learn about OCBC Securities in this article:
- Overview of OCBC Securities
- Reasons to invest using OCBC Securities
- Who should use OCBC Securities?
- Pricing, charges and fees
- OCBC Securities promotions
- How to set up an account
- Comparison: OCBC Securities vs other brokerages
Overview of OCBC Securities
What you can invest in: Stocks, bonds, ETFs, leveraged metal, forex and futures
Minimum balance required: S$1,000 deposit required to commence trading for users aged 18 to 20
Deposit fees: None
Withdrawal fees: None
Withdrawal limits: None
Commission: SG trades: minimum commission of at least S$25 per trade, US trades: minimum commission of at least US$20 per trade
Inactivity fee: None
Licence: Authorised by Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS)
|Multiple account types for specific trading purposes||High minimum trading commissions of at least S$25 per trade|
|Good range of instruments on offer, from securities, bonds and ETFs to leveraged futures, metals and forex||Young investors 18 to 20 required to deposit at least S$1,000 to start trading|
|Proven track record of trust and safety as one of Singapore’s longest-standing banks|
|Offers market updates and reports for news, events and seminars for learning|
Why should you trade with OCBC Securities (iOCBC)?
#1: Solid track record of trustworthiness
The most compelling reason to choose iOCBC as your trading brokerage is the solid track record of the OCBC brand.
As one of Singapore’s longest-standing banks, OCBC has nary a blemish to its name (although that’s something we’ve come to take for granted in Singapore).
Hence, traders and investors who value trustworthiness, or newbies looking for a safe harbour from which to launch their trading endeavours, should find iOCBC an attractive option.
#2: Structured accounts catering to different trading needs
iOCBC offers a selection of account types that cater to different trading needs. These range from no-frills basic cash trading accounts to those that provide leverage capabilities.
This feature will likely be appreciated by inexperienced investors, as they can stick to learning the ropes with their basic trading accounts. When they’re ready to try advanced but risky tactics, such as short-selling, they can do so by opening another account that allows it.
#3: Focused selection of instruments
You likely won’t find anything too out there in iOCBC’s inventory, but that doesn’t mean the pickings are slim either.
The brokerage offers a focused but diverse selection of instruments and markets, ranging from classics like equities, bonds and ETFs, to leveraged trades on metals, forex and futures.
There’s plenty here to keep the interest of both newcomers and veterans.
#4: Steady supply of market news and learning tools
iOCBC maintains an established library of educational resources, neatly organised along twin goals of helping investors stay up to date with market news, and learn and enhance trading skills.
While by no means extensive (at least compared to some other brokerages that incorporate news reports from wire agencies), there’s a good selection of stock highlights, market updates and economic reports. Additionally, there are also webinars and events focused on expanding your skills and knowledge.
For whom is iOCBC best suited?
If you value trustworthiness, or want to try your hand at investing under the OCBC banner, you’ll likely find iOCBC to be a good fit for you.
The selection of instruments and markets on offer is varied enough to hold your interest, especially if you’re a beginner.
Meanwhile, the carefully designed trading accounts will be useful in helping budding traders build their investing skills, instead of throwing open Pandora’s box all at once, which can be disorientating (and maybe just as disastrous!) for those new to trading.
What charges or fees should you look out for?
A top concern for any investor is how high the fees are, as they can impact your returns, sometimes severely so. iOCBC has high minimum trading commissions – likely a holdover from its traditional banking roots.
Each trade will cost you at least S$25 in fees. That’s exorbitant, considering how some leading online brokerages offer S$0 trades!
To ameliorate the impact of these high fees, try consolidating your trades such that you make fewer trades at higher volumes. Lowered trade frequency will help rein in your costs, while spending more per trade will reduce the proportion spent on fees, making it more worthwhile.
And, if you’re between 18 to 20 years old, you’ll need to deposit at least S$1,000 to start trading.
What are the promotions available for iOCBC?
There are a couple of ongoing promotions that traders can take advantage of, ranging from fee waivers to stock alerts and reports.
However, these are not universal. They only apply to specific trading account types.
Click here to view the current list of promotions.
How do you open and fund your iOCBC account?
Opening your iOCBC account
Follow these steps to open your account:
- Go to OCBC Securities Accounts page
- Look through the available choices
- Click ‘Learn More’ on the account you want
- Read through the information presented, then click on the ‘Apply Now’ button
- Apply in-person at an OCBC branch
- Remember to bring along the following documents
- Singaporeans – NRIC and Passport
- Foreigners – Valid Passport and Singapore Residence Pass (such as S-Pass)
Funding your iOCBC account
You may fund your account using any of the following methods.
|Funding method||Crediting lead time||Fees|
|Electronic Payment for Shares (EPS)||1 working day||None|
|Internet Bill Payment||1 working day||None|
|GIRO||1 to 2 working days||None|
|Telegraphic Transfer||1 to 2 working days||Clearing fees may apply|
|Cheque||2 to 3 working days||Clearing fees may apply|
At-a-glance comparison: iOCBC vs other popular brokers
|Commission fee||Minimum deposit||Maintenance fee|
|OCBC Securities (iOCBC)||SGX: Min. S$25 (online) or S$40 (broker-assisted).|
US exchanges: Min. US$20 (online) or US$30 (broker-assisted).
|S$1,000 (for 18 to 20 years old)|
None for all others
|TD Ameritrade||S$0 for US-listed stocks and ETF|
US$7.44 for online trades of over-the-counter stocks
US$0.70 per options contract
US$2.41 per futures contract
|No min. for account opening|
Min. US$500 required to receive real time data
Min. US$2,000 for margin capability
Min. US$5,000 to sell options naked
Min. US$25,000 to actively day-trade
|Saxo Markets||Mutual funds and SGX stocks: S$0 |
US ETFs, CFDs and Stocks: min. S$3
US bonds: min. 0.05%
Bonds, commodities, futures and options: min. S$1.25
|S$2,000 for regular savings plan|
S$3,000 for SaxoTraderGo platform
|UOB Kay Hian||SG stocks & stocks CFDs: min. S$10 to S$25 |
US stocks & stock CFDs: min. USS$20,
SG corporate bonds: min. S$2.14
|S$3,000 for CFDs|
S$5,000 for FX
|Maybank Kim Eng||SG stocks: min. S$10 to S$25 |
US stocks: min. US$20
|Oanda||Daily rates and charges according to market conditions||N/A||Inactivity fee of S$10 per month applies after 12 months without trading activity|
|IG||S$10 minimum for equity CFDs per open/close||N/A||N/A|
|City Index||0.08% or S$10 minimum for Singapore CFDs||S$150||N/A|
|Tiger Brokers||SGX stocks: 0.08%, min. S$2.88 per order (currently waived) |
US stocks: US$0.01, min. US$1.99 per trade
|Interactive Brokers (IBKR)||SGX stocks: 0.08% of trade value, min. S$2.50 per order |
US stocks: US$0.005 per share, min. US$1 per order
|N/A||Up to USDS$10 per month (less commission paid that month)|
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By Alevin Chan
An ex-Financial Planner with a curiosity about what makes people tick, Alevin’s mission is to help readers understand the psychology of money. He’s also on an ongoing quest to optimise happiness and enjoyment in his life.