In an unexpected move, TD Ameritrade Singapore has announced its decision to cease serving retail investors starting December 2023.
This development closely follows the shock closure of Moneyowl just a few weeks prior. For TD Ameritrade’s significant base of retail clients, this announcement raises questions and concerns. In this article, we will dive deep into the rationale behind this decision, its implications, and the options available to you as a Singaporean retail investor.
Be aware that if actions aren’t taken before 27th October, a monthly maintenance fee of US$50 will be levied. Want to know more? Keep reading, we’ve got you covered!
What is happening to TD Ameritrade in Singapore?
On 26 September, TD Ameritrade Singapore officially revealed its plan to terminate its services for retail investors from December 2023. Instead of serving its wide retail base, the firm will shift its focus to cater to accredited investors, a segment they believe has been “under-served historically in Singapore.”
What about Thinkorswim? Can Thinkorswim still be used from SG?
Despite the recent introduction of zero-commission trading in July 2020, the firm has chosen to pivot away from retail investors. Their flagship platform, thinkorswim, which was hailed for its broad spectrum of trading tools and insights, will now be accessible only to a very limited clientele (accredited investors). So, investors need to look at alternative platforms (covered below).
Timelines and important dates:
TD Ameritrade will not waive or refund any transfer or wire fees you incur after 31 December 2023, but only for entire account transfers and/or wire withdrawals. So you need to close your account by that date to save fees!
Solutions for TD Ameritrade’s Singapore Retail Investors:
For existing retail clients of TD Ameritrade Singapore, there are essentially two choices:
- Become an Accredited Investor with TD Ameritrade: For those who qualify under the criteria set by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) – a minimum personal income of S$300,000 in the past year, net personal assets exceeding S$2,000,000, or net financial assets surpassing S$1,000,000 – they can transition to an Accredited Investor status. By doing so, they can continue to utilize the thinkorswim platform and receive support from TD Ameritrade’s Singapore office.
- Withdraw or Transfer Assets: Customers who don’t transition to the Accredited Investor status must either transfer their assets to another broker or liquidate their holdings. If actions aren’t taken before 27th October, a monthly maintenance fee of US$50 will be levied. Furthermore, from 1st December, trading functionalities will be restricted, barring liquidations and the close of positions.
TD Ameritrade Alternatives in Singapore
The decision by TD Ameritrade Singapore to narrow its client focus to accredited investors marks a significant shift in its strategy. While the move might serve the company’s vision of addressing an under-served market, it leaves many retail investors searching for alternatives.
Retail investors must make informed decisions about the future of their investments, whether that means meeting the requirements to become an accredited investor or finding a new home for their assets.
Hope we’ve helped!