TD Ameritrade Singapore, with a good trading platform known as thinkorswim, has made a significant announcement that has caught the attention of retail investors. Starting in December 2023, TD Ameritrade Singapore will shift its focus to serve accredited investors exclusively.
In this article, we’ll delve into what this means for retail investors, whether there’s anything you can do following TD Ameritrade’s decision, and explore alternative brokers in Singapore you can consider if you were a fan of TD Ameritrade (especially its thinkorswim trading platform).
According to The Business Times, TD Ameritrade Singapore spokesperson said the pivot away from serving retail investors was a “strategic decision” that will allow it to concentrate on a market that has been “under-served historically in Singapore”.
History of TD Ameritrade
Before we explain its shift, it’s important to trace the history of TD Ameritrade in Singapore.
TD Ameritrade Singapore was established in 2016 as a wholly-owned subsidiary of TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation. However, Charles Schwab acquired TD Ameritrade in November 2019, but the two had been operating independently since then. TD Ameritrade clients were still able to use their accounts with that broker.
In case you are not aware, Charles Schwab in Singapore has since ceased to provide service and will close its office in Singapore. I wrote an update about it back then. You can read it here.
If you have noticed, there have been quite a lot of changes in the wealth management industry recently. Just a short while ago, MoneyOwl had also announced the cessation of their financial advisory business and will be taken over by iFast Financials and Grab discontinued investment offerings AutoInvest and Earn+.
What Can You Do as a Retail Investor?
If you are a retail investor and have a thinkorswim account, you need to be aware of the changes that will affect you.
TD Ameritrade will introduce various modifications to account capabilities for retail investors, including monthly maintenance fees. We will outline what these changes mean and how retail investors can navigate this transition.
- From Oct 1, it will not receive any requests to transfer assets from another provider.
- From Oct 27, retail investors will also be charged a monthly maintenance fee of US$50.
- From Dec 1, the company will stop accepting new trade orders or deposits on any remaining accounts. However, retail investors may continue to place liquidating orders to close positions.
- From Dec 4, any remaining accounts of retail investors with a debit balance may have positions liquidated to bring their account to a zero or positive cash balance, when the US market opens.
TD Ameritrade also added that it will waive or refund any of the platform’s transfer or wire fees incurred by retail investors up until the end of the year for entire account transfers or wire withdrawals.
2 Options You Have Now
Option 1: Register as an Accredited Investor with TD Ameritrade:
- Accredited Investors will have access to wealth management capabilities and the U.S. markets through TD Ameritrade’s thinkorswim trading platforms.
- Accounts without Accredited Investor status will be subject to a new maintenance fee starting on October 27, 2023.
- On the other hand, customers who register as Accredited Investors will continue to have access to the thinkorswim trading platform and support from the Singapore office.
Option 2: Withdraw Your Assets and Cash Balances:
- Retail investors who are not transitioning to Accredited Investor status must withdraw their assets and cash balances from their TD Ameritrade Singapore accounts.
- Alternatively, they can sell their holdings and deposit the proceeds in their bank.
- Failure to do so by October 27 will result in a monthly account maintenance fee of US$50.
- Access to accounts will be restricted on December 1, with new trade orders limited to liquidation or closing positions.
How to Qualify as an Accredited Investor?
To become an Accredited Investor, you must meet specific criteria set by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), which include having:
- An annual personal income exceeding S$300,000 (or its equivalent in foreign currency) in the past year.
- Net personal assets exceeding S$2,000,000, with the net value of your primary residence contributing up to S$1 million (or its equivalent in foreign currency).
- Net financial assets exceeding S$1,000,000 (or its equivalent in foreign currency).
Please note that if you qualify, you need to make a declaration, You should have received a TD Ameritrade email with the instructions
Are There Alternative Brokers in Singapore You Can Consider?
If you decide to withdraw your assets from TD Ameritrade, you have the option to transfer them to another brokerage.
If you use TD Ameritrade thinkorswim platform, one of the key draw factors might be
- Low cost
- Strong stock selection and analysis capabilities
- 24-hour support
- Free level-2 real-time market data
Personally, I use moomoo which offers a low-cost and yet robust trading platform. You can check their fees here.
Right now, Moomoo is having a new user Transfer-in Rewards for transferring of positions from TD Ameritrade to Moomoo SG.
Transfer TD Ameritrade positions to Moomoo SG using ACATS
Now, you can initiate the transfer directly from your moomooo app using ACATS. The Automated Customer Account Transfer Service (ACATS) is a system that facilitates the transfer of securities from one trading account to another.
Here is the step-by-step guide on how to do so:
First of all, if you do not have a moomoo account, sign up here for FREE.
Moomoo also offers potential returns on your idling cash in trading accounts. I have written an article before to have a detailed discussion about it.
Additional Reading: How to maximise your stock investment idling cash.
In a nutshell, I think moomoo is worth considering as an alternative trading platform.
As a licensed adviser, I help my client manage their investment portfolio. If you want to review your investment portfolio, you can request a non-obligatory discovery meeting by submitting the form below.
Disclaimer: All views expressed in the article are the independent opinions of the author. Neither Moomoo Singapore nor its affiliates shall be liable for the content of the information provided. This advertisement has not been reviewed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore.