If you've read our broker comparison guide, you'll know that DBS Vickers is one of our recommended brokers in Singapore for trading in the Singapore stock exchange (SGX).
This is especially true due to the DBS Vickers Cash Upfront offering, which gives one of the lowest commissions on buy trades.
For those looking for a more in-depth review of DBS Vickers as a brokerage platform, this is the article for you.
What's good and bad about DBS Vickers? Is creating a DBS Vickers Trading Account quick and simple? Is DBS Vickers user-friendly? We'll go through this and more in this review!
How easy is it to set up a DBS Vickers Trading Account and how long does it take to have your account approved? Usually, people create a new brokerage account when they spot opportunities in the market and want to start trading for the first time.
A fast account opening process ensures that you can start trading earlier, while saving the headache of going through too many forms and procedures.
Based on your preferences, you can open a DBS Vickers Trading Account in 3 ways:
- Paper copy (mail)
- Physical (head down to DBS' headquarters)
Since there's the option of online application, the process can be pretty simple and easy to do. You can apply for the account without ever leaving your home, which is something not all Singapore brokers offer.
You can check out each option in detail with our guide to opening an account using any of these three options right here!
That said, DBS Vickers requires a CDP account to hold the stocks that you buy. Therefore, it requires an additional step in the account opening process, which could take quite some time.
All in all, there are quite a lot of forms to go through, which makes the applying process quite long-winded.
Your application process takes around a week or so to process, and then you still have to wait a few more weeks to receive a mail from DBS containing your trading account number, password, and secure authorization token.
In total, it takes around at least 3 weeks to a month to get a DBS Vickers account ready for funding and trading, which is a huge drawback especially if the market is good and you're itching to get started in investing.
This is in comparison to other custodian brokers like FSMOne, which can be opened in under 5 minutes directly using MyInfo and allows for funding and trading immediately.
If you want to use DBS Vickers for Cash Upfront trades with low commissions on Singapore stocks, be sure to open an account a long time in advance. The account opening process, while not that complicated, is extremely long.
Account setup: 3.5/5
Reason: Pretty easy to setup, but can be quite tedious with a lot of forms to fill up, and a long time before you can actually fund and trade.
Here, we will examine how easy it is to conduct trades through DBS Vickers' platforms, and how easy it is to deposit and withdraw funds from your account.
Firstly, there are three ways in which you can invest with DBS Vickers, and that is through either iBanking (online), Vickers (online), or their mobile app, mTrading.
Logging into iBanking/Vickers (online)
If you want to do Cash Upfront trades for the lower commission on buy trades, you must log in through iBanking. This will require you to have a POSB/DBS savings account.
If you login via DBS Vickers website directly or through mobile via mTrading, you will not be given the option of Cash Upfront trades for some reason.
If you wish to login directly to DBS Vickers, you will further have to remember your trading account number, which is a series of digits that can be quite hard to remember.
Logging in through iBanking also requires you to authenticate yourself using your security token. This is quite fast if you use DBS' digital token with your phone, which is a one-tap authentication solution.
User interface (online)
DBS Vickers' user interface is really simple to use, with self-explanatory panels consisting of drop-downs which are very clear for users. For instance, under the "Trade" panel, you can select "Place Order" which allows you to buy and sell stocks.
Besides the simple user interface, DBS Vickers also has resources for you to find out more about investment products and calculate fees. It also has tools which allow you to search, screen, and compare stocks. This can be relatively useful when you are looking for your next investment.
Another feature that I personally really like is that DBS Vickers allows you to check your order status really easily, which is good to check on orders that are placed over multiple days. Checking your order status is also useful if you have partially filled orders.
Overall, the online interface for DBS Vickers is simple, clean and easy to navigate.
A minor (major?) inconvenience is that if you wish to do Cash Upfront trades with DBS Vickers through iBanking, you can only select Good For Day order, which means your order will expire if it's not fulfilled by the end of the trading day.
This is quite annoying since you have to repeatedly place the order manually everyday to get the lower commission rates instead of being able to just set it to Good Till Max (won't expire until filled).
These days, many brokerages have a mobile app which allows you to trade on the go. DBS Vickers' follows the norm with their mobile mTrading app.
Having a mobile app where you can put in trade orders anytime when you're not at your computer is always good for convenience.
However, it is strange that the application does not have similar important functions as the online trading platform. For example, you are not able to make Cash Upfront trades for lower commissions with the mTrading app.
This feature disparity makes the mobile app much less appealing to use for traders who want to leverage the Cash Upfront bonus.
Furthermore, when using the mobile app, commission fees are much higher when you use the mobile app as compared to when you trade online, which further increase costs and cuts into your gains.
Other than that, DBS Vickers' mTrading app is similar to its online counterpart, except that it does not include some functions. The main ones such as placing orders and viewing orders are present and that is all you really need to trade.
The problem is that the mobile app has a rather outdated interface, and is quite difficult to navigate.
Many users report a "laggy, unresponsive" interface. Just read the reviews on the Appstore here.
In addition, the mobile app does a bad job at showing stock details.
There is a lack of information about the stock and its key financial ratios. One would be better off getting an app like Yahoo Finance, researching the stock there, and then come back just to buy the stock through the mTrading app.
In addition, the watchlist prices and graphs are not in real time. Unlike apps like Yahoo Finance which constantly stream the latest prices, you have to manually press the refresh button to get the latest prices here.
DBS Vickers mTrading is, frankly speaking, not a very modern mobile trading application.
While I do not have personal experience with DBS Vicker's customer service, multiple reports hint that their customer service is quite slow and unresponsive.
This does not bode well if you need to sort out your account or trades - or when you get locked out of your account because you entered your password wrongly 5 times in a row.
User experience: 3/5
Reason: If you're considering DBS Vickers, stick with their web interfaces. The mobile one just isn't that good. Stories about lacking customer support also surface here.
Additionally, you can only get Cash Upfront trades by logging in to DBS Vickers through iBanking. Thus, you can't get Cash Upfront commissions if you trade through the official DBS Vickers site and their official mobile app, which is weird.
DBS Vickers allow you to trade in 9 stock exchanges in 7 countries:
- Singapore (SGX)
- Hong Kong (HKEx)
- U.S. (NYSE, NASDAQ, AMEX)
- Canada (TSX)
- U.K. (LSE)
- Australia (ASX)
- Japan (TSE) markets.
At a glance, this may seem like very few exchanges but this is more than what a lot of brokerages offer when you trade online. Furthermore, the stock exchanges that they offer cover a sufficiently large market.
The US stock exchanges list some of the world's most innovative companies with high growth. The Hong Kong stock exchange exposes us to China stocks, one of the fastest-growing economies in the world.
Furthermore, for us Singaporeans who are inclined towards Ireland-domiciled ETFs due to the 30% US withholding tax, there is the London Stock Exchange (LSE) through which the dividend withholding taxes are reduced to 15%.
Although DBS Vickers covers most of the major markets, it does not cover Southeast-Asian countries such as Thailand. Investors may like these emerging markets which have the potential to expand quickly and contain growth opportunities.
Therefore, the lack of market coverage of Southeast-Asian countries might be a potential drawback.
For most intents and purposes, DBS Vickers covers sufficient stock exchanges from many countries for the average investor.
However, our recommendation is to only use DBS Vickers only for the Singapore market (SGX) since the commissions are high for international stocks. You are better off opening an account with another brokerage for lower fees.
Read our stock broker comparison to find out more!
Scroll down for a more comprehensive review about the fees and commissions offered by DBS Vickers.
Market coverage: 5/5
Reason: More than enough for most intents and purposes. Usually used only for Singapore stocks anyway.
DBS Vickers offers a wide range of investment products which caters to any investment strategy:
- Common Stock
- Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs)
- Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs)
- Preference Shares
- Fixed Income Securities
- American/Global Depository Receipts
- Structured Warrants
- Callable Bull Bear Contracts
- Daily Leverage Certificates
For the specifics of each investment product, we'll leave it to DBS (click on "products") themselves to explain since that is not the main purpose of this article.
In general, DBS Vickers offers pretty standard investment products and is neither better nor worse than other brokerages.
For most investors, DBS Vickers is used for buying common stocks, ETFs and REITs in the Singapore market. If you wish to trade options or on margins, there are better brokers out there that offer lower fees and better offerings.
Product offerings: 4/5
Reason: Good amount of product offerings for most investors, but may not be suitable (or is less attractive than competitors) in other product offerings like options.
Fees and Commissions
For all the fees and commissions, the numbers will be based on trading using the online platform rather than the mobile platform since the fees for using your mobile to put in trade orders is significantly higher than when you use the online platform.
For instance, to trade Singapore (SGX) stocks, the minimum commission if you trade via the mobile platform is SGD 40. However, if you use the online platform, the minimum commission is significantly lower, at SGD 25.
Trading via Cash Upfront (only available if logging in via iBanking online) is even lower, with a minimum commission on buy trades (not sell) of SGD 10.
No matter which brokerage you choose to invest in, commission rates are always higher when you use Cash settlement mode than when you use Cash Upfront settlement mode.
This is because there is a higher risk of defaulting when you use Cash settlement mode since you are allowed to have insufficient money in your account prior to putting in a buy order.
Using Cash Upfront restricts you such that you are only able to buy with the money existing in your account right now. As the name suggests, you have to pay upfront with your money instead of being able to pay 2 days later. Hence, there is a lower risk of defaulting.
When you buy Singapore stocks with DBS Vickers, its commission fees for Cash settlement mode is not superior to all the other brokerages in Singapore at a minimum of SGD 25. In fact, it is among the highest!
However, DBS Vickers is superior when it comes to its Cash Upfront Settlement mode. DBS Vickers charges a minimum commission of SGD 10 or 0.12% of your transaction value when you use Cash Upfront Settlement Mode.
This is the lowest commission offered for Singapore stocks among all brokers available to Singaporeans. Note that DBS Vickers' Cash Upfront settlement option is applicable to buy trades only.
For a more comprehensive comparison, click here to get the full fees for all the brokerages that involve the Singapore market.
The reason we like DBS Vickers (for buy trades) as compared to other brokerages who also offer the same minimum commission fees for cash upfront trades (e.g. FSMOne, SAXO SG) is really simple.
The shares that you buy with DBS Vickers go into your CDP account instead of the brokerage's custodian account, giving you the benefits of being able to sell through any other broker (with lower commission fees), getting shareholder letters and invitations to annual general meetings.
When you sell Singapore stocks with DBS Vickers however, there is no Cash Upfront option. You will be charged a minimum commission fee of SGD 25 or 0.28% for transaction values below $50k.
In contrast to the commission fees for DBS Vickers' buy trades, the commission fees for DBS Vickers' sell trades are among the highest among all the brokerages.
We love DBS Vickers for buying (using Cash Upfront), but not for selling.
DBS Vickers' commission fees for both international buy and sell trades are the same as that for local buy and sell trades, at a minimum fee of SGD 25. Based on our comparison, DBS Vickers is not a match for its competitors in this aspect.
In addition, it also has a custody fee of 2 SGD per counter, and even a dividend handling fee of 1% of net dividends (varies by market). In short, DBS Vickers is highly unattractive for international markets.
If you would like to trade in non-Singapore stocks, we recommend that you open an account with another broker like Interactive Brokers instead.
Fees and commissions: 4/5 (For Singapore markets), 1/5 (For international markets)
Reason: One of the cheapest for Singapore markets with Cash Upfront for buy trades. For selling and international stocks, consider using another broker as the fees can be very expensive with DBS Vickers.
In summary, the main benefits of creating a DBS Vickers account is for its Cash Upfront trading on buy trades for Singapore markets. With this, you get one of the lowest commissions while still having your shares in your CDP account.
Other than that, there is nothing particularly special about DBS Vickers' offering. The online trading platform, while simple and clean, offers limited details as compared to other brokers like Saxo.
The mobile trading interface is primitive, and it's way more expensive to trade through their mobile platform.
While DBS Vickers offers a lot of market coverage, you probably wouldn't want to use it for anything other than Singapore markets due to the high commissions and fees charged for international markets.
To top it off, opening an account with DBS Vickers is extremely tedious and time consuming, when a lot of brokers these days allow for account opening within 5 minutes.
In other words, we really only recommend DBS Vickers purely for the fact that you can use Cash Upfront (on buy trades) and only with Singapore markets to store shares in your CDP account.
For anything else, another broker might be more suitable for you.
Overall rating: 3/5
Explanation: Really good at one thing (Cash Upfront buy orders for Singapore markets), but relatively average or bad at everything else.
When deciding which brokerage to open an account with, think about which markets you would like to go into, as well as which investment products you are interested in.
This is because it could be really troublesome to have to open several brokerage accounts to trade in different markets and investment products.
For some, user interface is important but others may be more fixated on commission fees. This all depends on individual preferences.
Whichever you choose, make sure to do proper research first! I hope that this article has aided you in understanding more about the offering from DBS Vickers before creating an account with them.
If you have decided to go with DBS Vickers, we have a helpful guide that teaches you how to open and fund your DBS Vickers account, and how to do Cash Upfront trades. Check it out!
Do leave your comments down below if you have any further questions!
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